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Alise Alousi Alise Alousi was born in 1965, her mother from Detroit, her father from Baghdad. Both places continue to influence her life and writings, in ways both imaginable and unimaginable. Alousi studied literature and creative writing at Wayne State University and spent a summer at the Naropa Institute’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies, including Abandon Automobile, I Feel a Little Jumpy, and Poets against the War. She is the author of an early chapbook, Wearing Doors Away, and is at work on a full-length collection, What to Count. For the past sixteen years, she has worked with children and teens, most recently as a writer-in-residence in the Detroit public schools. Lipstick for the siblings I. Cherries in the Snow Imagine the snow like sand it stings your teeth when you bite something soft and it is really hard to catch blood dripping from your chin. II. Crushed Candy Honeysuckle pinched ding-dong ditch neighbor’s handprints ring the small one’s neck. 41 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 41 III. Eternal Petal Every part of the circle needs one move your hand or the paper as you go. Mayfly for esme You have the right to be delicate, transparent yet still flatten yourself against the strong current appear as if you’re caught in mid-swarm when you are singularly flying toward the light. 42 Alise Alousi 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 42 What to Count What does it mean to hold your mouth to another’s ear. What does it mean to make something stealth. Where do you feel it. Where do things happen when they happen on a train. A shelter that falls in on itself. A hospital that can’t help you, a pencil without lead. Are there things you could use. A whisper what does it excite in you. She said stand on the corner with a sign should I? Something falling soft in the air tiny disappear your skin damage with a capsule. It is a good way to eat all the time. He doesn’t want the numbers in the bag— Women, children, the old only. What matters is that you are innocent when you die like this. Step into the flash. Remember this day. Don’t throw rice for the birds, a bubble you catch in your teeth. Smile’s not right. The scent behind your ear makes his head hurt. Sent home crying when the visitors came through hands in pockets and chewing gum and pencils and penicillin and. taking notes. Bombs dropped last week didn’t they? In the schoolyard. Where are your dualuse shoes. What counts is the circle when you dance like this. Up out of the water too much chlorine in the backyard pool, see it in their eyes. Children. Looking into the sun. What is on the other side. They say we can’t fill the order not even one drop on a hot stone. Nothing will be clean or white again. The x-ray of your wrist, chest, lungs will be Alise Alousi 43 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 43 done by hand, come back in seven hours. There are too many young men they will die of general malaise right in the street and there is one ambulance in the city and there is nowhere for it to take you. What counts when you fall like this is the way they lift you bending at the knees. Lynndie’s Other Voice* An ancient symbol, eye in the palm, hypnotizing from a Three Stooges rerun— what I knew of these parts before I arrived to a prison, already bad history behind its walls. All the men’s eyes looked the same, black and dull as the dogs they feared. There “some things stay in the house” meant a secret, not an animal, a leash we kept on the wall camera-ready. How does a bad idea keep going— you know something, see something, a knife out of a drawer on the wrong night, matches near bone-dry trees. Tolerance had little room. We were all just bodies, some on top, some on bottom. 44 Alise Alousi 1CHARARA_pages_i-164.qxd:Layout 1 11/14/08 2:36 PM Page 44 We called it training. The fence was invisible...


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MARC Record
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