Karen Kevorkian







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



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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