Two paragraphs from a piece I just wrote for my writing class (not really about chanting or religion, but I hope God is in the details, even the unsavory ones):
... We lived in similar six-story red brick apartment buildings, separated by five blocks of sari stores with incongruously Caucasian mannequins in their windows dressed in flowing crimson and gold silks; 24-karat gold jewelry emporia wedged into the alleyways between discount electronics outlets; and a Halal butcher shop with upside-down goat carcasses and a sign that read: "Fax: 426-MEAT."
... We grew up in the boroughs of the 70s, he in Brooklyn and me just left of Shea Stadium, an era when sunset meant that you had to clasp your purse to your chest and race the block home from the bus stop. Our parents' generation began to retire to Florida, and soon various unsavory types moved in who discovered that the holdouts who couldn't afford to leave were easy marks. By the time I finished high school, I had been relieved of my allowance at the public library, my leather jacket in the elevator of our heavily-alarmed apartment building and, just like my mother, my wallet on the bus. She earned a back eye in the process; all I got was some creepy guy who found my address book, called our home, and threatened to hurt all my friends. I didn't go to school for a few days after that, then shrugged and rejoined life.