R. H. Lola Koundakjian

R. H. Lola Koundakjian

R. H. Lola Koundakjian has lived in New York City since 1979. Her work has appeared online in alpialdelapalabra (Argentina), Armenian Poetry Project (New York City), GROONG (University of Southern California), and UniVerse (Chicago); and in print in the Anthology Memoria del XX Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellin (Colombia), Armenian Weekly (Boston) and Pakin (Beirut, Lebanon).

Lola has read her work on several stages in New York City and Los Angeles, collaborating with the LA Zephyrs, GARTAL, and the Greek-American reading series.

For the past 20 years, Lola has organized evenings dedicated to the Dead Armenian Poets’ Society, and since 2006 has produced and edited text and audio for the multi-lingual Armenian Poetry Project.

Lola’s work was translated into Spanish for the 20th International Poetry Festival in Medellin, Colombia where she read her work in July 2010.

Please visit her website: http://www.lolakoundakjian.com

 
After an Italian dinner

Vin Santo — sweet wine
made of white ripe grapes.

Dip those biscotti. Finish it off with that espresso doppio macchiato.

Transport yourself to Florence,
or some tiny Tuscan village like San Giminiano, where the medieval towers cast the only shadows this side of Sienna.

Think of all the people before you, who have admired the paintings at the Uffizi;
Of all the people who have prayed at Santa Croce;
Of all those who hoped one day to see portraits hidden since WWII in the underground tunnels.

Then thank the spirits who transported you there, as part of the continuum called Humanity.
Thank your art teachers,
your parents, your lover,
whomever.

Just be thankful.

1/17/07

 
Sunday Morning

They sit between their shifts with their café amb let,
their cigarettes and the cognac,
Chatting away the stress, fatigue and loneliness.

The sweepers are loud and vivacious
Hardly noticed by the other patrons
as they leave to continue
with the pledge of BC NETA!

Others are reading their País
with their croissant and beer,
still others smoke contemplating the
Sunday hush the city exhales.

The tourists walk by wondering is
this the only café open near
Santa Maria Del Mar or is
Starbucks as good as the one back home?

I sit hoping to capture a little of this
to take home.

March 25, 2007

 
Lunch time

Regrettably neither Spain nor Portugal
Exclaimed the man to a lunch companion

My mind wandered to
Alfresco lunches in Porto,
Long dinner queues in Barcelona,
Art galleries and roman ruins
Good wine and Basque food,
Noisy hotel guests having sex every night
Impolite hustlers in the metro
And cable cars rambling thru the hills of Lisbon

Summer 2009

 

Նստած եմ երկրագուն մէկ անկիւնը
Բայց կարծես գտնուիմ հիւսիսային Ափրիկէ։

Շուրջս կարմիր գորգեր, արմավենիներ,
Խոհանոցէն համեղ բոյրեր …

Հոն կին մը իր champagne-ը կը կոնծէ
Դիմացի աթոռը դատարկ է.
Ի՞նչ կը տօնէ եւ որո՞ւն կենացը կը խմէ։
Իր ազատութեա՞ն այդ օրուան գեղեցիկ յիշատա՞կը գալիք գիշերուան այցելու ն,
Թէ սիրահարին մատն ե րուն հետքը իր վզին ուսերուն վրայ։

14 Յունուար 2007

 
I am sitting in this corner of the globe
but I could easily be in North Africa,
surrounded with red carpets and palm trees,
a delicious aroma permeating from the kitchen.

A lady sits nearby, gulping champagne,
an empty seat before her.
What is she celebrating, whose health is she drinking?
Her freedom, the end of a delightful day,
the visitor tonight, her lovers’ fingers’
imprint on her neck, her shoulders?

January 14, 2007

 
They’re eight*

A bond exits between a girl and this boy.
But they should be enemies.

They talk, watch television together.
They play games in a hospital ward.
Their parents have become close friends
But they should be enemies.

She likes his mother’s eggplant dish,
He likes her father’s rice and lamb.*

They should be enemies,
but no one has taught them why.

They live in a world
That keeps them apart,
Their lands under siege,
Their people in fear and slavery.

They are surrounded by
Neighbours who talk about differences instead of similarities,
Leaders who fund arms instead of building schools,
Politicians who feed pessimists instead of hope.

She is Marya, 8, funny, smart but paralized by an Israeli missile.
He is Orel, also 8, her best friend who endured six operations after half his brain was blown up by a Hamas rocket.

Their playground is a hospital corridor
Their parents have become close friends
The doctors are amazed at their progress
But nothing will heal a severed spinal cord or half a missing brain.

*A Mideast Bond, Stitched of Pain and Healing, The New York Times, 12-31-09 by Ethan Bronner

 
All poems on this post: © R. H. Lola Koundakjian
Published with the permission of R. H. Lola Koundakjian