In Which Pilate Reflects Upon Another Long Dreary Friday

Well, they just have to have a body, you know.

There wasn’t the opportunity for a stoning,

No drawn-out process spectacle of the subject at hand

Bewailing his fate before slumping silently

Under the onslaught of the hand-tossed avalanche,

No torn and bloody corpse in the field for the dogs to set upon,

But they’ll have their corpse soon enough,

All the rabble needs in repayment for whatever hoodwinking, betrayal, or boredom

Drove the wretched and unwashed into this particular state of beatific madness.


The problem with messiahs is that they have short memories.

We have a different model every year, after all,

And each time, as sure as the sun rises and falls every day,

Their would-be minions punish them in direct proportion

To how much they’ve promised and how remote the payoff will be,

Yet time after time some charlatan comes onto the scene

Working the same stage tricks to captivate the foolish bastards

And work them into a lather (if you want to see true miracles,

One should study how we brought laws, water, roads

And at least a semblance of order to this damned patch of land)

Until such time as they are revealed to be frauds.

And then, do they run to one their false gods, their would-be oracles?

Dear me, no! Oh, they demand justice and restitution, all right,

But they demand it from their wholly earth-bound governor,

The only variations being which punishment they demand

And how quickly they’d like it meted out

(Though I’ve found it nearly impossible

To ascertain the will of the populace in virtually any matter.)

And as all the nattering of the zealots goes on ad infinitum,

The daily business of empire does not stand still:

There are roads to maintain and aqueducts to build,

(The true commerce of men’s souls, I would argue)

Codes of taxation to enact and enforce.

And so it goes, day in and day out,

Martyr to martyr, one chosen one to the next.

Perhaps it is the meek who are blessed;

At least they’ll be quiet and mind their own fucking business.


(For the Wednesday challenge at Real Toads, where the poetry and flies are equally tasty.)





10 thoughts on “In Which Pilate Reflects Upon Another Long Dreary Friday

  1. I loved this piece, especially the last couple of lines. Not to be too clever here, but I can’t help but think of Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian” whenever this sort of topic pops up. It makes me recall John Cleese’s character arguing, “I say he’s the Messiah, and I should know. I’ve followed a few.”
    God love the Romans for their patience with the conquered.
    Nice job,

      1. “He has a wife you know. You know what she’s called? She’s called… Incontinentia…Incontinentia Buttocks.”

  2. IMO you win the contest (not that there was one, but..) hands down for narrative voice and I am so pleased that you participated in this challenge. I love your world-weary Pilate, watching another dreary crucifixion, not knowing how this particular one might change the world. That last line is killer!

    On a personal note, I wish I had written this line: The problem with messiahs is that they have short memories.

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