does shaming & killing his son make God an angry father
does following God’s teachings make father so cruel
is this how the church creates gods from men
i spent my whole life trying to be like jesus
but i refuse to die like him
— “a faggot tries to be christ-like”
Those of us who grew up as queer people in the church are no strangers the hypocrisy of godly love. We are no strangers to the guilt and disappointment ready to meet our natural proclivities. Andrew Hahn delves into the complexity of these experiences in his debut chapbook God’s Boy, published by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2019.
The titular poem of God’s Boy masterfully captures one of Christianity’s biggest mistakes: confusing fear for love. The speaker of this poem redefines true worship: love and choice, fucking someone “w intention,” an “alignment” of body and soul. They muse “if only God knew how it felt to be loved by someone bigger than himself” just as the speaker is worshipped by the recurring “dad/dy” character. The speaker shows that people are bound to be significantly more fulfilled by the mutual power dynamics they choose, rather than what is thrust (no pun intended) upon them.
“a faggot tries to be christ-like” forces readers to honestly consider what it means to be godly. More specifically, what does it mean to be a good father under a God who shamed and killed his son? As Randall Mann noted in their blurb of God’s Boy, the statements throughout this collection read like a question, and yet there is no question mark. There is no question, or rather it is a question that we already know the answer to.
If this is what it means to be godly, why would anyone stay? And if you are already considered to be straying, why not have some fun with it? Hahn’s poems “dad/dy” and “dad/dy & his friends” explore the kinkiness of power dynamics, of wanting unspeakable (but not unwritable) things. The speaker of these poems understands that they are “available to use how [dad/dy] pleases.” Isn’t that true worship after all?
An unrepentant confessional of one’s life with the holy trinity (dad – dad/dy – god the father), God’s Boy is meant to be devoured.