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After the heathens martyred Jesus 6.6,
demolished Him in a crowded, crazed arena,
cornered, bound, chainsawed, crushed,
the ethereal execs in the celestial penthouse
vowed to make the next model indestructible.

So many attempts at pacifying this planet!
The many Messiahs inserted into Palestine
to begin with, perfectly mimicking human form,
`taking on flesh,' as the saying went; one Messiah
in particular became rather famous.

And what sprang from Him? Crusaders,
massacres, pogroms, bonfires, a church militant.
Buddha, alias Jesus 5.7, was a better model,
J-E-S-U-S in the sing-song of the butterfly aliens
signifying the taming of aggressive savages

but the brutes' penchant for bloodlust ran
so deep, those who heeded one model would
kill the next one's followers (and the model
Himself, if they got their hands on Him.)
The board met in their luxurious pocket universe

to discuss the design of Jesus 7.0; for the first
time in eons, hawk factions outvoted the doves.
Let weapons break against His undamaged flesh,
they said; let Him sway the masses, not through
argument, but through telepathic mind control.

Some among them fluttered energy-wings
in coloured blurs of butterfly distress; but most
rolled up tongues into tight knots of determination.
By then the savages had trashed their civilisation,
if worthy of the word, when other words for it

were Auschwitz and Hiroshima, Rwanda, Pol Pot
and Twin Towers, virus plague and nerve gas.
The Earth was on her beam ends, on the skids,
balkanised and chaotic, though black laboratories
still beavered away at offense and defense.

Protected by force field, Jesus 7.0 arrived, radiated
commands to be meek, mild, and butterfly-friendly.
Having watched the old movies and read the old books
the savages knew how to respond to alien invasion.
Ramp up! Unite! Devise telepathy blockers and devices

to analyse and penetrate a force field and tease
its secrets, and many others, from Jesus 7.0.
This time no crucifixion or bloodcurdling doom
for Him; instead, reverse engineering.
Yeah verily, at last, He had brought Salvation.


Copyright © 2002 Mike Allen and Ian Watson

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Mike Allen's poetry has appeared in Weird Tales, Absolute Magnitude, Altair, Tales of the Unanticipated, Dreams of Decadence, and numerous other publications, including his book Defacing the Moon and Other Poems. He is the editor of Mythic Delirium, published by DNA Publications. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia, with his wife Anita and a portly black cat named Prowler. For more about him, visit his Web site.

Ian Watson was born in Britain, taught literature in Tanzania and Tokyo then Futures Studies in an art school in Birmingham, UK. He's been a full-time SF author since 1976. He wrote with Stanley Kubrick the screen story for Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence. His books include The Lexicographer's Love Song and Other Poems, The Great Escape, The Fire Worm, Hard Questions, Converts, Draco, and The Jonah Kit. He lives with a black cat called Poppy in a little village midway between Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon. For more about him, visit his Web site.

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