Roy Bentley ~ 3 Poems

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).