Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Reprinted again this holiday season by semi-popular request.


by R. S. Janes

The guy in the Jesus suit
occupied space at the end of the bar
exuding waves of beneficence
and winey fumes
to all and sundry.

The suit fit comfortably,
38 Regular, relaxed-fit pleat pants,
with a seven-and-a-quarter halo
on the side.
He muttered of Old Testament doom
and it wasn’t even Sunday.

“I’m only here to fulfill prophecy,”
he remarked to the bartender,
who was taking his money from the bar.
On the jukebox Bing began to croon
‘White Christmas’ and Jesus started to say,

“I’m very disappointed in you all,”
he turned to me and glared,
“As usual, you people just got it all wrong:
I was actually born in June,
and died at the end of May.”

“I was a Jew preaching to Jews,
and so were all twelve original Apostles,
and then along comes Paul,
who was something of a loon,
and gives to the Gentiles a way…

“…to get into heaven.
Hey, the only person I said was saved
was a thief hanging next to me,
sometime before noon,
on my crucifixion day.

“And you can’t even follow
the few simple words,
that I spoke in the Sermon on the Mount,
instead you fight about theological trivia
and spread horrifying gloom
and tell people there’ll be hell to pay,

“Where any of you got the idea
you were wise enough
to judge anyone else,
I’ll never know,
I talked about humankind’s boon,
and said you should all
acknowledge your feet of clay,

“But, of course, you got it wrong again,
instead of being kinder and forgiving,
you dare use my name to
despise and complain
and drone the timeless tired human tune
of hate, vengeance,
and compelling others to obey.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you are
born again, for, in truth,
you are born only once;
and it doesn’t matter what
pious guise your words assume
nor any other homilies you bray,

“If you can’t act on my philosophy,
you can baptize yourself ’til you drown,
and sing hymns until hoarse,
and cry to the stars and moon,
and it won’t make even a whit’s difference,
whatever you pray.

“You could, indeed, make of
this world a paradise,
but you choose differently,
but maybe someday you’ll learn,
probably later rather than soon,
what a pity it is that
you could have created this world
two thousand years ago
or yesterday.”

He finished his drink
and got up to leave the bar,
then sighed deeply and said:
“Whatever webs you weave
on deception’s loom,
remember just this of what I say;
peace and love for one another
remain the only way.”

Copyright 2002 R.S. Janes


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