Jesus Done Gone Wacky Dancing on Dat Tree — a poem

My three girls read this for me and gave me some great help, corrections and pointers.  They also had about the same reaction. Justine phrased it best, “Mom,  this is supposed to be bizarre, right?” Well, actually yes, it is supposed to be bizarre, because I think we have lost a bit how absolutely bizarre the life and death of Jesus the Christ really was and is. So ….. for what it is worth, which is never much, here’s a bizarre poem.

Thanks Justine, Clarissa and Verity. Love, your bizarre (hopefully) Mom

Jesus Done Gone Wacky Dancin’ On Dat Tree

By Jane Tawel

June 28, 2015

A Southern Gothic Poem from the Backwoods of Southern California

I walked the ridge above the city, lookin’ down, lookin’ down.

Fog hid dirty sky, and below, the trees greened the grey.

I saw You laughin’ like a crazy fool, balanced high, like a clown, like a clown.

You held by fingertips, the highest needle on the pine, legs askew, arm muscles bulging,

Holdin’ Yourself parallel to gravity, You teased me to believe You did it.

Folk who dance for no reason are insane.

Men who dance in trees are fools, Jesus, ain’t y’all figured that out?


If only I could clearly hear the way You sing the silly songs, silly songs.

Knowin’ You became the acrobat to make me laugh through my angry stupid sobs.

You balanced all the earth between two cross beams.

Silly man. Silly God.

You forgave my mocking with your mocking Tourette’s dance on Calvary.

You mock all my agonies and all my wrongs, all my wrongs.

Because what You can do, laughin’, teetered on the tree

Makes me feel my spineless, dirt- crawling, worm-ness.

Worms can’t dance.

Unless You resurrect them to the Pine,

Worms eaten as they Eat You,

Becoming birds and flyin’ away, flyin’ away.

O Happy Day! O Happy Day! A Metaphoric Cirque de Soleil!


You wink at me, and blow a raspberry at my fear, “Come on up, scaredy cat,” You yodel.

And I try a clumsy, graceless pirouette, land- bound, while a middle aged couple I neglected to see sneak up, and gawk at the fool on the hill,  but they be missing The Fool still dancing in the tree. You.

The oh- so- sane two try to sidle by

With their pit bull to protect them when their policies don’t.

Each sporting several aging tattoos worn

In order to prove they believe in something, anything, that how desperate they be.

Just click your heels together and poke some ink under your skin and all the world will marvel.

I guess the woman

Believes in Hello Kitty and he thinks at forty-something barbed wire on his leg

will save him from

Soul intruders.

I try a jette and the dog snarls, as does the woman underneath her breath.

My irritation irrigation floods my brain, but I smile at the dog

And wave as if I’ve just performed on “So- You- Think-You- Can- Dance- American- Idol-American- Bandstand-Lollapalooza”.  “Y’all come on back now, ya’ hear?”

Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

Your foolishness is rubbing off on me. World Weenies, go away, go away.

Come and play another day, ‘nother day.

I gotta get ringing round dat Rose o’ Sharon.


I gave up american idols to waltz with You.

Lordy, I pine for You, pine for You!

You did the Pine for me so I will take up my pine, and pine away, pine away.


I hope to dance, like an idiot, like a moron, like a Crazy-A Fooh, like an autistic, ADHD, Aspergers, special needs fool for Christ.

I need to be cukoo for Cocoa Puffs, psycho, trippy, loony, looped… Whoa, now —

Jesus busts a move up on dat tree, and I boogie into the mosh pit of His Holy Rolling Groove.

I wanna’  hang on dat tree by my fingernails, followin’ Your footwork, (oh, you got that right, footwork get it?– my feet all wet from head to tippy toes, ballerina toe shoes soaked, I’m petered out now),  I gotta be followin’ Your moves, Your grooves, Your hilarious blues,

Not livin’ like a paralyzed prisoner of my own regrets of not joining  Le Grande Ballet.

I be Fred Ginger Nureyev Jackson Pavlova.

I gonna’ find in foolishness a joy that lights the world with madness.

What a crazy world if all danced like You did.

Like you do, high in the trees, in the stars, on the road, in the eyes, in the gazelles and newts, dancing in the clouds, the drippy drops, the rays, and platypus paddy feet, yo, if I don’t dance, the rocks gonna be rock and rollin’, rock and rollin’.

You ain’t a- jokin’, ain’t a- jokin’.

Now I’m laughin’ so hard, I’m peeing my pants.


I’m waitin’ now at home, like a novice in The Green Room.

I last saw You cacklin’, grinnin’ like a madman in the top- most bulge of pine, of pine.

I gonna laugh out loud, unafraid of strangers with their designer to-go coffees–

They be thinkin’ me a joke. Oh, the jokes on them when Saturday Night Fever runs its course and Your eternal disco ball lights up The Dance Floor.

Oh My God,  I knew that in that moment, You were mine, You were mine.

Not a sad, serious Man of Sorrows always bleeding and alone, walkin’, crawlin’ slow.

But You be a righteous Fool for God, moonwalking on real stars,

Makin’ me laugh, You chasse away this world. I’m only trying to follow Your moves.

You dos-a-dosed the Last Tango, grippin’ ole Satan by the tail

And trippin’ the Light Fandango,

You Done and Gone Wacky, Jesus!

Bustin’ yo’ moves on earth as it be in Heaven.


On that two pronged balance beam, it all hung in the balance;

You ball change and balance me by keepin’ me off balance.

I take Your hand and you lead me in The Dance.

You done gone wacky, Jesus, dancing high up dere on dat tree,

and I gonna swirl down on my knees

and pray God, I can go wacky dancin’ wich you.


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"I'm Nobody, who are you? Are you nobody too?"-- in the words of that now famous "nobody", Emily Dickinson, I am a no one committed to the great Some One and to the idea that words matter. Even words that no one reads or hears, because I also believe that there is One who always hears the truest and deepest desires of the human heart. My own journey in this world often takes the form of seeking those things that matter through exploring the written word in essay and poetry. Even the small and unknown of us are made better through the creative process since we are made in the image of The Creator of All. I am thankful to have a home in this blog to store my thoughts and thankful for any who sit awhile in this blog home, seeking crumbs on their own journeys.

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