Published on Academy of American Poets (


I must
          not succeed.

                      Success is the mind-killer.

           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
                                                past, I will

turn the inner

                      to see

its path. Where

the success has        gone there will be

                      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.

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


David Tomas Martinez

David Tomas Martinez received his MFA from San Diego State University. He is the author of Post Traumatic Hood Disorder (Sarabande Books, 2018) and Hustle (Sarabande Books, 2014), winner of the Devil's Kitchen Poetry Reading Award. A recipient of a Pushcart Prize and the Verlaine Poetry Prize, Martinez has received fellowships from CantoMundo, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Date Published: 2015-10-21

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