Jesus’s Ass (by way of Nietzsche)

By | 1 December 2009

I

When he enters the town–
     Is it Jerusalem?
With thorns stuck sharp in his crown,
spare a thought for his ass.

When he crosses that bridge
all the light bulbs explode–
     even the one in the fridge,
in a splintering rain.

 

II

An atheist half-Jew
and a sceptic too,
I know squat about JC,
but I remember that donkey,
all sweetness and bite.
Bottoms up and etwas Sachertorte all round;
Just a raw carrot for me, said Zarathustra,
from the high moral ground,
sitting there with flypaper
waiting for his ideas to stick.
A Ladybird.
The first book I ever bought
was hardcover
Ladybird
called Ned, The Lonely Donkey.
That would be Der Einsam Esel in German
the language of Nietzsche,
who made his own sensibility the measure of all things,
and spoke about himself in the name of Zarathustra.

I've always had a thing about donkeys–
and so it seems, does Zarathustra
like Ned
leaves home in search of friends.
Guided by the twittering wisdom of an owl,
Ned tries a number of alternate lifestyles,
until 52 pages later,
Ned, the lonely donkey finds happiness
with Timothy, the lonely boy.
It takes Nietzsche 297 pages to walk off into the sunrise.

 

III

You can hear a donkey's hee-haw
over 3 kilometres away
or so they say.

 

IV

The First World War depended on the mule.
Since then, various politicos have tried
to pin the Aussie values tail on Simpson's donkey,
a beast
by the name of Duffy.

 

V

Saint Francis, Aesop, Sancho Panza
Winne-the-Pooh, George Orwell, jackets and work
associate all with Equus asinus.
Ditto King Midas of the golden touch
in another myth
Pan and Apollo have a musical play-off
the judge says Apollo's the winner
Midas says no
so Apollo gave him donkey's ears.
Midas tried to hide them under a steep-sided hat
but his barber knew
and his barber knew
he was a chatterbox
so he dug a hole, whispered the secret into it,
and layered earth
over the top.

From this spot within a year
sprouted reeds that murmured:
Midas has the donkey's ear–
each time the north wind blew.

 

VI

Then there's Chesterton, G. K.
with his blood-moon moments
of anti-Semitism
critics say we should understand
in the context of his time–
and his time was the nineteen-20s and 30s
and they were nasty times
to be a Jew.

 

VII

After Ned
I read
Robinson Crusoe,
the story of a lonely man.

Jesus meanwhile has got off his ass
and is doing something
with the chickens that count
the horse in midstream
and the fish
in the plentiful sea.

 

VIII

Nietzsche is the man who said
God is dead
Which makes Jesus just another random bloke.
Nietzsche is the man who said
Get a-head
Be an Übermensch
Change the light-bulb, get the joke.

 

IX

Last night Googling around
I hit the wrong key
missed the donkey
and ended up at Lego For Adults:
How to build a working gun with Lego.
I'm not kidding.
Bang, bang–
You're dead
God is dead
but Zarathustra is still talking
the hind leg off the proverbial.
I picture him scrawny and stoop-shouldered,
sharp nose and not much face below.
Nature made her point
then lost interest,
leaving his face to dribble
back into his neck.
His favourite sound is the gasp
as the rubber lips of the fridge door unstick.
He leans into its cold air
and there's his hairy ass …
and the carrot at the wrong end of the donkey.

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