Five Prayers of a Day

Fajr, or “when will dawn arrive?”


“Why be infatuated with him?”

“He’s proud, he’s pretentious — the world’s not the right fucking place, now that he’s turned his eye upon it.”




He’s the man I’d die for in one instant, and kill the other.”


I would own you. Each stubborn hair on your head — your chest. The shy ones on the inside of your thighs.

I’d own how you look,

the way your chin stands up against the world,

the way your spine props straight up,

and how your body conquers the space about it.

But not your voice.

Not the violence in your pronouncements, or the force of your reason.


It’s this secret eruption that baffles me, binds me to you, and renders me your slave.



Zuhr, or “a thousand splendid suns”


I yearned to look into your eyes. To have stayed there. Another day, I’ll have told you how souls are reflected in eyes, how such an intimate encounter is also the brink of a precipice.


I yearned to speak. To have broached a sensible subject. To have, finally, yielded to a conversation punctuated with the silence of deep breaths. Here’s a beginning for us…


You seemed to have been interested in me in a crowd avid for you. I liked that. And hell yes you were beautiful.


This is my journey, my absent beloved. Toward a certain emotional strength, bubbling with curious acceptance and courageous initiative. I will have loved you, innocently and profoundly. I will have remembered you. A singularity in the life of my mind.



Asr, or a childlike lover


What questions

does one ask about one’s lover


What answers

can one stumble upon?




The curves of his face,

Small of his back,

The nape of his neck?


Are lovers in bed

like waves in an ocean –

the lover,


dissolving into the beloved?


“Then said I:

Lo I come

in the volume of the book written of me.” (Psalms 40)


Maghrib, or the twilight zone


In his novel Querelle, Genet writes: “Everything is a gift… Every minute, a gift is placed into his hands at the whim of a generosity that leaves its mark forever… He is feeling his way with the aim of establishing forthwith a possessive relationship with things.”


Elsewhere, Edmond Jabes writes: “I learned to love men in the hour when I tried, with all my strength, to be loved.”



Isha, or darkness falls


[The first part of night]


The child playing with his riddles feels anxiety surge in him. Having no imaginary friends, he scrambled to discover those who remained closest to him. To find solace in the lavish attention of a ringing laughter. From the outside. To find in-sight. Through all the graces of their faces.


So many postscripts have come together. But have his thoughts been sentenced to oblivion? What did he start out to say? What must he say to move every element of his being?


His tattoo is cracking up again. He can feel it. The taut, grim skin grating against itself.

But when will he hear back from them, and them, and him? All day long he longs for a conflagration of hope in dense despair. So many threads — notes, links, landmarks — tangled knots — in such clumsy hands. Or, why can’t he love his father even from a distance anymore? Why would rather he stretch a void in memory, instead of filling in for their silence?


Another day, a prayer day, his words and voice will only be a murmur of his dancing.


[The second part of night]


I fear my mother’s dreams, I fear their power to see right through her child and to gauge his deepest secrets.

I feel the prayers of three matriarchs for this child against hatred and rejection.

What he wants

is to will into being

warm sunshine and a cool ocean —

grumbling but not deranged —

and infinite sand.

For his mother. And the memory of his father.


I will murder you, my child, with the violence and the banality of my fears.


[The third and last part of night, when God leaves Heavens to be with the ones calling him by his name.]


In one fell swoop his tongue traced the contour of your face. Your chin arose in a graceful swoon. His tongue lay thick, rode slow, across the stubble on your face.

You broached a corner of his lips,

a moment before the abyss,



and the Earth stood agape.



Not a moment astir.


Then the feeling faded and the vision faltered. You were more a brush than a touch – a glare, a lurch. No, you admitted, not him. “There’s something eating me up inside.” Seven, eleven, three hundred and. Sadness has spilled over, all over — an endless worldweariness — a steady repetition of halting torpor.


What will you say? How will you pose this problem before spewing analytics? Will your silence ever support the trembling of your words? But you only cared for the mime of his lips. Friend, “WHAT DO YOU SEE IN ME THAT I CANNOT SEE?”


That love is cruelty. But making love an insight.


“It is this process of dissolution that constitutes the entire ceremony.”

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