Cheering his doom
Tattooed and angry,
drunk or hung-over,
violent and frothing,
through the streets of Jerusalem
they called out
rude names and screamed
It was sweet to see the healer,
the hypocrite, the charlatan
brought to a just end.
But any bloodshed was
better than boredom,
or the quiet hell of guilt.
And behind them, arms crossed
over fresh, clean robes,
were the sober
the good and proper who,
also, shouted or whispered
(those whispers were venom)
‘it’s a good thing too,
a trouble-make he is;’
terrified, all of them, that the man’s
words were a threat to their dusty,
or might awaken their numb souls,
so long free of nagging prophets.
Yet it was neither Jew nor Roman,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free,
male or female who lined the streets
where spit-covered palm fronds,
one week old,
his bloody feet.
It was not Protestant or Catholic,
not Orthodox or Pagan,
not Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu
or even atheist.
It was I, me, mine, us,
who loved him first,
then found hate more natural than
the higher, harder nature he offered.
And we cheered (and cringed) as the scourge flew
and the flesh flew and the fists
and hammers fell hard,
and the thorns made blood into wine,
sank into those carpenter’s
(leaving holes for future doubters),
and a spear opened a fountain
of baptismal fluid on the hillside.
And on that third day, well,
who saw that coming?
Except him, of course.
He forgave our ignorant
complicity from his
transient throne of cross-beams.
Blind, helpless fools.
In our murder, we merely
let him save us.
Edwin Leap, 2014