I went to the church of Bob Dylan's middle name
The music was nice, but the congregation never came,
the communion was coffee and the pastor was insane.
He said, sitting crosslegged on top of the pulpit, said
" Hi. I'm Allen. Even Bob Dylan was a baby once, that's the sermon, now go home."
And he lit up and left, a cherub with a swagger, no, an arab with a dagger.
I ran after calling him but he wouldn't turn until I said, "Zimmerman!"
To which he responded, in laughter, "Zimmerman? Zimmerman...?!"
and he took a long drag, smiled, and sighed, "That's right, you can't answer that, it's a trick question."
And I'll tell you what he told me then, about the one-man congregation of the church of contradiction
and the great chain-smoking Holy Ghost with the initials B.A.D., no joke.
Blind Boy Grunt changed his name and started smoking, wore black boots before he started walking. He can't see and he can't sing and he's always leaving where he's going.
Elston Gun was six foot six, and made of poems and
made of bricks. He had soft feet and had hard gums,
and didn't know what safety was, never saw a pillow and
left his lover to watch his coffee get cold.
Lucky Wilbury became Boo Wilbury, was born with a
seven-fingered hand that fell in love with the
black key of an un-tuned piano, he didn't live long,
something Sharp laid him Flat, he couldn't leave his
hand behind so as a ghost he scares
grown men in a minor chord.
Elmer Johnson is the one not worth mentioning much,
he had cats. And a family.
Sergei Petrov! The great! The Mysterious.
Lived inside a trench coat that walked in the fog.
Spoke, but only in basements to orphans, and drank holy
water with a black eye that winked. He was raised by spiders,
or at least that was what he implied by
the way he ate his wife.
Jack Frost, Jack Fate. Sleep-walker who's always late.
Gets up to lick your windows but leavesbefore it freezes.
He lives in every attic, sleep-knits black blankets
and listens to Tom Waits while he's awake.
Robert Milkwood Thomas. Lights candles and writes sonnets,
lives in the garden. He tames rabbits and sells them.
Likes the low light because his face is a stain on a
perfectly goodbody. He watches at for robbers at night,
a guard on the prowl, takes off his pants and imagines
the moon as a lady.
Willow Scarlet sneaks out her own windows, likes dusty
doorknobs and shivers like sin. She doesn't sink in the
snow and she drinks tea constantly from the plastic-lined
pockets of hervelvet peacoat. She does things in the dark.
Keeps her calenders clean because
she plans on dying in the park.
This is what Allen told me in the unused voice of a name
that's been changed.He laughed again and said we should
end in song, but not Amazing Grace because
nothing real rhymes with any of it.
So we closed with this Hymn;
When the Light Appears
" You'll bare your bones you'll grow you'll pray you'll only knowWhen the light appears, boy, when the light appearsYou'll sing & you'll love you'll praise blue heavens aboveWhen the light appears, boy, when the light appearsYou'll whimper & you'll cry you'll get yourself sick and sighYou'll sleep & you'll dream you'll only know what you meanWhen the light appears, boy, when the light appearsYou'll come & you'll go, you'll wander to and froYou'll go home in despair you'll wonder why'd you careYou'll stammer & you'll lie you'll ask everybody whyYou'll cough and you'll pout you'll kick your toe with goutYou'll jump you'll shout you'll knock you're friends aboutYou'll bawl and you'll deny & announce your eyes are dryYou'll roll and you'll rock you'll show your big hard cockYou'll love and you'll grieve & one day you'll come believeAs you whistle & you smile the lord made you worthwhileYou'll preach and you'll glide on the pulpit in your prideSneak & slide across the stage like a river in high tideYou'll come fast or come on slow just the same you'll never knowWhen the light appears, boy, when the light appears."