National Poetry Month: Uncle Nietzsche with Anchovies

Blasphemy! I love it. And what a wonderful way to celebrate Easter. Don’t you agree? If so, then you should definitely read this poem. It originally appeared in At Louche Ends, but the event really happened to me. In fact, the event appears in my upcoming memoir, The Good Girl, from Running Wild Press.

Uncle Nietzsche with Anchovies

One Sunday morning
I reported to my
Plump and Jesus-pleasing
Sunday school teacher  
A problem I’d discovered
With the letters of that
Irascible disciple
I asked
Why is it that Paul
Never quotes Jesus?
(I’d noted this while
Searching for passages
To prove my parents
Wrong on the
Finer points of
Whether we could eat
Unclean meats.
Pepperoni was
The topping in the offing.)
My sincerity spurred
Her pudgy fingers to
Rapidly rifle through
The tissue-thin pages.
And after a while 
She rested her chin
On one fat fist, contemplating
The missing missives.
She said Let me ask Pastor.

She fetched him,
A cleft chin,
In an ill-fitting
Sears suit.
I asked him
The same question. 
And he said  
Everybody already knew
Of Jesus’ words.
Paul didn’t need
To repeat them.
(He seemed to forget
The Gospels weren’t written
For another thirty years.
But whatever.)
Pastor made a cranking
Motion with his hand
As if trying to
To the conclusion
Of my ignorance.
I listened,
Not realizing I’d found
A major argument  
For the Jesus Myth.
That perhaps Jesus had not
Lived at all.
I was only thirteen
My scrawny intellect
Flapping its wings.
And I stared
So long
Into that abyss
That I became
The monster that I battled 
And I believed that pastor man.
I wish I’d had an uncle
To tell me
That faith is
Not wanting to know
What is true.
Where were you
Uncle Nietzsche?
Where were you
That day?
To say
Well done! Now
Let’s you and me grab
A calzone with sausage.
Instead I figured
I was too young
To understand
Such grownup things
As theology.

Instead I said,
Okay, if you say so
They did.
And spent the next
Sixteen years learning
I really was a truly
Smart kid.

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