Sacramento, deep seat of a subcultured sin,
natural dreams of a would-be housewife in campfire
kumbayah stonewalled by disappearance within
a total eclipse of the star of bethlehem…
orgasmic choirs canonized the disco ball
and the dance went on and on and on… babes and beer,
mary and jane, last calls diluting alcohol,
enriching blasphemy on the way home to
plunge into dreamlessness yet right as rain to claim
“pleasegodhelpme.” Later (while he wasn’t helping),
desolation’s rotted hands clapped and scared the blame,
the pain, on nothing more than simple shame on me.
“Tears have been my food day and night,” take me home,
take me home. Take me to last chance, to that corner
church across the tangled, urban catacombs,
those trip-wired boulevards buried under the sun.
Just one mourner wept in this cavernous cage
of worship; dangerous prayers echoed hollow,
desperate prayers swallowed whole by an empty stage,
by a deaf God, a wordless God, a missing God–
a harrowing thought that took on a life of its own.
No news is good news, they say. Well, cry me a timeworn
“pleasegodhelpme” over and over, alone
on a peopled planet, dicks and janes holding hands
in a California theme park one fine summer day:
suddenly awed in the watching of all that Good,
free from fissures of men. Maybe I prayed away
redemption in that church so long ago;
or, it could have prayed itself in and followed me
all the days of my life, weaving in and out of
shadows and light, leaving old rugged tracks easy
for a sinner to trip across, to fall in Love.
Jimmy Cliff I love you too, suddenly your song-
popped, sun-buttered lyrics breathe; I can make it now.
Look all around, there are reasons it took so long
to see daylight through dreams I’ve been praying for.