C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

I Could’ve Said This But Instead Controlled Myself

By: Steve Henn


“My backyard birds sound better

than your backyard birds”

my brother posted on Facedump

what I wanted to comment

(but didn’t) was “you’ll never

reach enlightenment if

everything’s a competition”

I mean hey, maybe I’m wrong,

maybe God loves the fuck

out of sports – enjoys

seeing losers vanquished

in championships,

loves the glory

of the final adrenal rush

keeping the winners up

pouring champagne

on each other til dawn


Maybe God loves

a champion who gloats


Maybe God loathes

humility and simple

friendship, maybe


The nuclear arms race

jolts up God like

an eleven year old in front

of a tv-full of pro wrestling


And every time he sees

one human bodyslam another

he emits an Oooooooooh!

like he’s watching a fireworks show.





Steve Henn wrote Indiana Noble Sad Man of the year (Wolfson Press 2017) and two previous collections from NYQ Books. Lately he's published a few essays. Find out more at therealstevehenn.com.


"The quote is an actual social media post by my actual brother. My brother is a former high school athlete who has been very successful in a corporate career – so much so that he retired around age 50. Because I was responding to my brother at first, I got thinking about sports, and that got me thinking of athletes who give 'all glory to God,' and so on, and that got me thinking of how effed up it is to believe in a God who excites and feels glorified by one human triumphing over another. The poem is really not a critique of my brother, who is frequently kind and also a practicing Christian, but of that idea of a God who likes seeing 'His people' triumph over 'the losers' or 'infidels' or 'pagans' or whatever, as that is no kind of God that I’m interested in believing in. I found the mood and voice quickly and then the poem pretty much rolled."