The Seed Thieves—Revisited: The Messiah Complex

To join with those all around the globe celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Seed Thieves, my first collection of poems,  I have decided I will share a weekly poem from the collection with some insider information, because 1) why not, and 2) I’m weary of how so many dozens of famous critics have misread my work over the years and 3) you’ll seem so much smarter at yourThe Seed Thieves 10th Anniversary Party to have these insider tidbits at your disposal.

THE MESSIAH COMPLEX

Holy shit, I shouldn’t be ashamed.
It would be impossible for anyone to return
to whatever Earth-shattering business
occupied them prior to this talk show.

This morning’s opening guest is Jesus Christ,
a.k.a. Rodney Schlenker—an investment banker
who received news of his divinity (in a dream,
which fits) at age 13, and kept it a secret

for 20 years. Can you imagine the weight
of that secret? But here’s the utter mess:
before the first commercial, this guy, who appears
your average Joe, convinces me he is it—the one,

you know, the Savior, the new and improved—
to the point that I’m feeling pretty damn Roman,
sitting there with my remote. Like, who am I
to know, you know? I mean, he knew

The Good Book front to back, in fact, he even
remembered some stuff he said back then.
Anyway, after the ads it starts getting goofy.
The second guest is also Jesus Christ, a.k.a. “Justin.”

Well, he proves the first a fraud
by looks alone. He is totally the one:
toga, thong sandals, beard, long locks,
the whole shebang. Way more of a Jesus

than Willem DaFoe. And he knew his stuff, too.
This Jesus has known since childhood
and already has followers, though this
is his first TV appearance. The questions the host

asks these two are kind of irreverent, like:
“so why don’t you stop war and famine?”
But their perfect answers, and the way
they respect one another makes me wonder

why there can’t be two Jesuses? I really don’t see
why not. But wait. Everything gets weird
with the third guest, who calls himself “Jehovah,”
and looks more like Charles Manson than anyone else.

This guy is a real wacko, says he found out
40 days ago by phone—what an obvious fake—
and starts cussing, calling the others “blasphemers,”
“hypocrites,” and “****ing jerks.” For a second,

it makes me think of when Jesus got pissed
in the temple, but no way is this guy
the one. Call me Doubting Thomas,
but Jesus wouldn’t wear those glasses.

 


{I can’t quite remember the talk show—but the genesis (sorry) of this poem was indeed a daytime TV talk show with competing Jesuses. It made me feel giggly and sad at the same time, how stereotypical and irreverent it all seemed, how cartoon-like. It warranted a poem. But I don’t think the poem made me feel any better.—RF, 2/29/16}

For more Revisited poems from The Seed Thieves, hit up the HOME PAGE. 

 

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