The Rape of the Sabine Women

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This is a poem I wrote in tenth grade after reading Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome. The style is old fashioned, but I think this is the first thing I wrote of which I’m proud. Yet this isn’t how I’d approach the subject matter if I wrote it now.

Sing through me, Muse, of bloody deeds born out in ancient times

before the Ides of March and ere sweet Virgil penned his rhymes.

Exhibit shepherds’ lowly huts where now the Forum lies,

bear back this song to that old time ere Rome’s triumphant rise.

Tell of the plot of Romulus, who as a god is hailed,

to see more women with the scarlet wedding gown be veiled.

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Upon an early gloaming when the sun god left his keep

and ushered in the stars that bulging mists of nighttime sweep

a train of Sabine pilgrims marched into the Latin land,

faint stellar rays illuminating that unhurried band.

These Sabine men and women came to Rome once every year

to celebrate festivities when harvest time drew near.

As bees in spring emerging from an arctic winter’s hive

in wagons all the Sabine men began their kin to drive

to Rome, the site of seven bluffs set on the Tiber’s curve,

the village whose inhabitants surmount the Titans’ nerve.

 

Soon spying the migration of the faithful from a hill

the King summoned his brethren the high senate house to fill.

“Soldiers!” now he cried, “Know this, its truth I swear by Saturn:

that our Latin city is endangered by its pattern

of stalwart fighting men who boldly sacrifice their lives

to Rome without replacements for our city’s dearth of wives.

A man becomes a corpse without a son to take his place,

so is it any wonder numbers dwindle in our race?

Perhaps our Sabine visitors can their young ladies lend,

for women they have plenty, and on women futures pend.”

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While the Romans plotted on the slopes of Palatine

the Sabine crowd, all unaware, scaled the Capitoline.

Their hoary king bore on his back his daughter just of eight,

the princess Calpurnia, worried that they might be late.

Her brother road beside the girl upon his regal mare

promising the eager child that they would soon be there.

And soon the pinewood gates of Rome drew back to meet the crowd.

The Roman king now met the crowd and grinned before he bowed.

“Friends!” he cried, “Now enter, do not hesitate or falter,

pray collect your loved ones and come worship at our altar.”

In droves they came and packed the marshy slopes of Rome’s wet Forum

sitting down to dinner and behaving with decorum.

 

By now the pulpous evening clouds had just begun to fuse

though were it dusk or twilight weary eyes could hardly choose.

In time platters of food were brought, of venison and hog.

Soft hymns were sung to Neptune oer the sacramental log.

While celebrating rituals no Sabine man took note

of signals from the Roman king or of his sudden gloat.

The men of Rome now suddenly threw down their wooden chairs,

rushing toward the tables, disregarding pious airs.

Unsure whether to call it jest or something more perverse

some men just laughed, while others fumed when they suspected worse.

Befuddled and appalled, the hapless Sabines tried to fight

though struggle was futile in the darkness of that night.

As when a wave reaches a shore and forces with it foam

thus did the Romans drive the men beneath the heaven’s dome.

The Sabine men were in despair as clouds drooping and thick

forbid them to mark out their wives or their daughters to pick.

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By now the pure Calpurnia had lost her father’s gaze

and strove to meet her brother’s eyes within the writhing maze.

The cries of the poor princess were all futile as they flew,

for every girl cried “Father!”, to distinguish no one knew.

Then suddenly a sodden grip grasped at the royal arm,

the Sabine princess fleeing its acerb designs of harm.

So terrorized by visions of her family made slaves

the tragic Calpurnia plunged into the Tiber’s waves.

“Spare me this dishonor, old man river, bear me home!

Deliver me from violence upon these hills of Rome.”

Thus did she cry before her mouth was silenced by the fall,

her corpse interred by Tiber, sympathetic to her call.

 

But by now every Sabine had been driven from the hill,

each eye was moist and beard was wet as tears began to spill.

