Sunday, May 31, 2020


On your birthday, find a restaurant that serves
orange chicken over basmati rice. Of course,

the fried vermicelli noodles must be the color
of angel locks. If you desire naan on the side,

you must also request a bowl of roasted egg-
plants with the charred skin intact. Be gentle

when you drizzle the pomegranate syrup; later
you’ll whine about the lie bumps on your tongue.

The busboy is not a poet; don’t make him recite
Gibran by heart. The misprint in the menu

claims the coffee they serve is Turkish. Mama,
remember to complain. Even God can be misled.

This poem appeared in Ghost City Press.

Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School and the poetry co-director of Rockvale Review. His manuscript, History of Forgetfulness, has been a finalist at the Bibby First Book Competition, the Crab Orchard Poetry Open Competition, the Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Award, and the White Pine Press Prize. Online publications, Border Crossing and Cahoodaloodaling, have nominated Shahé’s poems for the 2018 Best of the Net. Visible Poetry Project’s animation of Mankerian’s poem, “The Last Mosque,” premiered at the 2018 New York Poetry Festival. He received the 2017 Editors’ Prize from MARY: A Journal of New Writing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Karen Kevorkian: What Had Once Been My City

A funerary tower halfway climbed,
the Bedouin on a little motorbike always ahead
at the next site, necklaces swinging from his arm

the teenaged executioners parading in front of bound prisoners
before two-thousand-year-old temple columns,
which at that moment still rose

instructed to accept the cruelty that is wartime, its ochre horizon

some believing the border wall slows down large groups,
others having little faith in it

in earliest life forms the human body took shape,
predator fishes with long spines and thick boney arms,
protostarfish like meadow grasses in a breeze accepting
what came along in the current

a land where people did everything
with little flint knives set in wooden handles,
who sharpened blades rapidly against their own teeth
like monkeys who put everything in their mouths

in low tones a man chides the large dog he holds on his lap,
the dog moving closer until its body is one with the master’s

I take all jurisdiction, civil as well as criminal, high as well as low,
from the edge of the mountains to the stones and the sand in the rivers
and the leaves on the trees

on snow beside a mountain lake a woman’s skin spasmed
from the cold she called pure,
naked body gray in the water’s dusk

years solder solid black scrolled linoleum or paper
like something saved from flames of Alexandria’s library

remember Ahkmatova’s I can, lightning strike on
the desert describes a glass web in sand

From The Enchanting Verses Literary Review 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


All day, people washed the body, 
stuck it, told it to open wide
to ease the pill down the dry throat
sometimes it was necessary
to turn from the eyes
sometimes dust settling
on the shoulders of ornamental glass
not the tall brown important bottles
with white plastic caps, each day
tilting toward late afternoon’s
foil fissures on the wall
and the mirror’s long silver shafts
slanted like rain, the body almost no more
it was drifting,
blood journeying on an opiate sea,
it left the shore
what good was disappointment
or relief, pale
as longstalked lilies, their sickest
or the eyelet edging the pillowy quilt
bunched so like a watchful dog
ready for come here, now

from Literary Pool, 2014

Monday, May 25, 2020


September cooling, arguably
an understated beginning, leaves 
crisped in flight, this must be 
the house, how the sun 
rampages through the trees,
the little yard a meadow 
where unquietly once 
a snake, shapeshifting
confusion, a door incised 
with the past, swagger 
of voices then the move to other
small rooms, another small house
of dubious quiet, filaments 
of tree shadow 
that craze makeshift 
walls, penscripted light

from Literary Pool, 2014

Sunday, May 24, 2020


Vulnerably thin palm trees at the pool’s edge
spew down dead fronds, gunshot birds
brown falling at dusk
a little rain coming and going,
fine pepper spray on the face  
below the pool’s surface spotlights restating
what could not be more ordinary,
a kirlian woman discharging coronas of light
the water mottles, silver rings her body,
skimming fingertips explode parabolas
midnight on azure, endsheets of a handmade
Florentine book where peacock, cerulean,
and sapphirine profusely question
in the almost-dark sky clouds 
of steel, pyrite, hyacinth, azurine
a strange planet, everything in motion
in the mostly empty expanse
of ash and water, ember and ice
an infinite meadow of heaven
of white fire laden and literal blue cold 

from Literary Pool, 2014

Friday, May 08, 2020

Reminder: Our call for Poems deadline is June 1, 2020

Hello all:

We hope you are all healthy and being creative during your confinement.

A reminder that our call for poetry deadline is approaching. Please read the original post about this global endeavor.

Thank you

Lola Koundakjian