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Recorded as part of the Poem-a-Day series, October 21, 2015
About this Poem 

“’Prayer’ is a gerrymandering of Frank Herbert’s Dune, a novel I devoured as a teenager. By reconfiguring and altering the language of Paul Atreides’s mantra, this poem reveals the contiguous space fear and success occupy in the mind.”
David Tomas Martinez

Prayer

I must
          not succeed.

                      Success is the mind-killer.

Success
           is the little-death
           that brings total

obliteration. I will face

                                 my success. I will

permit it to pass

                       over me and through

me. And when it has
                       gone
                                                past, I will

turn the inner

                      to see

its path. Where

the success has        gone there will be

nothing.
                      Only I will remain. 

Copyright © 2015 by David Tomas Martinez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 21, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by David Tomas Martinez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 21, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

David Tomas Martinez

David Tomas Martinez

David Tomas Martinez is the author of Post Traumatic Hood Disorder (Sarabande Books, 2018), Crosshatched (Sarabande Books, 2016), and Hustle (Sarabande Books, 2014). A recipient of a Pushcart Prize, Martinez has received fellowships from CantoMundo and the National Endowment for the Arts.  He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

by this poet

poem
and Vievee Francis concerning love, redemption,
            and the TV show Empire
 	    might not be the most august
of openings, but like hypocrisy in this great falling  	
 	    hegemony, it’s all I got.
 
                     Besides, what’s history but
a conversation we’re born into without context,
 
and
2
poem

1.

It's not water to wine to swallow harm,
though many of us have,

and changing the name
of Ozark Street to Willie Jones Street,
won't resuscitate,

won't expose how the sun roars across rows of faces
at the funeral for a seventeen-year-old-boy,

won't stop the double

poem

And sometimes it is
loss

                                                       that we lose,

          and sometimes

it is just lips. When I was


                           a child, I would ask my mother
to tuck me

                             in, wrap me tight in