Karen Kevorkian

 

 

(USA)

 

 

 

A Compelling Velvety Voice

 

Dust fine as talc unfragranced and pale, a road

eerily untrafficked though now and then

 

disordered by cars, overhead the cold pearl of the moon

and thudding film memory

 

where a biplane’s cutting-off engine struggled through

smoke of dawn, dying in bare daylight

 

if not directly over the roof under which people slept

then close enough my darling

 

is it too late

up and down the road doors slamming

 

the small plane disturbing crows’ sleek unseen bodies,

sheen of feathers uprising

 

 

Karen Kevorkian

 

 

Denver Quarterly

 

 

 

The Mouth with the Gold Teeth Speaks

 

The leaves here are gold

and the mornings so quiet

the heart thud

a startling sound

yet I do not think much

of my body

 

Patrociño Barela’s carvings

prized not by his wife

who burned his night’s work

for morning fuel

 

his dwarfsized La Muerte

sitting in a cart too big

to burn featureless

as a fetus that paradox

to be born is to die

 

heavy lidded the daubed saints

skinny Christs with those eyes

deep lines around the mouth

suggesting the sensual

of no use when nailed

to a cross except you

suffer majestically

 

in a chapel made of mud

where each year parishioners

refresh walls with more mud

 

the comforting surface

inviting to the hand

lively with bits of straw

the little church

in a fortress-like space

 

facing mountains the crosses

of derelict moradas

the phrase cactus spine braided

making space in the mind

with the practical small

basins in storerooms

to wash away blood

 

throw yourself against a body

to be forgiven if not

in the sense God forgives you my child

but physically shriven

as though the word

meant peeled

 

lain on the Earth’s body

cushioned and weeping

adorned by the buzz

and lashes of remorse

 

like all the tattoos

acquired at the time

you believed your body

would always be firm

 

in the high desert Buddhists

speak of the murderous

Myanmar Buddhists whose

inhospitable treatment

of Muslims is grievous

 

the need to pick over many

contradictions

 

little bows

to each person speaking

 

an inky blue sky over boxlike

arid earth buildings

big rigs rolling down

the paseo also 4x4s, bikes,

and those queuing for the free

plaza concert

with their children and dogs

 

arms and throats

arabesqued and limned

 

not just technique,

this constant messing with

the specific, physical detail

 

gold trees are live coals,

overhead it is rapture,

you will be saved

any minute now

 

gain fluency in tongues

become supple and feel a rush

in the body absent

these many years

 

 

Karen Kevorkian

 

 

Antioch Review

 

 

 

Our Lady of Sorrows or Is It Solitude

 

Each day contrives a new architecture of pillows,

letters smoothed flat, bent photos, notes on yellow paper

 

whole years forgotten, not necessarily important ones

 

smudge by the door, blue clad figure hovering,

from the corner nattering, a child that mumbles

 

out of adult hearing, the voice always fictitious

 

hissy sibilants, trees shushing, stubby pile of the almost

velvet chair that looked smooth, prickles

 

8:30 p.m., too little light, cat leads the way, disappears

in gloom just above the floor

 

sensation of movement is what a ghost is, worn sheets

and all the feet shoved to the end of them

 

 

Karen Kevorkian

 

 

Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts in Los Angeles, Tia Chucha Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 

Karen Kevorkian -BIO

 

 

Karen Kevorkian has published two poetry collections, Lizard Dream and White Stucco Black Wing. A native of Texas, she presently lives in Los Angeles where she teaches poetry writing at University of California Los Angeles. Her poetry and fiction appear in many journals, recently in Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly Review, Witness, Pool, Spillway, Poetry International, and Volt. She’s received a number of residency fellowships to artist foundations, most recently at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. She is fiction editor of Able Muse journal.

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