Now that's a big Jesus
Eureka Springs Now that's a big Jesus and it's not how I know him at all. Imagine living under someone's father image like that, looks like he's blocking the door. "I do this for you, my son." Look mister, I'm hankering for East. I've done the Berlin Wall slab, the Liberty replica, time's come for passing the great white milk carton. The real Jesus never grew old and he was skinny. I held him once, in college. I could feel his ribs. His heart hammered like a ruby-throated hummingbird, I felt the wind from his wings for years. This big theme park messiah, unrevolving and without an elevator, this isn't Jesus. It's his body guard. It's the man blocking the tunnel down to the bomb shelters. It's the guy who won't let you into the ER to watch your mother die. It's the cop who holds you back on the grass as your friends and ex-wife move all your belongings out of the house and into a cube van, it's the shape you make on the cellar floor where you wait for the end. The real Jesus played guitar, bending his body around the music like a gourd. His skin was brown and smelled of cinnamon.
Eureka Springs is a glorious re-envisioning of the famous 2 million pound mortar and steel statue of Jesus of the Ozarks. We're enamored of the way this poem takes the familiar image of Jesus, welcoming arms outstretched, and transforms the gesture to reveal our more earthly and unholy fathers, though in the end, returns the messiah to a humble and ultimately human figure. Joseph Millar & Dorianne Laux
IBPC New Poetry Voices
First Place, January 2010