“Have you ever been to Mars?” I was asked one morning at 2am as I made my way up east 81st. street in Manhattan. I was returning home from a night out at Manny’s Car Wash, a favorite blues bar on 2nd avenue. I stopped and heard it again, louder this time, “Have you ever been to Mars?” Looking around I couldn’t see anyone and was beginning to wonder if perhaps I needed to have my hearing checked. Peering intently at the wall on my right, I noticed something move in a darkened doorway. Moving closer, I could make out the outline of a huddled figure lying there. As I got nearer I saw that it was a shabbily dressed man with long, unkempt brown hair and a beard.
A dirty plaster cast covered his right arm from shoulder to wrist. “Are you alright?” I asked. “Can you help me to get up?” was his reply. Grasping his left arm I pulled him upright and held him until he steadied himself. As his face drew level with mine, the eerie, yellow light of a nearby streetlamp formed a halo around his head. I was startled by the brightness of his clear, piercing, blue eyes. He seemed to have a glow about him, maybe it was just a trick of the light, but at that moment a thought flashed through my mind and gave me such a jolt… This man looks just like Jesus!
I brought him home with me and after eating and showering he slept on my couch. I left one of my shirts, a pair of jeans with twenty dollars in a pocket, a jacket, socks and a pair of old sneakers on the end table beside the couch and then went to bed. I woke the next morning and found that he was gone. On the coffee table lay a large manila envelope. He had written the first half of a short poem using a pencil, in a childlike scrawl on the back of the envelope. At the bottom he wrote, “Thank you for your kindness. I wrote this for us and I’m leaving it for you to finish. Until we meet again,” Gabriel Molloy.
*note This is the completed version.
Dreaming of the planet Mars,
Wistfully thinking upon fallen stars.
I found myself behind prison bars,
with Molloy and Jesus, showing our scars and
remembering the magical nights
in those wild Irish bars.
Searching for paradise, our souls on ice,
choosing virtue over vice.
We remade the divine sacrifice
by being all too human,
me and Molloy.
seeking the original universe,
and finding a sacred place
to sing of the blessings
and to nurse the curse.
See how to be.
Let the light set you free.
shining into the black and blue void
on this good, godly night.
Live and let live is all there is,
the road less traveled He chose,
having no choice.
To become the ultimate sacrifice
For me and Molloy.
John A Brennan and Gabriel Molloy. 2001
From "The Journey: A Nomad Reflects."