This room stinks,
but the motel is full –
so I crank
a window and crack
the door: hollow metal, painted green, grimy fingerprints.
he bursts in,
rail thin with long hair flaying off bony shoulders;
sweeping past, he babbles a rapid rant:
“Say, hey, man . . . hey, uh, about what you were saying,
that religious thing,
you got a sec?”
“You know, you were telling me,” he says,
pacing about with arms swinging back and forth
and hands up and down,
“the point you’re making,
I wanna make sure I got it right,
so as . . . well,
it changes things . . .
so I wanna get it right —
something like that, you wanna get it down . . .
you wanna be down with it!”
“Sure,” I answer and
odd are his beastly bright eyes
this Sunday morning
after his long night of noisy revelry from the room next door.
“So ,” he mouths
through gapped and blackened teeth that
animate an elaborately tattooed face
with a constellation of scabs –
if the divine exists,
the Eastern idea is that
it’s found in reality . . . ordinary reality,
that’s where God is, not somewhere else.”
His pacing stops, gestures frozen.
“Almost . . .” I say,
“ordinary reality is not only
where God is,
it’s what God is.”
and whatever I’m doing,
wherever I am, whatever I am,
whatever I am is . . .”
– again hands flying about –
“is manifestly God,
no less divine than anything,
from a pocket of his pants that are
torn and worn,
but surprisingly clean,
he snatches a leather pouch, unzips,
and with a magician’s slight-of-hand
pulls out his works – a syringe.
Pointed up to examine, the needle’s tip
glistens with liquid residue spilling
behind that jewel,
framed in the sooty window of the motel room,
a church spire across the street
towers over a scurry of shirts and ties and long dresses
filing into the sanctuary, bells pealing.
“Even this . . .”
he says, again stock-still
but for the syringe slowly twirling between long fingers,
“even this is just as sacred,
just as divine as . . .
as . . .”
and with fractured smirk
his head tilts to the scene unfolding outside.
before I can respond he winds back up,
precious cargo stowed,
and quick as a cat he is gone
slickly out the door and
down the concrete walk already baking under the early sun,
retreating behind a door slam.
“Ah . . .” I sigh and open the door wide.