Monday, May 5, 2014


A boy named Marvelous  African  from Monrovia Liberia
An orphan  left naked on someone’s front steps  a woman
who took him in and named him
and he lives up to his name   the pastor tells us
clearly moved
he repeats  Named
We are given
and then God renames us
and I don’t know God’s nickname
for you  says the pastor 
then after a pause-
but I bet it’s something
like Marvelous

So…Marvelous…he has something
Something you want 
Spending any time with Marvelous…
The pastor trails off   overcome 
He loves this boy  Marvelous-
boy- and I am moved
I  too
want to
know this boy 
this boy  continents away

So…Marvelous  he continues 
invites me over
to his new place
It’s a ten by ten room 
And it’s dingy
His voice chokes as he speaks the word low:  Perspective 
He shakes his head
like to rid the tears
get through
this story that still gets to him

So…the door is broken 
but Marvelous
he swings the door open like to the Taj Mahal
The pastor mimes the flair of movement
and mimes
Marvelous  proud  confident  beaming
And it’s dingy  repeats the pastor  Dirty
It reeks  There’s a light bulb hanging from the ceiling
but it doesn’t work
and he has a window
but it doesn’t have any glass
and it looks out into a slum
and there’s no furniture…
but there are bugs  probably carrying malaria
he wryly adds

But Marvelous  he swings
open that broken door like to the Taj Mahal
and he says  Look!  And he’s so proud of this ten by ten room  
like dirt floors and light bulbs are opulent 
Look! Marvelous says,
walking to one corner of the room  This  this is where
I’ll place my chair
and my bible and I’ll sit here and I’ll read
to all the men  And here!  Over here
  The pastor walks
across the stage
playing Marvelous  showing how small
in size this room is  This is where I’ll have a table
with water and everyone
can have water  and look!  Look at my window  I have a view
of the neighborhood 

The pastor stops his reenactment
and stares out  again shakes his head  I can’t quite bring myself
to say neighborhood  he says 
It’s a slum  

Marvelous returns  says and I can look
out my window and pray
for the whole neighborhood
and then
he holds his door open- and this will always be open! 
The men can come in and out

The pastor looks at us  We  he says 
Corrects himself   I – I am
kind of a whiner  A complainer 
I would want light
Electricity  especially in that heat 
Furniture  A window  With Glass 

You know-  I’ve met so many with so much less than we have here -
here in America  We lack nothing 
and still -we’re taught to be covetous- 
ungrateful - and these others  -they’re content  -grateful 
even  and -this is strange  -
they have peace  and what they have  most of all that we don’t? 
And what we want most?  Joy. 

I pray, he says, someday I can be as wealthy as Marvelous 
Perspective  he whispers

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