These Miraculous Hands

By Natalie Kamajian (Guest Contributor)

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These miracle hands that breathe life into inanimate cloth // these hands that warm my soul // the hands that live by an imperfect perfection. Love. These seamstress hands that speak the language of Art // that root me on this earth // that have affirmed me with ancestry, with stories and with belonging. The seeds that have rooted me in place // Armenian hands that I call home // I hear each and every work of art underneath her soft wrinkles, I visualize the generations of women that have come before me, their stories floating through each movement as I watch her work. She breathes. Two miraculous hands snip and align; pin and shift. Patience and fearlessness leave me awed. Wisdom // Knowledge // Dignity. She speaks in libraries without saying a word. Hold up. Redefinition of Power. Maybe if I watch her long enough, my hands, too, will learn to speak.

Natalie Kamajian works at a community and economic development organization designing innovative solutions to responsibly revitalize low-income, urban areas around Los Angeles. After living in Հայաստան for a year she unearthed, as Charlemagne once put it, “her second soul.” She is an inbetweener: never here nor there, never making sense and never wanting to and liking it that way. Natalie loves to write but she feels life moves too fast, its moments too precious sometimes to do anything other than live it. Lover of lavender ice cream, homemade halva and handmade soaps; Gardening’s worst gardener and biggest fan; and best friend to both the young & elderly but not really the folks in between causing all the trouble. She practices traditional Armenian ethnographic folk dancing and will revel at any chance to do a mean Մշո Խըռ to some live dhol and zurna. She will gladly bring out her inner թագուհի when necessary and believes that only when she contradicts herself, is she able to seek truth. 

Irrepressible

By Semaline Joukakelian (Guest Contributor)

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Semaline Joukakelian is a graphic designer living in Montreal, Canada.  She enjoys painting and reading, and finds inspiration in the voices of Arthur Meschian and Ruben Hakhverdyan.   

Unforgivable Sin

By Natalin Daldalian (Guest Contributor)

We sit, we question, we ponder why?
Why did all those people have to die?
Every year we listen lie after lie,
Forgive and forget they say, it’s been a century since your people died.
Sit back in your seat and close your eyes
Listen to their prayers, listen to their cries.
Talaat Pasha gave Armenians two options in his request-
Convert to Islam or perish like the rest.
Women carried their children, their hearts wrenching,
All through a walk that had no ending.

How would you feel if you buried your child with your bare hands?
Or watched them be thrown into mud and then covered with sand?
Watched your little girls be stripped and draped,
Watch them be tortured, abused and raped.
Walk down a road and see bodies on the way,
Hear a friend say “I can’t make it through another day.”
And when they were near death, have them left in the rain,
Nothing you could do but watch them slowly die in agony and pain.
Listen, there’s a bullet from the gun of a Turk,
She falls dead on the ground, and on his face an evil smirk.
Women and children all lit on fire
As Turks watched, with much desire.

Torture, abuse, rape, humiliate,
Take over our land, control and dictate.
Now open your eyes, do you see what they’ve done?
Their goal was to annihilate us, bury us, forever gone.
But we did not fall, their plan ceased to work,
And now there is constant denial in the eyes of a Turk.
They destroyed our books, and burned down our churches,
But our soul still searches
Searches for the Holy lands we no longer possess,
The land we call Armenia, the land that God blessed.

Beloved 1.5 million Armenians do rest in peace,
Their ‘Sacred Goals’ were not reached.
A century has passed but the truth will soon prevail
The world knows the Genocide is not a made up tall tale.
It’s only a matter of time, we’re almost there,
Their threats and lies no longer scare.
Our time is now, and we shall soon win,
What they did was an unforgettable, unforgivable sin.

Natalin Daldalian was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She currently resides in Southern California while studying criminology.

Mother Armenia

By Melineh Merdjanian (Guest Contributor)

Ancient nation
you created me
from a pomegranate seed
and carried me to life
on the wings of a crane

And when I cried
from a distance
your elusive hand
wrinkled with hills and valleys
wiped my tears
while the haunted rhapsodies
of our holy mountain Ararat
and river Arax
flowed from your cavernous lips
like a duduk
scraping my soul
leaving me aching
to embrace you

I was taken from you
by hands too calloused
to feel my vulnerability
and extradited
from your blossoming orchards
your sun-drenched lakes
and golden fields
of abundant wheat

I have stumbled into homes
seeking shelter and warmth
but all felt like rough, woolen shrouds
against my flayed skin
incomparable to your gentle caress

But my legs grew strong
like roots of the tree
that bore me

The years pass like centuries
yet dust will never gather
on the memory of you
for you shine and pulsate
a beacon to guide me home.

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Melineh Merdjanian has had a passion for writing since the age of 12 and dreams of visiting Armenia again someday.