Sunday, January 24, 2010

In this post, I take three pieces of cloth of different hues and slightly-differing sizes, and I try to weave them into one single design. Hopefully the design can have a name, and a pattern to string the fragments together. I don’t know how these pieces ended up in my cupboard, but they have been there for over a month now, pleading to be redeemed into something useful. Some of them have asked for a chance to undo them back into their original, separate, and primitive states, should they not like the final product, and so, I will wait and see how YOU receive them.


By the edges of Labonte
At two in the morn,
Neither cold nor warm
The mermaids kept singing
They weren’t singing for joy
Or because they were sad
They just sang.


Umm Basoos bet fifty shillings
On her second horse
In the Breeders’ Cup.
Antar ranked twenty and first.
Avenging her loss
Umm sentenced her first horse
To drinking water
From a salty source
For a month and a half.


‘Peek-a-boo’, smiled Abu
‘Pick Abu’, said Baby Sue,
‘See this apple,
Well this apple ain’t for you.’
Ali H. Raddaoui. January 24, 2010


Abigail Blue Jay Stone said...

This is astounding. The cloth fragments in your cupboard, the singing for the sake of singing (writing for the sake of writing). You describe the world as it is in the most dream-like poetic way.
And thank you so much for your very kind words on my blog, and for reading it. You are right about it being hard to categorize. it is short story/essay/review I guess.

Ali H. Raddaoui said...

Abigail, thank you for your response. The introduction on the three pieces of cloth is just there by way of giving some background to the reader, so as not to throw them into the poem from the very beginning. In poetry, lots of things are simply images. Several weeks before I wrote this poem, an artist had introduced me to her world, where she did art work with debris of glass, iron, cloth, etc. or a combination of these. This was, in a way, her alphabet; how she strings her visual text. She would unweave different bits of cloth back into their yarn state and use that to create something new. I borrowed the image of the cloth from her, and I had in mind three ideas. I felt there was some unifying string there to tie them all together, into one poem. And that was that. I hope this makes sense.

By the way, I find you comment very perceptive on art for art sake. I guess I didn't think about that way, but it is clearly amenable to that interpretation. We want to see some kind of design in everything, including when the mermaids sing, and maybe there is; maybe there isn't. It's probably just a question of mood. When the narrator is happy, he may see that singing is somehow in tune with his state. As he appeared to be indifferent here, the mermaids were made to sing anyway. I don't know.

Thank you again.