Temple St. Scene

The mantra of cylinders churns in revved motors
as diesel burns in the street, a lacquered incense –
Los Angeles lulls with warm breath today.

People forage on cached hope near Temple Street,
grit pressed against torn cloth, skin.
Jesus walks amongst us defrocked in squalor.

Four police officers linger on the corner,
sharing corn-fed dreams over talk of the force –
perks and perps. One gestures with strength
handling the air like a suspect, the rest laugh.
Their muffled voices struggle to overcome
sound of tires being dragged forty-five
miles per hour at the corner’s edge,
gaze in tow, scanning always.

City Hall looms behind like a great cathedral
in gray, protected.