Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Shahé Mankerian: My Name

To the American ear
Shahé is a mistake.
It’s a crazy consonant
malfunction, alphabetic
disorder. The boys at Starbucks
want to relabel me: “Shane,
your coffee’s ready!”
“Sean, non-fat latte, extra foam.”
It’s no use correcting them,
because in their world I am
wrong and they’re right.
In their world Armenian is
a typo, it should be American.
Computers often recognize me
as a verb: Shake, shave, share-
Depends who wants to play
Scrabble with me that day.
My name is Shahé;
Shale sounds nice,
but it’s not my name.
In Turkish, “Shash” means
cross-eyed peasant.
It’s not my name.
Shat is the past
tense of shit.
It’s not my name.
Shawe almost sounds
like a playwright.
Shaqe sounds like a basketball player.
Shame,
shame,
shame,
not my name.
My name is Shahé.
It has a powerful connotation of the Shah,
and a simple “héh” like a whisper,
like a sigh on a cold winter day,
like an end of a poem.

Copyright Shahé Mankerian. Used here by kind permission of the author.

1 comment:

narine karamyan said...

So beautiful powerful, precise!!! I sensed entirely all pronounced - so well expressed! Bravo!