Karen Karslyan in translation: two poems



You keep reminding me of the need to buckle up
Every single time you give me a ride


I know
You're just trying to avoid problems with cops


But still


It's comforting to hear you mention it
As careless about oneself
As I am


You keep asking how I'm doing
Every time you see me


I know
What you give in response to my mumbling
Is just another perfunctory smile


But still


It's comforting to see your beautiful smile
If not the whole
Beauty saves my world


You keep telling me I shouldn't curse so much


I know
You just hate to hear those words


But still
You help me think things are not as bad as I think


You keep asking me to roll you a cigarette
And the first time I asked if you minded
My licking the edge of the paper


You shook your head and said
It would boost your immune system


I know
Your concern about health is primary


But still
I'm happy you didn't take me for another germ


You keep reminding me of the need to wear a rubber
Whenever you knock my door


I know
You've just chosen safe sex


But still


It's comforting to realize
You've chosen me to have it with


You always say 'thank you'
Following each of our copulations


Although it makes me feel like
I purchased a pound of sex at a grocery store


But still
It's comforting to hear you
Have a nice evening


You once said that I was a poet even if I'd never written a single poem


I know
You were just trying to comfort me during my writer's block


But still


I suddenly felt like
None of my poems had made me feel like a poet


Your words did
At least for a moment



December 5, 2005
Los Angeles, CA




My window overlooks my window
Reflected in other windows


Leisurely I’m sipping tea from my cracked mug
And looking out of the window
In my tiny room of a cheap apartment stuffed in Hollywood


I’m looking at the sun reflected in the remote window
Of the opposite apartment building
Millions of earths could fit in the sun
That fits in that filthy small window


Why don’t I fit in any job


I can’t force myself to throw away my old mug with a few cracks
Although the tea leaks not only in through the crack between my lips
But also out through the longest of the cracks near the handle


I watch the slow leak of tea
I find it entertaining
To some extent it eliminates the sense of loneliness
If not somebody
There’s at least something that sips tea with me
And doesn’t even get disgusted to share my gross mug


November 3 , 2005 Los Angeles, CA


'I like to use the languages of the various arts – literature, music, theatre...I think that is the spirit of the modern global era.'- poet Ivan Hristov spoke to SJ Fowler of 3AM magazine about the evolution of the contemporary Bulgarian poetry scene.


Cosmin Borza discusses the work of Romania's 'Generation 2000' poets, including Radu Vancu and Claudiu Komartin in an essay at Asymptote.


At the Sofia Poetics festival, which was organised by Word Express participant Ivan Hristov, Scottish based poet Ryan Van Winkle caught up with fellow festival guests SJ Fowler and Tomasz Rózycki. To hear Fowler and Rózycki discussing their work and reading some of their poetry, listen to the Scottish Poetry Library podcast here.