Arpine Konyalian Grenier

Heritage Like Money Then

A shameful complicity is enacted when lack of meaning further presses reality into signification, through language. A poet attempts to undo this process by constructing (not describing) a space at the edge of meaning, bared with logic and music whereby language is released back to its neutral non-zero (Higgs) field. Therein rests the poet’s reaction to the boredom and frustration resulting from his or her ongoing inability to distract the self into an extinction of reality - an extinction that has come about because of the democratization of matter and the resulting expansion of capitalization into the personal domain.

Boredom and frustration have thus been put to good use through an impersonality (Simone Weil) out of compassion, not compensation. Unlike pride, compassion includes all, not just the self. The poet welcomes it, having been bored with the self. Grandeur pales next to the tenderness of compassion. One keeps the eyes open to the past, shares its glory and shame because as human one is the beneficiary of both.

Poetry is a voyage with no external goal, refusing the tyranny of arrival, heeding the plasticity and exuberance of intentionality. Letters attain spirit, sound, weight through muscle bound phrases, word combinations and broken lines. The poet is after texture, rhythm, music, after a semblance to meaning, after words in a relationship emptied of content or grammar, ‘how it wants to mean’ prevailing over ‘what it means’ - an event, not the recording of it. The poet approaches this event through privilege, not prestige, without the need to establish voice, reaching for the paradigm as it is being created.

Elytis said "I write because it charms me to obey one of whom I know so little - myself." Myself is an afflicted Armenian-American from Beirut, Lebanon, where a variety of religions, languages and nationalities coexist(ed) in a rare mixture of oriental simultaneity and occidental individualism. I have no mother tongue as my mother tongue has either lost me or is cut off. I implode within this loss, seeking the chaos sustaining the world of languages with a voice that has the body and place of an absent body, attempting to maintain poetry at a threshold above which there is meaning and articulation, below which there is nothing but an emotional map of impaired and ungracious linguistic capacity. The afflicted do not suffer. An attitude of tragicomedy allows me to approach my states of anonymity and confusion over identity, like a retroactive being, dimming the future, shadowing the present, always with an eye to the past, to what happened, becoming what Toufic calls the aparte' - that which is created, not from what has been remembered of an event but from what has been forgotten about it through the historical documentation of it. The afflicted do not suffer.

The text of a poem may feel like an aggression against the reader/listener as it delivers the poet’s choice meaning or lack of it, in addition to the order of meaning that adulterates meaning - thought beyond thought with no center but borders, liminal and luminous, interchangeable. It may feel like a litany, like Scheherazade tales, an all news station, piano bar music or the Nareg (lamentations of Naregatsi, 10th Century Armenian monk, imploring/wrestling with god, talking as if to the computer, the promise of one's own reply in the air). Here, language develops thought. Here are arrivals and events with no arrivals. Composed as if on one note, the text releases without releasing into, turning against language with language in order to restore its incantatory quality. Its space/time relationship is both modern (overlapping, as with technology) and time-honored (multi-dimensional, as in Gnostic text) a continuum towards a derivative of the past whereby the new would occur, hoping the labyrinthine structure of the work will bring the reader/listener again and again to the same spot, time and history abolished because of what escapes or survives the disintegration of experience. 

How concepts, rights and ideas are in the way of doing justice to a piece of writing. Producing the proper oeuvre, the one with the (mediocre) notion of rules, the right one, seems to carry the utmost of merit. Still one efforts distracted and weary of the conventional, even as Gemeinschaft (community) gives in to Gesellschaft (society). Occurrence manifests itself, embraces the will of the times towards - poetry??

Why because poetry, like politics, utilizes principles of inclusion and process rather than rejection or criticism to address life issues, whether personal, regional or global. That, however, may be the only kinship thereof, as poetry, unlike fiction or critical discourse, has nothing to say. Art bitten by poetry longs to be freed from reason, said Maritain. Hence the impact of poetry is deeper and more intense, often the desire to co-opt it seeping in, corrupting it.

A mind enclosed in language is imprisoned. When one is victim, one is also accomplice. Yet sometimes in that very simple minded universe that dances in approximations and chaos, words are illuminated when they reflect the inexpressible. One has reached the impersonal stage of attention. Truth and beauty dwell at the impersonal and the anonymous otherwise described as love. That is how one comes to language, with reverence, to serve rather than exploit it. That is how I am put to good use. Reciprocated, matter that I am.



