These things only happen to poets… or Adventures in oddity in Atlantic City, New Jersey…

We must get to the Boardwalk!

We must have our dose of
cheap sunglasses,
knock off designer handbags,
cardboard cheese pizza,
salt water taffy
and 3 for $10 T-shirts!

We need to lose some
more money in the slot machines
and playing the rigged carnival
games of skill!

We must have tanned athletic
youths push our fat, widening middle class
asses from hither to yon!

We were on our way to the Boardwalk when…
we walked smack into a Roman Catholic parade
assembling in the parking lot of our hotel. Taxis,
buses and jitneys waited in a long line trying to leave
the lot to get their fares to their important destinations.

The parade started…off key…
Ave Maria…Ave Mariaaaaaaaaa.

It was heading toward the Boardwalk, so we joined in.
The devoted wheeled Mary down Michigan Avenue,
she was festooned with dollar bills. A large man
moved through the flock, leading them in prayer,
a prayer in delayed stereo:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

We walked along, but did not join in the stereo prayer.

It was then I noticed, that the Atlantic City Police Department
had stopped all traffic which intersected our route. In effect we
were on a walking Expressway to the Boardwalk. The fast track baby!
The fast uninterrupted track to cheap sunglasses, knock off designer handbags,
cardboard cheese pizza, salt water taffy and 3 for $10 T-shirt!
We waved at the stopped motorists and the workers of all sorts that peered
curiously at our motley parade from windows and front stoops.

Driven by the fervor and frenzy of the event,
we finally joined in the stereo prayer with slight variation:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou who stopped the traffic,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, Stopper of the Traffic,
pray for us sinners now and at the hour when we place
our chips on 34 Red.

Amen.

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