an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century


Youssef Alaoui


The mind of a poet is nothing

less than a kaleidoscopic mirror

one day that mirror is struck by lightning

a cataclysm, shock, horror, heartbreak

death of the poet’s people

and the soul of that poet is shattered

into a million pieces across the Atlas ranges

Once, Atlas held up the heavens

and some sheep but not the world

Perseus asked Atlas for shelter

and he did not help, fearing the theft

of the golden apple, so

Perseus showed him the severed head

of Medusa, turned him instantly to stone

and he became the Atlas mountains

forever holding up the sky

Help those who need it, lest you be turned

to stone or a mountain range

the same peaks saw the wretched attack

and death of European travelers, the wild rams

former home of lions

with tiny flowers sprouting

where all the blood had spilled

coursing into the rocks

feeding the fissures and springs, it is

here that lie the last glittering fragments

of the poet Abu Al Saïd

Here is where the magic left his body

joined up with the sky

and the great sun of Morocco

that penetrates every carpet and hide

left out to face the day weather

so while you are walking

losing yourself in the medina and her

wares, mind the sun-soaked rugs

because therein lie the last glittering fragments

of the poet so dear to his people

Abu al Saïd

Youssef Alaoui
 is an Arab-Latino, born in California. His mother is Colombiana. His father was Moroccan. The Alaoui-Fdilis are originally from Fez. His family is today mostly in Casablanca and Rabat.