the world had seemed okay, father

the city skyline marked the setting sun,

a myriad of fading orange and yellow hues

the darkening mirage filled me

with the joy of my youth, the good old times

with the sickly sweet popsicles that soothed my scorched taste buds that summer day

with the gently mellow breeze that shuffled my languid hair that spring morning

with the steaming hot chocolate that warmed my shivering heart that winter night

with the satisfying crunch of dead leaves that churned beneath my feet that autumn evening

and from the dim-lit corner of my silent room,

I hid away from society, a bubble of oblivion

and in my mind,

I replaced needs with wants

replaced reality with vanity

but in my perfect world of gold and silver,

a static roared to life upon a flickering screen, awakened with a single click

it became a guardian of even greater riches, exotic to my eyes

a king of even greater power, unknown to my heart,

but its words drilled into my mind and soul like a disease,

a glimpse of the truth outside

and secret veiled within my blinking box

that drowned me in white, blinding noise.

the world has gone insane, father

channel iv: henan, china

purge us of our devilish intentions,

which thrive in holy halls,

spawned by satan's spear dipped in blood and sweat

brothers and sisters in christ

cheated by a false god: a cultural revolution,

find death on the path to eternal life

beaten, dragged, and thrown into the yellow river,

away from the bustling illusion of prosperous city lights,

they cried for peace, love, and hope

drowned among the screams of believers

taken hostage by police with clubs in their hands and hate rippling in their eyes

burned are their bibles, their hopeful refuge

burned are their crosses, their faithful savior

burned are their churches, their only sanctuary

yet, they still sing

praising from within underground churches, lit with only a single flame

away from prying eyes, they fall

to their knees, hands held above their heads and tears streaming down their darkened cheeks

as they clutch torn bible clippings to their chests,

with last prayers lingering on their blue lips

channel iii: atlanta, georgia

purge us of our colored bias

which lurk in courthouse sessions,

born from the relentless pursuit against illegal drugs

black men, brown youths of the twenty first century,

roam with targets on their backs

reeking of suspicion and criminal filth

a boy, 14, stopped on the streets for carrying an oversized duffel bag

a teen, 17, pulled over on the highway for driving a new maserati

a man, 46, shot on the steps of his house for pulling out his wallet

an elder, 78, died in prison for neglecting to pay his legal fines

the new jim crow, ironic in the age of colorblindness,

plagues ghettos and inner cities

rounded up like cattle, one in seven,

black men disappear from public eye, leaving behind

children, wives, mothers, friends

in exchange for bleak walls, iron bars, and orange jumpsuits

silently defiant, these men comply

crushed under lifetime sentences for minor crimes

unable to afford lawyers with their jingling jars of pennies

and for those of more fortunate stature,

their identity is stolen and replaced by another: felon

channel ii: kobani, syria

purge us of our bloodlust,

the rage of total war on innocent civilians

cultivated by the quest for political autonomy

for seven years, silence ceased to exist

the decimation of parliament squares,

fueled by hatred of government corruption,

challenge the lives of half a million

the expansion of a foreign islamic state

charged by Allah and his hymns

purify the westernized culture of joy and freedom

death spreads its black cloak

stifling the whimpers of the homeless

and now, safety, a word already foreign to its people

disappears without a trace

a girl lost her entire family, a feat not uncommon

her mother, emaciated by starvation

her father, pierced by shrapnel

her sister, crushed by rubble

her brother, poisoned by rebel ideology

eventually, she lost herself to the demons inside her head

channel i: rakhine state, myanmar

purge us of our self-supremacy,

the selfless acts against ethnic minorities

fostered by a greed for land, power, and resource

the bones of rohingya muslims from rakhine

litter the coast of bengal

as they flee from bullet storms and bomb squads of their own country

which proclaim homogeneity of burmean race

indiscriminate killing, a ritual concealed to the rest of the world,

force families into monsoon rains with tarps as shields

they run in the dead of night, with wheat bushels curling at their feet,

from the terror that stems from nightmares and the persecution that reigns in hell

villages, covered in blood splatter, are blasted to rubble

women, cloaked in black disguise, are raped at no mercy

men, burdened with rifles and guns, are mutilated beyond recognition

children, accustomed to constant warfare, are striped of their rights to live

nonetheless, they surge for the light of glory,

a homeland to claim as their own,

forevermore and always

thus I pray father, amen.