“Dua for Dervishes” by Michael Cirelli

Michael Cirelli


The crests of his dress
In 3s like sets of waves,
An O on the stage, a groove
Ground by soft leather soles
O perfect circle etched!
O spinning cipher human planet! 
O the body void! O null.
Everything the Sufi does
Is for the love of Allah I’m told.
But when the dance was over
He came out smoking a Marlboro
In a cheap pleather jacket
And knockoff Nikes.
His hair flopped limp
On his forehead with each
Overextended inhale.
O the disappointment 
As he scrolled on his smartphone,
Earbuds clogging his head
With Katy Perry I now suspect.
O Facebook for the love of Allah!
O fake Nikes for the love of Allah!
O iPhones O iTunes O iClouds
Overhead for the love of Allah.
Roar for the love of Allah!
I ran into my accountant halfway
Around the world that night,
My accountant for the love of Allah.

from Rattle #45, Fall 2014
Tribute to Poets of Faith


Michael Cirelli: “To describe my faith would take chapters, but I’ve finally and thankfully landed on Islam (or it landed on me—Mash’Allah). It is a widely misinterpreted, misrepresented religion of submission and peace, one that champions women, justice and inclusion. Islam affects my poetry in complex ways, and in some cases, as a fairly new Muslim, I exoticize my faith and journey. I struggle to find a balance as a writer who ‘wants to share it all,’ and my personal/private relationship with God.”

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