jesus knew

By Nick Flynn b. 1960 Nick Flynn
unlike you and I jesus knew he’d die

some days a headache woke him it

lingered nothing terrible but the word

hung around his temples like this

soul everyone wants but can’t find jesus

knew he’d die he just didn’t know how

& that bothered him sometimes & then

he’d do one of his little bootleg tricks

what the hell, didn’t hurt anyone

didn’t make anyone disappear for-

ever but the tricks stopped working he forgot

why he did them & what for he confused

a story about a guy named jesus

with a story about a father he never knew

& it all began to hang like a motheaten coat

pulled out of a trunk on shaky days hey let’s

return to the scene of the fucken tragedy at least

we all know how it turns out instead of this end-

less uncertainty hey let’s sell our souls a few

more times no one’s really counting (those

little papers you trade for your sins,

what do you call them? anyone? no?)

—anyway—jesus this jesus that

god of nickel god of dime

right, the real jesus he was lost he walked in-

to the desert not far really his friends his

disciples he told them he’d come back

like us he said this every time he left but jesus

never said wait never pointed to the sky

never claimed he’d rise again never asked us to eat

his flesh jesus never asked anything as far

as I can tell he got tired everyday & then slept

sometimes okay sometimes un-

bearable, the dreams, the father

pointing a finger at everyone a finger we can’t

even look at.

Nick Flynn, "jesus knew" from Some Ether, published by Graywolf Press. Copyright © 2000 by Nick Flynn.  Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: Some Ether (Graywolf Press, 2000)

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Poet Nick Flynn b. 1960

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Christianity, Death, Faith & Doubt, Religion

 Nick  Flynn

Biography

Poet and memoirist Nick Flynn was born in Scituate, Massachusetts. His debut poetry collection, Some Ether (2000), won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, for which the judges’ statement read: “These poems establish their emotional authority through their very movement—their wayward, whispering music. At once reckless and demure, outrageous and delicate. . . .” Most of the poems in Some Ether focus on Flynn’s tumultuous family life . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Christianity, Death, Faith & Doubt, Religion

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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