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POETRY


A selection from the last couple of years...


IOWA
from Post Post
Published in Five:2:One Magazine, March 9, 2019

Some people remind me of trees in autumn
Outside a town long forgotten
By those whose cradles were in bigger, better places
Maybe someday the town's name will pop up in their mind
Like a surprise relapse
And then maybe they'll recall
That you were my radar


CELLULITE

Small town boys get together with small town girls
To build big town futures
In a small town way

I smirk, but smirking oversimplifies
Like a smudge
I think
I sink

These days
I eat peanut butter and jam
Often without bread
Often almost to the point of being sick
To avoid sadness
Gorging on sweetness
A sweetness that’s real, but might as well be saccharine
Like an eye-rolling social media post
Or a sultry woman walking in a windy passage

I look at her legs
Thin, shapely
But her shorts reveal
Thighs
Full of cellulite


CONNECTED

High speed through low country
Connections connectors few contacts or contentment
Countless scenarios
Simultaneously stifling
Inflamed stomach demons surfing on waves of acid and bitterness
Last times lingering longer than lost lives look at their locks
Platforms checked off checked out in mirrors still look like a choke-hold
Back to cyber-sifting through serial superficiality
That cold hand again
Trying to build up my ego with it stupidly
Connecting vacuums with other vacuums
Hearts with heat neither of which exist
Haphazard lap dancers in soul chasms
Limited squiggly half-truths written by addicts
I am in that parade
Pandering to promises of a schism break
Eyes wide open, marching


I KNOW YOU
Published in Porridge Magazine, Dec. 27, 2017

for Ania

I know you
Misread, misfired
A missile, muddy, not malevolent

Sleepwalking, I throw daggers that convert to flowers in mid air
And land at your feet
Some dead, some still alive

Somnambulant in some nebula

We are fluid and separate, fragile and failed
Lost unkind kindred spiritless oneness and fondness
Soul fondue of grease, love, and falling into bad habits
Observing each other from different dimensions

Distant, dim

I know you
Scared, scarred, scattered
Your laugh and your laughable mysticism, your brief departures from an abusive, capricious psyche
Your unwitting polishing of a small-town badge that you wear more prominently than you might think or want
That you think you don't want

I know you can cause concussions, conundrums, consternation
That you convulse gently, smiling eyes closed to the rough water
I know you don’t want to be constantly callous

Cats, catatonia

I know that you hurt me
On the plains of Mongolia
And in the northernmost reaches of the harsh Norwegian landscape
Beyond the prayers of all the Armenian grandmothers praying in all the small-town Armenian churches

I know you
Malleable
Marble
And I wonder what you know
What you really know
About me
About someone you ultimately couldn’t understand


LAST
from L@st Months

A last secret
One final breach
Gently moving your hair behind your ear to whisper
To reveal a new intolerance

"Come here"

You can avoid the house
Avoid the neighborhood
Avoid the city
Avoid our history
Mute, muffle, or murder the memory
But if you want access to any of this
"Come here"
Is your only gateway

I am deaf to any other preamble
No more words, warped and wounded
Washed out or wistful
No more wishes, birthday or bogus
Friendly or furious
It has all been said
It has all been felt
Like a store sample phone, all the buttons pressed a million times without actually making a single connection

No

"Come here"

So easy to save someone from the soliloquy of a summer solitude
Don't try the back doors
I have been weak, but I still managed to bolt them all
I have also closed all the windows
To avoid an accidental whiff of your perfume
Or an accidental chorus of a song that reminds me of you blasting from some car for three seconds as it drives by

No

"Come here"

Say this, or don't say anything to me ever again
It's that simple


GHOST

A weak impulse, and even weaker knees, eating, drinking, sleeping, swoosh, ugh, reaching, folding, stacking, rituals, dreaming, singing, quiet first, progressively louder, trying to scare, this ghost, does not bang doors, or make the floors creak, or appear, human, or otherwise, just moves through me, like I wasn't even there, such ease, like there's some kind of determined resolve, behind it, but there isn't, it's just chance, boredom, in that other realm, not really playful or pitiful, one day, some day, she'll get used to it, she'll know, she can't connect, only haunt, until then, swoosh, there she goes again, maybe, she knows, already.


FIGMENT
from Love Poems

I came up to her and was brave

A bravery born without a hitch

My nerves too preoccupied with voices from the past

I nudged her and then just floated away

A brief flash before fading into the flood of darkness

Another figment of her imagination

An unsuccessful attempt to materialize again in this city, on this planet

In a painless reality that smells of freshly brewed coffee and a lover’s neck


BALLOON
from Love Poems
Published in Ghost City Press, May 5, 2017

There once was a girl who filled a balloon with helium.
She was a pretty girl, and filled the balloon just right.
She held it for a while, then let it fly.
As it flew, against its will, the distance grew between it and her and the rest of the world below it
Until it popped, somewhere in the atmosphere.


A.S.
from Love Poems

Some nights I woke up next to you and saw you looking at me

Or vice versa

Which areas of your mostly hidden, hard to decipher inner world were you wandering around?

Lush mountain landscapes of green and purple?

Deep desert valleys of red and broken beige?

Or were you lost in some nondescript, fragmented reality, looking at me, trying to tell me you couldn't find a way out?

I never asked, I was just happy to have you there, next to me.




(c) 2017-2020 Armen Abalian. All rights reserved.