Friday, February 25, 2011

Kill the Fat-Free Tofu

I put the Stones' version of Prodigal Son on a mix tape for a loved one the other day, and it reminded me how much I wanted to kick that parable's ass. When you're pretty much born humiliated and humbled and told you're worthless, it's odd hearing that God wants you to be put down even lower, that trying to escape is futile, and that the more you crawl, the more he'll love you.

Luckily, I also understand that there's more to Jesus, that he kicked corporate ass and defended prostitutes. He's not my god, but he's just all right with me, as another song says.


I sleep with swine, I won't deny it even once--
They're smart, they share their food freely,
Like me, true to my true name as I flung
The last bits of my inheritance away from me,
Scattered it all to the sinners and winds.
I couldn't get rid of it fast enough.

I still pray; I pray each night
Not to feel the pull of the road
To the place called home, to the house
Where my father waits with a knife
To draw against the plump throat
Of an innocent and call it celebration,
That place where a family mutters
Under the music of the feast, husbanding their hate
Until after the sun goes down.
You may see my shape against the light
Getting smaller as I move down the road.

Image: The club can't even handle Rembrandt and Saskia right now.

1 comment:

Slothrop said...

How can something so pithy & direct be so beautiful? The phrasing seems pretty perfect...reading you over the long term, your economy (w/ words) is soaring. "Husbanding their hatred..." Suggestive and sweet. If you ever expand the poem I'd like more subtle filial stuff...I've always been awed by the weird family-fetish phraseology of religious institutions.

1 thing I've always loved about the fable is the way the Good Son gets shafted...the kid who stayed and worked & never doubted gets kicked aside when slacker playboy brother comes crawling home in defeat. A certain verisimilitude...the gesture seems authentically masculine, fatherly. The young men (Jesus's base) sitting at his feet on the Mount or wherever must've nodded in agreement. An olive branch, certainly, but tasting of reality more than an ideal?