T is for Trump and the Pope


Serpent and Apple

A brute of a man arrives for an interview for a top executive job.  Despite having a good CV, he has no direct experience for the job.  While waiting to be interviewed  he starts viciously attacking other better qualified candidates.  He says to one that he will be “weak”.  This man seems to shoot from the mouth, he is antagonistic,  unashamedly forthright, as carries out these mocking tirades.  He does not care who he offends,  be it because of their religion or ideology.  Some of his comments are not only toxic but highly dangerous and divisive. Once his interview begins  he is boastful,  he will make the company great again. Some people seem to be carried along by his bravado.

Does this  man sound familiar…?

Donald Trump has even managed a showdown with Pope.  When the Pope pointed out that building a wall along the Mexican border (paid for by the Mexicans)  as being “not Christian” Trump characteristically went on the attack, saying the Pope is “disgraceful” for questioning his faith.  On the other hand the Pope himself  ignored the fact that the Vatican is equally surrounded by a sizable wall.

However…check this out…

Deep in the dark chasms of the Vatican, a bare knuckle fight is about to take place…

It’s the fight of the century, behind closed doors.

As Donald Trump takes on the Pope for world supremacy.

Trump’s arrived with his band of thugs,

The Pope’s surrounded by cardinals and Latin chants,

Trump’s hyped up, ready for a bout,

“I’ll take on anyone, Muslims, Latino’s,  even God himself,

All to make America great again.

A Latino pope, what a great mistake,

An American pope would pose a greater threat,

To put the fear of God into the soft bellies of the people.

This pope who dares question my faith,

I’ll put you pope firmly in your place!

For nobody dares question Donald Trump,

For if they do,  I’m gonna pound them to dust!

Fuck you pope, know your place,

Watch me now as I rearrange your face!


Now listen Donald,

I mean no harm,

It’s just building a wall isn’t Christian.

If you want a fight, I’m not so meek and mild,

And don’t forget I have God on my side.

I’ll knock your hair all over the place,

Don’t forget

I have a  well over a billion followers,

The Vatican is full of gold,

We’ve been in business  for many centuries,

Mr Trump, don’t you know.


You are right Pope,

You might teach me a thing or two,

But step out of line one more time,

And I’ll be coming after you


The two men stepped out of the ring,

without a punch being thrown.

The Pope said his words were lost in translation,

said he’d even offer Trump, the keys to salvation.

Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.


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D is for death and the afterlife.

D Finished


What happens after we pass over to the other side? It is a question that dogs us as soon as we become conscious of what death  is all about.  Of course points of view on this subject are colored  by  the religion that a person follows.   It is a commonly banded about  idea that some Muslims  believe  they are promised 72 virgins,  upon entry to paradise,  particularly those who fight in the way of Allah.

What do Catholics believe? At the moment of death, the soul is separated from the body and no longer sustains order within the natural body; as a result, the body begins to corrupt and left to its own will decompose. The soul, however, is immortal and never ceases to exist, once created. Immediately upon death, the soul of each person is judged by the Lord, either to eternal life or the damnation of hell.

There must be many permutations depending on which religion a person follows. Buddhists give two permutations,  If you still have unresolved kamma (Sanskrit: karma), if the conditions for rebirth are present, “you” are reborn. Alternatively If you have achieved nibbana (Sanskrit: nirvana) during your life, you will have no more kamma, and so the conditions for the creation of the five clinging-aggregates will no longer be present. Consciousness will cease, activity in your brain will cease, and your body will decay. Meaning you will die, and that’s your lot.

The Buddhist  version of life after death,  seems to not only be more appealing than the threat of damnation in Hell  but also seems to  be more logical, as well giving a meaning to life, in that through a life we learn and develop until we reach the point whereby it is unnecessary to learn any more.

From my point of view it is only when we all finally embrace death itself  will this vexing question about what happens after death will finally be answered.  There are those who have recently had their quest  to answer this  question satisfied.  David Bowie is no longer with us, having succumbed to cancer.  He was the type of man a person might imagine could live forever, he was such a part of my life as surely he was for many others.  Is he now in some other dimension  working on celestial music? Has he been interacting with other departed souls,  other geniuses,  departed family  members of the Jones family  (Jones was his real family name).

In my book Flight of Destiny, I present an image of both Heaven and Hell. In my story cast from Hell,  a man is rejected by Hell (for being too good)  and is sent back in the guise of a woman to wreak havoc.  This is his take on Hell.

As you can tell, my expectations of hell were quickly dashed.It was far removed from William Blake’s famed illustrations of Dante’s Inferno, and it didn’t even remotely resemble a Brueghel painting.To my surprise, there was no evidence in Hell of people being  grievously punished. The slothful were not being goaded with burning coals. The gluttons were not being tormented with thirst and hunger.There were no hedonists being bathed in burning pitch and stinking brimstone, or envious individuals howling with grief over that which they could never possess. The proud were not being brought down.The covetous were not being denied. In fact, the damned seemed to be living in a modicum of comfort. I never detected any weeping, wailing or gnashing of teeth. The place, called by some gehenna, the bottomless pit, was admittedly no holiday camp, but things there had grown shoddy and dysfunctional. It would require major rehabilitation to scare even a child. Being lodged with fellow rejects was sobering experience, not unlike being in a holding center for suspected criminals, refugees or illegal immigrants.

