C. E. Chaffin


Not Enough Hamlets

Jesus stands on a green hill rank with clover
and autographs a thousand bleached skulls:
one for each righteous man
in the last millennium.

Once pitied as a crucifix of red mahogany
inside some gothic alcove
before a candle's tiny holocaust,
he comes to reassert himself
late in the twentieth century
to test the waters for a second coming.

He soon learns no one cares if he takes a lover
or has a slush fund or molds the truth
to soothe his audience's ears,
but that he should never eat veal or wear fur
or own a car or claim to really understand
the plight of minorities,
lest we doubt his sensitivity (that is,
whatever television requires).

He learns that feminists discount him,
gays are shocked he isn't,
blacks resent his master's skin,
Jews despise him as a sell-out,
seniors fear the effect
of his healings on Medicare,
teens find him irrelevant
to their super-caffeinated suffering,
though children still love him
(they don't know any better).

After consulting with campaign strategists
Jesus decides the world isn't ready.
Everything's too watered down.
No one's passionate about
good and evil anymore:
Satanists run summer camps,
pedophiles have websites,
televangelists promote cosmetics.
Eliot's hollow men
look virtuous by comparison.

Jesus stands on a green hill rank with clover
and lays the last skull down.
Park sanitation workers gather them
into red biohazard bags for incineration.
There were never enough Hamlets to hold them, anyway.

C.E. Chaffin, M.D., FAAFP, edited The Melic Review www.melicreview.com for eight years prior to its hiatus. Widely published, he has written literary criticism, fiction, personal essays, and has been the featured poet in over twenty magazines. In the last ten years he's had over 500 pieces published. Credits include: The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Pedestal, The Philadelphia Inquirer Book Review and Rattle. His new volume, “Unexpected Light: Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008,” published by Diminuendo Press, can be ordered at:
http://cechaffin.com/light.html Website: www.cechaffin.com Blog: www.cechaffin.blogspot.com

(author retains copyright)