Is it true what they say, that
if someone hits you every day, say for half a century
then one day, they don’t
then you’ll miss it?
What about if someone suffers in hell for half a century
then one day their children invite them to heaven
could they come?
Or would old age leave them too petrified of change?
What if refusing it means refusing it to their children?
And their children’s children?
Their one decision determines the future of all?
Can they be considered mentally sound enough
to be entrusted with such a choice?
Especially when they’ve made the wrong one
so many times before?
And how can I live in a hell
and raise my children there
just because someone else wants to?
Just because others define heaven and hell differently?
It’s like you’ve always lived in a tunnel
And I live in a meadow in the mountains
You see a tiny light far at the end
And you think you’re enlightened because
You see the dim narrow way to get there
And I think I’m enlightened because
I have the sunlight everywhere
And an infinite view before me
You say « you can’t get lost in a tunnel »
I say « I’d rather find my way among
Sunny peaks and green valleys
Than be stuck in a tunnel »
How do I make you understand
How beautiful this is?
And now I am (‘praying’)
If salat can so be called
I’m almost terrified to write it
As though proclaiming it to no one
Might be a form of kibr potent enough to stop it
I’m not proud of it though
It’s a weak, rushed, haphazard start of a journey
Five years overdue
(Was I ever a Muslim until now?
How many months, years after
إقرأ بسم ربك الذي خلق
did the command come
و أقيموا الصلاة
If I was, then where was this yaqeen
all this time?
And when will ikhlaas follow?
If chemicals are responsible for this virtue
They must also be responsible for vice
And perhaps that’s all this life is, after all
Is learning to be the best chemist one can
Three days of silence –
I don’t know where it comes from but
it always accompanies spring
When I go out to get the morning milk
Only a handful of people drift by, like ghosts in the sun
And I, too, am a ghost
Perhaps the nascent heat seals everyone’s doors
pressing them close to the walls
Perhaps the promiscuous trees seal everyone’s lips
with their hypnotic scents
Perhaps it’s divinely ordained.
All I know is that somehow
Everyone has agreed the bird songs are sacred
and are too fearful to interrupt them
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
I’ve searched through my whole pile of words
But didn’t find any that, when they’ve
left my mouth
flown away free in the air
sound waves expanding ever further, ever weaker, into the universe,
ressemble at all this ‘mawaddah’.
It must come from beyond, from the ‘arsh, because
it doesn’t fit inside my body.
It makes me want to scream.
Some people say it’s just chemicals flowing through the brain
Mixing in just the right proportions, just the right places
But who, then, is the bartender?
Don’t tell me Jalaluddin isn’t on to something
Just tell me why it’s a lottery with such high stakes
we have an awkward truce
them and I
think the thing with these questions is that
you just have to learn to live with them
I wrote something clever today
tears sliding down my neck
like a rapist’s fingers
cold. unbidden. controlling. unwanted
and somewhere I read something about
and how it takes the universe to make a cup of tea
I promised God I’d pray if I got better
Well today I am but I’m still not praying
A cliche, throwing « I »s around like Nebuchadnezzar
« There’s nothing new under the sun »
But I have so many old things to discover
one, two, three, four
trying to fall asleep at 8:39 am
with a to-do list the length of my spine
four, five, six, seven
they say during a panic attack you should find
something you can touch, 1
something you can see, 2
something you can smell, 3
something you can hear, 4
but sometimes it feels like life is
one, very long, glacially slow
always building towards
(four, five, six, seven)
enlightenment? or death
(shhh don’t say that word, someone
Palm on my lover’s cheek, scratchy beard
Gaze at his face, every memorized line
Breathe the scent of his skin (is this what addiction feels like?)
Listen to his whispers,breathing,sleep…
until he’s gone
eight, nine, ten, eleven hours
and I remember I have to do this alone
« do what? » you ask
now Rumi’s silence
rings a bell