Dan Sicoli


i prayed with knees on damp cellar floors
i prayed in the swell of dollar bills cast by a bald musician crouched
on his roof looking down to me through his pillow of smoke
i prayed to the love of law
i prayed, too, at the butt of a bed before falling weak with enragement
i prayed in ways that seemed almost obsessive, harder and cheaper than
applying fortitude of knowledge to practicality
i prayed with a fierce appetite at an unwelcoming table
i prayed at the pretty place
i prayed because union matters
i prayed nearly forgotten in the seat of a rusted steam shovel
abandoned in the spoils pile along a crest of rugged terrain
chiseled by a slowly receding glacier during the last ice age
this is how long an apology lasts
i prayed in turmoil when all left me bound and exposed
i prayed with a mouth stitched shut by my own hands
i prayed, arms outstretched, clutching your deflated white dress
i prayed when cowards abandoned hope for fear
i prayed through every undeserved gain
i prayed with infatuated friends skipping through seven states as if
wanderlust had merit in an amorphous nation
i prayed whispering my desires to ears carved in granite
i prayed puking lava into the hands of a holy man
i prayed among sinister plots and found occupation
i prayed with my eyes pushed open when it became clear the gift
was a dead language on a drunken ship sailing a planet of seas
i prayed while clouds caught fire and smoke was all we had
i prayed until even the dark had no place to hide
i prayed as teeth gnawed the shivering
i prayed knowing my want of you is like a grief cooked on to my skin
and hardened like a shell, slowly housing my flesh in armor
i prayed the way a foul and demented man would as if his torture
was never made clear and his voice left him for a seducing
power of ephemeral bliss
i prayed because the call came in
i prayed inside stalls immigrants inhabited as we became
a weak sun's prey among the buildings left standing
i prayed in vain luxury of clergy-sanctioned capitalists
i prayed over sands whipped by synthetic wind
i prayed by tender candlelight in the sound of beckoning chimes
i prayed as a muzzled dog chained in a downpour, silent with vengeance
i prayed deliberately until the verb became meaningless as fruit
in this squat house soured from the sated breath of opportunists
i prayed for one successful deity by any name, of any tribe
i prayed, exhausted, until there weren't enough gods to damn me

Dan Sicoli writes about hope and the fallout that comes from offering it up. He is a co-editor with Slipstream Magazine and press. Pudding House Publications recently released his chapbook, the allegories. Another chapbook, Pagan Supper (Pudding House Publications), was released in 2002. Other poems have appeared in Concrete Wolf, The Whirligig, ONTHEBUS, Barbaric Yawp, Tryst, Rockzilla.net, Tokens: Contemporary Poetry for the Subway, and numerous litmags anthologies. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, he performs his work regularly, often in collaboration with other writers.

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