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Jesus in Hollywood

Editor’s Note: This poem by Alex Dimitrov is being presented as part of our special focus on poetry during #PoetryMonth in April. Please read our introduction to the series.

It’s three days past Easter and at the light on Fountain
one car behind me is Jesus. He’s driving a white BMW
and he is alone. I drive slow and keep an eye on the mirror
wondering if I’m the only one who sees him,
making a list of the awful things I’ve done
this year, should he pull me over.
Jesus, I abandoned my longest relationship
and wasn’t sorry. Not sure I am now.
I stopped talking to my mother
then started (and stopped again after),
so these days I’m not sure who’s talking to whom
even when we are screaming or silent.
Like you, I kept coming back to Hollywood.
I wanted to believe in life after death
and if it’s true anywhere—surely then—here.
I tried to be alone and with people
and both almost killed me.
Then I almost killed me:
drinking in a bungalow in Venice (July),
reading the tabloids and Milton,
buying myself two hours with another bottle of wine
then buying myself more with a book
even longer than Paradise Lost.
Jesus, they probably think you are glamorous.
Look at the car you’re driving. It’s a beautiful rental.
You should stay in your price range.
They probably think you are lucky and set.
Maybe too young and mysterious. Just imagine.
Who wouldn’t let you in if you knocked on his door?
And who wouldn’t cry with you
in a parking lot outside any American mall?
Do you even cry, Jesus? Do you even pay rent?
Would you live in the world that we do?
Or do you just like to drive, see the sights,
keep your sunglasses on, keep the real you inside:
a white BMW on Fountain. Or wherever it is we are now,
I’m going to let you pass me.
I’m not going to follow you, Jesus.
I’m going back to the sun and the people,
back where I never belonged.

Copyright 2017, Copper Canyon Press. Used with Permission.

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