The following poems include Persian words I learned growing up. Until recently, I thought they were Armenian, my first language. My parents are from Iran, so these words are a part of their vocabulary.
Home is a Paperclip You Bend Towards
The language I’m learning I’ve already known. Like bademjan curtains and former vowels. I speak khob, except when I didn’t know. The language I’m learning has been on my tongue before. Like shalvar when I’m hungry, or favorite shirts worn to bed. The tut farangi you repeat to yourself while falling asleep. Take me to the conditional unknown. I’ll kholase the books while waiting for you. Let’s go home. The rice is ready.
Turquoise Portrait Inside an Apricot Tree
If I eat enough lavashak, I will be made a queen in the forgotten forest. But there are no forests in kahu place. I speak in idioms, so you will understand me. Everything is real next to the torshi moon. That’s what I told myself one khodkar afternoon. We see ourselves in ourselves. And when we buy havij, we see ourselves again. I look like everybody in my family because we all wear hats on the same holiday and our hilltops are stolen and golden underneath the abacus sky.
Tea-Washed Rugs Dipped in Sun
April was the horse they gave me. They tried to give me khalvat, but I said no. I am a house with trees. I climb mountains when it’s cold. Let’s hatman the disaster of the typewriter. The sun keeps speaking masalan. And I need that. Where should we place your ship, if your yani is on the ceiling? And when the yellow couch revolts, who will kalam us? We’ll build fountains on your arm. A triangle inside your ship.
off my life
& deny me
deaths because you
and it’s rush
on the train
I look at you
In your Adidas
and I want to
metal around me
Is a jean
over the railing
I remember you
back to L.A.
& all I
& rock me
You tell me
I could alter you
& I wanted
In the first place.
LA Warman is a poet and performer. She is the founder of GLASS PRESS, a publisher of art and poetry on flash drives. Warman has had work in shows at MOCA Cleveland, ICA Philadelphia, Time-Based Art Festival, General Public Collective, Flying Object, and Open Engagement. Warman is the author of Whore Foods, a serialized erotic novella. Her chapbooks How to Become a Lesbian and THE CAVE THE CHURCH THE BEDROOM THE MALL were published by Inpatient Press and After Hours Ltd. In February 2018 she presented a solo show of new installation art at A.T.M. Gallery in Austin, TX. Warman wrote and directed a 12 hour text and movement performance piece, Break, that premiered at Deli Gallery in 2018. She teaches Erotica classes online and in Brooklyn.
Alina Gregorian is a writer and artist whose chapbooks include Flags for Adjectives (Diez) and Navigational Clouds (Monk Books). Alina hosts a video poetry series on HuffPost and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Richard Chiem is the author of You Private Person (Sorry House Classics, 2017) and the novel King of Joy (Soft Skull Press, 2019). His work has been published in City Arts Magazine, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Fanzine, 3:AM Magazine, and Moss Magazine, among many other places. His book You Private Person was named one of Publishers Weekly's 10 Essential Books of the American West. He lives in Seattle w/ his partner.
Phoebe Harris develops narrative paintings structured around fragmentary text and image, often resulting in book or comic form. The resulting compositions tell a story of living — of lost and found, of dark and light, of arrest and release. Phoebe's work is concerned with the polarizing experiences of a human life, frequently referencing concepts of love and loss. Phoebe lives and works on the coast of Maine where she was born and raised.