My life is a broken vessel
I am undone.
I take in these unbelievable words
captured, stripped by fluorescent light.

Though they hang undeciphered and pale
on the wall, in the reek of the drunk-tank
etched into gunmetal paint by a fingernail
course, broken, gray with mold,

even the dimmest drunk can read them,
groan with primal pity for man undone.
It is in the blood to turn to our God with laments.
These close walls are radiant with regrets.

They bleed with words, names, songs
from the meanest of psalmists, lesser saints,
ragged philosophers from the hard edge of life
and shamans who chant what others write.

We have written the words, burned them into the world
a legacy we carry like humps on our shoulders,
scarred and broken in merciless wind
when winter sinks its talons into our flesh.

For now we have surrendered our secrets,
the deepest dreams folded, locked away
safe in our darkest corners .
We are exposed in a dangerous world.

I hear the lamentations, the secret prayers
to a God who bled in pity, in forgiveness
of sins, who also leaves hunger in His wake.
What is pity in the cold of these narrow streets?