Night’s Journey Rage

I. The Raging Storm

I sometimes lie awake at night
Feeling the anger bubble up inside me
Like a growing storm
Sucking the life out of me
Like the atmosphere absorbs moisture
So that water transforms into darkness.
I want to cry out a torrential downpour
On every single person who wronged me,
Every single person who preached to me,
Who sat down with me and explained
Everything that was wrong with me,
And everything that was misguided
About my thinking.

And all the things I didn’t say
Are like the violent wind
To this storm of rage within
Bursting through the silence I was too polite to break.
I want to scream at every single person
Who told me that God meant me to be straight
And how they say,
It’s so logical
Because men and women fit together perfectly,
And, to be sure, they don’t word it like this,
But I will for effect,
How a penis and a vagina come together
Like a yin and a yang,
And how even the animals know
Who to do it with
And this is how babies are made.
Because, God knows,
Whenever the topic of my gayness comes up
All they do is talk about my genitals
As if love all of a sudden is merely a matter of sexuality
Making sure the out-ies end up with the in-ies.

Here I am breaking my silence
A thunderous “NO” to their ignorance.
Because when I lie down with my boyfriend
And I put my arms around him
We fit perfectly together,
Even though, “logically” I’m merely
Spooning another spoon.

II. Love is Too Big

I sometimes lie awake at night
And for a moment
I’m in the calm of the eye of the storm
Thinking that love is too big for me
Thinking about how marriage is more than having babies
And getting pregnant is more than procreation,
Because, my love,
When we sit down together over dinner
And talk about our day
Share our hopes and fears
Every word you tell me is like a love letter,
And every love letter impregnates me
With the possibility of a life together,
Companionship on the cusp of creation.

There is an Arabic word for soul
And it means breath
Because when God made us,
God’s breath blew life into us.

My love,
We are hollowed out instruments,
The only thing that matters is the potential inside
For a kind of breath called music.
I hold your hand
Because I’m asking you
Will you breathe life into us?
And I don’t know if this music
Will end up becoming something as
Grand and beautiful as a symphony
But I’m willing to be vulnerable enough
To see what music we can give birth to.

III. A Cartoon of Me

I sometimes lie awake at night
With this storm raging inside
Thinking about all those who don’t understand this
How they don’t see this
But only their ignorantly drawn caricatures
Of what it all means to be me,
Stupid cartoons based off a photo
From their picture perfect world.

I look across the masjid after Friday prayer
And I see the man who used to call me friend
Talking to a Muslim so gay
He’s barfing up rainbows
And here I am enraged
Because he won’t talk to me anymore
I want to tell him so many things
And on the top of the list is this:
That I am just as gay as
Your new gay friend
The only difference is
I had the privilege of saying no
To the standards of
An unspoken don’t ask don’t tell policy

IV. “Friends”

Him and all my other “friends”…
When did they ever try to understand?
When did they ever try to address me
Like a human being like themselves?
All they told me
Was to sit down calmly
To open up my heart and hear the truth of God
And Allah knows, I tried my best
I sat there quietly, opening my heart
As they recited heterosexual answers
To my homosexual life.

They say:
“Feelings are merely feelings.”
The problem of my homosexuality is so easy
Because all I have to do is not act on it
And I want to scream so many things
Because I don’t know what part of me
Doesn’t act on it
And I think maybe if I stop breathing
I won’t be gay anymore.
But I’m sorry,
My breath is holy
And I refuse to give up my soul
To a bunch of homophobes who think
It doesn’t belong on God’s green earth.

V. Go Back to Your Lord

I sometimes lie awake at night
With this storm raging inside
Thinking about all those who preached to me
And how they don’t know about
This silence I was too polite to break
The agony of everything I didn’t say
Eating away at me.

At the same time
I want to burst into tears of rain
To blow over the table dividing me from them,
To tear scripture in half,
To scream at revelation,
To take the buraq by the collar
And fly up through the seven heavens,
Creating a rupture so loud that
It’ll extend from here to the Lote Tree,
For, if gay sex really does make the thrown of God shake,
Surely God can hear my complaint.

I will be Moses pleading to Muhammad,
Saying:
“Go back to our Lord,
Tell God to lessen the burden!”
Or maybe
I’ll be like the angels
Bold enough to question Allah
For creating creatures destined to spread
Mischief and bloodshed on the earth.

VI. Anger Poured Out

I sometimes lie awake at night
And finally the storm raging inside
Has exhausted itself, having poured itself out
So that I can see the stars again
Thinking about what revelation has really taught me.
I was Jacob wrestling with it all
And here I am with a limp.
And God says to Israel:
“Now, don’t you know how painful creation is?
How hard it is to give birth?”

We have such a narrow channel for us to emerge into the world
And I was a Cesarean birth into a world that refused my queerness.
Is it not a miracle we are all here?
Despite every evil word,
Every insult,
Every voice telling us we’re sick,
Wrong and misguided,
That the only thing our relationships are worthy of
Is to have rocks thrown at them?

Maybe the storm will come back
But I’m learning how to breathe now
To give life to my own rebirth.
And I say,
Whether people like it or not:
I am alive
I am a queer man breathing.

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About Garrett Kiriakos-Fugate

grad student in Islamic studies, student of architecture, queer, radical moose+lamb, language nerd, folk dancer, musician, lover of books and writing
This entry was posted in poetry, queer + Islam and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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