Loving this poem which was the winner of Art UK’s Art Speaks competition. The poem was inspired by Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith’s The Disrobing (Despoiling) of Christ (after El Greco).
Jesus Christ Goes Clubbing by Amani Saeed:
I met Jesus at the disco
He was on the dance floor getting down with the knight doing the ‘Robot’, red robes brushing chainmail
As he walked off to get some air he flicked the cups of the women drinking water at the bar and they shrieked in delight at the Pinot Noir gracing their lips
In the bathroom he held back the guitarist’s hair as he puked in the corner cubicle, ignored the two pairs of feet in the stall next door cause he heard a scream from a girl in the smoking section and had bigger worries than two men’s consensual desires,
As he made his way outside he was offered a drag but tactfully declined the tiny fires burning the night air, saved the Marys from lecherous grabs, hailed them cabs home, ‘cause he could see the ill intentions of the men lurking
And then he saw me
He slipped through the crowd gracefully, breaking off bits of his fingers for the drunks to munch on and came to me, hunched by the wall, took my arm
And we rushed back inside, surrounded by sinners and he was one of us, scarlet robes rippling to the beat and the whole club hallelujah-d and we were shaking and vibrating with the spirit until a man in green seized his arm and shrieked
And the music stopped and people dropped their drinks and Jesus looked calm as we gathered around him, and he must have known what was about to happen and I’ll never know why I said nothing
And I’ll never know how he did it
How he told his face to remain serene, kept his gaze raised to the heavens, even with his arms crudely bound by the bouncer, even when surrounded by faces daubed and darkened with hate
How did he pray, how did he keep his hand splayed on his chest as they ripped his robes from him, did he feel like a woman? Did he regret? Did he know?
The world slowed and all I could see was that one still, the flash of vermillion and his skin burning like gold, the faces like flames unfolding around him, and the disco ball melting and suddenly the air was sweet, we breathed, we swirled around him like a vortex and he was looking up, fingers triumphantly flexed high, and he smiled.
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