Sunday, March 28, 2010

Carving a place for oneself in a world gone wildly geometrical is not the easiest of undertakings. While a certain level of determinacy is useful and welcome, I find living one’s life as an all too known a quantity with clearly delineated contours is not of necessity an enticing proposition.


I have to leave the house
The perimeter of the rooms
Squarely a round figure
Neither plus nor minus
The tiles, too, so geometric
There’s no place for a hitch
Else the entrepreneur and the builder
Would be taken to court
And their licenses revoked.
The queen-size bed also
1984-ishly rectangular
Like a post-modernist shawl.
The 75 % polyester comforter
Fell half way on all sides
By sheer petty calculation…
The wall paint a good match
For the color of the cutlery
Hue 253 G.
The mind belches, excuse me!
I have drunk a house-made opiate
The chemistry was flawed
I have to throw up the numbers.
Let me leave
And relinquish control
To the dark womb
Of indeterminate shapes far away;
Far from the cacophony of numbers
I need to crouch
And contribute to nature
As I used to before I was relocated
By the force of modern calculus.
I want to be a free contour
Natural non-number.

A.H. Raddaoui.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In the face of expert diagnosis, a person often has to decide how to proceed. There is the natural tendency to follow expert advice, because that is what we are expected to do. On the other hand, there are natural tendencies that pop by way of a second, if more primitive opinion, that things, ailments and discomforts have a natural way of healing without intervention.


I went to consult with a barber
She said,
‘How long ago did you wash your hair?
There’s layers of soot and rot
Crusts of matter
To cover the scalp
Plenty of dandruff
Merges with this stuff
And look here
There’s traces of nits
And their begetter
Sucking into your grey matter
Man, doesn’t it ever grate or scratch?
Are your nerve endings numb
Or have they stopped to respond?
See, says he,
In such cases,
Some sort of surgery
Is necessary
I’ll grate beneath the follicles
And erase your outer scalp
You got a 70 to 20 chance
That you might grow a decent
Head again…’
As I walked back home
Through the garden
I saw nightingale with a bald head
She said:
Do not be the prisoner of fads;
Play not with your head
Stay the course
And the spring rains
Will cleanse your head


Ali H. Raddaoui. Laramie, WY. Spring 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010


For a person to lose possessions may not mean much, especially if that person hasn’t got much to lose, to start with. Loss of significant others, on the other hand, is not the easiest of predicaments to deal with. Despite the many good things of life, like nurturing hope, sometimes, you wake up one morning to find out that that hope has slipped away, and all you have to retrieve it is to capture an image of what it was before it made itself conspicuous by its absence.


Whoever it was
That broke into my universe
Through a window in my digs
That was let loose
As a matter of practice!
Three months ago
I brought a coleus
Sang to it, watered it,
And placed its pot on the edge
Of the window
So it captures dawn
And the passing of day
And the chirp of the nightingale.
I tucked a note
With a street address
Was it a palm, was it an olive
Was it a cedar or a citrus?
My mind went blank
As I arrived from a night’s trip.
I all but tripped
On the debris of my coleus:
Is roots were naked
Its leaves asphyxiated
Its soil scattered
And the pot shattered
On the ground
So hard was the thud
Below the window;
The note was gone
With the wind.
The ink of the address
Was withering
The postmaster
Wouldn’t know
The zip code or the street
Or the district or the town.
Sender’s address was blotted
Beyond recognition.
Standing on the verge of sanity,
I was grateful
The burglar hadn’t done much
Beyond wreaking havoc
On my plant.
Ali H. Raddaoui Spring 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I often wonder how some things momentarily populate the screen of your mind then quickly evaporate, leaving little trace or print. Other impressions, however, have a way of colonizing space of the mind, and cannot be washed away despite repeated attempts to unseat them.


Everyday I spend
I shake many a hand
Oftentimes I hold the hand
That shakes my hand
We share our germs
And a smile
And catch the flu
Many times in a lifetime.
When I go home, I put my hand
Under the tap
And wash
I then shake my hands
And the drips fly around;
My hands are germ-free.
Everyday I spend
I have many handshakes
Of a mental type
Some I enjoy
Some I forget
And some impact me
To the point of compunction.
When I go home,
I put my head under the tap
And wash the inside
Then I shake my head
Some drips fly around
And some cling with their hands
To the core of the mind;
No matter how hard I shake
They will not be shaken away.

Ali H. Raddaoui. Laramie, March 7, 2010