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Friday, April 14, 2006

To a Contemporary Bunkshooter...

A friend shared this great Carl Sandberg poem via email with me and it was so good I wanted to share it with you all...

It's a bit long, but good. Enjoy...

You come along. . . tearing your shirt. . . yelling About Jesus.
Where do you get that stuff?
What do you know about Jesus?
Jesus had a way of talking soft and outside of a few bankers and higher-ups among the con men of Jerusalem everybody liked to have this Jesus around because he never made any fake passes and everything he said went and he helped the sick and gave the people hope.
You come along squirting words at us, shaking your Fist and calling us all damn fools so fierce the froth Slobbers over your lips. . . always blabbing we're all going to hell straight off and you know all about it.
I've read Jesus' words. I know what he said. You don't throw any scare into me. I've got your number.
I know how much you know about Jesus.
He never came near clean people or dirty people but they felt cleaner because he came along. It was your crowd of bankers and business men and lawyers hired the sluggers and murderers who put Jesus out of the running.
I say the same bunch backing you nailed the nails into
the hands of this Jesus of Nazareth. He had lined
up against him the same crooks and strong-arm men
now lined up with you paying your way.
This Jesus was good to look at, smelled good, listened
good. He threw out something fresh and beautiful
from the skin of his body and the touch of his
hands wherever he passed along.
You slimy bunkshooter, you put a smut on every human
blossom in reach of your rotten breath belching
about hell-fire and hiccupping about this Man who
lived a clean life in Galilee.
When are you going to quit making the carpenters build
emergency hospitals for women and girls driven
crazy with wrecked nerves from your gibberish
about Jesus--I put it to you again: Where do you get
that stuff; what do you know about Jesus?
Go ahead and bust all the chairs you want to. Smash
a whole wagon load of furniture at every performance.
Turn sixty somersaults and stand on your nutty head.
If it wasn't for the way you scare the women and kids
I'd feel sorry for you and pass the hat.
I like to watch a good four-flusher work, but not when
he starts people puking and calling for the doctors.

I like a man that's got nerve and can pull off a great
original performance, but you--you're only a bug-
house peddler of second-hand gospel--you're only
shoving out a phoney imitation of the goods this
Jesus wanted free as air and sunlight.
You tell people living in shanties Jesus is going to
fix it up all right with them by giving them mansions
in the skies after they're dead and the worms have
eaten 'em.
You tell $6 a week department store girls all they
Need is Jesus; you take a steel trust wop, dead
Without having lived, gray and shrunken at forty years
Of age, and you tell him to look at Jesus on the
Cross and he'll be all right.

You tell poor people they don't need any more money
on pay day and even if it's fierce to be out of a
job, Jesus'll fix that up all right, all right--all
they gotta do is take Jesus the way you say.
I'm telling you Jesus wouldn't stand for the stuff
you're handing out. Jesus played it different. The
bankers and lawyers of Jerusalem got their sluggers and
murderers to go after Jesus just because Jesus wouldn't
play their game. He didn't sit in with the big thieves.
I don't want a lot of gab from a bunkshooter in my
religion. I won't take my religion from any man who never
works except with his mouth and never cherishes any
memory except the face of the woman on the American
silver dollar.
I ask you to come through and show me where you're
pouring out the blood of your life.
I've been to this suburb of Jerusalem they call
Golgotha, where they nailed Him, and I know if the story
is straight it was real blood ran from His hands and
the nail-holes, and it was real blood spurted in red
drops where the spear of the Roman soldier rammed
in between the ribs of this Jesus of Nazareth.

--Carl Sandburg


At 9:19 AM, Blogger timbu said...

That was fabulous.


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