A pair of new shoes.
Ancient Amos’ retail value, the purchase price
For what’s left of the life of a poor man.
Not too bad a deal, unless you are the man.
One prescription,generic antibiotic for tiny ears and the fever
Of night—the purchase price for one more shred of
A father’s, a mother’s dignity willingly offered up
In a crowded place of charity instead of life.
High tech preservation of the good life whirls nearby,
With new robotics and life-scanners projecting full-color
Images of the insides of those with deep pockets and policies,
Clearing minds and hearts of a reality just a block away.
A penny for your thoughts, about as prophetic as we get,
While children cry and mothers pray and fathers wince against
The plight that is their city, the place of light and games
And the new—clearly as old as Amos himself.
High steeples point up to Heaven to keep from facing Earth,
Minds stolen away from the street
By the power of salvation’s lure,
Have it all and don’t look back—
Amos’ tears still fall.
[First posted on January 8, 2005]