Prayer

By Francisco X. Alarcón b. 1954 Francisco X. Alarcon

Translated By Francisco Aragón

I want a god
as my accomplice
who spends nights
in houses
of ill repute
and gets up late
on Saturdays

a god
who whistles
through the streets
and trembles
before the lips
of his lover

a god
who waits in line
at the entrance
of movie houses
and likes to drink
café au lait

a god
who spits
blood from
tuberculosis and
doesn’t even have
enough for bus fare

a god
knocked
unconscious
by the billy club
of a policeman
at a demonstration

a god
who pisses
out of fear
before the flaring
electrodes
of torture

a god
who hurts
to the last
bone and
bites the air
in pain

a jobless god
a striking god
a hungry god
a fugitive god
an exiled god
an enraged god

a god
who longs
from jail
for a change
in the order
of things

I want a
more godlike
god

Francisco X. Alarcón, “Prayer,” translated by Francisco Aragón, from From the Other Side of Night/Del otro lado de la noche. Copyright © 2002 by Francisco X. Alarcón. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: From the Other Side of Night/Del otro lado de la noche (University of Arizona Press, 2002)

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Poet Francisco X. Alarcón b. 1954

POET’S REGION Mexico

Subjects Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Francisco X. Alarcón

Biography

A prolific writer for adults and children, Francisco Alarcón was born in California, although he grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. Alarcón returned to the United States to attend California State University at Long Beach and earned his MA from Stanford University. His collections of poetry for adults include Tattoos (1985); Body in Flames/Cuerpo en llamas (1990); De amor oscuro/Of Dark Love (1991); Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION Mexico

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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