Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Shroud Of Turin Man

The Shroud of Turin Man
Stands on guard
Almost every day
At the entrance
To the post office at
The suburban station
I often see him
Standing there
Like one of those
Puffed up
Popping jay
Military martinets who
Feign to guard the queen's
Buckingham palace
For the sake of the
Daily throngs of
Photo snapping tourists

I call him
The Shroud of Turin Man
Because that is what
And who
He looks like
He is the
Spitting image
Of the image on
The famed
(Or is it infamous?)
Shroud of Turin
The so-called burial cloth
That many have claimed
To be the burial shroud of
Jesus Christ of Nazareth
Who is claimed by many
To have been  the
Long awaited
Messiah of the Jews

Every time
I see him there
Standing at his
Self-appointed post
It takes my breath away
That initial
Shock of recognition
How could such a
Come to be
And then go
So unnoticed
By the milling throngs
Of passersby
Who are so
Focused on
Their own problems
And their own
Need to
Get to work
That they
Everything else
Around them

Not me
I am focused
On nothing
I am focused
On the obscure and
The mundane
On the magical
And the mystical
And the miraculous
Should it ever be
My good fortune
To luckily encounter such
(Either that or
I may also have
Adult onset
Attention deficeit
Hyper activity disorder
But for the time being
That will remain
The subject
For another time and
Another poem
So do stay tuned)

I can't help
But notice him
He is so imposing
Such a formidable figure
Standing at around
What seems to be
Eight feet tall
His head appears
To be wrapped
In a turbin
While the rest
Of him is
Wrapped in what
Seems to be his
Winter homeless gear

He stands erect
And ram rod straight
Almost like a soldier
Posted as a sentry
With his arms
Crossed across
His chest
And his eyes
Staring straight ahead
Into the wild blue yonder
Not blinking

His eyes are
Coal black
And his full
Salt and pepper beard
Comes tapered
To a point
Like a spear

His expression
Is stoic
And it is hard
To know
If he even breathes
As other men do

His bearing is regal
And other worldly
Oddly serene
And yet
Also somewhat
(As large as he is
As looming a presence
As he has become
As if he were here to
Make some important
But for the fact that
He is just too tired
And world weary
And too sad
To find
Enough energy
Or breath
To do so)

If he could
What earth shattering
Would he make?

He seems to be
Capable of saying it all
From announcing
The second coming of
The Messiah to
The coming of
(And coming from him
I would be prone
To believe it!)

But as of yet
I have never
Heard him speak
Not to anyone
Not to passersby
Not even to those
Who sometimes try
To give him money
Or to the police
Who are always
Telling him to
Move along
Move along
And warning him
To stop
Obstructing the
Access and Egress
Though he has never
Tried to do either
(I have often heard them
Threaten to lock him up
For loitering and
For failure to comply)
Usually he does not resist
Usually he just
Turns to the right
Or to he left
(Marching off
To the drum beat
Of some distant drummer
That only he can hear)

The next day
Usually finds
The Shroud Of Turin Man
Back at his post
Just standing there
Standing in the same spot
As every other day
Standing his ground
Guarding his post
Doing his duty
Carrying out his mission
(A mission that is known
Only to himself)
Making every day
Of my life
Whenever I happen
To see him
Into some kind of
Judgement Day

(The kind of
Judgement Day
That none of us
Ever really wants to
Live long enough
To ever actually see!)

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

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