Alison Williams






Working to home


Cesar Ramos carpenter and bunkbed put-er together-er, a new apartment by the water

boats bobbing in the surrounding harbor.

Grandma Scotch and her 90th

birthday coming up, complaints of missing invitations, there are not answers when the post goes gone and besides she sees the uninvited invitees every day just ask just say can’t say won’t say mustn’t be rude, mustn’t speak outside the box or lean in too far.

San Diego, theory, women’s work the articulation of complex words and the ineptitude of history pro-gress, no-gress but I digress.

The thickness of too much nothing. California bungalow, sunporch river rock surrounded by the scent of orange blossoms and an echo of the gong sounded by Krishnamurti himself. One day quiet under an oak in my own backyard.




Evolving the cinquain

(because Kim suggested it)



She was abstract before the animal paintings came to her. Now she wonders what she is.



Before the animals came she wondered what she was. Now she is the abstract of paintings.



Painting the abstract the animals came to her. Now she wonders if what she is she was.






Upstream in pause, haunches to boulder,

I sit facing water flowing over dusty bleached carcasses,

arid stones, sodden drunk and dazed from

the era of parched drought.


Ascetic in nature,

stalwart in commitment to the ground,

white faces of the survivors stare up to the sun,

partially submerged.


The water floods

over powder-caked bones, stripping clean,

particle by particle, vestiges of sun-baked dirt,

the sand of soot and ashes, vestiges of the ritual

dance for rain.


Unreliant on water,

carrier of lineages, vessel and pathway, awaiting purpose,

vein of life from seeping rain-flooded caverns

deep on high mountains, threading to sea.


I am animal as well as stone,

vegetable, mineral, fire, ether, water itself,

drawn by hunch and instinct to rippling sound

and wet metallic smell to drink deep and steady to the change

from dust to drowning.


I want to wade to the center,

lay down with my buff- and dun-colored siblings,

and stare, submerged but for face and breath,

blind with legiance at the sun.












Alison Williams is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Anastamos, Chapman University’s interdisciplinary journal.  Her reviews and interviews have been featured in World Literature Today and Not Impossible, and she is a reader for the poetry journal Tabula Poetica.  Her interview series Storytellers is a collection of multi-media talks with various creative and innovative minds.  Alison is currently in the MFA Creative Writing/MA English program at Chapman University. 



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