Churches of Sumatra

by Kirby Olson (June 2018)

Amsterdam, Irina Rumyantseva, 2015

The tigers of Sumatra and the orangutans
of Borneo may not have been bothered
by the Dutch missionaries who largely failed
to transform Indonesia into a church-
driven society, as the prevailing Muslims
quietly but firmly retained a strangle-hold
on faith. In the far-off jungles cryptozoologists claim
pterodactyls still circle, eyeing carbon-based
life as a caloric adjunct to solar
glucose. Plain white spires compete
with onion-domed mosques, whereas some
painters, some poets left a record
that the Jakartans would take to heart.
The peoples of Papua New Guinea
continue to hunt heads, shoot darts
from blow-guns, and boil missionaries
in round-bellied pots, while in Amsterdam
Indonesian immigrants enjoy Frank Sinatra.



Kirby Olson is a tenured English professor at SUNY-Delhi in the western Catskills. His books include a novel (Temping), about an English professor who starts a circus in Finland; a book of poems entitled Christmas at Rockefeller Center; and several books of literary criticism about ludic surrealists. He is currently working on a memoir of his time spent at Naropa Institute studying with Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. He is a Lutheran and a member of AARP.

More by Kirby Olson.

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