THEY CALL ME ISHMAEL written by SCOTT UTLEY

 

ishmael j

My name is ‘Prophet’ but they call me, ‘hey, you!’ I am a penniless drifter shod poorly. I’m 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 feel privileged, indeed, 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 me down. My huckster mind tries to convince me otherwise yet to the joker inside my skull I say, “Shyster thoughts be damned!” Belief does not make an invidious fantasy real.

Those evenings I am cold, angry, lonely, rejected & filled with remorse for coming to this place in the first place are the very same evenings I forget to be grateful. On these occasions nights crawl painfully slow to that trickster called dawn. What I lack in essentials I make up for in wisdom. Vagabond wisdom is priceless so I give it away for free. I must. Like my father before me I stand hunchbacked, 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 & raised in New York City’s west side shanty town; Hell’s Kitchen. My father was orphaned at the age of two under crushing dank Mississippi Delta poverty which knows no equal. Perilous & foreboding omens for both of them yet they overcame their twisted fate of birth with passion, ideals & love… at least for a time. They had to dig deep to survive. I have had to dig even deeper but I have learned to love getting my face dirty. Either do that or die. 

Sometimes I wonder if being born deformed & senseless is easier to bear than this weight, this soul numbing weight. I fear the worst should I stumble or fall. I fear for the innocents striding between land & 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 dreamer’s hallucinations run amok. And I do. Yes, I do. I dismiss like a diva.

prophet hhhhh