’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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