with friends like…

with friends like

the brown bag prophet
had just finished
a book
ancient egyptian deities
when i
passed by
his makeshift
cardboard altar
on hollywood and vine
he said
to political parties
is like
you can
praise him
offer him
as many
as you want
in the end
devour you
a chance

medina walls….

framed photos
of children
lining the walls
of the old city
names whispered
in prayers
prayers offered
in behalf of a life
a life torn
from a mother’s womb
placed upon war’s altar
as a sacrifice
to intolerance
but like the sands
of the sahara
the names shift
forming the pillars
of resistance
that cannot be
or moved
from within
the living
of humanity
or anyone

notwithstanding in this rejoice not…

enter these hallowed chambers
light a candle of pure hope
to push back the darkness of despair
press your hands together
grasping onto the frayed fibers of your faith
kneeling in the silence of your expectations
offer up your prayers
before the altar of tomorrow
not even prayers
said from the heart
nor wishes
cast with golden coins
into the fountain of belief
can bring life
to a stubborn soul
who sees the world’s sadness
as too much to bear
and so stays
within its shell
or dies before the dawn
as if to say
i’ve changed my mind
so cry
if you must
but understand
not all that is good
is born

the offering…

on an old altar
he placed a roman coin
exposed by rain
found among the ruins
for sale
not worth much
the guide said
but authentic
how much i asked
two dinars
but it’s only worth
one dinar
but it was found here
where poor foot soldiers came
offering their wages
for favors in the night
wine and women
the holy sacraments for the lonely
and disciples of poverty
given on a temporary altar of love
a coin that purchased a soul
rather than food for his family
or education for his children
and he asked
why are you crying
nothing has changed