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(A Half-Jewish Pagan Writes About Jesus)

by Lisa Garrigues

I reach my hand
deep inside my poetry box
pull out
a beard, a head, the cross
blood and nails
How can I
sing the song he sang
Who am I
to try
and even worse
Do I care?

Jesus
was the word
spit in a sigh
from the old lady
in the Greyhound Bus Station
with the sore feet


Jesus
was the ominously well lit around the head
no-flesh of a man with the overly kind eyes
and too long robes and hair
at the backs of Bibles
that other kids had
while my family was mixed up
in a vinegar salad of commies Agnostics & Jews

Jesus
was the gooey eyed
vacant faced Christian boy
with the button-downed shirt
wanting me
to come to his Bible study group
or else

Jesus
was the name flung
from the lips of the manifest
destiny
priests & cowboys
scarred with the lash into

the flesh of Indians

Jesus
was the scream of the inquisitors
watching my sisters go up in flames

Jesus
was the reason
6 million of my aunts and uncles died

Jesus
I want to hate you
for the lies that have been committed
in your name
I want to hate you
because you haven't returned to stop it

Jesus
I want to hate you
because you are white
and a man
and a virgin

Jesus I want to hate you

because you let them kill you
over and over
every time they say your name

Jesus how
can I turn this poem around
help me
show me the way
With that
a voice
fell out of the ceiling
and landed
in a pool of light
right next to me
and said:
Girl
Just grab your pen and write
its in the doing
its in the fight
You think I'm a wimp
an upstart pimp for some backwards dog
Get with it girl
Have you forgotten how to laugh
Don't you remember how to dance?
Make me who I am
Make me who you want me to be
I. Quit waiting for my resurrection
eliminate your cosmic vivisection
pull your head out of the sky
and see me here now
in all the flesh you see around
Call me Sonny or Pablo or Lee or Denise
Taisha or Moishe or Kazimbe or Jane
Ride your roller blades in the shade
with me cuz I am down
to the ground
all around
Jesus is my name


I. Excuse me
(I said)
for my criticism
though I appreciate
your witticism
I'm looking for a little more
mysticism
something
more
cosmic
more
ethereal
more
rays of light and second
coming into sight and angels mending
my broken wings and.
Girl
(he said)
unzip your poem
and step outside of it
it's time for you to see
that you've always been free
to meet me as I am
however you want me to be
breathe your soul
and live the light of it


Saying this
he reached inside my brain
and pulled out
the recognition of his name
Since then
I've never been the same

.

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