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Arabesques and Beautiful Lines

I stayed up late last night to email politicians who favor a bill that would greatly dificultar the voting process in the U.S. Those were necessary lines, but I couldn't call them beautiful . . . beautiful as an Arabesque pose held just right by a ballerina, beautiful as the lines formed by the algebraic patterns that result in Arabesques found in art and architecture. Most recently, I have found many a beautiful line in yet another form of Arabesque, the international literary journal, Arabesques Review, now in its second year of publication.

Founded and published by Amari Hamadene, Arabesques Review is both a print and online journal. You can access the journal online and can also order a copy of the print journal. I highly recommend ordering the print journal. It's an aesthetic pleasure: its back cover as beautiful as the front, highly readable type treatment, and a perfect size.

The latest issue's theme is "War and Poetry." The variety of contributions from writers around the world is thought-provoking and heartening. And the poetry is consistently and truly good. I look at many literary journals. I rarely read them cover-to-cover. Arabesques Review is one that I do read closely, thoroughly, and return to read again. Some highlights of this issue's beautiful lines follow.

Nouri Gana writes in "Mourning Dues:"
"From Indians to Musulmans,
From Noah to Columbus to the nuclear cortège
Piece by piece, fall after fall
I forge my axe, I edify my wall
While my soul soaks in mourning dues"

David Radavich's poem "Juxtapositions" will give you goosebumps. Susan Rich, winner of the Peace Corps Writers Poetry Award, has two poems about Sarajevo and Bosnia, admirable for their moving content, and even more admirable for the great skill with which they are written.

In "The Poetry of War," Maggie McHale exposes and satirizes war's self-satisfied spectators and policy-makers. Not one unnecessary word here, an exceptionally well-structured flowing of one line into the next, and the poem's ending gets inside you and stays there.

Neil Ramsey merges the heartless mechanics and deeply personal experiences of war in the 21st Century in his poem "All That is Left (Baghdad, 2003)."

There are light moments in the journal, as well, as in Dina X El Dessouky's poem "Petit Déjeuner . . . Réflexions Avant D'étaler le Président" (Président is a famous brand of butter and cheese).

"Beurre, quel mot innocent
délicieux, c'ést servi doucement
dans une crêpe, avec du jambon
Ah non! Attention! . . . .
c'est autrement
la graisse, ou bien, tu comprends--
la Terroriste de veins!"

My poem "When?" is also included in the print edition and ends by asking an important question.

"Behind the news:
We, the people know the difference
between what needs defending and
that which is indefensible.
When will the rulers read us?"

You can read this poem in full and my other contributions to Arabesques Review's War and Poetry issue here .

Y ahora, ¡cuidado con la mantequilla esa!
Watch out for that butter!


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