The Land of God

I wondered if the “Land of God” was fictitious
Like Atlantis and risen Elvis
Something only for the superstitious
This, yeasty, feasty, blessed be the leasty, glorious Land of God
Tucked away in a Kolkata bustee
Where ten thousand women stand for sale in a line, like vending machine candy bars
In brothels of rusty tin and musty stench and lusty-driven men
 I stumbled upon it, fumbled upon it, crumpled upon it
I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise
Jesus said the prostitutes were entering the Land of God ahead of everybody else
The rich are left to wrestle their camels through needle eyes
All the while the Land of God is filling up with throw away, stow away, skid row away people
I never would’ve thought to look in a Kolkata tee-shirt factory for the Land of God
Humming with the clattering of machines and the chattering of laughing women
Laughing like those who’ve just discovered a thousand dollar wad
Falling from folds in the fabric of their deportation, their immigration, their liberation
In this grungy, tee-shirt factory, Land of God, everybody is paid the same
The skilled seamstress and the scrap sweeper, who started today, and can’t read or write
And is partly learning disabled, and her right foot is lame
And poverty’s anesthetic has stolen her prophetic poetic without apologetic
In this poorly lit, dye-smelling Land of God, the laborer’s children come for free
Where they learn how to count and how to spell and are taught how to be four again
And they sometimes act out with innocent naiveté
The sexual contextual, quite matter-of-factual just like they saw “uncle” doing with momma in the little room while they tried to sleep
 This hot and sweaty slum-based Land of God thing
Women of a certain disposition, who have been glared at or winked at
Are finally wooed and courted and wed to a King
Who bore the rapport of a whore so they could live like the queens they were destined to be
I have never been in a place with more hope, more light-hearted levity
Full of life in every way you can imagine it possible here on this planet
Where trials and griefs and pains pass with bitter brevity
And the immunity of community drowns in opportunity to live here on earth as it is in heaven
There is a kind of life being lived in a Kolkata slum very close to the way it is supposed be
And I’m quite sure Jesus himself lives and laughs and works
With women who have been plundered and robbed of their dignity
But have shod the façade of poverty’s fraud in the beautiful Land of God

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