Preacher David

in New York City where I was amazed
where I was stranded in my wandering days

I met Preacher David who lived in the park
and where so did I also when things got dark

he wore a football helmet all painted with words
and a cape of the same like the wings of a bird

a long handled cane and a bible also
an old world prophet with a new world world show

he was looking for something in that cast away place
where the streetlights reflected on his African face

something that was missing, for what did I ask
“to maybe find Jesus out here in the trash”

those were times of division between the day and the night
the rich and the poor, the black and the white

and the people who lived in tall buildings around
looked down the ones who lived on the ground

so early one morning in the stark naked sun
into the park a police wagon come

to round up the bums, to take them to jail
for a night behind bars and a two dollar bail

so David the conjuror leapt to his feet
and he ran to the wagon that was parked on the street

and he stood there so ferociously sane
with his helmet, his bible, his cape & his cane

“a curse on all of your money” says he
“your slums and guns and your misery

your courts and your jails and your crooked designs
that fall on the least of us most of the time”

and he moved to the beat of invisible drums
weaving his fingers and talking in tongues

and he lofted his cane like a spell caster’s wand
and he circled the wagon and tapped it upon

and he walked around three time, he walked around four
and he tapped on the fenders, the windows, and doors

and he walked around four times, he walked around five
like a crazy man kicking the bees in the hive

and the captain inside who was prepping the troops
who were hypnotized watching and shook in their boots

then the door, yes the door was opening wide
they took a deep breath and went outside

where David the exorcist sat back down
painting new words on a case that he’d found

while the cops from the wagon went about their rounds
but didn’t say hello and they didn’t stick around

for maybe it was only the luck of the game
but everyone there would tell you the same

that they left empty handed, with no one in tow
got back in the wagon and away they did go

sometimes I think there’s no way to explain
how only the crazy are actually sane

how the spectacle, the shock & the awe
can puncture such holes in the web of the law

but I’ll always remember that day in the park
when the sun was so bright and his skin was so dark

and the words on his helmet, his bible and cane
and the wagon that had to go back where it came
— from