RANDOM HANDSHAKES - ALI H. RADDAOUI

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Eid Ul-Fitri in Sfax, Tunisia

Part of me cozies up into my bedding, beats at primal speed,
Exists, subsists, ruminates, punctuates without a mark
As early morning Eid Ul-Fitri rituals seep into the breeze
Ushering one Season into the next.
Between the thick of darkness and the hour of dawn
Is a moment that escapes the onlooker.
Stepping outside of me
People, total strangers, meet
Exchange greetings and do small talk,
Welcome this stranger into the traditions of town
Explain how local seafarers brought Shermula and Salty Fish dishes
Into the day-to-day parlance of Sfax cuisine.
The other part of me is now high on intercity coach station caffeine
Savors the moment, cogitates it, locates self within it,
Tables its equations and tackles its riddles
Captures it as structure before another episode settles in.
I relish both moments and think it neat
To seize the strands of both ends by the hand
To scaffold my existence
As one side knuckles up into the other.
I feel rooted, having found my bearings on this pedestal,
And being on the cusp of something else.

Ali H. Raddaoui-June 15, 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018

FOREST FIRE


Like sap oozing through the strictures

Of green offshoots to burgeon here and there

Into flower, foliage or Fruit,

Wild fire sweeps through crannies of the jungle

To quench thirst of a richly textured

Soil crying for cleansing every once in a while.



Long before the daises are pushed up

Let there be shuddering and cleansing

For a daisy is a daisy for but half a day

Fire is then a mere footnote

In the dog-eared records

Of some long-gone socio-sylvan historian



Ali H. Raddaoui

THE SHAMAL WIND RUFFLES THE LEAVES

The Shamal Wind ruffles the leaves
Of this one palm tree
Gives it a rest and curls on to the next
And the trees and the shrub
And the grass underneath
All sing to the wind
And the winds swings them
To the rhythm of the song
But the wind when it whirls
Doesn't just swing the trees
The fact is that the grove as a mass
Does some more than submit
To the whims of the Wind
It in turn sways the Wind
and has Him recast His course
Through divers sylvan wafts.
Think of it - They do not sing out at will
Nor does He roam out of will.

I sat through this spring day
Under a Najd palm tree
I sang through the Wind
And the Wind sang through me
And through the Najd palm trees.

Ali H. Raddaoui

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

IT AIN'T AS COLD AS YOU'VE BEEN TOLD

On the other side of the hedge
It ain’t as cold as you’ve been told
Shrubs chirp
Thrushes hum
Grass grows, comes and goes
Olive groves at this time
lie low with their goods
Ants and antelopes
Tread along with the two-legged
On the sidewalk
Not in a hurry to stockpile
And report
By the hour, every hour
Or clock out of the shop
And go home
Cook an omelet
And eat online
With a chance acquaintance
Whose friendship you transacted
The other evening
On the commute home.
On the other side of the hedge
There is reason to believe
This season will be back
The tide ebbs and flows
Underground water shrinks
And restocks
Regrets to walk back
A memory of time too far gone
To come back.
Altitudes, pyramids
Hierarchies and mountain tops
Recalibrate
And water, untroubled,
Passes beneath the bridge.

Ali H. Raddaoui

Monday, April 17, 2017

IMELDA


Imelda, forcibly married to a welder

Had feelings so hard

She morphed into her very own husband.



Ali H. Raddaoui. Salalah, Oman, April 17, 2017

Saturday, December 3, 2016

SOMETHING THERE IS THAT DRAWS ME YONDER

Something there is that draws me yonder
Beyond lunch and tea, dinner in the veranda
And the clamor of supper, the frying of eggs
With oil at midnight, and the bells of the morning
Ushering me yet again into another day in heaven.
What it is I can only wonder;
I shall comb for  answers and ponder
Their curves each against the other for years on end.
For, truth be told, mine here is a world of order
Straight, nifty, almost too spick and span
For the type of character I am, with nothing the matter,
Almost conformant to the world order.
From my promontory on the ivory tower
I have peeked many a time into the skyline
Beyond ramparts, halls, citadels, fences and walls.
My mind’s eye traverses the slabs of concrete
Bypasses bridges, quarters and blocks
Asphalted roads, overpasses,
And the finishings of sidewalks
Alleyways, highways, and the haze beyond
To fly and to land I know not where
Still nowhere.

****

Ali H. Raddaoui
12/03/2016 

Friday, November 25, 2016

THE EBB OF THE FLOW

This mass of water
On the west-side border
Has been our Godfather
Three, four, score years or more
So far back as we can remember
I do recall, it was only yesterday
Our granddad in his last hour
Motioning we never ever
As much as dare to start to picture
To break asunder
Our merger with the water
For he’s our protector
From the whims of the Vandals and the Visigoths
Across the water
Over our dominions
Here and yonder
His wings hover
He’s for sure
Our bread provider
Our raison d’être together
Our day-to-day oxygen
And our number one friend
In our hour of need.
And this is our hour of need
And now all Water does is to recede
His flow bathes no more
Our cliffs and shores
Nor has His ebb in His retreat
Taken leave of our dad
Out of protocol
Or merely in honor
Of our just gone by
Golden jubilee. 

Ali H. Raddaoui