Mike Gower

SERVICE

 

Yes, I’m a bank clerk.

My other job? Exorcist.

The first, I keep your money safe,

the second I cast out your devil.

I find the two balance nicely.

 

But it’s exorcism you’re interested in?

For example, take this woman.

Observe depression, hysteria, paranoia,

guilt complex - you name it.

I’m sorry for her so I pull on

my white surplice, my black gloves.

 

Her family, very concerned, bring her in.

I get to work with a lot of well rehearsed words

and my plentiful paraphernalia.

I hold my rough wooden crossver her breasts, lean hard, shout in her face.

I address her devil directly, I command!

 

Yes, of course it’s all superstitious nonsense;

reasonable chaps like you and me know that.

But she writhes, her face contorts,

she screams I shout louder,

not at her, but at her “devil”. Climax:

she screams as though ripped by childbirth

and I cry, “Look! There it goes,

back to burning hell whence it came!

You are free! You are healed!”

 

And truly she returns home to be

normally happy - or happily normal.

People forget our need for Ritual,

Drama, Occasion. I offer a service

with her at the core, at the centre;

She’s Hamlet and Ophelia in one.

 

You ask what I get out of it.

Well, it’s …..gratifying.

In a manner of speaking, it lets the devil out of me.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot. You said you need a small loan -

at low interest, of course.

Just call me at the bank tomorrow.

I’m there nine to five.

Commentary

You know how you come across an article, a report, something someone says, and it lights up questions about life, people - that sort of stuff. The thing takes off. Then you drag it down, scrawl it, chop it about a bit till it finds its shape - well, a possible shape.

 

It started with something that I read about exorcism. I asked: why do people do it? How can anyone believe in such crazy nonsense? Why do I think it's crazy nonsense? How can it (how does it) work? Who gets what out of it? What sorts of people? Am I so far from these people.....?