On the Varieties of Religious Experience

by Kevin Murphy

according to some jesus is the pilot of a
pimped-out flying saucer according to
some jesus plays fiddle like a fiend
possessed according to some jesus is a
peyote button or a mustard seed or a
viking disguised as a movie star or a
ghost trapped in a cement overcoat or a
fish superimposed on a pyramid
meanwhile the historical jesus sits up all
night in a windowless room on the third
floor of the blue hotel worried wondering
why no one ever comes to visit because
jesus is jesus even as he sits on the edge
of the bed he is at the same moment
jetting off to dubai when he is out in the
mojave desert eating nothingburgers with
devils he is also ordering up some fries in
a booth in baltimore jesus has persisted
despite the vitamin pills people take to
make him go away he hides in the attic
despite the songs people sing to make
him come down he is so tiny he can
barely be seen in a dream jesus drives a
stolen jeep over the bumpy streets of half
jerusalem half seattle while children pelt
him with hard candy and when soldiers try
to take selfies with him
their cellphones blow up in their hands
when I see jesus he’s so tiny he’s not even
there he’s a glimmer on the surface of a
lake the reflection of a dragonfly or a ripple
where a water strider used to be and
maybe it’s a sin but I don’t really need
jesus to be or do anything more than this
to which jesus says

KEVIN MURPHY is a poet living in Bellingham, Washington. He is the survivor of 13 years of Catholic school.

Photo: “Jesus” by Matthias Rosenkranz