The Angel Gabriel

The sky opens up and the Archangel Gabriel
steps down and takes a deep breath of air.
He stretches his arms, first to his chest and
then high above his head.
He blinks twice and then once more hard,
and then shakes his head almost imperceptibly.
Only then does he look around.

There's a sizable crowd around him in Union Square.
And while he's shed his raiment
of pure blinding light and
donned a coat and slacks, it is
of a most expensive cut and
no one failed to notice his spectacular
entrance descending from the clouds on a stairway
of pure gold, trumpets heralding his arrival.

He clears his throat but can't bring himself to ask
directions. He has a meeting at two with the head
of the department of public works
about an issue with an elevated expressway
that is an affront to His eyes.

A patrol car pulls up to the curb.
No dispatch, just an officer who sees a crowd.
He flips on his lightbar and adjusts his
baton as he steps from his car.
He thinks it's that unpermitted DVD vendor
set up again in spite of God knows
how many warnings.
Stands back, hands in the pockets of his warm
patrol officer jacket.
Just interested, you know, community policing, not involved.
And here it is.
A man, Caucasian, mid-forties, six foot, 180 pounds, brown hair,
One of those Gucci suit high-rent assholes
in the middle of the crowd.
A guy standing there, looking at his expensive watch.
What's he selling?

A man wearing a tattered down jacket
is working the crowd.
Hey, man, I'm trying to get home to
my mom who has cancer and I just
need ten more bucks to get a
bus ticket.
And he's already twenty dollars up or so and
people are distractedly handing him
bills, two fives already and a bunch of ones
and this crowd is all up in
the shit of some dude in the middle
of the square who ain't doing nothin'
just standing there.
The whole crowd, just a lot of standing around.
And today no one is crossing the square
to avoid his asking for change
or trying hard not to meet his eyes
or mumbling apologies and excuses under their breath
as they walk past.
The fuck? Did that dude just come down
on that stairway from the clouds?
Jesus fucking Christ.
Well second coming or not,
He keeps the bulk of the crowd
between him and the cop
who's looking alert there, one hand on his
night stick, and the other on his

A golden stair spins down from Heaven
like an escalator at Macy's,
thinks a Muni driver in the crowd.
And God or maybe just an angel descends down to Earth
or rides down rather since I
didn't see his legs working each step,
And that's more like an escalator
than a stair, I guess,
but I didn't see each step coming down.
And if they did, do the steps
disappear at the bottom, or do
they go back up on the underside?

The stair is still there, but fading
and a kid named Beck, Becky,
Rebecca to her mother when she's mad,
considers briefly running up the golden stair.
But she's pretty sure the man in the suit
would stop her, plus she's afraid
that if she gets halfway up the
stairs and they disappear, like in a dream,
that she'd fall and get hurt.
She looks again at the guy in the suit
and wonders if this is an angel
Or even God himself,
But this man looks not much
older than her dad so
it can't be God who is
probably really old.

Gabriel moves into the crowd
thinking he knows the way to
the city administration building
and it is already a quarter of two.
The crowd tries to part to let him through but
really he doesn't look so very
different than anyone else
(a tad better dressed perhaps)
and so the crowd's efforts to part
look more like they are trying
to part from themselves.
And the Archangel Gabrial
is quickly lost in the throng.

The man in the down vest seizes the opportunity
and dives into the empty center of
the circle speaking fast,
Ladies and Gentleman
What you saw before you was
no less than a miracle.
A genuine miracle.
Jesus Christ is lost among us, but
the warm feelings of the Good Lord remain.
His message here still rings in our ears.
Be good to each other.
Be good to yourself.
Treat others with generosity.
And I only need one hundred
more dollars to get treatment
for my poor sick sister.
He puts out his hat and
it begins to fill up.
God bless you, he adds.
God bless you.

The crowd begins to turn away
already forgetting and dismissing
what it has seen.
People begin to return to their
usual disinterested lives,
miracles and revelations forgotten.
The officer, standing at the edge of the crowd,
adjusts his belt, his radio,
his baton, his service revolver.
He turns away satisfied
and radios that he's code four.


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