Friday, July 3, 2009

Recent Poem Publications

This past week has been full of poetry publications (along with a few rejections). You can go here to download your copy of Southern Women's Review. You'll need to scroll to page 48 to see my poem, "Reunion."

Chiron Review includes two poems of mine in their Summer 2009 edition. "Safe" is part of the same series as "Reunion," and I've pasted it below. The other, "Basal Cell Penelope," I'll post at some later date--an August day that needs a poem about skin cancer.


Jesus showed up on my doorstep, demanding
to clean my bathroom.
I refused.
I mean, it’s one thing for him to face
Crucifixion for my sake.
It’s quite another for him to see
how I really live.

His face—so sad.
He talked about searching
for feet to wash, but modern feet are so clean.
It’s no sacrifice to touch people’s feet.
In this world of pedicures
and solid shoes, a foot washing doesn’t convey
the same care it once did. That’s how he came
to develop his crazy cleaning scheme.

I offered to let him scour my oven,
but he said it wasn’t the same,
and besides, it’s self-cleaning.
He really wanted to deal
with the detritus of my life.

What can I say? Jesus is persuasive.
He organized my jumble of cosmetics and healed
my slow drains. He cleaned
my toilet with his hair.


I wrote this poem after a Maundy Thursday service. I was thinking about how shocked the disciples were that Jesus should wash their feet. I was wondering what a similar act would be today: what would be both invasive and intimate. I thought about how many of my friends refuse to let people see the true state of their houses. I thought about how the state of my bathroom often embarrasses me. And voila, a poem was born.

Of all my poems, none of them provokes the same amount of shock and outrage in people. I thought about putting it away, but one of my Lutheridge friends reminded me that we'd been talking about art that moves people out of their comfort zones, and that my poem certainly does that. She encouraged me not to abandon it.

So, if you're shocked and outraged, I'd encourage you to return to the story of Jesus, to remember how often he did things that provoked shock and outrage. I tried to translate that story into modern terms. If you're shocked and outraged, perhaps I've been successful.


Karen J. Weyant said...

I actually really like this poem -- and I'm not "shocked" or "outraged" -- I think you are right. People need to take a closer look at the Historical Jesus (I realize that I'm using a term that may be up for grabs) to see why this poem is so important.

Kristin said...

Thanks for your comment; I'm always interested in how people respond to this series of poems.

Shefali Shah Choksi said...

i enjoyed this one because it takes the divine and abstract, and makes it recognizable and immediate.
but then i could say that for most of your poems! that's why i love them.