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October 17, 2016 | Poetry

Two Poems

Richard Prins

Two Poems photo

On Miracles

Jesus trained a dolphin to swim up under him and lift him over the waves.

Jesus wanted to show everyone his trick.

It looked like he was walking on top of the water.

Really, he was establishing the dominion of man.

I know this; I have Calvinist ancestry.

They sold their tickets for the Titanic when they caught wind of blasphemy:

God can't sink this ship.

But God is ice.

He gashed that boat just to watch all the sinners freeze.

Jesus came splashing by on his jolly old dolphin, cackling:

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt has lost the taste of salt, wherewith shall it be salted?

His echo was a frigid mist.

My people were ashore, safe in a manfishing net.

We didn't need to see Jesus' trick.

We knew disaster enables miracle.

We knew man is nothing but

salt and wounds, dressed up

in flowing white hubris.


This I Know

Jesus was a sip of lemonade

Jesus was a white robe with holes cut out for nipple breaths

Jesus was a porcupine cage

Jesus was a spark, a glinting olive spark

Jesus was a clumsy limo stretching round the corner and bumping into a hot  dog stand, splattering the street with oozy yellow mustard and that  was the day all the rats decided to be New Yorkers

Jesus was a cool dude sometimes

Jesus was a reindeer most days

Jesus was a clarinet with tapioca pearls tucked in the mouthpiece always  pinging fancy ladies in the eyeballs when you blew it

Jesus was a wisp of steam banging inside the radiator like a ghost drunk blind  on his own tears

Jesus was an ice cube rubbing up against another ice cube

Jesus was a brain sniffing a brain, a pillow smothering a pillow

Jesus was a chair you sat in and got a splinter from then it collapsed under  your weight so the shards of his legs gave you more splinters until  you and Jesus were nothing but a tangled wrestling orb of splinters

Jesus was a pause in several promising conversations

Jesus was a flock. A flock of nothing, just a flock

Jesus was a gluttonous tarantula always devouring the beetles and flies till he  got too fat to hang from the strands of his own web so he was  forever plummeting on people's faces and shouting, “Look, it's me,  Jesus, the world's fattest tarantula!” It was considered rude to point  out he was also quite hairy

Jesus was a lingering fear of onions

Jesus was a lonesome orchid's iridescent tears

Jesus was a taxidermied alligator missing all its teeth and therefore scared no  one

Jesus was a grievance with a blind cockatoo

Jesus was a bone in the small of your back, the one that ached whenever you  
said goddammit, or did you say goddammit because it ached?

Jesus was a spatula, a naughty elegant spatula

Jesus was a tongue depressor, not a popsicle

Jesus was a tugboat in the Mongolian Navy

Jesus was a turkey wing, flapping

Jesus was a hang-glider, drowning

Jesus was a window. Not the kind you look through or jump through or even  get the breeze out of, just a cosmetic opaque shut window

Jesus was a finger snapping as you spoke

Jesus was an unlicked spoon

Jesus was a halo on his own head which he pretended he couldn't take off  and didn't even know was there

Jesus was a buzzcut on an inferior grandma

Jesus was everybody's best friend until the waitress came with the bill

Jesus was a hell of a guy anyways, because if you ever had to move he'd bring  his donkey out of retirement, strap all your possessions to that  donkey's aching back, who'd haul them up however many flights of  stairs you'd chosen to live on top of, wheezing all the way with his  donkey buckteeth

Jesus wasn't an extraterrestrial, he just liked to slurp radioactive fluid out of  
a steamy goblet with a neon green straw

Jesus was a better place, all petunias and handkerchiefs

Jesus was a single, unboiled macaroni

Jesus was my childhood Slinky, helical and tanglesome, must be why I love
him so
 

image: Aaron Burch


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