Monday, July 31, 2017

Hodgepodge 275/365 - Poetry (Arminé Iknadossian)

I met Arminé Iknadossian at Antioch University–Los Angeles: we were Green Macaws together in the MFA writing program. I did not get to spend much time with her because she was in the poetry thread, I was in creative nonfiction, but I always enjoyed bumping into her at lectures and readings. Her smile was rejuvenating.

She recently retired from twenty years as a teacher to work on two poetry collections; she is also a manager at Beyond Baroque Bookstore in Venice, California, and this fall will be a Writer in the Schools for Red Hen Press.

I pulled this poem (from her chapbook United States of Love) from the San Diego Reader (7/12/17). It speaks to me for being about geography, but also for its sensuousness.

California Love Poem 

The sun has an orgasm across the valley
as Pasadena opens up in front of me,
the Suicide Bridge pushing an arm out
of green sleeves, orange blossoms keening
after a mid-spring heatwave,
the Rose Bowl yawning in a ravine.

It is not enough to love the one you love,
to drive towards the ocean just to fall
into bed with them, then return home
alone, drowsy from no sleep and sex in a strange bed.
You want to keep driving East towards
black rocks and tarantulas of Nevada

or South towards the unilateral mirage of water
where the Salton Sea groans in her deadwood hammock.
On a map, California looks like she’s hugging the continent
and Nevada is leaning in for a deep kiss.
She is tentative, he is a sharp-tongued,
diamond-studded menace, kissing her
and at the same time, pushing her into the ocean.

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