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John Early in Netflix’s The Characters
John Early in Netflix’s The Characters

BooksFebruary 10, 2023

The Friday Poem: ‘Youth Group Leader’ by Jordan Hamel

John Early in Netflix’s The Characters
John Early in Netflix’s The Characters

A new poem by poet and editor Jordan Hamel.

Youth Group Leader

comes home after a blessed day
of ping pong and soda and rapping
about Jesus. Cool youth group leader
nearly a man, in bed with his wife,
nearly a woman. He finishes quickly,
rolls over, begs his saviour
for renewed vigour, rolls over,
because, you know who else rose again?
You know who else gave their life
and put the discipline back into disciple,
so he could guide us through juvenile nights
with three-chord, acoustic Creed covers
and guilt, oh the guilt, tucked beneath
a sugared surface and hereditary words
and the word is good and the word is god
and the word is proof there is no heaven
to be found in a voice that told the sea to part
its legs and peaked the earthy floor,
and maybe, it was the lord’s plan for me
to get caught doing hand stuff
at the chapel sleepover,
ruining the weekend for everyone.
Just two unruly kids finding grace,
while stained glass saints pulled themselves
from fire pits and lions’ mouths
long enough to shake their heads,
as if they never asked the lion to savour
their flesh until it became memory.
We are not young very often,
and everyone looks terrible
early in the morning, draped
over plastic plates of powdered eggs
and cups of cocoa, the sleeping bag’s chafe
still echoing, as we sat in silence,
awaiting admonishment, a new decree,
an example. Maybe, I wanted to be made
an example of, to be the cautionary
tale whispered in the foyer
when the service is over, and tea is served:
see kids, this is the foretold filth incarnate,
this is how the devil finds you,
this is what the evening hides.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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