i wonder what it’s like to hold one of your organs in your own hands study it by torch light like scripture, beating and cleaning and heinous sounds you cannot hear that your organs only make when they are inside you once you take them out only we can hear them, and you are left all speckled and pastel easter egg, dumb dummy

you can look down and follow the lines of the wood grains on each plank of floor but what you need is an ultimatum and here i’ll give it to you right: come see me after class with a pitiless rage. put queries aside and let me study the place where teeth and gums meet suggest how you might improve yourself, give me a grade i can assign to you.

i’ll piss my pants and show you the stain just so you know i’m sinking yet enthroned at every minute

(you time these meetings and average them out later)

(you use an old Texas Instruments calculator, the kind Apolonia’s cheeto crumbs would fall into the keys of, and we would do everything and anything to make these machines cheat for us)

(world with no end until you hit the empty lots they’ll never sell but probably held lynchings at back in the day, and you wonder why they don’t leave their houses)

sensate, our spirals not broken but just gapped and vacuuming

halfway between here and there is just the ocean

The cat underneath the Prozac sign IS NOT MODERATE. It can’t be in order to survive. This is what it feels like to survive with five hearts: spread out, untamed. One of them is John Cusack, One of them is Richard Wright, One of them is Marsha P. Johnson. One of them is JoJo, the 26 year old pop star from somewhere like Springfield, Masschusetts. In her stepdad’s house, everything was taupe, probably. That’s my guess. My guess is that Jojo grew up with taupe, and a stepfather, and some video games and maybe some DiGiorno Pizza. And those are basically the staples of the household. So, if you spoke a word about anything else, it was basically like another languge.

And, every yard, ends, in a moat filled with blood, where I’m from.

Now, if you decide to step into that moat, nothing happens to them. It happens to you. YOU get covered in blood.

Listen, no one has any public interest in this. Listen, he will not see his family again. He’s exiled forever. So what he does is learn to dance tango. Now, he actually loves tango. This is all he has. He was once a writer, and a great intellectual, but no one speaks Farsi here. Yes, they do. There are tons of them who speak Farsi here. They might speak an Afghani Farsi. They might speak an Iranian Farsi, or a Persian pre-Iranian Farsi. It’s just that none of them write or have any claims to public interest. Too much velcro, too many organs. If you look at him, he’s yellowed, his edges are frayed, and you find this charming at the time. And now that you’re back home by your “neon” towel, you know that you made a farce of him. But the important thing is that he didn’t make a farce of you. And somehow, that’s the most difficult thing isn’t it? So he sits inside a box. The eggs and the sausage are wrapped up, styrofoam on the bottom. Not pink or green, that’d be strange. White, styrofoam, and a plastic coating over the top. And on top of that, you could put your hand, and it would make those little foggy frames that happen when you touch plastic on top of something hot. You, back at home, you would never eat something like this. You would touch it, and know that the plastic would leach into the food, and you don’t eat things like that, even though you can’t “afford” organic food, which means you’re going to die, and you would anyway. Sickly, neon.

All the world is a bachelorette party. Batman-themed bachelorette. And the whole party, everything in the party, is made out of things you could make a telephone out of. And everyone loves it, everyone’s having a great time. And those who couldn’t make it are just so bummed they couldn’t be there.

Today we lost the ancestral land. The land given to the Armenians in Beirut as refugees after the genocide. The land funded by European nations who cared enough to give us crumbs from the table.

We didn’t lose entirely. Rather, we sold it for a settlement that we will invest in order to survive.

Because no one wants my uncle’s jewelry anymore; no one cares for his craft.

Because my cousins can only make so much with community college Associates degrees.

Because condos are plump and ripe to stomp on our bones. This is the final frontier: gentrification that moves beyond just losing a home you immigrate to, but one that was gifted to you as a refugee by the the infinitely benevolent Swiss gods—you, a mere refugee.

It’s not just like take it back before it’s gone. It’s like

it was gone before it was even there.

This moment creates a further gap between me and my cousins, aunt and uncle in beirut.

I yell it across the sea:

Our mortgage


your survival

my chosen art-survival


yall as hoteliers

our liberal arts jokes


your facebook games

I’m walking down the street in fear of harrassment, and scaring the local residents with my whiteness and privilege, sucking up their homes


You’re walking down the street in fear of car bombs and ‘smelly syrian refugees’ as you call them

Death. Taxes. Getting It Taken Away.

I listen to my apartment walls for old advice.

You are happy to have walls, in a house where your mom and dad sleep in the pull out bed in the living room and no one complains. In a house you left, with a cat and a backpack, to the mountains in the summer of 2006, to escape the IDF bombs. Summer of 2006, when I was at a dance festival.

My cousin Sarine said:

It’s ok. Dad figured it out. My boss was working with Hezbollah, so I lost my job, but I got a new one, it’s ok.

And I said back:

never have I ever escaped war.

Never have I even known just how much my parents gave yours,

or where it went.