Sunday, December 5, 2010


Yesterday a seeker came to me
all excited about Allah
and wanting the advice of an experienced dervish.

When I asked him if he liked kissing
he threw a chair at my head and said he had heard about people like me.
So I thought, “I must not be so vague or he will misunderstand me.”

So I asked him how it felt to be ravished by Allah
to have His kisses covering your neck until dawn,
and the man looked at me with genuine terror.

“Look,” I told the man, “what is it you want out of prayer?”
He scratched at his head and looked at his feet.
I tried again, “What do you think Allah wants from your prayer?”

Again, he said nothing, but looked a bit like a schoolboy
afraid to give a wrong answer.
I sighed and silently set about making tea.

Truly, I am not a very good dervish.
Allah and I have been lovers so long
That sometimes I forget that there are people
who don’t know how to kiss.

I poured him some tea, and gave him a compassionate look.
“Has there ever been a time when a young girl in your village
decided you were the man she wanted to marry?”

He smiled faintly and nodded. “More than once,” he said.
I nodded. “Those girls are just like Allah,
Their hearts are set, and there’s no talking them out of it.”

I told him, “So you have a choice: You can either start a proper courtship,
or you can let Him down easy, and speak to Him now and again with kindness
or you can be a bastard and break His heart.”

The man looked at me as if he were staring at his executioner.
Then without a word he picked up his satchel and left.
My wife came in and began to clear the teacups.

“Beginner?” she asked.
I nodded.
“Men are always afraid of commitment,” she said.
I smiled.

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