Friday, October 9, 2015

Paradise Café by Marilyn McFarlane



In a quiet corner of the Paradise Café,
Mohammed and Jesus drink coffee
and share a cinnamon roll. They are having
a conversation.

At the bar, Krishna plays his flute
and flirts with the baristas, as usual.
The Buddha and a few monks kneel on the floor
by the window and chuckle over a koan,
knowing the answer is never yes or no.
Shiva-Parvati, inseparable, marigold-garlanded,
float, dance, and smile their secrets.

Coffee cools, Jesus sighs.
“What can we do? Pain, bloodshed, misery,
they weren't in the plan.
Love and kindness are what I hoped for.”

A tear floods Mohammed's dark eye. “Mercy,
cast into the maw of hatred. Can't they all just
get along?”

The café door slams open to a wind-blown rush
of ocean air and fresh-turned earth.
In strides Goddess, flowers and twigs
a-bristle in her hair, birds flitting around her shoulders.
Muddy jeans, a red t-shirt. Purple-stained fingers
clutch grape clusters. She straddles a chair,
smiles at the morose males. “What's up, friends?”

“Conflict,” Mohammed says, weary. “Believers,
killing once again.”

“Ah. Same old story.” She lifts a glass, winks at Jesus.
He nods, and water blushes into fine Rhone wine.

“Exquisite. A good year. Take heart, my friends.
When they fall to their knees in gratitude
for the sacred, when they embrace the feminine
face of God and feel me rising in their souls,
the balance will return. Trust me, guys, it's underway,
even now. Rejoice!”

“Hear hear!” Dionysus, lolling on a recliner, calls.
“Toss me a few of those grapes and let's sing.”
His tune of universal love finds a rap beat, a
banjo chord, a samba bump. Krishna's flute joins in.
Everybody sings. It's all about joy,
and love, and returning.

That's how it is, here in the Paradise Café.
 
By Marilyn McFarlane. An excerpt from the upcoming Girl God Anthology, Jesus, Muhammad and the Goddess.

© Marilyn McFarlane, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

Marilyn McFarlane, a travel writer based in Portland, Oregon, for more than thirty years, is the author of numerous guidebooks and articles in print and online.  She has also written on many other topics, including a cookbook for seniors.  Her most recent book, Sacred Stories: Wisdom From World Religions (Simon & Schuster/Beyond Words), is a collection of five simply-told stories from each of seven faiths or spiritual paths. The book has brief introductions to the different religions, and a teacher's guide is available as a free download.  Marilyn is delighted to be a contributor to this anthology and emphasizes that the playful tone in her writing intends no disrespect toward anyone's beliefs.  Rather, it is a reminder that God/Goddess has a great sense of humor.  Her website is www.marilynmcfarlane.com.

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