OK so he don’t look like a prophet but he’s A real smart old guy. Got a place Over a Chinese restaurant on Broadway & you got something you want to ask Just take him some chateau la hooch & go up the back way. Says PROPHET IS IN on the door. Like last night I went he was watching some cop show On tv I ask him man My old lady wants me to get religion. Whadda Ya think & he laughs Religion’s like getting yourself lost in New Jersey He says, and shakes his head, like, Man, how dumb can you get? I think about that. We watch tv a while. Then I say I don’t get it & he says OK let me explain it like this. Let’s say you got a nice place on the west side — Where I say & he says nineties — nice place by the park & I say how about east nineties & he says OK it don’t matter. Anyhow you get in your car & cross the George Washington Bridge & drive over to Paramus Man I wouldn’t have no car in this city I say He says never mind, you’re rich, you got a car. You stay in Paramus a long time, & it’s time to go home, so you Start to drive but you get turned around & you don’t remember how you came So you drive around, days & days All over Jersey looking for a way to come back. He stopped & watched a Buick Get blown up on tv. The room was real dark — Just one yellow 40-watt bulb & the tube & the wallpaper greasy & The place smelled like burnt won ton. I still didn’t get it & I said is that it & He says what? Oh yeah — well After a while you’re about to give up & quit — maybe just stay in Jersey But then you see a road sign that says I-95 EAST GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE So then I go home I say & he says No, you stop the car & get out & bow down to that sign. You light candles & pray to it & Stick some flowers on it. You notice other people praying to other signs Like ones that say ROUTE 4 EAST NEW YORK & you think they’re screwed up. You hear about people looking for the Lincoln Tunnel & you think they’re more screwed up. So when do I go home I ask & he says you don’t so long as you got religion. You stay by that road sign & talk About how it saved your ass. That’s dumb I say & he laughs Real funny — kind of giggles. Yeah he says, I don’t know why You’d want a damn fool thing like that. My old lady says it’d be good for me I tell him Keeps some people out of trouble he says, Makes ’em feel good for a while, but then A lot get too stuck & it makes ’em ugly. So Jesus wasn’t for real I say Oh yeah Jesus was for real all right says the old man. But he wasn’t no god any more than you are — He was just a man who saw the plain truth Saw heaven & earth & everything else As clear as I’m seeing you. But he tried to tell people how they should go, You know, to get back home themselves. Tried to show ’em it was right under their noses & nobody got it. They thought he meant They was supposed to just wait around until he comes To take ’em across the river Like he was a Jersey Transit bus. Then they nailed him on a cross. Made Another fucking road sign out of him. The prophet finished off the bottle. It was getting late — the local news was on the tube. Does go home mean going to heaven I ask Sort of he says but you don’t have to be dead To get there. Go any time. You just gotta get going & you gotta want to go more than you want anything else. But nobody’s gonna take ya, not even Jesus. So why don’t you go I say & he Booms out a big laugh deeper than earth. Shit I’m there right now he laughs & I laugh too, cause I like the old guy. I leave some cash on top of the tv Before I go out. I still don’t know What he meant about going home but I decided to Forget about religion.