Valerie G. Keane, with both humor and poignancy, makes a plea for taking a moment to breathe. And manages, also, to turn us to love, and away from, well, see for yourself.


Jesus had a penis

I know, 
it makes me uncomfortable too. 
I didn’t ask for this, 
it came to me deep in meditation  
on a silent retreat 
when I was supposed to be focusing 
on breathing. 

The breath in. 
The breath out. 
And suddenly, 

there was Jesus’ penis. 
And I tried to come back 
to the breath 

but there he was 
shaking it around 
watching it flop and dangle, 
horrifying all the Catholics. 
I tried to come back 

to the breath 
but there he was 
touching it, exploring it, 
the shaft, the little hairs around the base, the head,
the foreskin, circumcised. 

Jesus was Jewish, right? 
Here I am in a room full of Buddhists, 
thinking of Jesus, of bris, of penis. 
I tried to come back
 
to the breath 
but there was Jesus, holding his penis, 
urinating in the snow, steam rising, 
spelling out “TRUMP SUCKS” 
and here I am trying to meditate.

Once, some westerners asked Maharaji,
“How should we meditate?” 
He answered, “Meditate like Christ.” 
They asked, “How did Christ meditate?” 
Maharaji closed his eyes and paused a long time, 
then one tear fell down his cheek and he answered, 
“He lost Himself in love.”
I tried to come back

to the breath 
but now I’m wishing that all penises 
would lose themselves in love.
 
Maybe then the title of this poem 
wouldn’t be so funny 
and instead, would be a prayer. 
And we would all breathe 

a little easier. 

©Valerie G. Keane – 2021

*****

Valerie G. Keane is a poet from Queens, NYC and is the founder of Poetry & Coffee, a discussion of great poetry over food and drinks (and now Zoom!) where no previous poetry experience is required – only life experience. She speaks at schools and in communities about how to love poetry from the bottom of your soul without an MFA and her work has been featured at numerous reading series throughout New York, as well as in various journals. If you’re interested in reading radical and relevant books with Valerie and discussing them with a bunch of really great people, you should check out her website.  In her other life, she is a Productivity Specialist and Professional Organizer specializing in working with people with ADHD and neurodivergent clients. Find out more at www.valeriegkeane.com & www.poetryandcoffee.com & www.lotis.solutions .

*****

For the first 100 days of the Biden administration, this website will feature a new poem of What’s Next!? These pieces can be calls to action, calls to attention, or calls to anger. They will light the way and guide the fight. They will get us moving and keep our momentum. They will be filled with hope, with anger, with sorrow. They will get us into good trouble and point out the trouble we need to stop. They will be polished gems, or rough-cut drafts of rage, or in-process pieces searching for peace. They may be haiku or tanka, limericks or lyrics, verses free or fettered.

#100Days100Poems of What’s Next!? wants your poems, your prose, your visual art (photos, drawings, sculptures), your music, your short films and animations. Interpret the theme as broadly as you’d like.

If you would like to submit to this endeavor, please send an email, with your visual art (as .jpg or .pdf) or your poem saved as a word document (.docx) to waxyandpoetic AT gmail DOT com. Include a short bio (2-3 sentences) and social media/website information. All rights remain with the author. Please address any formatting preferences in your email. Waxyandpoetic.com will post submissions time permitting, with at least one per day beginning 20 January 2021. Read, follow, share, submit, live, love, spread light! Don’t forget to use #100Days100Poems !

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