Od Centrum


Ararat, Armenia

I stand firm,
on these rocks
on this dirt

content in the
centrifugal contents
coursing through me.

Saroyan wrote
a thing or two
about folks like me

cast about the earth,
strewn somewhere.
away from here.

He wrote about
small people,
in a big world

a civilization
locked into its
own past

never to be
unleashed and

until they are…

But if they
never did, no
less vibrant

would they be.


The art exhibit played
raucously in the back-
ground, something on
Dagestan or Chechnya or both.

A Persian rug strewn
across the icy floor,
pillows along the make-
shift wall, we sit.

The noise is louder,
drumming or singing
or yelling or some-
thing like this…

He was 58, at minimum,
tall with Slavic glasses,
or so I dubbed them- all
slavic men of a certain

age wear them. The
singing grew and the
pounding on the cans
became more feverish.

He reads my palm, is this
normal? My love life will
be filled with sadness-
not looking promising…

Do I believe in palm
reading? No. Is this how
men of a certain age
flirt? Maybe…

My decisions will be my
downfall…this isn’t
going well. Im the scales-
I like two lovers, not one.

He’s the fish, a romantic.
Do I believe in horoscopes?
No. But I’m the scales,
two faces, two hearts…

So maybe I do believe in
horoscopes in my other face?

Zachód Słońca

Watching- this is how a heart breaks.
First, it crinkles, like aluminum, and
weeps. Then, all at once, with a
thunderous cry, it shatters across
the floor.

Watching- I’ll have to vacuum this floor
today, for I can’t bear to see the
stains of his tears seeping into the
happy white of my carpet, overlooking
such lovely trees.

Watching- through the window over a
beautiful dream- another ending,
another dawn stream into my windows.

Reconciling sunsets with sun dawns
is never easy.

Nazywają mnie Czarna

unnamed.jpgWetback, terrorist, mutt.
Gypsy, Татарка (Tatarka), Czarna (Charna).
Too light, too dark, too little.

Depending on where you seek to go,
the names will shift to match perception.

Render me your Jasmine, your Esmerelda
or, if you like I’ll be your Pocahontas,
but that’s just for the good days

when the shades of dark give you a taste of something
that’s just exotic enough…but not too foreign.

Tomorrow, though, I’ll be a fake,
skin too white to be authentic, eyes and hair
too dark to join the “civilized”

and it’ll make you feel good to castigate me
onto the impure, the ones that don’t belong here.

Don’t belong with you or yours.
You’ll wave a flag that’s made you feel
strong and forget what made you good.

When sitting up high upon a hill
it’s easy to forget what’s down below.

So far removed from where you’re from,
so easy to forget what makes us human.
Because we are the same,

and when features fail to match your
expectations, or when accent reveals geography,

don’t simplify anyone into a fantasy,
a nightmare, or your justification
for supporting xenophobia.

There is no such thing as pure,
nor groups of good or bad.

So when you judge another, take into
account the nature of their mind and their
heart- don’t shrink the world into 2-D.

I am not your Jasmine, your
Esmerelda, or your Pocahontas-

for those are fantasies, drawn to animation,
by the same who define me and mine as
terrorists, wetbacks or wannabes.


Places where
words are fluid.
Words are not this
nor are they that but
we all seem to understand.
Words are the puzzle pieces of
more than one tongue and we are the
ciphers of our own interactions; we are
the ones who determine which whole this one
part was taken from and, from this, the one
derives meaning and we do the same for
the one before and after and in this
way the sentence is made clear.
But if you are not from here
then you will not find
meaning, for this
space is for the
fluid of mind.