Being around high school students this week took me back to one of my Jesus in the world poems, my series that attempts to answer that old Sunday School question of how the world would react if Jesus returned again and what would Jesus do and how would we recognize him?
I wrote this poem after reading a biography of Kurt Cobain, of Nirvana fame. Hard to believe how long it's been since Cobain died, so long since that music which seemed to split the world open. I remember a few details from that book, chief amongst them that Cobain often played a guitar that was out of tune, a guitar that didn't have enough strings. Did he not know how to tune the guitar? Did the missing string habit come from his poverty days and he'd gotten used to playing the guitar that way? The book didn't have the answer.
I've been on a streak with these kinds of poems--but I do worry that they all cover the same territory after awhile. It's good to revisit them to see that my poem about Jesus getting a dog is very different from this one.
Chiron Review published it years ago. I think it still holds up.
New KidIf Jesus came to your high school,
he'd be that boy with the untuned guitar,
which most days was missing a string.
Could he not afford a packet of guitar strings?
Did he not know how to tune the thing?
Hadn't he heard of an electronic tuner?
Jesus would smile that half smile and keep playing,
but offer no answers.
If Jesus came to your high school,
he'd hang out with the strange and demented.
He'd sneak smokes with the drug addled.
He'd join Chorus, where the otherworldly
quality of his voice wouldn’t quite blend.
He'd play flute in Band.
He'd spend his lunch hour in the library, reading and reshelving.
You would hear his songs echoing
in your head, down the hallways, across the years.
They'd shimmer at you and just when you thought you grasped
their meaning, your analytical processes would collapse.
Instead, you write strange poems
to delight your children who draw mystical
pictures to illustrate your poems inspired
by Jesus, who sang the songs of angels,
that year he came to your high school.
feeling the feelings…
1 year ago