Alicia Beale

Alician BealeAlicia Beale’s poetry has appeared widely in journals such as The Greensboro Review, Prairie Schooner, Hubbub, The Florida Review, and The New Delta Review. Currently she lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she works as a part-time yoga teacher and part-time Systems Analyst. In 2007 she was a featured poet for The City of Tempe’s Poetry in April series. She has a certification in teaching creative writing from Antioch University, an MFA from Eastern Washington University, and a BA from Whitworth College. She grew up in Spokane, Washington, where she learned to appreciate huckleberries, crocuses, and the rattle and wail of trains sounding out as they passed through the small-town, empty streets.

Book by Alicia Beale at the Backwaters Press

The Manifestation of Orange Poppiesthe Manifestation of Orange Poppies

Author: Alicia Beale
Format: Paperback, 92 pages
ISBN: 9780981693668
Published: September 2008

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Praise for Alicia Beale’s The Manifestation of Orange Poppies

In her debut book of poems, Alicia Beale has taken the intricacies of everyday life and transformed them into moments of transcendence. As in Brueghel’s paintings, we are welcomed into scenes where characters as diverse as the mailman, Arthur, Uncle Merle, and Penelope, play out the lonely and devastating tasks of living. She may lament that for most adults “it’s too late in our lives / for speaking fish”, but like the seven-year-old in “Messages” she writes of a world where “anything can talk / and does.” These meditative poems will lead you to reflect on every hula hoop, crocus, cigarette butt, and cloud that crosses your path.
• Hillary Hoffman

Alicia Beale’s first book is a sensual meditation on things divine and things of the flesh. Here, the past defines existence-as if the present has us always coming of age. Moving with clarity between bluntness and heartbreak, between vulgarity and desire, Beale writes of promises and childhood and the innumerable things that the world saves. Her talent is both revealing and rewarding, with a fresh, lyric sensibility for the distance between last chances and repentance.
• David Biespiel

Enter Alicia Beale’s intense world with all your senses. In this poetry of ecstasy, everything is transformable. Her mythic, dreamlike stories are powered by dance, music, and art. The mundane details of a woman’s life clash with a passion we hear as the “sound of E flat burning.” The music of The Manifestation of Orange Poppies leads us through beauty from innocence to experience, that is, from “bone to blue to done.”
• Catherine Hammond

Poems from Alicia Beales The Manifestation of Orange Poppies

Mrs. Hubbard’s Wicked Dog Named Butch

I looked at the fruiterers, the tailor’s,
the hatter’s. I bought him pears,
pants, and helmets of steel.

Still, he wanted to play whist, eat
crab grass, play scales on his flute.

So after twenty years of nipped
fingertips and sky the color
of bruised light and peaches,

I can say it’s true – you can only have
one dame, one bone, and one rising
moon. Soon enough, the dog calls out

Bow Wow and you’re the servant
of lime pie, loitering workers, tamed cats.

So one night you see the fishmonger
outside his fish house. The instruments
of gutting and skinning make his hands

tight as strings on rump roasts.
You go to plays together where the moon
rises on ropes and pulleys.

It swallows the spires of hope
like a barracuda until it ends in well-being.

But all the time over the re-enactment
of love the chorus of dogs go on and on
barking orders to the baker and shoe-maker.

The cupboards are empty of cakes
and cocktails and sweet dreams.
So at the end you count out the rhymes:

bone and Styrofoam, bow and kowtow.
You call him a dog. You find a new home.

The Resistance

It was 1942. Red uniforms had advanced
as far as the Yangtze river. My grandfather turned
toward the Himalayas with a new pair of shoes,
followed wheel tracks and the short mark of boots
sunk deep into the mud road. Ahead, clouds
shifting in long columns, a wet fire of spring.

My hand domesticated, my hand in his as we walk
around our fenced-in block. Hovering in doorways,
old men watch sprinklers water grass. Their wives’
silhouettes fade against porch lights. Evening pulls up
to the curb and turns off the day’s motor. Something
approaches. It is in the tangle of front lawns, it is
followed by the hush of men sitting before their thoughts.

His cracked lips press against a cigarette as a vulture
picks apart the dead. Eight am and it feels like noon,
the road a hot semaphore of suffering. If conquering tribes
always came out of the desert, mongols racing down
to rape verdant valleys, then this was why he was tired.
By now, they had returned to the rice fields like clouds
that can only drift. In their ears, the silence of unshot guns.

Whatever approaches has always been here. It is
not about love or the uncertainty between kisses, evening
to morning. Our dry palms press together. Around us,
profusions of roses and crocuses. My hand in his,
I can walk around this fenced-in block. Almost convinced
it is only evening, the sun falling into the lap of the stars.

Fata Morgana

It’s closing time. In the background,
the waiter flips through bills.

The cook, drunk and grease-covered,
fingers the gas knobs on the stove.

And the patrons still remain because
they are sure they have seen something

extraordinary beneath yellow lights
and a blue-black sky.

Those fat and happy patrons. If only
I could tell them what’s real

is the sharp smell of sambuca, the sky
tilting in the painter’s hand. What’s mirage

is memory, an insurrection of tulips.
The dawn brings soiled sheets, a righted

canvas. The dusk brings questions, my empty
hands pressed and pulling back the skin

of an orange to its brilliant flesh,
blameless in its light, ready to not be.

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