We have weathered Holy Week and Easter Sunday, which is not the easiest for some of us journeying men and women. Personally, this week is also the end of the semester when I get to give and grades final tests, conduct oral exams and bid Tschüss to another group of quasi-adults. I could feel their collective exhaustion and Angst (Is that my second German reference already?) all week. What I am getting at is that my creativity tank is a bit low, while my tank of spiritual imagery tank is overflowing with musical representations of the Stations of the Cross and potted lilies. I have to borrow some creativity this week.
April is poetry month where I am, and I am reminded of Detroit-born poet Jamaal May, whom I met at a poetry reading this same time last year. I would like to share a poem of his from his collection The Big Book of Exit Strategies. This poem is serious, but you laugh anyway, much like it is if you think too much about life. You just have to laugh or you might cry. Either way, people look at you wondering what’s wrong, so you might as well quote a poem titled “The Unseen Hand of Zombie Jesus.”
You can learn more about Jamaal May at www.jamaalmay.com.
The Unseen Hand of Zombie Jesus
Zombie Jesus looks a lot like the other guy, but there are key differences.
Like the lack of scabs on his palms. His hands
are gone altogether, having rotted and fallen off
on a trek to Detroit’s southwest side.
Zombie Jesus is said to have healing nubs.
Pilgrims claim that to merely touch the tattered hem
of his size small tunic is enough to restore
any fingers he may have chomped off
while you were praying. For Zombie Jesus,
water doesn’t flow from barrels as a pinot noir,
but rest a sack of oregano near him and watch the magic–
Zombie Jesus knows how to uplift the people.
He doesn’t require you to kneel–
his only commandment:
So he throws fish fries and barbecues, inviting saints
and sinner alike. The man who is more
than a man can really hook up a stak, telekinetically
stoking Gehenna-hot flames and yelling,
Look! No Hands.
If he did have hands, they’d be calloused
but not bloodied because Zombie Jesus
wasn’t crucified like the other guy.
He was pierced be a nail gun in the temple
of his skull. He was buried in a friend’s grave
on top of that friend. There was no stone to roll away,
but he did have to punch through the coffin
and stagger on decomposing legs from a cemetary
to a city that wanted him dead.
The email account, email@example.com,
reaches capacity daily with
Improve your performance,
Make $$ from home,
Have you heard the good news?
and a screech of prayers that will continue
to go unanswered, at least until
the injunction filed against him is cleared up;
that shit that went down in Rome:
totally not his fault.
Then, with the wave of a hand
that isn’t even there, ZJC will draw mercury
from a fish, draw cancer
from some bone, water the Gobi, water
the lawn, walk your dog, take out the trash,
and open up graves collapsed around
all of your trapped, twitching dead.