(Lyrics from the song, Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen)
[poem from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
City streets can be colder than stone
when you’re vulnerable and all alone
nor ever paved with the rich man’s gold
in threadbare clothes, wet and cold.
She comes to a familiar doorway
in the night when she’s lost her way
remembers the days of her short life
how desperately she’d run from strife
finding a hallway, a basement stair
then running again from every nightmare.
The deskman knows. She tosses her hood
and puts her hand on the worn wood.
Her words, like a voice from the tomb:
“Please, I need a cheap room.”
He smiles at her – or is it a leer?
He replies, she can smell the stale beer —
“Forty dollars for a night at the inn –
or free, and I’ll tuck you in.”
His hand slips over her cold wrist:
for the mill she will ever be grist.
Through the window, two sheets, a case:
she grabs but he says, “No need for haste.”
Here’s the key – it’s three – o – four –
and don’t forget: don’t lock the door.”
He watches her walk to the rickety stairs,
shoulders slumped, broken by despair
and as she steps on the very first rung
comes a line from a song she’d once sung:
“Baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked the floor
used to live alone before I knew ya
But I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Our love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah”