Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Burly street preacher

Late summer, early evening,
on the Starbucks patio,
corner of O and 12th.

College students are out
(they’re mostly still sober),
and I’m sipping a latte,
reading Kafka on the Shore.

But I’m distracted by the bellowing
of a burly street preacher
who’s got propped on his shoulder
a 20-foot cross.

He’s barking “sin” and “judgment,”
courtesy of our Lord and Savior,
and I grimace
as some teens snicker.
I cringe as he snarls, “you didn’t come from no monkey!”
to jeering, bepectacled humanists
who're holding a banner reading
God hates wet dreams, Deuteronomy 23:10’.
The preacher threatens hell
to a man in tattoos and black,
and I brace myself as the rebel
angrily yells back "you're the one who's gonna burn!"

I wish I’d brought my ear plugs.
I’m just trying to read Murakami.
Still – even if I’ve got to pick them out
between grating spiritual epithets
– still –
I never get tired of hearing
the balmy words, “Jesus Christ.”


Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Thank you for this wonderful poem.

Anonymous said...

You vividly shared the grating scene and then left the reader in the peace of our Lord's name. Well done.

jose said...

really enjoyed this. I wasn't sure where you going. Damn the condemnor? Pity the damned? Ah, I see. Praise the name of the Son of God.