This is the new blog...CONFESSION ZERO


I am happy and honored to introduce you to our second Poetic Justice Featured Artist. Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon during the earlier War, Ashraf Osman came to the United States in 1998 to pursue his graduate studies at Syracuse University. He has been living in Philadelphia since 2002 where he works as an architect. His interest in memory and forgetting carries over from architecture—his award-winning thesis was titled “Memory for Forgetfulness”: Registering/Effacing the Memory of the Lebanese War—to wax collages, to poetry, a medium he finds in many ways to be more apt for the subject matter.

Ashraf's poem "Part 1" caught me off guard and stayed with me. It is an honor to present the first of what may well be frequent featured artist works by Ashraf. So... without further adieu, the poem...

It could be worse,
it could be worse,
it could be worse,

I type with one hand
a mantra that has a hard time
believing itself.

My mother tells me,
"Talk to your aunt, lie to her,
tell her her son will be alright.

Tell her you heard on TV
that there'll be a cease-fire
so he could cross back to her.

She'll believe you,
she wants so much to believe.
She's tired of crying."

She hands me the phone,
my throat dries up again;
it's hard to lie to a crying woman.

My mother tells me,
"I'm all out of clean underwear,
I didn't think it'd be so bad.

When I was in my twenties
I could run far," she says,
"with my children flailing under my arms.

But I'm not so young anymore.
Son, don't tell anyone,
but I celebrated thirty a long time ago.

I don't have another war in me;
I didn't think I needed one."
She takes a long puff at her cigarette.

"One can start a new life only once,"
she says, "and I've had mine.
I'll see you in the fall," she says,

"I'll see you in the fall."

Copyright © 2006 ash.osm. / arch.memory

Ashraf has been keeping a poetry blog, called arch.memory, since 2002. It has been featured on Blinq, the blog of the Philadelphia Inquirer; he was selected as one of 100 Blogging Poets on the web, and was recently a finalist for Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere for 2006. His poetry has been recently featured on The Other Voices International Project. In print, he has poems coming out in the Mad Poets Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal and Outside Voices 2008 Anthology of Younger Poets.

The wax collage Ashraf made based on a photo of his mother and a letter from her (attached). Please visit Ashraf's blog and let him know you appreciate his words.

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