The fathers and the husbands could all barely keep their gaze

upon their shrieking women in the early evening haze.

And then the screams of women were soon muffled in the night

as wooly hands pressed down on mouths and throats were closed in fright.

The Forum marsh was tainted by blood pouring down in drips

from shredded mouths of women biting down on ashen lips.

Now from the jaws of Romulus rose one triumphant shout

as women were abducted and their men were driven out.

Well aided by the darkness of a night without a moon

a silence soon descended with the final woman’s swoon.

And in the huts of mud, the brides now borne across the porch,

bloody hair and broken limbs replace the wedding torch.

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Yet Father Time will dry away the tears from ruddy cheeks

and mouths become complacent with the passing of the weeks.

As love affairs soon flower and as bellies start to grow,

a yearning for their homeland Sabine women do not show.

Thus at least the Romans took their wives’ abiding silence,

for what man knows the difference between sorrow and compliance?

For each brocade the Triple Fates to mortals choose to give

provides mankind one of two paths: to suffer or to live.

 

But now the frauded Sabine men return allied to fight

with heathen mercenaries in revenge for that rough night.

They tramped in packs, the soggy lands were springing with their stomp;

the Furies smiled upon their cause and on the martial pomp.

The men of Rome all saw the march upon their lofty towers

aware their nation’s life would hinge upon the coming hours.

King Romulus passed out new swords to adolescent troops

as older men rode ordering the great throng into groups.

And when the Sabine trumpets echoed through the hills of Rome

the soldiers rushed to bar the gates to shelter gods and home.

 

Yet even as the men of Rome all rushed to Sabines catch

Tarpeia, daughter to the warden of the portal’s latch,

set her gaze upon a Gallic shield’s golden bubble,

thirsting for its sleeted face and heedless of the trouble.

Succumbing to desire of the most outrageous sort

her eyes glistened as Sabines with their trinkets paid her court,

and promised to receive the shields’ bounty as her pay

the girl unbolted all the gates and showed the men the way.

The Sabines, now reminded that they should complete the deal

all soon allowed Tarpeia their gilded bucklers to feel.

Rushing at her, though a child, they crushed her brittle bones

beneath the weight of golden shields, heedless of her moans,

and as her shattered lungs both strove to draw a final breath

Tarpeia’s ruptured figure with a quake succumbed to death.

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Cried the king of Sabines, “Is this not the Roman rule,

to twist the words of bargains and play allies for the fool?”

Yet as the Sabines cleaved the skull and threw it from the hill

the Roman troops had all arrived, and swords were drawn to kill.

Alert of Roman enemies, the Sabine king did try

to scream to his great lines of men a fitting battle cry.

Proclaimed the king of Sabines “For Calpurnia we fight,

My daughter seized by unripe Death upon that awful night!”

Screamed the king of Romans, “For posterity we battle,

For if we halt or falter, we’ll become but Sabine cattle!”

As when two bulls lock horns or when two waves meet with a crash

the men fly at each other and their heavy bucklers smash.

Fists are raised and talons blanch as they press down on swords:

Roman and Sabine now prepare to carve through vocal chords.

 

When suddenly an angry shriek rose up above the din

as women pressed between the men and warned them of their sin.

“Shameless Roman, see your fault and in shame look away

for the sake of godless deeds performed upon this hateful day!

Was it not enough that you should seize us on that eve

that now our frauded kindred must you force our gaze to leave?

Did your thoughts turn to us when you marched consumed by hate

to leave us without gods or homes to bear a widow’s fate?”

With so much said, the women turned their eyes to their old nation

all seething with sincere despair and with unbound frustration.

“And as for you pretenders who think us your kindred blood,

what did you on that night when we were sullied in the mud?

You fought like cowards when it might have mattered still to fight.

And now you come to slaughter, without asking if it’s right.

