don't let this get out

don’t let this get out (the dream of every poet)
by Steve Hellyard Swartz
But I’ve prayed to Jesus
On my knees
that kind of thing
Didn’t know what else to do
Came out of me
like vomit
What’s a Jew to do?
Three in the morning I was never told what to do
In all of my religious education
Maybe I was absent that day
When they told the kids to whom you pray
When your wife has left you and taken your two year old
Daughter away
Maybe they gave out the 800 24 hour number
For secular Jews, but as I say
I wasn’t there
So I’m in Austin, Texas
Alone in a guest house and
It’s about 150 degrees
And I’m going to die I can’t breathe
I’m choking on my daughter’s crooked smile
And the poop she took in the bathtub the last time
I saw her
I’m dying and that’s when I fall to my knees and just
Scream Please God Please
But I saw God earlier that night
And he looked worse than I do right now
Poor bastard on stage at this club
Called Antone’s
God sweating and crying introducing a
Song by telling about finding his wife hanging
In a closet so I think you probably get it now
I can’t call him it’s out of the question
I’m on my knees I’m picked apart
I’m limb from limbed
I scream and the word that comes out
Is Jesus
This doesn’t shock me doesn’t do a thing
It just comes out and the next thing I know
I’m actually talking to him that’s right
I’m having a conversation with Jesus and he
Doesn’t ask if I’ve accepted him or who’s your
Daddy or any shit like that he’s just talking to me
And he’s telling me to get up off my ass and put
On something, anything, it doesn’t matter, but I need
To get out of there and I need to wash my clothes
Jesus guides me then to an all-nite laundromat
Where I sit and watch my clothes tumble
In the laundry I find an old New Yorker magazine
And read about Sri Lanka there’s this like twenty five
Page story about Sri Lanka and I read it and I cry
Like a fucking baby
I cry for the thousands of deaths
The Tamil Liberation Tigers
The majority Sinhalese
Oh Jesus please!
He doesn’t say a word but I feel his presence in
The tumble of my clothes
I feel his body filling the shirts with arms
Outstretched Jesus is that you? Jesus? There’s three
Other people in the laundry with me and they’re talking
To their clothes too
I hide my face in the New Yorker
If these other people are talking to Jesus in their rinse
Cycles and dryers I don’t want to know about it
I hide my face and I thank him tell him I swear
To Christ that one day I’m going to write a thank
You note to you I’m not going to give a dime to anyone who claims
To represent you but I’m going to write something and this is it
This is what it is
It is as it is
I’m doing it today
So thank you Jesus I don’t give a damn
What anybody says
In my book
You’re okay

0 thoughts on “don't let this get out

  1. Absolutely wonderful. My favorite read in a long time. I hope you’ve sent this poem to other places as I can think of quite a few publications that would enjoy printing / posting this as well. I hope you’ll write more with us.

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