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Oct 2012
It would behoove my grade school bible teacher to know, that I have finally found Jesus. He sits alone at my neighborhood bar and in a fashion that is not unlike the line at a New York City Jewish deli shop, he takes questions. Ticket number 347, “What kind of man will I marry?” ticket number 7623,”When will the end of days come?” My bible study class oh, how they would shake inside their buttoned blouses with envy that I was the one to find Jesus, between drink, between cigarettes, with beer and peanut excrements on bottoms of his sandals. Handing out answers like pork cutlets to mouths that haven’t eaten in years because they have filled up on the appetizer that is stomach churning worry. The gutless and gutful sin of having problems without the hope of solutions that shakes believers so hard in the night they fall off their beds and land conveniently on their knees. They wake up in the morning with bruises and scratches, another problem but this time the solution is simple. A mixture of peroxide and cotton-blend Band-Aids, hugging tight stinging cuts until the next day when the Band-Aid is loose and falls off into meat grinders making sausage links you don’t even have the appetite for. I found Jesus in a bar. When I see him I remember Sunday school and how I stood up on the sweaty palm pulpit and yelled, “He is not real!” and now confronted with my falseness I wonder if I was wrong to try to cool off the fire in my belly that was unanswered questions by answering them myself. I took a ticket. I stood in line. I waited as the knot my grade school teach tied with my intestines tightened itself and pulsated with the influx of another beer and growing bowel movements that only made me more unsure of the source of pain in my belly. I watched as Jesus nodded politely in between admissions of sins and proposals of betterment like his neck was the waist of a Hawaiian ******* the dashboard of a Colorado trucker, or like aged fast-food wrappers that tilt forward with the inertia caused by strategically placed speed bumps.  Each nod, a mini-bow that seemed to contradict his devotion to his divinity and his authority over the bleeding kneed and hungry stomached servants. I am the last ticket before the last call and I take advantage of both. Being this close I can see sweat stains under his arms, my mother would say they are extra halos. “And your question, my child?” he says, and I think I should have been more prepared or at least not stuttered like the elementary school student stuck playing Pluto in the graduation play. “Was I wrong that day on the pulpit?” It was rudely put. I was embarrassed. He said, “Did it ease the hunger pain of uncertainty?” It did. “Then no, you answered your own question.” He seemed drunk at that point when he said that, so I trusted it as a sober man’s thoughts. Then I walked away full and knees unscathed.
Not a poem, just a work in progress.
Hayley Neininger
Written by
Hayley Neininger
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   ---, --- and The Anonymous Joker
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