The greatest fault on all your parts lies in your estimation

of women as a helpless lot consigned to please their nation.

Now Jove alone may judgment pass and us the verdict loan:

say which is worse, to seize a wife, or live with hearts of stone?”

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With this impassioned caution every warrior did freeze

and even grim king Romulus sensed shaking in his knees.

Weapons fell and oaths were pledged as holy Phoebus set

and bloodless hands were pressed as if a promise to forget.

 

Now Sabines quit the battlefield, now all march off to Rome,

to that city of glory which the gods will call their home.

And grasping the repentant arm of every Roman male

the modest Sabine women beamed as they retold the tale.

Thus was the ancient city saved and thus did she survive

with allies strengthening her walls and aiding her to thrive.

The ghosts of all the slaughtered to Elysium now rise

safely dead and buried and so hidden from our eyes.

They leave the sleeping poet to look forward to the day

when Sovereign Rome shall triumph, all the world in her sway.

 

(And who’s to say what constitutes a virtue or a sin

when all the epic poems are written by the men who win.)

 

All Consuming Fire (Or, Gagging)

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Dude, do you remember when we two went out for food,

we’d both run out of things to say and to repair the mood,

between texts on your telephone, betraying you were bored,

you said, “Eat that wasabi,” thinking that you’d be ignored.

But I wanted to prove to you that I was macho too,

and yearning to seem interesting, knew what I had to do.

Hesitation conquered, I devoured a heaping glob

then forced myself to grin and cover up my hidden sobs .

I stared at you impassively, although I was a liar.

Inside my heart was blazing with an all consuming fire.

I started seeing double and my jaws began to gnash,

internal flames infernal torched my boiling guts to ash.

Repressing every instinct, I behaved like all was normal.

I flashed a friendly smile at you and kept the night informal.

Despite such piercing flames I thought my soul itself would melt,

desperate to impress you, I concealed what I felt.

Your eyes brightened like summer skies, impressed that I was strong,

but when we paid the check and left you found that you were wrong.

I stumbled down the sidewalk spraying vomit left and right.

Anyone around would think that I was drunk that night.

We staggered to your room and I collapsed onto your bed.

I wondered if the hole in me would make me wake up dead.

But then you stood beside me and you even squeezed my hand.

All in all, the evening turned out better than I planned.

I didn’t know it at the time but soon our time would end.

But I would always have with me the memory of a friend.

So That It Burns

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Upon the cusp of evening shade suffused

with rays of twilight sleek and luminous

my love lingers beyond the ashen span

which glistens on the bed of Tithonus.

As summers wane and dusk invidious

imbues the wilting arch of firmament,

so equally my nimble ardor swells

to drench the stars, gleaming and permanent.

When autumn showers form a breathless mist

which clings upon the face of cobblestones,

the lovestruck poet should not hope to list

what nature and imagination loan.

He drafts within his heart unspoken songs

of boundless pitch which no page could abide,

when transient moments grow a bit more long

and deathless beauty walks along his side.

These subtle metamorphoses run deep

inside our souls before we get too old,

when kindred hearts both skip a single beat

and friendly glances grow a bit more bold.

But little else is crueler to discern

than gusty changes once their course has run,

that fan one feeble heart so that it burns,

but blow out fire in the other one.

On the Inauguration Day of Donald Trump

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The grandeur of his office is a perk
but now the Donald has to get to work.
He’ll require a great deal of endurance
if he hopes to kill our health insurance
and banish same sex couples from our sights
and criminalize reproductive rights
and see to it pollution laws all go
and build a wall to fence off Mexico
and toss every illegal in a cell
and spark a war in central Israel
and put the country’s Muslims on a list
and throw in prison all who would resist.
I will not soon forget this epic date.
So this is what it feels like to be great!
It’s harder to be President than rich
Yet we elected Putin’s rabid bitch.

