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.

Już po ptakach

Zastanawiam się o przeszłości,
chciałabym być życzliwa z moim wspomnieniem.

Przypominam sobie naszę miłości
i zrealizuję, że pomimo moich wysiłków

moja krew brakuje krwi anioła…

Poszukałam głębokie w moim sercu
dla powodu twojego okrucieństwa

i w końcu zdałam sobie sprawę,
nie odpuszczam twojej głupoty

uważam cię za niemoralne.

I think about the past, I would like
to be magnanimous in my memory.

I remember our love and I
realize that, despite my efforts,

my blood lacks angel’s blood.

I searched deep in my heart
for the reason for your cruelty

and finally I decided
that I don’t forgive your folly-

I condemn you as immoral.



I do not know how to
put words to tongue
about that which I
feel for you- a ghost
in my eternal memory.

How to express what my heart
felt when it beat near yours
is like attempting to describe
the nearness of the sun to
sky and of the vein to blood.

You are so integrally a part
of me and yet so willing to refuse
me-to escape to another with
so little to offer but a tongue that
you have deemed more worthy,
more fitting to your existence…

But as one who lives between
the folds of linguistic differences,
whose tongue has abandoned her,
and who harbors culture despite
language- I can tell you

that speaking, as melodic
as it might seem, is no more
than a method of expressing love
and need-and I can express both
in many a tongue…be it not yours…

but “I need you” is universal
and “I love you” is beyond this realm.
If you are truly of the soul
then the only tongue is that which
exists between pulses.

Czarnooka Kobieta

For your hair,
You will be called “Czarna.”

Four your height,
You will be called “Maleńka.”

For your teeth,
You will be “Amerykanka.”

For your heart,
You will be “Cukierka.”

For your skin,
So pale, you’ll be called “Biała.”

For your brain,
You will be called “Gwiazdeczka.”

For that face,
You will be “Czarna Owca.”

And for those eyes,
Well…you’ll be known as “Czarownica.”

I dla mnie, on powiedział,
Prostu jesteś moją słoneczką