What is ALLAH?
I’ll tell you:
I don’t know.
But late at night, in laserlight, ALLAH
Is closer, like a footprint in the snow.
I am well-versed in all the punishments
Of those “who frequent bars and discotheques.”
I know what’s right, and though the thought of hell
Fills me with fright, I cannot change the fact
That that is when I see ALLAH:
The Ministers forbid “the discotheque”
Explicitly. It is حرام , they say.
But Lord, “the discotheque” is how I pray.
When Horace casts a beam of light, I say:
. اهدنا الصراط المستقيم
What could be straighter than a laserlight?
I’m looking for a place in Paradise.
The temples are forbidden, and the schools
Just lie to us. The kings are dead.
The books are full of void and ancient
Give me sleep.
Give me something cold.
A silent sound,
A pinstripe in a cloud,
A tombstone or a brick
Atop a mound,
Or underneath an ant hill in the ground.
Until then, let me go
And let me dance.
يس والقرآن الحكيم
Is with us on the Mound in Paradise.
Horace, Ramses, Ro the Sorceress,
A Sam-I-am, a Brad, an Angela,
A brother from the bus stop — Lion Man —
The field of dreams — Ahlām — her sister, and
The thousand nights — Layāli. That’s her name.
Tima didn’t make this one. She and
The Fire Man are off in other spheres
Assorting constellations in the sky.
We’ll fill them in sometime.
For now, we dance.
I dance because I miss duā Kumayl,
Because I miss salātul Layl, because
I never knew my sisters, so I go
And meet them there beneath the laserlight.
I dance because when Abdul Basit chants
The tremors of my constellations, I
Could always cry. But now, however hard
I try, I can’t.
And so, I go at night
And stand and watch the laserlight, where I
Can cry and feel that much less scared to die.
Let me tell you something, sis:
When Jay and I can’t cry, we come to this.
We come and dance. And I can scream, and I
Can wear the streams and colors of the sky.
And I can try, and I can dare to live
A moment’s freedom once before I die.
Before I die
I’ll tell it to my sister, if I can:
I saw you once in storybooks. They called
You APHRODITE, Goddess of the Sun.
There you are in a birthday suit, and here
Are seven hundred years between us now.
One moment here, and now we’re back again,
And now, we play again,
As if it’s Ramadan,
As if the Eid is now.
There were two of you, and there was Dan
and Sarah. Jacob was the only “one.”
We called him both.
There were days
Time moves fast.
Last I heard before I saw you last,
You used to live near Kroger — or it used
To be a Kroger. After school sometimes
we’d all come over sometimes late at night
on holidays especially and oh
your brother he was married for a while
we used to play with him he’d take us out
because he was the oldest by the way
what happened to your sister whered she go
i still remember all that stuff and oh
the mosque on Joy well that one moved to Ford
the one on Schaefer used to be on Warren
the one on Greenfield’s different but my dad
he goes sometimes how is your father yeah
i saw him when we went to bury dan
these faces man i know
these faces they are so familiar
I call you Sister.
“Say Salam.” We used
to say “Salam.” My God. That’s crazy. And
your brother Jay he sees me there i say
to him the others couldn’t make it so
he holds me in his arms and tells me oh
my brother brother brother brother oh
i turn to you i say were family
were family we spent the holidays
together then another time i saw
your brother i was visiting the shop
in Ypsi and he took me in the back
and showed me where he kept the sign a sign
from California from the other store
he went alone and brought it back with him
and here it is the Sign I saw The Sign
I Saw The Sign! It Hangs Upon The Wall!
That’s What’s Left of
And what is left
Of Dagher and Hammoud
Maria man and Hass and Moe and
Kassem and Zeidan
A broken Sign is all that’s left
We used to play on holidays
He’s not my brother,
But I knew him, though.
Been like a decade,
But I knew him, though.
He was so
I can’t explain it, but I’m going to try:
It’s not so much that all of us must die,
But rather, how unfairly time goes by.
And now we’re dancing at the Paradise.
I meet a man who wants to know my name.
He says he’s 35 like seven times:
“I’m 35 years old.”
I say, that’s fine.
I buy his beer. He’s here and I know why:
Cuz beer is better in the laserlight.
I meet a girl named Lisa too. She is
The girl I knew from elementary school.
Come to find
Her name is Lisa, but
She’s not the LISA I’ve been searching for.
Talk about coincidence.
She radiates beneath the laserlight.
I’ll see you, Precious, at The Paradise.
I’ll spot you in a corner,
Make you smile,
Make you sing—
Let go. Let down your hair
Come here, baby,
Let’s be square.
Let’s go away together in the stars,
Cuz everything is ordinary there,
And one is free to orbit one is free
To love a stranger one is free to dance,
To shake away the thousand natural shocks
Of broken love
lies and parenthood.
I hold you and we watch the laserlight.
I am why love happens.
Those who say
That God is found amid the light of day
Perhaps have never spent the night away,
Alone beyond the light.
But late at night
When Heaven wakes and Earth is out of sight,
When one can be oneself without a fight,
Then Horace spells it out in LASERLIGHT:
الله نور السماوات والارض
I ask again:
I think I know.
When life says “go,” you must say “yes” or “no.”
ALLAH is all those yeses in a row.
Composed at Tangent Gallery’s
Paradise Detroit | Ft Gene Farris & DEEPFAKE
Friday, August 26, 2022
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