Lauterbrunnen (On Love and Sunburn)

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How could I help but mine the shapeless hours

above pied valleys cloaked in pine and flowers,

dwarfed by wrinkled amaranthine mountains,

morphed by nourishment on milk of fountains?

Cascades of vapor splashed with such a sound

you would have thought it thundered underground.

I yearned to see the russet dusk begin.

But soon the sunlight burned my face’s skin.

Then I was forced to quit the lonely height

and banish nature’s temple from my sight.

Whenever too at dinner we should meet,

so ravenous however much I eat

and drunken on the wine of every view,

I find I cannot stop glancing at you.

If I am caught, is this game lost or won?

The mystery, God knows, is half the fun.

Each time I steal a look, I know I’ve won.

But take care staring too long at the sun.

Experience has made it understood

that Nature is more beautiful than good.

Hannah Montana (The Heart You Broke At Yale)

This is my third rap, which I just got around to filming earlier this summer. I used a beat I found on Youtube made by Lion and Prime. The inspirations are the poems of Catullus, the Streets’ When You Wasn’t Famous, Alanis Morissette’s You Oughta Know, and my own experiences. I hope you enjoy it; I’m confident I’ve never met whomever you assume it’s about!

***

I recall that when we all would get in a fight

You’d hiss when pissed that I couldn’t rap or write.

But goading me you now will see is truth in all its might.

I feel like exploding, and I stay awake at night.

So face the facts, my famous friend, and feel their chilling bite

And let these humble lyrics be enough to bring to light

The sad and old forgotten tragicomic fairy tale

Once upon a time… about the heart you broke at Yale!

Lacking mostly in renown, New Haven is a craven town

With name unsung, but here you came,

famous young, and blind with fame.

I’d seen your films now and again

And guessed you messed with girls and men

But knew that no one on TV

Would ever take two looks at me,

A pauper in obscurity.

But in a clubhouse out of sight,

We both danced in a tomb that night.

Once I spied you, gone was choice!

My tongue was tied, I lost my voice.

Deaf and dumb, my head was turning

Thoughts all lost to lust and yearning

Mute and dumb, my body burning

Sweat and tears and danger christened

Both my eyes which burned and glistened

While the crowd of gawkers listened

To your laugh, which forced on me,

Do not be dismissory,

Paralysis and misery…

Symptoms, so the lonely tell us,

Of a broken heart that’s jealous.

Then you went to take a smoke

And I dared make a feeble joke

About that hapless Scottish bloke

Who just puked when he took a toke.

Funny, how I first met you

And that you laughed and teased me too

Acting cool and being flirty,

Brushing skin and talking dirty.

At the end of Tupac’s song

You took a last hit from the bong

You said, you weren’t in town for long,

I read your mind and wasn’t wrong.

I guess you saw some charm in me I couldn’t understand.

I’d never been the type before to have a one night stand.

I had no strategy thought out or any subtle plan.

You wondered at the hunger of my kiss.

Then we began.

I had no money, name, physique, or any self assurance.

But, innocence had its mystique upon this first occurrence.

Perhaps you thought my mind unique

And I could learn from your technique

And temporary solace seek

Though I was just a humble geek

And you a freak who hit your peak

We then lost track of many hours

Blazing suns gave us their powers

Then, I hoped for no more fun

Or wanted more of anyone

Yet still, you said it wasn’t done

So then began our awful run.

And I was one of many men,

And women too now and again.

My God, I wish it ended then.

Captive to some twist of fate

You’d often come to see me late.

Vulgar texts to consummate

Impossible to satiate.

Publicly, you’d play the saint,

But privately, you gave complaint.

Took on others more athletic

Found my jealousy pathetic

Said it was your right to cheat

Proved it like a bitch in heat

When I felt like I would die

You’d scoff at all the tears I’d cry

Knowing that I’d take you back

Fatal as a heart attack

Who’d have thought a Disney star

Would stoop to keying someone’s car

Or blow a brother and his twin

Or overdose on aspirin?

