The Poetry of
Jack Scott

Jesus Girl

In my far youth it never crossed my roving mind
I’d meet a Jesus girl with Mary child
just east of Alcatraz,
smiling wistful at the warden doves,
too fat, too zoo-content
to loft the olive branch
and navigate their mission
away from San Francisco Zoo:
what still lives? is free?
anywhere, anywhere at all?

Ark afloat in sea of concrete,
ribs parallel in permanence
greenbronzing in the briny air
spaced wide enough to see the animals,
close enough to keep them there.
Outstretched San Franciscan palms enfolding
captive ones, and twos and threes,
whole families.

I’d never conjured such a lovely girl
before I came upon her, captive of the cages,
nor met her in my masturbating mind
in my far youth during the first rains
when floods were drenching sweats,
when Atlantis thrived
long before this dry and sunbald Sinai.

I never dreamt she’d come with me
and end up sleepless in a Monterey motel
embedded with a blinking neon
shuttered by venetian blinds,
drifting on the Styx in depthless fog
this Jesus girl with Mary child.

Her redemption was enough to tip us all
on such a tiny boat too small for three.
Not to drown in it,
and turn the craft around,
to save her from saving me,
my hand at first outstretched
across two continents: double double beds,
the furthest rims of flat and antique earth
to help her hold farthest edge
to keep them both from slipping off
and dragging me along,
I held her hand till dawn.

The Marychild asleep at peace
within the virgin’s rigid arms,
she, humming as if it were a vice,
singing were a sin,
the child aglow between us
with a halo of ticcing neon,
the Jesusgirl spoke with her husband, god,
beckoned at his glow in the foggy light
and opened to receive him,
the father of her child,
in the absence of the world:
her only proof of purity,
she, dark, without a hole of light,
refusing rudder, fighting oar,
we, strangers close as peanuts in a roasting shell.

I held tight to her who held the Marychild.
to hold the baby safe.
She begged the loosening of my grip,
to share salvation with me in eternity.
I preferred that Jesus come to us
then follow him in all this fog.

Jesus was a carpenter;
confused in her thought of Trinity
in her mind he drove the nail in.
I tried to pull it from her bony cross
wrapped like shroud around her Marychild.
I probed the wound and could not heal it.
She believed god had begat her child
and Jesus was her brother.

She broke her silence:
her brother was her lover,
the father of her child,
got to her before her god;
though in her mind
her daughter was stepsister of God’s only son.

She had her way with me
till I was shriveled with her willing,
probing for the splinter
broken off so deep within her
prolonged within stigmata,
beyond endurance, far from prayer
while she was willing
to prove conversion by converting me,
scuttling me to save her soul.

She fought and bit in the half-light
evoking all her darknesses and spells.
Then her eyes began to roll around
and her language lapsed to tongues.
She cradled me and rocked the Marychild.
The Jesus that was in her wanted to come out
and the woman that was in her
wanted him to come again,
wanted me to be her Jesus,
but only in the dark,
but the neon kept on burning,
for the mother made ayearning
for the lover to forgive her,
to love her and her child
who was her brother’s, not her god’s.

Finally she let me in her,
exorcizing thorny Jesus with my tongue,
my sharpest knife when reason fails
probing out her brother’s prick,
that rotting splinter,
from her virgin cunt.
I did my best to love her,
but Jesus got there first.

L16 ®Copyright 1974 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.