the salesman

busy street corner
any inner city
you pick one
he is the same
independent purveyor of goods
handing out winning lottery tickets
to the widows in your neighborhood
with gold plated promises
on a string of witnesses
from here to the burbs and back
some folks know him as the preacher man
some see his face and can’t remember him
children in their purity understand
when they come within 10 feet
of his candy cane fingers
or licorice voice
that he is the devil of all devils
crawling under their beds at night
into their minds at church
when mystery is preached out of the universe
and beauty is something dangerous
he is quick to conjure absolutes
lines around everything
lines in pursuit
of the next bestselling truth
dividing all factions
multiplying the proof
that he is the gunman on the roof
and we are the hapless mob
with no shelter
no leader
and nothing to prevent the next slick preacher
from sliding into our affections
wading into our self- deception
poisoning the well of inspiration
pissing on the grave of imagination
but a warning
a sign
a shadow standing on a corner
any corner
you pick one
peddling the truth
any truth
you pick one
pointing to a road
any road
you pick one


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