Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Jesus Flipping" (Wednesday)

[A Poem Each Day This Holy Week]

Had to catch myself today
at the supermarket, in the checkout line,
standing before all those rag-azines,
US and SHAPE and GLAMOUR and
COSMO and PEOPLE and SELF and
every one promising happiness for skinny
knees and polished abs and pricey diets.

Almost lost it there, with a gallon of milk
in my basket and a bunch of bananas and
US and SHAPE and GLAMOUR and
all those toothy grins and skinny girls,
and my daughter beside me, wondering
if this really is the new religion, the way
to heaven and happiness and freedom at last.

The urge came suddenly,
what would it feel like to grab
this rack of lies in my fingers,
flip it on its end, dump every last
glitzy, demonic, happy, greedy
one into the aisle where college kids
and lovely old homeless guys
with no shoes would walk all over them.

Lost somehow this holy week
is any hint of Jesus flipping tables,
his turning on hawkish opportunists
willing to take the poor girl's coin
for a cheap promise of ever, ever after
in the temple, on the mount.

Safe and sweet in sanctuaries
Perfumed with lilies, tulips, warm bread
Jesus can do no damage, flip no tables,
turn no magazine racks at the checkout.

I'm not sure I'm doing him any favors
though, or my daughter,
who needs to know that skinny knees
and polished abs and toothy grins
are illusion, the ad man's bargain,
and beauty is the SHAPE that washes feet
and feeds the hungry and loses its SELF
on a cross so that the PEOPLE can see.
And love.  And care.  And know.

Maybe next time.