Goodbye Christ

Listen, Christ,
You did alright in your day, I reckon —
But that day's gone now.
They ghosted you up a swell story, too,
Called it Bible —
But it's dead now,
The popes and the preachers've
Made too much money from it.
They've sold you to too many

Kings, generals, robbers, and killers —
Even to the Tzar and the Cossacks,
Even to Rockefeller's Church,
You ain't no good no more.
They've pawned you
Till you've done wore out.

Christ Jesus Lord God Jehova,
Beat it on away from here now.
Make way for a new guy with no religion at all —
A real guy named
Marx Communist Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker ME —

I said, ME!
Go ahead on now,
You're getting in the way of things, Lord.
And please take Saint Ghandi with you when you go,
And Saint Pope Pius,
And Saint Aimee McPherson,
And big black Saint Becton
Of the Consecrated Dime.
And step on the gas, Christ!

Don't be so slow about movin'!
The world is mine from now on —
And nobody's gonna sell ME
To a king, or a general,
Or a millionaire.
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Whisper's picture

I think this poem really reflects how Hughes felt about religion after everything he had dealt with in his youth (Salvation). He had been sold on the idea that he would see a literal Jesus, but in reality he had been lied to by his "aunt" Reed. As a child he had waited throughout that night to see what he was told, but ended up being faced with the harsh reality that the church was nothing more than a sales place for religion and dead hope. "Goodbye Christ", as I see it, is a way of Hughes expressing that he would be paving his own way and not some religion. I personally can really relate to Hughes on his views, and with some of his experiences. Being taken to church as a child and being indoctrinated with christianity can lead to very different paths, as we can see some flourish and accept everything they're told or we can see some question it and wait to see if what we've been told is true. Hughes expression towards religion is very insightful and shows that we shouldn't just wait to see jesus and to be sold to a king, general, or tzar. We should pave out own way and make the world ours while we have it.

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Hnnhbiie30's picture

In the poem "Goodbye Christ" by Langston Hughes, the author says farewell to the figure of Jesus Christ. Hughes starts by acknowledging the influence that Christ had in the past, recognizing that "You did alright in your day, I reckon." However, he quickly declares that Christ's time has passed, and that the stories told about him, known as the Bible, are now dead.

Hughes suggests that Christ has been used and manipulated by powerful figures throughout history. He accuses religious leaders, popes, and preachers of profiting from Christ's image, selling him to "kings, generals, robbers, and killers." Even esteemed institutions like Rockefeller's Church and publications like THE SATURDAY EVENING POST are implicated in this exploitation.

The poet portrays Christ as worn-out and exhausted from being pawned off by those seeking power and wealth. He bids farewell to Christ, urging him to make way for a new era where religion holds no sway. Instead, Hughes celebrates individuals like Marx, Communist Lenin, and others who represent a more earthly and secular ideology. He asserts his own identity and autonomy, declaring, "A real guy named / Marx Communist Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker ME."

In the poem's closing lines, Hughes commands Christ to leave quickly, asserting his dominance over the world. He rejects the idea of being sold or controlled by anyone, whether they be kings, generals, or millionaires. Hughes envisions a future where he is in control of his own destiny, free from the influence of religious and political manipulation.

Overall, "Goodbye Christ" is a provocative and assertive poem that challenges traditional religious authority and celebrates individual autonomy. Through powerful imagery and straightforward language, Langston Hughes critiques the exploitation of Christ's image for profit and power, while asserting the importance of personal agency and independence.

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