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If Jesus was gay


Jesus figure

What if?

What if Jesus Christ was gay,
would the zealots turn away;
fundamentalists have fanny fits
and baulk in disarray?
Would they worship Christ crucified,
or kneel down to pray?

What if Christ was born a girl?
Would churchmen jive and whirl,
profess their adoration,
banners of love unfurl,
or would they in deepest dudgeon
choose their King James swords to hurl?

What if JC was not a Jew,
would ‘no Semites’ hate renew?
If he was black or red or Greek
(how to say to race, adieu?),
would the Godman be less holy;
less meek, somehow, or true?

If nature-topping miracles ‘didn’t’;
would divine grace be unstinted?
Would the faithful find hope dented,
would love by magic untinted
conquer loathing, light a path?
Or would hope’s coin be unminted?

What if virgin conception
was a stuffed-up mistranslation;
if the cross’s murderous stations
marked a finite, cruel partition?
Would a brave man’s pain and death
mean his words suffer stagnation?

If the words upon a page
were inspired, but not sage,
if the literalist obsession
was no reason to rampage
across a person’s right to love or breed;
would that be cause for rage?

If the Bloke was atop the sod,
still around, we could plod
alongside him for a stroll
and duly hope he’d give the nod
to our concerns;
Q.E.D, please God.

Pulses in our temples.
Carrots in our tombs.
Plovers in our hearths,
tourists in catacombs.

Hymns and chants in salad bars.
Offices in bloom, with
paper mache manifestos
calling for more room.

Grievances in lockstep,
faux pas in lengthy queues.
Cruelty in cadavers’ end,
peace for ageing roués.

Hope for unseen vistas
Peace for travelled paths.
Joy for slaughtered innocence.
Love for aftermath.

Grace for unsought trials.
Faith for visions fouled.
Quest for silenced harbingers.
Dream for passion’s shroud.

Laughter in hushed voices.
Confidence in eyes.
We surpass our broken clay:
We are God’s surprise.

On your bike
Sixteen good years since I ceased mourning
your detour through swathes of lovers and
the gulf from yes to know. Denial from now.
Revised, re-scored and recast, life is much
greater than I’d hoped for; felt I deserved.
For a long while there was a gap, a fell hole
that took laughter and innocence and belief.
(Cue grief, experience and evaporated hatred.)

No-one hurts more, no-one hits harder,
than your first great betrayal. Hips a’ grinding,
bullshit flowing, hair coronating breasts,
pledges vomited in passion and regret float
down the Styx of tranquil reflection; hear dying echoes
of apprehended lust and infantile shrieking.
You burrowed into rationalisations. You settled.
(Leaving me indebted; taking the linen and the good cutlery.)

Platitudes and forgiveness come easy
in G rated gyrations open to grace.
It’s the bitter dregs of flamboyant disdain:
bites dismissed as bruises, sudden financial shortfalls,
beds rotated for effect, venom in putdowns.
You didn’t give a shite. I blinded myself
to self-worth and open, frank truths.
(Sooky la la doesn’t work in your 40s.)

These days? Your shade merely looms,
awkward, then bows out with left-hoofed hubris.
A plop, a fart in a bath, you’re gone.
A scent here or there seeks to conjure
a tune, a shared hope, an old joke
doesn’t cut it anymore. Doesn’t manifest
in any desire. Any anger. Any emotion.
(Happily, your taste is lost to me.)

Passion, honest, unexpected joys with a
woman who knows herself and wants me.
Tears, surprises, pride and unbounded hope
in children grown from our raptures.
Home and hearth alike make sense
as I grow a brain; breathing out naïve fancies
and taking in the good earth’s deepest truths.
(Pluck the fruit, enjoy the seasons.)

Time, I’ve written, provides no manifest to
memory’s demise. So, too, I’ve plagiarised
the bard: How do I love thee? Let me count
the waste of time and tears I’ve spent
aplenty. How do I love thee? Was it just your
eyes? Your lips? Your thighs? Was it so empty? Yep.
I gave, you took, satellites orbited.
(I’ve pulled the plug on the bathos, girl.)
I let you haunt me, before the good baker’s dozen.
Second guessing actions. Revisiting spats.
Now? I’m done. I’m happy. It’s over
sans curtain calls or glib reprises.
Let’s agree to filigree your meagre
contribution to my existence -
a finely wrought bitch riding on memory’s arse.
(A considerably larger piece of work nowadays, at that.) 

Barry Gittins

Barry Gittins is a communications and research consultant for the Salvation Army.

Jesus image by Shutterstock.

Topic tags: Barry Gittins, modern Australian poetry, homosexuality, ministry, Jesus Christ, Christianity, women priest



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Existing comments

"What If?" - a revelation. "On Your Bike" - too much pain and not a little bravery.

Pam | 20 October 2014  

There is a proverb that goes around in Africa: "If my arse was a bowl, you would drink soup from it" - Plz note the word "IF". If this and that happened, but It never did. So!, stop wasting time on IFs and bring on the facts.

Max | 20 October 2014  

Well Max, if we were only to go on facts, then the resurrection would be out the window too - that's a matter of faith. But Jesus did encourage us to be as one with the downtrodden - and he was single, hung around with a bunch of men and lived with his mother.

AURELIUS | 21 October 2014  

I'm not really sure if imposing what you want Jesus to be really helps. This whole article seems to be a wrecking ball.

Michael | 24 October 2014  

Love the idea of Jesus liberated!

hilary | 24 October 2014  

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