THEY CALL ME ISHMAEL

My name is Prophet but they call me, “Hey, you!” I am a penniless drifter shod poorly, diseased & despised. I sing for a seat near the hall down the path to the shed used by swine. I’m gleeful with joy for any place to dine. Crafty by circumstance, I am blessed with a spark of divine mind. I trade hope for shelter. I barter truth for a comfortable lie. I am privileged. I feel honored to share my most cherished possession with whatever lurking beast or saint there may come a-knocking on the door of my rice paper heart. The possession I speak of is my inner light; my love; the most powerful force in the universe. More often than not, I possess neither food nor shelter but light has never let me down. My huckster mind tries to convince me otherwise, yet when it does I always rally to the cry of, “Shyster thoughts be damned!” Beliefs do not make invidious fantasies real. I’d think I’d gone insane if there was such a thing as sanity in this world. Those evenings I am cold, angry, lonely, rejected, and filled with remorse for coming to this place in the first place, are the same evenings I forget to be grateful. On these occasions, nights crawl painfully slow to that trickster I call dawn. What I lack in essentials I make up in wisdom. Vagabond wisdom is priceless so I give it away for free. I must. As my father before me, I stand hunched back, just as his father before him. My deformed stoop is the result of an incalculable weight I carry upon my shoulders. My mother was born in Hell’s Kitchen. My father was orphaned at the age of two in the musky dank Mississippi poverty which knows no equal. Tragedy & poverty make good bedfellows. They don’t always have a choice. Obstacles overcome by both my mother & father overcame a long distance of heart, and so they conjoined in Union. Union was just one element of their prismed battle, for the Confederate flag flew in my father’s brain until the day he faded away. For one brief moment of a time eternal, Shangri La embraced their love with ideals & passion & abandon. Even so, sometime it is easier born deformed & senseless than bearing this weight, this soul numbing weight. I fear the worst should I stumble or fall. I fear for the innocents striding between land & the cobalt blue seas. When I fear it is because I’ve abandoned gratitude. Sometimes my unbridled dejection paralyzes my connection to God. It is easiest then to dismiss divine light as a dreamers hallucinations run amok. And I do. Yes, I do. I dismiss like a diva.

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