Bendable, Poseable Jesus of Nazareth Defines Grace
Grace is a swallow of freeze-your-balls-off cold water
in summer nearly anywhere in the Middle East—therefore,
it’s the sweet feeling you’re alive and present in the world.
The ruined world, certainly. But goofy-hopeful, nonetheless.
Don’t act as if Humanity didn’t just have its ass handed to it
by a virus loosed to wipe humans from the face of the Earth,
if not intentionally then to fulfill good-old B‑movie God’s
brand-idea of the Big Finish. A God of Mercy, my mother
calls her experience of the Holy Father. I suppose Grace
is what we get instead of wiped out. I guess that’s mercy,
if what you mean by the word carries a threat of cruelty.
After buying a ticket from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, grace
is anyone hands me a cold bottle of Evian and smiles.
After COVID and so much else, God can kiss my ass.
Bendable, Poseable Jesus of Nazareth Tells You How to
Survive Jumping from an Airplane without a Parachute
The talk: changing air speed by making, and not making,
an X with your body. Meaning by extending arms and legs.
Alternately pulling your limbs in to your body and aiming
yourself at a soft-enough spot. Skydivers call it tracking.
But you admit this falling is at speeds above 120 mph
and concede landing headfirst, regardless of terrain,
especially into water, is a no-no. What part of falling
out of an airplane at 120 mph, did you not hear?
You say you want to survive jumping from a plane?
Don’t go near air fields. Stay away from parachutes.
And don’t ever listen to You Tube video-dumbasses
who think you have Control, given you have freaked
at the recognition your chute has snagged or come off
in midair or been left on some seat you’ve evacuated.
Less unadulterated bullshit. A little more, Geronimo!
and God help you, you are one fucked-motherfucker!
Bendable, Poseable Mary Mother of Jesus of Nazareth Makes
Her Usual Entrance, Looking So Dandy and So Fine
I was by the pool and drinking Landshark from a bottle,
listening to Jimmy Buffet because, well, it’s south Florida—
when she stepped from the clouds above Paradise Repairs
beyond the fences. This was by US 1, so there was noise.
Traffic resonances. But she sort of stepped out of all that:
yardwork-ruckuses at about the decibel level of shouting.
I turned down “Margaritaville” and went to the door of
the pool enclosure. And unlocked it. Said, Come on in.
She said Thank you and something else as I motioned
and she sat down, resting her bendable poseable self.
I guessed being the Mother of God is pretty exhausting,
and said so. To which she answered: I’m Jewish, you know.
So’s my son, after all and flashed me a real pissed-off look.
I asked if she wanted that in a poem and she said, If you like.
Bendable, Poseable Jesus of Nazareth Announces Ben & Jerry’s
Will Stop Selling Ice Cream in the Palestinian Territories
There’s liberal and then there’s Cut it out, Israel. No more
Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream in West Bank stores.
Surely, though, Nestlé and Proctor & Gamble will pick up
slack from Unilever Global Corporation, the parent concern
who no longer sees nationalism as they did: as American as
Vermont maple syrup, endorsing a variety of morality as old
as the Torah. Regardless, consumers expect brand-presence in
contested areas like east Jerusalem to reflect support for a two-
state solution. Call it Cancel Culture, but if Israelis have to do
without Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, then perhaps
they’ll think twice about carpet bombing. Exchanging airstrikes
for rocket attacks, however lopsided statistics concerning losses.
No slaughtering neighborhoods, Israel, if you want the rest of us
to look the other way for a while yet and, therefore, defer Justice.
Roy Bentley is the author of Walking with Eve in the Loved City, chosen by Billy Collins as a finalist for the Miller Williams prize; Starlight Taxi, winner of the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize; The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana, chosen by John Gallaher as winner of the White Pine Poetry Prize; as well as My Mother’s Red Ford: New & Selected Poems 1986 – 2020 published by Lost Horse Press. Poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Rattle, Shenandoah, New Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner, Willow Springs, and december among others. His latest is Beautiful Plenty (Main Street Rag Books, 2021).