Expiring on silk embroidery,
awaiting leave of this Holy scene,
surrounded by purple hens
readying themselves to preen.
So I stepped aside - said I had a plan
that an energetic younger man
should take on the Papal role.
"I'm old - I need to contemplate
the transition of my soul."
In truth I wanted to drink whisky, eat
hash brownies. bonbons, gelato treats.
Have an onanistic glance
at hard pornography. Hell,
I was the Pope - I'll take my chance.
Have you held Cosa Nostra contraband
hot and scary in your hand?
Sniffed a teener of good cocaine?
No me neither. I had to understand
the visceral thrill; the ache of shame.
My earnest hope is that I'll still have time
between snorting up a final line
and that interrupting cough of Death,
to repent these sins and make amends.
I'll kneel, steeple fingers, suck in my breath:
"Please Dear God - weren't we almost friends?!"
First published in The Guardian 10/2014 https://witness.theguardian.com/search?q=pope