Gone are these camps, smooth-floored
clear of tents and all that filled them.
Desolate the realm of the departed
brimming is the wind that rings of
war cataclysm and buoyant love months.

Beyond the mute or muting rock maze
clouds mumble and flash
percolating rain to feed our springs.
And so, this spread of verdant bushes
betrays the arid clay that clutches them.

How the gazelles dive across the planes
cataracting the air, cleaving the dusk,
cutting the billowy horizon; honey-tinted
clouds blazing over a blue mirror.
And how it all flows and pours amongst the rocks.

A few mules here show whipping scars.
They browse randomly over the herbage.
To give birth is to repurchase their past.
Their young yell and frolic in the wild
and reorient the elders to the land.

Stripped of humans, the deserted encampment
once again sings praises of itself in its own tongue.
But what of her, Nowara, who received your heart
and waited, but followed her people
so quietly we let the memory slip and so long ago?

Nowara the nimble youth whose feet
almond shape and color, coated with the fine dust
of the desert floor, carried her far beyond us
we racing the date arbors on festival day.
And she did grow to be a tender and noble woman

decorated in tresses, richness of eyes kohl-darkened
gold coins at her neck and breast.
It was to her we gave the soft red stone of our chest.
It was with her also that it finally fled
faded treasure, lapsed of time and patience.

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YOUSSEF ALAOUI-FDILI is an Arab Latino born in California. His mother is Colombian. His father, now deceased, was Moroccan. The Alaoui-Fdilis are native to Fez. His family is today mostly in Casablanca and Rabat. His family and his heritage are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for his varied, dark, spiritual and carnal writings. He has a Master's degree in Poetry from New College of California. There, he studied classical Arabic poetry, Spanish Baroque and contemporary Moroccan poetry. He is also well versed in the most dour and macabre literature of the Nineteenth Century. His poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Big Bridge, Dusie Press, Tsunami Books, Paris Lit Up, top ten most read poems at Virgogray Press, and nominated for a Pushcart in Full of Crow magazine. Youssef is an original creator of Beast Crawl the largest East Bay literary arts festival. In 2012, he created Paper Press Books & Associates Publishing Company. The press offers several important books of poetry. Youssef also serves as associate editor of Big Bridge Press. For more information about events and publications or to connect with Youssef, visit www.youssefalaoui.info.

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