And who’d have thought a PhD

Would put up with such misery.

But all that burns must turn to dust

And these things end as these things must

So finally, I struggled free

Of love for your celebrity

And then at last, you must confess

That I’m the one who called you less

But thinking that this was absurd,

You had to have the final word.

And told me that you hated me,

And never even dated me.

Knowing you was all my luck

And I was just some empty fuck

Then in some paper or another,

There you were right on the cover,

In the arms of your new lover.

What a treat for all your fans!

As for me, I’ll be a man,

Forced to do all that he can

To efface you from his plans

Nor pursue you where you ran.

Jaded, cynical, unnerved,

I got just what I deserved

Should have left you at the curb,

Never crossed your path but swerved

Given all that I observed

But now my honor is preserved

And some justice will be served

With that I have the final word.

Superface (Kiss My Hairy Face, a Hipster Rap)

Here’s my second stab at a music video. Special thanks to my friends Joanna Zheng and Gary Gao for helping me to film this on location in Bushwick, and to Chris Tokita for helping me edit the sound. I shot it on my camera and edited it using Lightworks. The lyrics are below.

***

You might think that you know me,
But at last I’ve turned the tables!
This gold ring in my nostril proves
That I defy your labels.
I’m rocking this wool cap
And a beard that looks like crap
And in case you missed the news
I look fierce in canvass shoes.
Take a look, but not too close,
I don’t wear socks, so they smell gross.

The rims of my glasses are thick and absurd.
I basically look like I’m one giant nerd.
My pea-coat is vintage, my pants super tight,
The shape of my testicles lies in plain sight.
These Civil War mutton chops both look like hell,
This sweater is right out of Saved By the Bell.
Sipping a fro-yo, I play with my yo-yo,
Passing chain restaurants, I tell my friends “hell, no.”
That meal once had feet, be it fish, fowl, or meat.
And gluten free wheat germ is all that I’ll eat.

Unwashed and contentious,
I’m very annoying and pretentious.
But all of you can kiss my hairy face.
I can’t stand your fucking mainstream taste.

I love to use phrases like badass and dude,
I’m grungy and lazy and stuck up and rude.
I live in a basement. I have no emotion.
My love life involves a computer and lotion.
Get off of my case.
We artists need our space.

Listen to pop and I’ll call you a fool.
I only like music before it is cool.
Your shade bounces off me just like an elastic.
Bombastic, sarcastic, and unenthusiastic,
I’m not too gymnastic or very scholastic,
MTV’s classic. I’m being sarcastic.
If you are rich and your parents tote plastic,
Life here in Bushwick is fucking fantastic.
I party and drink and I vomit all night,
Then sipping my latte at Starbucks I write
Pompous haikus about guilt being white.
My mind’s a chariot for the proletariat.
So my scarf is sewn from fur of yak,
Weaved by orphans from Iraq.
And doing my part to promote social war,
I only buy weed from my brothers, the poor.

Clever and sardonic,
My tattoo of Pikachu is ironic.
But all of you can all kiss my hairy face.
I can’t stand your fucking mainstream taste.

When I make my daily calls
To the thrift store at the malls
I read Mao’s Little Red Book in the stalls,
So capitalism can suck on my balls!
Get off of my case.
We artists need our space.

And if you dare to mock me as you pass,
Then I’ll occupy your bourgeois ass.
Down with the man! You better get off me
Before I scald your face with fair trade coffee.

You are just a cliché.
So who really cares what you have to say?
You are just a cliché.
So who really cares what you have to say?

I’m a spoiled brat with artistic pretensions,
I deserve to be the world’s center of attention.
But haters can all kiss my hairy face.
I can’t stand your fucking mainstream taste.

I’ll never conform.
I refuse to reform.
Each day of the week
I’m completely unique.
You’ll never define me.
So give me no lip, sir,
Oh shit. Now I realize
I’m just a hipster.

