When I Got Down with the Christ
by Jewish person Rick Lupert

When I was older than a boy, but younger than
the man I am today, I went to see a high school

production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
I was not in high-school, but a friend of mine was

and she was playing a soul sister, or a dark angel
or, honestly, I don’t remember, it was a hundred years ago.

I wanted to say death eater but then I remembered
that’s from Harry Potter.

As a Jew I was not down with the Jesus.
I didn’t know any of the music, the story, and

had a general sense that he was not my guy.
Somehow I found myself in the center of the front row –

little Jewish man, alone at a high school with
Romans and parents and Christ.

Judas came out first. I didn’t know enough
to have heard his name in pop culture.

But now, whenever it gets mentioned I have
deep memories of that guy and what he sang.

Then What’s the Buzz. This was rock and roll.
This was the concert I never knew I wanted to be at.

At a certain point, me, at this high school,
with these people in the last throws of their childhood

almost pulled me out of my seat to mosh-pit
in the space between the front row and the orchestra.

To say this musical, this high school production
was better than Cats is to say that there is air in the air.

Since then I’ve seen it thirty silver pieces worth of times –
The film, stage productions of every size.

It’s always good. That’s the way he wrote it.
I had to put on the soundtrack to write this.

I’m dancing between every stanza.
Half of my knowledge of history comes from musicals.

I’m an expert, and I know, if this whole Judaism thing
doesn’t work out, I’m going to ride into Jerusalem

on the back of this sacred rock and roll.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was tearing my brain apart trying to find one good memory to write about and then the email came from Broadway in Hollywood letting me know that the 50th anniversary tour of Jesus Christ Superstar was coming to the Pantages while I was staring at the empty word processing document. I was immediately transported back to the 90s when I first saw the show. I bought three tickets for New Years Eve and wrote this poem.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rick Lupert has been involved with poetry in Los Angeles since 1990. He is the recipient of the 2017 Ted Slade Award, and the 2014 Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Distinguished Service Award, a three-time Pushcart Prize Nominee, and a Best of the Net nominee. He served as a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets for two years, and created Poetry Super Highway. Rick hosted the weekly Cobalt Cafe reading for almost 21 years which has lived on as a weekly Zoom series since early 2020. His spoken word album Rick Lupert Live and Dead featured 25 studio and live tracks. He’s authored 26 collections of poetry, including I Am Not Writing a Book of Poems in Hawaii, The Tokyo-Van Nuys Express, and God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion (Ain’t Got No Press) and edited the anthologies A Poet’s Siddur, Ekphrastia Gone Wild, A Poet’s Haggadah, and the noir anthology The Night Goes on All Night. He also writes and draws (with Brendan Constantine) the daily web comic Cat and Banana and writes a Jewish poetry column for He has been lucky enough to read his poetry all over the world. Visit him on Facebook.

Author photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher.