November 21, 2005

Novel Excerpt: Moon

Here’s another excerpt from my nebulous novel

On my roof in Brooklyn one August, I watched the sun sink behind the Manhattan skyscraper low behind me, the moon rising in front of me, so big that I could hold up a 50-cent piece and not block out the whole thing. Staring at the Mars-colored moon, I could see craters and dust on that big pink rock, so big that I could almost see the thing getting close enough to bump us, setting off tidal waves and meteor showers, with a moon that big something must be doomed.

At 8pm one of the neighborhood mosques cranked up giant speakers so the whole street could hear the call to prayer, that crashing and howling song that I’d only ever heard in movies, always with a helicopter bomb shot sweeping over mysterious desert cities with onion dome roofs, big boom shots that carry menace and exotic things in their wake. In Brooklyn on my roof, that movie-feeling rubbed off like smudges from a cheap gold painted Christmas ornament.

Half the world turned towards Mecca, praying to the same physical place in that sublime, submissive moment. Then, the prayers stopped, and ice cream trucks police sirens and car horns blared instead, and an airplane floated underneath the moon before descending to JFK, I saw the moon in mind-boggling perspective, moon as big as an airplane.

That was the first time I ever heard the call to prayer in real life, and it was beautiful.

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