Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"A Guy Named Jesus"

This poem was submitted to "The Olney Times" by Arnold Schnabel just a couple of weeks before his release from the Byberry mental hospital. (Republished with the kind "nihil obstat" of the Arnold Schnabel Society.)

“A Guy Named Jesus”

A guy named Jesus came to see me last night;
He opened my door and for a moment just stood there;
“Hello,” he said, then, shutting the door tight,
He came to my bed and pulled up a chair.

“My name is Jesus,” said He, and extended His hand;
I took it and shook it, His grip was warm and firm.
“So,” He said, “You’ve had some trouble, I’m led to understand.”
“Yes, it’s true,” I said, “For I am a lowly misbegotten worm.”

“Poppycock!” said He; “and by the way, may I smoke?”
“Dear Lord,” said I, “smoking’s not allowed in patients’ rooms.”
“But you forget,” said He, “’Tis I who make the rules! (Ha! a joke!)
But fear not, for there’s nothing like a butt to dissipate the glooms.”

And taking from His pouch a lighter and a pack of Pall Mall
He lit us both up and said, “I have come, you see, to set you free,
from your absurd travails, and your own self-made Hell.”
“I deserve only Hell,” I cried, “And free I deserve not to be!”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” He said with a winning grin,
“that is, of course: the Holy Ghost, My Father, and Me.
So stop this nonsense, for I want you to begin
that long journey home to Avenue Nedro and B.”

A guy named Jesus came to see me last night,
a simple Jewish carpenter smelling faintly of wood;
we talked until the first faint glimmerings of light,
and when He left I slept the sleep of the good.

(For links to other poems from Arnold Schnabel and to the serialization of his previously unpublished memoir Railroad Train to Heaven, go if you dare to the right hand column of this page.)


Anonymous said...

El Schnabo es muy prolifico!

Won't be related to the Schmenge brothers would he?

Dan Leo said...

I don't think Arnold was related by blood to the noble Schmenges, but in his unpublished memoir "Railroad Train to Heaven" he mentions that he would often take his mother to see the brothers perform when they appeared at the Schwarzwald Inn.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Dan Leo,

Just a note to tell you that the image you have chosen to represent Jesus is actually a self-portrait drawn by the multi-talented songsmith and 70s superstar, Dan Folgerberg.

Best with all you do!


Dan Leo said...

Thanks for the info, Mrs G, and a tip o' the Leo lid to you.

I feel honored to have stolen I mean borrowed from the great Dan F, author of that uplifting but somehow unsettling hymn "Spirit in the Sky".

Dan Leo said...

Oh, sorry, "Spirit in the Sky" was by Norman Greenbaum! Don't know how I got him and Dan Fogelberg mixed up. But then I actually had to live through the 60s and 70s...

Unknown said...

My favorite line:

"For I am a lowly misbegotten worm.”

And, oh, how validated I'd be were Jesus ever to say "Poppycock" to me.