’Alams  for Saying “Yes”

noted the distance                                ever homeward                                   how long                      
                 how far you and I                            we’ve lived                                              like a pair of wings
                         from the loop                                           in the recesses                                             separately together


now a voice coos                                 what will it ask                                                 into the eye
         into the night                                             of us                                                                of the sun
                  what to say to it                                         this kind shadow                                                   in the dark


how does it find us                              are we even alive                                 when we rise
       this longing                                           we crawl through                                   from the tunnels            
                  this hunger shaking                              the trees                                                         under our sleep

A Note on the Form (The ’Alams)
'Alams are short poems composed and chanted by Bedouin poets of eastern Libya and western Egypt. Unrhymed short phrases, 'alams are pithy statements often quoted in daily conversation to express an individual's immediate circumstances. 'Alams are also called ghinaywat (little songs). See Lila Abu Lughod's Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society, University of California Press, 1986.

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Read next: ‘Alams for 2017 by Khaled Mattawa

Founded in 2020, Three Fold is an independent quarterly based in Detroit that presents exploratory points of view on arts, culture, and society in addition to original works in various media, including visual art, literature, film and the performing arts. We solicit and commission contributions from artists, writers, and activists around the world. Three Fold is a publication of Trinosophes Projects, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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