Monday, March 12, 2012

till the soul

when i pressed my ear
against the ground
on land
that used to provide
for a matriarchal indigenous people
two thousand years ago
i could hear
the open mouths
and outstretched arms
of indistinguishable shadows
traveling at a thousand miles per hour
from depths immeasurable
and at the same time
as if they had already arrived
to wait
for someone to listen

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

today my mother tells me

"it's been 36 years
since my mother passed

and just as long
that i can't remember her
at all

not even her voice"

and i think
how sad
to be that out of touch
with yourself

Monday, February 6, 2012


take this distance
words that make sense
derive meaning from instinct
and not logic
take this loss
of language
i live
in my always immigrant
stepping on land
my bones have not yet
turned to dust for
take this song
that lives
inside my throat
let me scream
the english

i cannot speak
my truth
in the master's tongue

Friday, February 3, 2012

of longing

i dream of devouring
the red fruit
that breathes
release into a home
i do not go into
in your absence
made of night
and being unable to see
only knowing
my own ocean
of skin
when you are the moon
letting me back in

Friday, January 20, 2012

kitchen queen

my father told me to not look at the door for an answer
the day my husband beat me, 
told me to find myself a corner in the house
and cry.

she puts down the eggs and tarragon wrapped in lavash,
mixed with salt as regretful as tears,
and pepper as passionate as life.

we were told to be good all our lives,
and what about us was not good?

she has brought out the tea, the cheese. 
she will cut it for you, place it on your bread,
spread the butter.

she will pour your cup full, add sugar,
tell you to sit out of the sun, 
ask if you need the heat on, 
if she can give you a sweater.

we acted like fools and were treated like fools,
who wouldn’t want a wife like that?

she recently dyed her hair completely blonde,
trying to appeal to her husband's taste for russian
more delicate women,
women less raw and wild than herself. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

poem to a photograph

                                         p h  o  t o   b y    s  v e  t  l  a  n  a      a  n t o n y a  n

caged dead

they say
the dead are turning
in their graves
unable to rest
their earth turned bones
constantly gutted
by bombs
for coal
for copper
for gold
for diamonds
for oil

they say
the dead are turning
in their graves
can't sleep
to the weeping
of their children
losing lands
above their heads
of dead fish
on shores
apricot trees
to produce fruit

they say
the dead are turning
in their graves
from poisons
seeping into dirt
oil spills
under ocean

they say
the dead are caged
in their graves
chained to
a memory
and reproduced
by their children
and their children's
and generations
after that
to break
of the living
and seek wisdom
from the dead

Friday, January 6, 2012


if i am the third world then the way we have gotten used to is no longer the way because i am before the number one, i am zero, round and circular, i complete the cycle, i am before numbers were made up, before a billion dollars was not enough, before the tallest building was trying to reach god, i was underground where it all began, before development brought metal cranes into every city i have grown up in while i was growing up, before development dug into the earth to rip me out and throw me across the atlantic ocean to the new world, the developed world, where third world neighborhoods struggle under the will of gods sitting in the sky of 100 story buildings scraping the sky to scream bombs at other third worlds to steal metal/gold/oil/rock/children/women/rights.

if i am the third world then the number scale has shifted to a new system where infinity is no longer an option and the number 3 is the new wor(l)d for change, for development by a new definition which states that:

nothing will be made right without destruction of what development has come to mean: the desire for better/faster/easier/more and more.

we need a new vocabulary, even if it comes about by borrowing from our own tongues, or once we begin to make words up because we are free to create the world we inhabit which is already made up of words that constantly break us


if the mouths of words are shut we can only hear mumbling lies and begin to turn into those lies.

if i am the third world then i am moving instead of accumulating, instead of collecting, instead of acquiring, instead of occupying, instead of colonizing, instead of stealing, instead of cheating, instead of killing, instead of raping, instead of beating, instead of lying, instead of running while standing still and never reaching or knowing any true satisfaction or joy or love or peace.

if i am the third world then i am in the right place to begin to understand where to go from here