Tags: poetry: sweet jesus

prophecy girl

[Lent: day 23/40]

Jesus at the Laundromat
-Kim Addonizio

The last crystals from the box of All
spill into the Speed Queen.
Tube socks, cotton drawers
with an asterisk design in blue,
a few frayed robes, graying now,
a sweatshirt saying GOD IS LOVE.
Jesus loads his quarters
and eases into a plastic chair
by the Change machine.
Each year it's harder to remember
why he returned.
Sometimes he knows
it was only nostalgia, and not
a second chance for anyone.  Now
he longs for home.  In heaven
things stayed white.
No one had to suffer flourescent lights
or rattling dryers,
the sour pool of urine by the pay phone.
Jesus watches his clothes revolve,
suds hitting the surface
of the curved glass.  He sighs
and looks around,
surprised he's not alone.
The chairs are filled
with old bodies, some snoring,
some sitting so still
he's tempted to touch them.
A woman curls under newspaper
near the sign that reads OPEN.
The attendant drags a map
the length of the linoleum,
streaking the dirt.

from Sweet Jesus: Poems About the Ultimate Icon (ed. Nick Carbó and Denise Duhamel) p. 165-6.
small girl in big world [_extraflamey_]

[Lent: day 5/40]

Signs & Miracles
-Ron Koertge

"If you exist," I said.  "Send me
a pony."

Immediately Jesus appeared
in my bedroom.

I get off my knees.  "You heard
my prayer!"

He quoted Himself: "Except ye
see signs and miracles, you will
not believe."

"Be reasonable, Jesus.  It's hard
to just take Your word for it."

"But I'm here.  In your bedroom.
Isn't that enough?"

"So is the pony outside?"
from Sweet Jesus: Poems About the Ultimate Icon (ed. Nick Carbó and Denise Duhamel) p. 3.
(hidden) wisdom

[Ash Wednesday]

The Feet Man
-for Leo Dangel
by Philip Dacey

The worst job I ever had was nailing
Jesus' feet to the cross on the
assembly line at the crucifix factory.
Jesus! I'd never thought of myself
as religious before that, but when
I had to strike those nails---I figured
it up once---more than two thousand times
a day, my mind began seeing things:
little tremors along the skin, jerks of
those legs that were bonier than
model's legs, his eyes imploring,
forgiving. I swear, if a tiny drop of blood
had oozed out of that wood at my pounding,
I wouldn't have been surprised at all.
I was ripe for a miracle, or a vacation,
All I got was worse: with each blow
of the hammer, I flinched, as if I
were the one getting pierced. Doing
that job day after day was bad enough,
but doing it to myself---my arms
spread out from one end of my paycheck
to the other---was crazy. I began
to sweat constantly, though the place
was air-conditioned. It wasn't long before
the foreman took me aside and told me
I was taking my job too seriously, that
if I wanted to keep it I had better calm down.
He was right. I pulled myself together
like a man and put all pointless thoughts
out of my head. Or tried to. It wasn't easy:
imagine Jesus after Jesus coming down
at you along the line, and you with
your hammer poised, you knowing
what you have to do to make a living.
from Sweet Jesus: Poems About the Ultimate Icon (ed. Nick Carbó and Denise Duhamel) p. 5-6.

The opening of this poem is just amazing. The break between the second and third lines especially. I was less moved by the middle, but the end wonderfully brings it back to what I had so loved at the beginning.

[Mardi Gras]

Jesus Is Hanging Over the Lesbian
-Stacey Waite

A lesbian's mother and a preacher
are standing over the lesbian.

They are trying to cast out the demons.

Jesus is hanging over the lesbian,
but more concerned with his own demons,
head tilted back, dry blood remnants
of a demon's crown on his head.

The lesbian can not see Jesus.
The preacher is blocking her view
and she is waiting for her leg hairs
to grow like vines, wrap around the preacher's
head until he splits open, until she could see
what was really inside him.

The lesbian wonders how the demons got to her.
And as the concerned members of the community joined
in the casting out of the demons, Jesus slips down from the cross
without anyone noticing (they are all looking at the lesbian).

"Kind of like Baptism," he says, laughs.
"Jesus, I have had unnatural passions for women."
"Understandable," Jesus says, "they are very beautiful,
don't let them fool you, even the grass has passions."

Jesus lifts himself back to the cross.

The lesbian's lover has a voice that sounds like Jesus
and persuades her to swim that night
in the river. The lesbian tosses her shirt,
and as her lover dips her head
back into the river, Jesus makes a sound
that echoes through the empty church,
a sound like a baby crying,
a sound like some blade of grass
has just been touched.
from Sweet Jesus: Poems About the Ultimate Icon (ed. Nick Carbó and Denise Duhamel) p. 85-86. Thanks to polymexina.

I wasn't really into this poem at the beginning (though as I typed it up I found more richness in it -- and felt like such an English major) but "even the grass has passions" won me. (I blame lilithchilde for my love for "the people are grass.")

I don't like the poems in this book enough to do a daily Lent posting, but I had been thinking about it, ['cause I really liked doing daily readings for Advent and am still at a loss for something comparable to do for Lent] and I like the tension between the body and the dominant religious forces in this poem as a post for Mardi Gras (the binging celebration immediately preceding Lent).