Holy Motor

Anthony Orozco

Holy Motor


     Last summer

     at a dirty intersection

     on the south side of the city,

     a street preacher gave an unsolicited sermon

     to a flock of motorist

     stuck at a red light.


     A chubby bodega owner,

     stepped out of his store for a smoke

     and saw the pastor in the passing lane,

     the holy motor mouth

     hollering an oral tradition while no one listened.

The witch doctor
– hand shaking, eyes wild –

     pointed to a hanging traffic light as it changed color like a celestial body in transition.
He imagined himself standing atop a temple during an eclipse of the moon.

     As mathematician magician,

He calculated the arithmetic written within women’s partially hidden tattoos. And

He absolved the sins of the men speeding off to indulge in the sweetest taboos.


     Last month,

     the mail lady,

     (the one who doesn’t take any shit

     from boys who pop wheelies on bikes without brakes)

     that mail lady,

     had her earphones in, her Sade turned up,

     and she watched the mangy magi king from afar as

He read over his hands like tablets of stone.

     A commandment for each finger, unrolling them like scrolls

He mumbled to himself and froze. Then,

He dug one of his commandments two knuckles deep up his nose

     and caught her watching.

     In a flash of embarrassment she averted her eyes

     and he belting out a laugh that clanged through his teeth like a wind chime.

     God has a sense of humor and

He is the stand-up comedian,

     spinning in the median

He is a whirling Dervish,

He is a theoretical physicist with stains on his shirts and

     his research suggests this reality only scratches the surface.


     Two weeks ago

     before a really important rush hour performance,

     the ragtag rabbi found something living in his beard.

He plucked it out, looked at its pitiful, little body and

He told the insect that

He too is just a bug living in the beard of something greater, something unimaginable.

     What mercy and grace that supreme being has shown him…

     Then he opened his mouth and threw the bug in.


     Last weekend,

He was wearing a silly hat

He said he stole from the pope.

     These streets make up his Vatican, you know.

He is the Bishop of Roam

He holds Mass for the masses

He stretches into downward facing dog as he picks through the trash

He is an Indian guru covered in ashes,

     Franklin Street is the Ganges, he washes his socks in it.

His hands are filthy but so are yours.

He says we are all tainted, we are all violent

     especially when it is so easy to be violent,
     like when you want to murder the driver in front of you,

     who suddenly stops and double parks in the middle of traffic

     even though there is plenty of space to pull over

     but they don’t care if you have to be up and back in this shit at 8 in the morning,     

     and you just want to be in bed already.

     The holy motor sees you.

He reads your lips as

He stands in his pajamas, saying his prayers aloud on the corner.

If you roll down your window, you can hear him

     say that souls are only here to carry dreams through time.

     We are all just mail ladies, delivering handwritten hopes.

     to street addresses written as dates yet to have pass.


     Just yesterday,

     an infant barely old enough to understand what happened,

     watched the holy motor grab a discarded bottle out of the street and chug what remained, then

     tossed it back into the cosmos from which it came.

He is the patron saint of the rotten, of the forgotten, of wasted food discarded by the thoughtless,

     a beggar, a pauper, il papa, a prophet,

     a one-man choir shaking tambourines made of the quarters and dimes

     that tithers give out of pity from time to time,

     a sight to be seen, an urban visionary no bother that

He is nearly blind.

He peers into the eternity and saw divinity in the child’s eyes.


     And tonight,

     tonight people lose themselves looking down into their phones

He finds himself looking up towards home,

     his body is his sole possession,

     a holy soul possess him, meditation mistaken for obsession,
     let him pray for you,
     let him scare the devil out of you

     keep your pocket change,

     let him give you something.
     Let him give you a reason to go home and thank God tonight

     instead of complain

     because God is so tired of hearing us complain.

     Keep a part of him with you after you’ve locked your doors and shut your curtains.   

He is the only thing God made on the seventh day,

     so don’t feel bad for looking,
He is a holiday and you must observe him.

Here In My City

Reading, PA | 484.668.1147

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Typewriter Image By Florian Klauer at Unsplash.