Poem 42 In Solidarity: In The Room

Vahe Arsen

In The Room

In the room there is only smoke
from a bullet. Rooms
are never complete. One room is
always hiding another room
and suggesting yet another.

A door being locked with a key
is flooded with happiness
and the rule of the rooms is over . . .
the rule is over . . .
is over . . .

That day people were running
after the bus,
dreaming about a good seat . . .

We moved to the morning lake
to soak our rage.
Exhaling creates ghosts;
breathing point-blank
can intersect a body
we are chilled . . .
people racing after the bus
and dreaming

as the familiar landscape retreats
and familiar faces become strangers,
become the same ghost escaping
and retreating . . .

those still running to catch the bus
and finding

the abandoned bridge changed
into an abandoned building flowered with grass.
The word burst its banks becoming
breath
a ghost
a movement

people running after the bus . . .

ice is our sickness,
chronic and incurable
a fever in the summer noon
a stone arch scuffed by wind
and the wind is the same ghost scoffing
severe
obscure

as people rush
to get the best seat
someday, somehow

In the room there is only the smoke of the bullet
hole. Rooms are never complete.
One room always hides another room.

Tr. Diana Der-Hovanessian and Vahe Arsen

Photo: Tineke de Lange Vahen Arsen

Photo: Tineke de Lange Vahen Arsen

Vahe Arsen (Arsenyan) was born in 1978, in Yerevan. He graduated and earned his Ph.D. in American and English literature from Yerevan State University. He is currently assistant Professor of the Chair of World literature at Yerevan State University. He also translates poetry from English and Russian into Armenian.

He has published two poetry collections in Armenian – The Flying Bicycle (2003), and The Return of the Green Gods (2007). The latter was published in the Netherlands in 2010, and also translated into Russian in 2011 under the title The Sun Express. Vahe’s poems are translated and published in the USA, Spain, Germany, Finland, Poland, Russia, Georgia, Tajikistan to name a few. He has been a member of the Writers Union of Armenia since 2004.

He has won numerous awards incuding the annual contest of International PEN (Yerevan, 2006), Poet of the Year (Irene Gyulnazarian Educational Fund, USA, 2006), a Special Diploma for ‘Innovation in Poetry’ (International Poetry Contest, Moscow, 2008) and ‘Jambe 2010,’ the annual award of Dutch poets (Netherlands, 2010).

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