The wisest man in the city
carries his belongings in a trash bag
and wears a Rasta tam.
He has the world solved.
Corruption, corporate slavery,
racism: He knows a better way.
With the confidence of a mega-church preacher,
he launches into a flawless summary
of Christian theology.
The vacant warehouses behind him
are his backdrop and the crumbling asphalt
beneath him his pulpit.
He compares the major world religions –
what he’s learned through his studies.
Admits his fondness for the Apostle Paul.
“The only way a man writes that well
about love is to have it revealed to him
through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
But as he speaks, the workman’s gloves
and layered shirts he wears on a perfect day
undermine his words.
Ragged clothes, tired eyes and thin frame
betray his losses in this life
and the real battles he faces.
“They’re always trying to get me
to do drugs out here,” he says.
“I’m not stupid. I don’t want to die.”
The sermon ends there.
The wisest man separates himself
from the hustlers and losers.
The wisdom he possesses
while ideal for survival
damns him to understand his lot.