Krikor Der Hohannesian


The turnpike, a fresh gash
through the backyards
of close--by two--deckers,
the high whine of sleek cars
fully appointed with the latest
electronic gizmos, 16--wheelers
laden with tons of China plastic,
busloads of seniors bound
for the slots at Foxwoods,
the stink of diesel exhaust acrid
to the nose, the lure of a better
life bleeding out in the wake.

Once there were different sounds --
the frolic of children at play, the shrill
of madres and mutties, mairigs, mas
and matkas calling their flock to supper.
Once there were different smells--
the sweet of garlic, of earthy yeast
and bread baking, of fresh laundry
hanging out to dry.

And once, too, there were aspirations --
we, like Tantalus, a gaping maw
in lust for Madison Avenue's
dangled grapes -- TV sets, cars
with hoods the size of a flight deck,
the dream made manifest.

Richie's famiglia, eleven strong,
first to bite -- a nine--inch black--and--white
RCA that drew every kid on the block,
moths to a flickering screen. Me

and Richie? Let's just say
we had other ideas. Like
sneaking a nip of his Peppino's
home--made vino rossa, the garage
dark, the Caddy's hood
a dinged shield, the booze harsh
at the back of our throats.

Krikor N. Der Hohannesian's poetry has appeared in many literary journals including The Evansville Review, The South Carolina Review, Atlanta Review, Louisiana Literature, Connecticut Review and Hawai'i Pacific Review. His first chapbook, Ghosts and Whispers, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010 and nominated for The Pen New England Awards and Mass Book Awards, the latter selecting it as a "must read" in the poetry category for 2011. A second chapbook, Refuge in the Shadows, will be forthcoming in 2012 from Cervena Barva Press. Der Hohannesian also serves as Assistant Treasurer of the New England Poetry Club.

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