Better hitch my saddle,
Head off to Seattle…or Portland.

A Few Translations of Catullus

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Here are some of my translations of the Roman poet Catullus. I’m thinking of putting these to music and making bilingual videos in English and Latin.

***

3

Venus, Cupids, beat your heads,

My girl’s little bird is dead!

It was her favorite pet and prize,

She loved it more than her own eyes.

A sweeter bird than any other,

It knew her like it knew its mother.

It learned to stay upon her knee,

And leapt about so happily.

For her alone it sang quite well,

But now it makes a trip to hell,

To that abode of no return.

Oh God of Death, horrid and stern!

You stole the little beast from me,

The sweetest pet in history,

It was so cute it was absurd,

Oh evil deed, poor little bird!

Now because you’re lying dead,

My girls eyes have both turned red.

***

5

Lesbia, let’s love and live,

And not a fuck for gossip give.

Suns can die and then revive,

But we poor beings who are alive,

When once expires our little light,

Must all sleep through one endless night.

Kiss me one thousand one hundred times,

Then do it again, force the total to climb.

Kiss me one thousand one hundred times more,

Then do it again, so the number will soar.

Then let’s just agree to mix up and lose count,

Lest we or the jealous should know the amount.

***

7

Lesbia asks a question that’s tough:

how many kisses of hers are enough?

How about the number of grains of sand,

In Libya, medicinal-herb bearing land,

Where Jupiter’s oracle sweats and spouts doom,

And old king Battus built his tomb,

Or the number of stars in the silence of night,

Those voyeurs who peak at affairs before light?

Something like that, I believe, would suffice,

For your lovesick Catullus, upon the advice

That it’s best for the sum total never to lag,

So that snoops cannot count them, or evil tongues wag.

***

8

Wretched Catullus, do not be a fool—

Love burgeons and wanes, an unvarying rule.

Bright suns once shone in the heavens for you

When you echoed your woman in all that she’d do,

No lover was ever so truly adored,

Ere wit fell to silence, before she grew bored,

When you and your lover devoured each hour,

Blazing suns, truly, supplied you their power.

Now she doesn’t want you—you must be a man,

Don’t live as a wretch, nor pursue where she ran.

With a firm mind, endure—this must be your plan.

Now Catullus is firm—goodbye to my soul.

I’ll inquire no more, indifference my goal.

Perhaps you will weep, no man’s prospect or wife,

Poor woman, poor wretch, what remains of your life?

Whom will you kiss? Whose lips will you bite?

Don’t ask, old Catullus. Endure the dead light.

***

93

Julius Caesar, I won’t kiss your ass,

And don’t give a damn if you have any class.

***

85

I hate and I love. How is this possible? I’m at a loss.

But I feel it happen, and am nailed to a cross.

***

59

Rufa of Bologna and Rufulus screw.

She’s the wife of Menenus, often whom you

catch snatching her dinners from pyres of the dead,

chasing up all fallen pieces of bread.

The unshaven cremator soon beats her head.

***

50

It was last night, Licinius, we shared some special time

extemporizing verses and then dueling point for rhyme.

Agreeing to unleash our wits, we scribbled out each line

repaying any interest with our jokes and drinks of wine.

And then last night, Licinius, I went home set alight

By hunger not for food but for your sarcasm and bite.

Starving for the kiss of sleep, my soul succumbed to fury.

I writhed under my bed sheets. I lay awake with worry.

I couldn’t wait for daylight and that blessed hour when

I’d see you face to face, and we could share good times again.

And sprawled out on my couch half dead, with all work set aside,

I wrote this poem for you in hopes you’d pity broken pride.

Now don’t deny me what I want, o apple of my eye,

or the cruel goddess Nemesis might curse you by and by.

She’s quite a bitchy enemy, and so you’d best beware—

Think twice before you shake your head in answer to this prayer.

