Didnít know if he was a retard or a drunk.
He would lurch around Gaelic Park
during game days, grinning like an idiot,
dribbling onto his filthy cassock. First time
I saw him it was a shock. And then his
name, which had a funny sound to it:
Father McMenamin. The drunk priest,
the embarrassment to the whole community.
Happily staggering onto the field, being gently
ushered off again, scolded as one would a
child: now, now, father, mustnít go there.
The shame of it all. An affliction from God.
The shepherd, the authority, the man of the cloth
as moron, bum, joke. The meaner ones
would buy him drinks and make fun of him.
Give us your blessing, Father. Forgive me
my sins, Father, and Iíll give you a glass.
McMenamin forgave them all,
wondering where he was. Somewhere
far from home it seemed, searching
for grace in the darkness of the Bronx.