The Juke Box Needle Hovers Over ‘Could We Start Again Please’ from the “Jesus Christ Superstar” Soundtrack
Each lyric douses Jesus in light waves and sound particles.
The 45’s concentric grooves capture and release
the bar’s stale fluorescent glow, as much a miracle as any.
The many feet, the sagging arms, define the space.
Jesus parts the throng, laying hands on strangers’ thighs.
We become germs and weariness begging for soap, heat and water.
The music starts again, this time without a source.
Jesus looks up, his eyes crackled marbles ushering light
into the bowls of his retinas, small imploding suns.
Elsewhere rags soak in kerosene, entire blocks catch fire,
old padlocks corrode and release all the inmates.
Jesus hears every cry as glossalalia. He stutters into song.
Pretty words won’t live past his teeth. Hard ones marry music.
Jesus taps out rhythm in sudden necessity, raises his arms like driftwood.
We learn food can be sung to, coaxed out of sand and cloud.
Now Jesus moves his body as if conducting a jazz orchestra.
He sways in front of the destruction asking questions of flame.
Bricks blacken, crack. Tar runs in from streets, seals flesh to flesh.
Our skin reddens like the eyes of a tired bartender. Hurt accumulates:
change in a tip jar. Jesus takes cover behind the bar, hunkers
next to thumbed copies of Maxim, Bartending Today and Screw.
Who doesn’t blink in a snow of cinder and ash?
How can the end come down to this: a sound like a trill,
like olive jars trembling on a glass shelf?