“RE: Heaven’s Spam Filter” by Dan Haney

Dan Haney


Dear Dan,

I’ll be your new God for the foreseeable future. Remember when you were a child, and your mother would tell you that God passed over people like you? Not far from the truth, actually.

The original G has stepped out for a few weeks, so you can think of me as your Interim Savior. I focus primarily on international tax evasion schemes, the refugee crisis, and deal with the spam filter. Which is where I found you.

I got your poems. Thanks for your (unsolicited) letters. Frankly, reading through most of them, I couldn’t help but think you should be seeing a therapist.

Do you think before you hit send? I mean, honest question. For example, I found this one particularly cringe-inducing: It was originally titled “Letter to the Angel of Death,” but I altered it slightly:

Dan Sends Off Another Ill-Advised Email to the Lord

Lord, if you still believed in mercy
you would have killed me off
before now. I imagine my viewing:
the church sits almost empty.
Even Jesus left, peeled off the back mural.
My ex-wives are there. They reach
the casket, all agree: This must be
the first time he’s slept alone in years.
The pastor who speaks of my integrity
has never met me. Mourners tuck
cell phones inside pew Bibles,
text each other about which pub
might have enough parking
for the entire funeral procession.

Jesus Christ, man.

When I assembled you, this isn’t quite what I had in mind. I didn’t give you rough hands & all that dead weight so that you could sit at home and write poems.

Go outside.

Swing an axe. Lightly choke your wife—see if she’s into that.

Some people aren’t meant to write elegies—I need people like you to dig graves.



from Rattle #56, Summer 2017
Tribute to Poets with Mental Illness


Dan Haney: “I’ve carried a bipolar spectrum disorder with me for nearly a decade. Throughout my illness’s various silhouettes and manifestations, poetry remains my most authentic and meaningful point of entry. It provides me with a vocabulary of grandeur while simultaneously allowing dignity in self-loathing. I like to think poetry takes me to a better place.”

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