A New Way To Burn Incense

I took a trip out to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn today to check out the Islamic clothing and curio shops out there. Today was an idyllic day. Not only was the sky free of rain clouds, it was a rare, brilliant blue. It reminded me of the years before chemtrails and pollution leached the sky of all vividness and left it a discolored, sullen grey.

Atlantic Avenue was bustling, people hurrying back and forth purposefully with packages and bags filled with merchandise. I sauntered past the clothing stores with vibrant abayas in gauzy fuchsia and embroidered ebony hanging outside, and stopped to peer in at a buffet of smoky halal curries and stews. A display table of books on Islam drew my attention; I picked up a couple and paged through them airily. 

Madina International was packed. I started at the newly-installed automatic sliding door and stepped inside, overcome as always by the abundance of inexpensively-priced spiritual goods. I gawked at the beautiful wooden incense holders and shelves of dark incense sticks and got lost in shower fantasies while checking out a gallon of liquid black soap for $20. But the real kicker was a pound of Indian or Sudanese frankincense, and myrrh, for $4 each! 

My next stop was an unassuming little store tucked in between an abaya shoppe and a mosque. I walked in and perused the offerings indifferently, not expecting to find much of note. The proprietor of the store didn’t seem very friendly, and the store didn’t really seem to have much of a spiritual emphasis.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I looked up at the top of one shelf and saw a product that I’d only heard about before - an electric incense burner! These marvels plug into the wall and, when turned on, burn incense just like charcoal does - without the expense and mess of charcoal. The ones I’d seen cost a minimum of $60, but I knew that this one would be cheaper because everything on Atlantic Avenue is priced at least 10% off. And this didn’t look like an expensive product.

After bargaining with the proprietor, I walked away with the incense burner for a grand total of $15. I was over the moon! I burn a lot of incense, everything from star anise to palo santo to powdered kyphi to rock alum, and one of my huge pet peeves is that I waste so much money on charcoal.  This will completely change my game! I’m sitting at the Marlton with the bag at my side 10 hours later, and I’m still high. 

Posted 253 weeks ago