A Scandal in the Suburbs
We had to have him put away,
For what if he'd grown vicious?
To play faith healer, give away
Stale bread and stinking fishes!
His soapbox preaching set the tongues
Of all the neighbors going.
Odd stuff: how lilies never spin
And birds don't bother sowing.
Why, bums were coming to the door—
His pockets had no bottom—
And then-the foot-wash from that whore!
We signed. They came and got him.
In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus: New and Selected Poems, 1955–2007
The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
XJ Kennedy's poems is a rant, and a defense, and a contemporary spin on the biblical story. I like how no names are mentioned but we are absolutely sure of what we're reading because of certain details: bread, fishes, lilies, footwash...
Can you write a poem about a famous, or infamous person, that does not mention them by name, either in the title or the text, but still make it clear who the poem is about?
To make things a little more challenging, try and keep the poem to a maximum of 12 lines too.
You can either write the poem in the voice of your chosen character, or adopt the voice of an 'observer' as in the case of this poem.
And remember, a poem needs to be 'about' something too. It needs to be the vehicle for an idea, or ideas. 'A Scandal in the Suburbs' is not just about the Jesus story, it makes me think about how easily we judge people, how we find ways to defend our actions. It's about fear of difference. Perhaps of change.
Good luck and write well. And enjoy the holidays.