Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

The sun has an orgasm across the valley

Three poems by Armine Iknadossian

Armine Iknadossian, one of the bookstore managers at Beyond Baroque Bookstore in Venice, CA
Armine Iknadossian, one of the bookstore managers at Beyond Baroque Bookstore in Venice, CA

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.

Two Lovers Asleep

  • Like mountain ranges
  • in a desert, one behind the other,
  •                         they settle softly into territory.
  •                         Clouds hide the sun from the summit
  • of his shoulder. Her aquiline hip
  • curves into ravine. Two bodies:
  •                         Solid symmetry, transient flesh
  •                         tempered by sun and time,
  • the winds of ages. Sweat
  • descends the slope of his neck.
  •                         On the ridge of her belly, a scar
  •                         marks a fissure. This is where
  • the earth shook, continents married,
  • flesh merged into flesh. New worlds  
  •                         with names like borrowed clothes
  •                         still hide under earth’s worn mattress,
  • still challenge boundaries
  • and all the rules that come with countries.

The Swimming Lesson

  • My father loved the discipline of the ocean,
  • how it could swallow you whole,
  • spit you out tougher than you were before.
  • My bones were primed for verbal tirades.
  • I kept my own mouth shut as one does
  • while diving into the wall of a large wave,
  • careful not to swallow any of the abrasive
  • matter floating about the steel-blue air.
  • But bones are stubborn things.
  • They are like children who refuse to speak
  • when their fathers question them,
  • submerged in the clutter and mass of the body,
  • in that dark and busy history. When I was three,
  • my father taught me to swim by throwing me
  • into the deep end of a pool. There, my bones
  • pulled me down towards the drainpipe.
  • But, I was expected to put up a fight.
  • So I reached for the water’s invisible throat,
  • pulled hard on its hair, climbed its backbone
  • up towards my father who was kneeling
  • at the calcified lip of the pool,
  • holding one arm out towards me.
  • So I did what he expected me to do:
  • I refused it and pulled my own small body out.

In 2015, Armine Iknadossian retired from teaching in order to support the literary arts and to focus on her two manuscripts god(l)ess: the L is silent and Resident Alien. She is currently one of the bookstore managers at Beyond Baroque Bookstore, aka the Scott Wannberg Poetry Lounge, where you can purchase her newly released chapbook United States of Love & Other Poems. She was recently selected by Red Hen Press to be a Writer in the Schools (WITS). Visit armineiknadossian.com to view her previously published work.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Nicholas Wiseman: a great influence on John Henry Newman

Also known as author of Fabiola, a novel
Armine Iknadossian, one of the bookstore managers at Beyond Baroque Bookstore in Venice, CA
Armine Iknadossian, one of the bookstore managers at Beyond Baroque Bookstore in Venice, CA

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.

Two Lovers Asleep

  • Like mountain ranges
  • in a desert, one behind the other,
  •                         they settle softly into territory.
  •                         Clouds hide the sun from the summit
  • of his shoulder. Her aquiline hip
  • curves into ravine. Two bodies:
  •                         Solid symmetry, transient flesh
  •                         tempered by sun and time,
  • the winds of ages. Sweat
  • descends the slope of his neck.
  •                         On the ridge of her belly, a scar
  •                         marks a fissure. This is where
  • the earth shook, continents married,
  • flesh merged into flesh. New worlds  
  •                         with names like borrowed clothes
  •                         still hide under earth’s worn mattress,
  • still challenge boundaries
  • and all the rules that come with countries.

The Swimming Lesson

  • My father loved the discipline of the ocean,
  • how it could swallow you whole,
  • spit you out tougher than you were before.
  • My bones were primed for verbal tirades.
  • I kept my own mouth shut as one does
  • while diving into the wall of a large wave,
  • careful not to swallow any of the abrasive
  • matter floating about the steel-blue air.
  • But bones are stubborn things.
  • They are like children who refuse to speak
  • when their fathers question them,
  • submerged in the clutter and mass of the body,
  • in that dark and busy history. When I was three,
  • my father taught me to swim by throwing me
  • into the deep end of a pool. There, my bones
  • pulled me down towards the drainpipe.
  • But, I was expected to put up a fight.
  • So I reached for the water’s invisible throat,
  • pulled hard on its hair, climbed its backbone
  • up towards my father who was kneeling
  • at the calcified lip of the pool,
  • holding one arm out towards me.
  • So I did what he expected me to do:
  • I refused it and pulled my own small body out.

In 2015, Armine Iknadossian retired from teaching in order to support the literary arts and to focus on her two manuscripts god(l)ess: the L is silent and Resident Alien. She is currently one of the bookstore managers at Beyond Baroque Bookstore, aka the Scott Wannberg Poetry Lounge, where you can purchase her newly released chapbook United States of Love & Other Poems. She was recently selected by Red Hen Press to be a Writer in the Schools (WITS). Visit armineiknadossian.com to view her previously published work.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Alison Tummond: preventing summer’s silent killer

“Anytime you have a pool, or a bathtub, or a toilet, or a bucket, a child can drown.”
Next Article

Treetop Tutoring Center: Jeanne Volk‘s triple tutoring whammy

“Kids miss school friends they were used to seeing and playing with most days.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close