What’s So Funny? by Mark Sebastian Jordan
Pudding Magazine #56

I sat down once in a cheap dive bar
across a wobbly, beat up table from Death.
He showed me three card tricks
and told a dirty joke about
how he uses his scythe
to pick up movie stars.
It wasn’t all that funny,
but I laughed at Death.

I sat down once in a pew
in a plastic and vinyl Baptist church
and heard a heaven-humping, Bible-thumping
preacher mispronounce my grandma’s name
over her dead body, before leaving her behind
in the dust-to-dust as he rode his brimstone rant
to beatific release.

I sat down once in the classroom of a philosopher
at the Ohio State University,
and fell asleep.

I stood up once on a creaky stage,
eye to eye with another joker,
and was shook to my core
to watch us duel like musketeers,
to hear our laughter echo
through our hollow insides.

They ought to elect a comedian president.
Sure, he’d piss the hell out of everyone,
but that mocking bastard might be the first
honest soul to ever sit in that suave leather seat.

For you see,
a comedian is
a poet who doesn’t lie,
a preacher who says you’re not guilty,
a philosopher who doesn’t know what to think,
a grinning reaper that pulls a quarter out of your tombstone
and says:

“You might as well laugh, kid—
You’ll just get dehydrated
if you cry about this world.”

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The Schuylkill Valley Journal publishes poetry, short stories and critical essays. Both the SVJ and SVJ LIT come out twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.
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