This is his take on Heaven.

I took a last look survey of Hell. It looked like a vast airport terminal: vacuous, tedious, and hum-drum. By now I couldn’t wait to leave. By contrast, I have often tried to imagine Heaven. To me it would be one long party in a great vivant night club, not unlike this second life to which I was now looking forward to I closed my inner eye as instructed and waited while Charon transported me to earth’s dimension.

What happens after death, is the ultimate, unanswerable question.

Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.


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The turbulent mind of Sinead O’Connor

Sinead banner

There is little doubting the uniqueness of  Sinead O’Connor’s voice. When you listen to “Nothing compares to you” you can’t but fail to be moved by it, it gets you every time you hear this rousing song. But what about the singer? I had the pleasure to see her in concert in Paris a few years back. I sensed that there was something quite not right about Sinead, there was a palpable edginess to the concert.

In Ireland she is an icon and the press can’t get enough of her, while at the same time she is depicted as being a wild crazy woman, mentally unstable. She is not afraid to be extremely honest about her childhood and the physical and mental abuse she had suffered at the hands of her mother (although other members of her family dispute this). In her own words…“I never took time to recover from what had gone on when I was growing up, and to establish a sense of self,” she says, quietly but surely. “The big problem if you are a child abused is that you don’t really have a strong sense of your own identity. She obviously is struggling to come to terms with her childhood, but also the pressures of fame.  In July 2003 she said pertinently “I seek no longer to be a ‘famous’ person and instead I wish to have a normal life,” adding “Could people please afford me my privacy?”

Sometimes her so called “crazy antics” have been very public. Tearing up a picture of the pope on Saturday Night Live in America in 1992, was followed by coming stage at a tribute concert for Bob Dylan, wrapped a rastafarian prayer cloth around the microphone and sang an unaccompanied version of “War”, a musical rendition of a speech Haile Selassie made to the United Nations in 1963, to which Sinead added her own lyrics focusing on child abuse.  Her performance drew mixed reactions, some booing.

It seems like Madonna, on her Australian tour is going through  a Sinead type phase.

Ripping up a picture of the pope brought about an inevitable  backlash with leading Roman Catholics attacking the singer and urging the faithful not to buy her records. Her relationship with religion seems complex.  She raised many eye browses when it was revealed  she had been ordained as Mother Bernadette Marie by Bishop Michael Cox of the rebel Tridentine Order, at Lourdes. Irish and American newspapers went for Sinead viciously dubbing her “mad”, “deranged” and ” weird”.

Effecting Sinead deeply has been custody battles for her daughter, which even made her contemplate suicide. “I have made one suicide attempt in my life, and that was on my 33rd birthday, after a session in court that day where it was suggested that for the rest of my life I would only see my daughter once a month. I made a very serious suicide attempt, and I did almost die.” She seems dogged by this notion that she is mad.

Sinead O’Connor for many years was deemed to suffer from Bi Polar, which was later proved false. She announced “I do not in fact suffer from Bi Polar disorder and never did . . . and should never have been put on the medication . . . They are extremely debilitating drugs. Tiring to the extreme. Ironically, extremely depressing. They can cause suicidal or self-harm type thinking.” O’Connor said, in an interview in the Irish Mirror, “I’m delighted to be able to say that after ten years of poisoning myself with these drugs and having to live with the extremely difficult side-effects of them I can shortly begin the very, very slow indeed, process of getting them out of my system and my life and getting my life back.”

This poses the question could the constant cries by the media  that Sinead is crazy influence Doctors. Sinead went through a ten year period with different psychiatrists, none of them alluding the effects of the medication she was under.

Sinead seems to be making a constant cry for help. She seems horribly misrepresented by the press. If she is crazy it is a wonderful crazy.

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Who was this St Valentine?

St Val

Everybody has their conceptions of Valentine’s day.  Maybe for those of a more pragmatic nature,  it is just a cynical marketing tool, the beneficiaries being among others, flower shops, shops that sell chocolate.  The card industry must welcome it with glee, every year when it comes around, restaurants must also relish it, all those romantic candle lit dinners. Young people of a certain age attach a significance to it. There are those bereft of partners, who dread it, when it comes around, as it only amplifies their loneliness

The origin of this much heralded day is shrouded by mystery. For some reason February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains elements of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions. One legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers compared to those equipped with wives and families, he took the extreme step of forbidding marriage for young men.

Valentine defied the emperor and continued secretly to marry those who chose the path of marriage. When his defiance was discovered it was decreed he should be put to death, accordingly the priest was eventually beheaded and then named a martyr by the Church .
Another legend contends that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one theory , an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his prison guard’s  daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is said that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that still prevails today.
Whichever legend you chose to believe among the many unsubstantiated, we are led to believe Valentine was sympathetic, heroic and in essence a true romantic.

Some believe the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in order to “Christianize” and counter balance the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, also to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written under duress in 1415 by a French man Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

It was the English writer Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine’s Day with romance and was later followed by Shakespeare with references to the day in his works. . By the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging handmade cards on Valentine’s Day had become common in England.

Whatever the history, which is of little concern to many Valentine’s day will always feature strongly in many people’s diaries.



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