***

51

Like a god or more, he glistens,

Since he sits there, stares, and listens

As you laugh, which spells for me

Paralysis and misery.

I saw you once. I had no choice.

My tongue was tied. I lost my voice.

I closed my eyes in lust and yearning.

Mute and dumb, my body burning.

Boredom, Catullus, for you is a pain,

Making you writhe and fidget in vain.

Such boredom has proven the ruin of things:

Glorious cities, and many great kings.

Talking to Air (A Rap of Jesus on the Cross)

Check out 2:192:25–it’s awesome. If it wasn’t for this little miracle caught on film, I probably would have deleted the video.

I wrote this rap in 2012 but only got around to shooting it this summer in Jerusalem. I shot it on my cousin’s Go Pro camera and filmed it in and around the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the site of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus. The lyrics are mine, but I found the music on youtube and downloaded it to Audacity; unfortunately, the link to the original soundtrack is now dead, and I don’t know whom to thank for the beat. I’ve been writing songs for a long time, but until now, how only shared them with a few close friends and relatives.

***

Lord, hear my prayer,
Prove that you’re there.
Lord, hear my prayer,
I’m talking to air.

It’s not such good news.
To be King of the Jews,
And revel with devils
Predestined to lose.
I once was the muse
Of an impious ruse,
A sinister rebel,
Or so I’m accused.
Pelted with pebbles
And curses and boos,
This is an end
No messiah would choose.

Lord, hear my prayer,
Prove that you’re there.
Lord, hear my prayer,
I’m talking to air.

Dragged to the court, my defense wasn’t wordy.
And now I am strangled and beaten and dirty,
Nailed alive on a cross that’s unsturdy,
And dying a virgin at barely age thirty.

I feel like I’m dreaming.
I’m shaking; I’m screaming.
I’m not very proud
To be sobbing so loud
And throbbing in anguish
In front of the crowd.
But at least there’s the fact
that this hillside is packed
To see my last act
As I squirm and react.
But the rabble is crude,
And their babble is lewd.
And to top it all off
I’m ashamed to be nude.

I feel myself dying.
My mother is crying.
I swear it’s all right,
But she knows that I’m lying.
Praying won’t help,
But she can’t help but trying.

Lord, hear my prayer,
Prove that you’re there.
Lord, hear my prayer,
I’m talking to air.

I say all the Psalms.
I can’t feel my palms.
I can’t move my fingers.
A burning pain lingers.
My quaking lungs quiver,
and shaking feet shiver.
In one gruesome dither
I puke up my liver.
Oh God, to return to the green Jordan River!

The man to my right
Wants to start up a fight.
In a voice hoarse but lyrical
Being satirical,
Says, do a miracle.
It’s not so empirical.

When will this pass?
How long will it last?

The man to my left,
Who was sentenced for theft,
In a voice that’s mysterious,
Not deleterious.
Likely delirious,
Says I’m imperious,
He can’t be serious.
I don’t believe
All they say I achieved.
So there is no reprieve.

Lord, hear my prayer,
Prove that you’re there.
Lord, hear my prayer,
I’m talking to air.

I stare at the sun in an act of defiance.
Its unbearable glare makes me wince in compliance.

Oh God, hear my cry!
Oh when will I die!

I thrash my head against the cross,
but consciousness still isn’t lost.
Sweat is flowing, flesh is torn,
Gore pours from the crown of thorns.
At least it doesn’t bother me
To never know who fathered me,
Now he won’t feel any pain
Or have to see me croak in vain.

Now the pungent stench is shameful.
Every breath is drawn and painful.
Heartbeat plunging ever lower,
Broken coughs are getting slower.

Then although my faith resists,
I start to doubt that God exists.

“Eli lama sabachthani?”

I close my eyes, and then I see
That now the devil’s run amok.
And I’ve run out of all my luck.
And with the dying breath I suck.
Before I die, I whisper…