Daniel Galef


The Selection Process
No Pope, Radio

Even Popes don’t live forever, and once the last one’s kicked it (though goodness knows whom it’s kicked to),
Mirabile dictu,
It’s time for all the ordinals and cardinals to drop whatever they’re doing and fly out to the Vatican,
Because Hey, you could be Pope!, and one is hardly going to get a chance like thatican.
One thing to note about the byzantine (but hardly Byzantine) selection process is the peculiar set of conditions,
And this is due to the Church’s love for their many time-honored traditions,
For the Church has rituals and reasons for everything, from why their symbol is cruciform rather than, like the Jews’, hexagonal,
To why the Pope only moves one square at a time while a bishop can go as far as he or she (wait, nope, just he) wants,
           as long as it’s diagonal.
In fact, there are so many traditions and stories that no priest has ever passed the written unless he crammed,
And studied up on the market value of indulgences (as correlated with the wages of sin) and why one thief was saved
           and the other damned.
The only thing preventing the college (they have a real keen football team, Go Seraphim!) from devolving into a void or chaos of
           prayers and genuflexions
Is that the Pope left them a set of direxions,
But, generally, once it’s certain there’s a vacancy and the man’s number has been retired and his ring broken
           with the ceremonial mallet,
Then every cardinal from see to shining see one by one stands up and casts his ballot,
And unless the winner wins by enough, they burn all the ballots and start the whole thing all over again, which explains why the
           whole process can be a bit poky,
And also why it’s all a bit smokey.
That’s why the newscasters will all have their thousand-dollar HD TV cameras trained on a two-foot tin chimitey.
The vote is secret, because the cardinals prefer anonymity,
And so cast a blind ballot,
As opposed to opting to see all at whatever the cost, like the Lady of Shalott,
And when there’s a winner and all the votes have been counted, sundry and various,
Then the smoke turns white, and it’s just like the opposite of the miracle of the blood of St Januarius,
Because the world is about to erupt as all the reporters get busy,
Because most people aren’t very familiar with the new Bishop of Rome and the question on everybody’s lips is “What’s this guy
           done to become Pope? What’s he like and who usy?”
But then a new direction of questioning becomes emergent:
“What’s his height, his weight, his favourite color and preferred brand of detergent?”
And there will be those people that hope,
Maybe he’s gonna be a radical Pope,
Maybe he’ll promote freedom and equality and Church reform,
Or maybe he’ll be the norm,
And attack the New Ways and defend the Old Ways as a final bastion.
“Is the Pope Catholic?” is the answer to that quastion.


purpleLDaniel Galef was born and raised in Jefferson, Mississippi. He has lived in London, Reykjavik, Tokyo, Bremerhaven, and Qingdao, as well as more recently braving the wilds of suburban New Jersey. He is currently studying at McGill University in Montreal. He writes light verse, heavy verse (that’s light verse with an extra neutron), fiction, faction, friction, fraction, humor (both melancholic and sanguine), drama, comedic sketches (charcoal or pastel, but mostly pastiche), comic strips (that’s a humorous exotic dance), and even this 83-word bio.