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Max Reif

Journey to God, 2011

Emirates Air, Economy Class

Inspired by a Sufism Reoriented group pilgrimage in December 2011

by Max Reif
www.realnothings.com

 

Journey to GOD
through buses
& hours of air terminal
waiting

& sandwiches & pizzas,
flight delay, Peets coffee
and conversation—

through 16 hours strapped
in a tiny chair
no room to turn no
way to sleep, only
the staring at a screen gizmo
on the back of the seat just ahead,
with 2760 channels & no
clearly discernible way
to make it work,
& then finally figuring out

enough for
a few laughs
a few sighs
a few warbles
of forest birds on
the Relaxation Channel,
& always

the digital maps showing
where we are, missing
the North Pole by fifty miles
in the dead of night, you just
have to take their word
what’s down there.

The night comes
and then day and then
the night again only
it’s still the same day
or is it the next
or the one before, & what
IS a day anyway,
a day stretches out like taffy until
you don’t recognize it anymore

and let’s not forget
The feasts that come
every few hours to make up
for strapping you in the Economy seat,
poured down the throat like
a turkey being fattened,
nothing else to do.
Journey to God
through a 7-
or 8-meal day

—and in Dubai,
where they tell you
the tallest building in the world
is around somewhere, but you just
have to again take their word for it,
you craned your neck during landing
& nothing, & now nothing
but at least a little exercise,
walking the mile or so
of duty-free shops.

Journey to God
Across the Arabian Sea,
And then the slogging
gets serious,
for God can only be reached
by driving through Mumbai in a bus,
and there are
no words
for Mumbai

Journey up the ghats and more
dust and fields and cities and towns
And HUGE billboards,

past all possible
relaxation or calm
or sane meals
or pristine lungs
or sense of preparation

or a moment without bumping & exhaust
or without 10,000 people walking down the road
and wondering what they’re all doing,
& then in the next town
a few miles later, another 10,000.

After this, MEHER,
it will be easy
to fall at Your Feet—
or anywhere, for that matter,

but if we just keep breathing
& acting normal,
smiling every now and then,
we’ll make it, and I think we can say
it’s a small
sacrifice to get
to You, and at least
we’re able to give you that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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