Where we were next/ light spotted

terror loves my body as frame or obstacle 
the absence of roots depending
number happy
learning how not to see
Tigranes Deretades Parantzeme
the sun’s repeat

blood gives
reliving the sanction of heart for voice
the legacy of rebirth and gives
thought away
mother’s love is in the way

Armenians are number happy
feeling denied them that’s why
one can stitch up vertebrae
nerves remain undone
you and me computationally irreducible
better yet a last dream colored by number
the kings the queens blanked

still breath expands and contracts 
think of bliss inside the disaster
terror laughs at dim in the vein
twelve thousand soldiers
the sun’s epinoia
I am glad to tell

terror seeks parts and numbers
feeds silenced voices
rolling to dull the prolix of what
uttered at the beginning was
given or produced Rosa
Rosa is that your only story?

the last colony’s eradicated
sing do not recite
the pull of the sun endorses heart
liturgy alternates the hour
the conditional stills

tidy up your parts and addictions
all you need to know you already know
a foremost mind one million miles away
a left leg flecking for how closing in 
step aside then forward with a smile
wires and switches border what is
explode in the throat
the roll call perm and trans
the peripheral

I have no topic as that implies gul
gul dudu roots and grand mother
I carry reminders of for skin
my fortune runs outside itself
always ready for the ball

why has nothing to do with when
it all happened/ did it?
recursions speak away
don’t go viral on me now
hold to sound at the rupture
conditional slipstreams into
you will setup a room for me
you will setup mirror 

as long and useless is the outside
while no one is throwing the ball
the chorus has emptied the stage
who am I speaking to?

tradition wanders into legend
powers comfort as memory expands
shades and numbers gul dudu gul
are there anymore of you out there
truth-sayer sayer?

the question dwells in metanoia
created and treated Armenian
inward and outward the techne
between being and charity
parrhesic in nature
the ball rolls.




Flatly present my shame

I am afraid of the hill
I am afraid of the city on the hill
please save me please I’m served
a conquer or perish dish
daily a marker of heaven and earth
community based vigilance and thought
abridged for presence and complexity

how can one abridge a pixel?
patterns vie for content
connectivity breeds collapse
each shape flat unto a screen
profiles everywhere
who do they belong to?

do you want a place in history?
breed consumption earth cannot afford
presence patterns itself as one 
come consume combat collapse
a profile after flat and convenient
self as object else frequency tagged
unique and interior

permit me to save lives
history won’t judge me then
your fantasy shall be mine so
focused for taste so lean
the rest of our footage rests on it
light around light musculateral
wall reaching for

as domestic as organic a place
lost to demons
as place a veil  is lifted and lost
away from corpuscular legality
place as lack thereabouts
error error
what makes a great wall
tin pan lyrics
homo hetero auto the sound
flesh endures but cannot stay
give me a second look
the sediment of an eye
put me out there and over
son et lumiere.




At l’Exposition Universelle,1889

appropriation follows appropriation for lack of what
one thing that some missing ever thing since parsing
how pronouns become salutation there
opportunities of mathematical order
dark secrets there and not there
material based matter

          laborsome fearsome intent
                    strategic and loose

hear it shake it and let the willing the telling
observe the observer welcome trash con cept
con te not con serve listening responding
missing do not imitate the i in reverse
sink to accompany Veronica Voss
the old the new the distracted
for lack of vertigo
the few

fmri this fmri that of tenet including life memory
sandwiched between monsoons and a flat roof
crucial for learning loving leaving
the voice of the oppressed
celebrated category

          why is a dwelling not on the screen?

I am a complaint past the vicissitudes of scholars
                              sweetness denied

what about music emotion the senses I say
art too is about not knowing but more about feeling
that uncharted plethora of possibilities one by one
picked economical effective ecclesiastic I am
fallow complaint

          they walk away

ce que j’ai vu ce que j’ai vu en Armenie ce que j’ai lu en Anglaise
ce que j’ai eu

the reliquary for pieces of sacrifice dropped in my lap just because
I happened to be there standing in line to take form
it was my turn honey the bricolage was set
change needed sacrifice therefore
potential heat financial heat
personal all the way

heart curves arbitrary & chauvinistic an enterprise
I was never the evolute for remember
there is no space for history

the cardioid was first generational and then some numinous entity
spat into it to make flesh that’s how self organization started
Darwin would have liked the term the purpose behind
a social collective destined to breathe

a social collective has been awarded the Medaille d’Or at l’Exposition  Universelle of 1889 today more than hundred years later I come across its newspaper drawings of Armenian massacres printed through a generous advertisement for tapioca - Tapioca de l’Etoile - le meilleur et le moins cher it says now here’s a drawing of Armenian homes the old country of Armenia is now divided between Russia Persia and the Ottoman it says this one underwritten by a chocolate company another by a bon bon company I feel like Mendelssohn coming across Bach’s sheet music at the meat market except in reverse somehow

dry useless light what is your signal
oppression follows projection follows denial

          where is the triangle of you?

the best and the cheapest have burnt the page somehow

I dream of the ashes because they did not choke me
that extension of losing or spending or maiming 
backyard snow piled up with survival gear
I behind closed bedroom doors
preaching to the walls

no one worried about your fate liberating words then
as soon as you appeared you were al-muharrir
disturbing aristocrat hurr
you did not belong to

the territory of obedience limiting you to an inner dwelling
planned expeditions hajib (buffer person) and hijab (object/
threshold) paradoxically welled up and languaged in things
plain enjambment one surfs over hearing of somewhere
translucent torture elsewhere doubled up complaint

to be friends does not spell to be allies
what then did he say?

recover the wrong moan the wrong
into a state of Godhood
bid yourself avail

otherwise sand will make up for a full disappearance
drug related commons divisive and sudden
pinches long resigned unto breath
we dot-matrix bound experience
the cement yard and tenants

watch the felt strips decay
transpose into descent.