Christ and the Lions

by Michael Eaton

I

To Ignatius, a martyr of joy:
“I am God’s wheat
ground fine by the lion’s teeth
to become purest bread 
for Christ.”


II

Christ grows like a Redwood
in every man’s back yard;
a wooden giant
for all the cats to claw.


III

Christ was born on the hill of Calvary
on a flowering white tree, in a garden;
a tall lily bursting through the soil,
an ivy vine wrapped around the Cross.

He was born to call not saints, but
sinners; he walked the streets
to find his twelve companions:
a policeman and a general,
a pimp, a pusher, a prostitute,
a bishop and a biker,
an old scholar, no longer astute,
a murderer, and an industrialist.
He sat at their feet and listened,
a pupil of his apostles.


IV

Christ sits at a round table
a green shade over his eyes,
a cigar between his teeth,
ready to deal
any game you call.


V

Christ, the ancient alchemist,
transmuting death into life,
stands behind dark castle walls, blind,
hearing the dancing horses
of the red-plumed knights,
dancing around the Holy Grail,
filled with everyone’s blood.


VI

On the way to work, I passed Christ,
working in the mills of sin,
black soot on his white robe,
a smudge on his young man’s cheek,
standing at the end of the assembly line,
catching the gleaming hot red flaming
sins and painting them,
some as white as wool, and
some as white as snow.


VII

Christ wrote the Dead Sea scrolls,
scattering them in the air of dusty time,
to sow confusion,
to cover his tracks in the desert,
where he played forty days with Satan,
his twin brother, best friend.

Satan and Christ
joined hands with the Sphinx
and the three
danced a desert quadrille.


VIII

Christ tells no lies
of a God
crouched in the sky,
like an angry tiger,
ready to pounce and kill
man
is a gentle creature and
God likes time to dream.


IX

They arrested Christ and
threw him to the lions.

Christ looked a lion in the eye
and dug his bleeding nails
in the Coliseum’s dirt.
The lion recognized
another lion
when it saw one.

Christ ate the lion,
and the crowd, pleased,
awarded him the ears of Pontius Pilate,
two red jewels
on a deaf silver platter.


X

Christ was double crossed,
nailed to a cross,
and lanced by a soldier,
going beyond
the call of duty.

Blood floated from his wound
like thin petals
of a red carnation
and the soldier pinned a medal
to his naked chest.


XI

Christ without end,
amen.

Michael Eaton graduated from San Francisco State University during the experimental years of the sixties while living in a commune, with a MA in Creative Writing. He writes to stay sane in an insane world. Currently living in Austin TX helping to keep it weird. 

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