How The Wolf Was Made

By Melissa Lake

I used to be Armenian,
until they took that from me too.

Except they made me better.

Now I am a chimera of all the things they could not kill:
a descendant of a people who could not break.
I have evolved to be smarter and more powerful and stronger.

They killed me and created something better:
gave me an echoing howl and a tougher hide and razor teeth. Now I have claws that sink in and won’t let go.

I would never have been born if they weren’t afraid of what I could be. Now I’m greater than I ever was.

I stand at their doorway, heavy breath at their neck, blood dripping from my muzzle. They are afraid of the monster they created.

And they should be.

Msho Khr

By Natalie Kamajian (Guest Contributor)

msho

The Unity of my people.

Depends on my legs and internal rhythms

knowing these dances better than I do.

My soul understands the meaning of unity.

To be united, is to reach

beyond the self

& to become

One //

Movement //

Why speak of social change when we know not how to trust in Armenian dance?

Armenian dance is…

strength //

it is wisdom //

Armenian dance knocks you off of your ego,

and tells you to shut up, and F.E.E.L.

So.

Feel.

Feel the Dhol. Feel your brothers and sisters. And Move.

Ձախ—ձախ, աչ աչ ձախ—աչ աչ ձախ

“say it in your sleep,” said one ֆեդայի

“you will need it one day”, said Մայրիգ

To surrender to your movement

is to resist your erasure.

When you dance Մշո Խըռ…

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. Check out her other poems, These Miraculous Hands and Kochari

Kochari

By Natalie Kamajian (Guest Contributor)

my generation

stands on the shoulders of our parents
on the bent backs of our grandparents
on the snapped necks of our ancestors

listen not, to what you think your people need
we know nothing without ancestors…ancient sisters
//my first sisters//

they have bled, knelt, marched, killed, hurt
loved, wrote, built and buried
so that I can breathe “hye”

strong women
&                                             ignite fires within my spirit
selfless men

when I dance Քոչարի…

IMG_3734

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. More of her poetry can be found here.

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.

_

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

The Forgotten Genocide

By Melissa Lake

I used to be Armenian
until they took that from me too
like they took my grandparents lives
and then had the audacity to say
they were casualties of war.
And still my people fight
against an impossible, intangible foe
Denial.
And all we want is to be heard
to be understood
for someone to say
we were wrong
but instead forced ignorance is their only currency
and every blow is a little deeper
and every lie is killing twice.

Smoke in Beirut

By Missak Artinian

She leans against the rusted railings, peering
Down at the polluted streets from
 the balcony.

Her frail fingers clench the butt of a cigarette
Like a soldier clinging tightly to her own rifle.

A black smoke veils her mouth. She doesn’t talk.
Not about the Civil War. Never about grandfather.

I tell her smoking will kill her. She nods her balding head,
Takes one last puff before throwing the butt off the balcony

And lights another.