Three Poems by Archie Minasian

bg 01Forever Saroyan, LLC, is not merely dedicated to the recognition of William Saroyan, but to the entire Saroyan-Minasian family. The family is one of the most talented families of writers in American history with more than a dozen members of the clan published in reputable journals and magazines over the last hundred years. These writers include journalists, novelists, playwrights, and poets. Foremost among the poets of the family is Saroyan's first cousin and closest friend, Khatchik "Archie" Minasian. 

Born in 1913 in Fresno, Archie Minasian would become best known for his poetry, publishing pieces in magazines, and eventually in collections including A World of Questions and Things and The Simple Songs of Khatchik Minasian. Both of these volumes are extremely scarce today. His other writing saw publication in magazines including The Armenian Review and Ararat. His poetry ranges from haiku to longer lyrical works, often employing a simplicity of language that echoes his use of natural imagery. 

Archie also worked in watercolor, and occasionally in oils and acrylics. His work is abstract, vibrant, and full of dense color often in undulating forms, expressionistic in a similar way to his poetry.  While Saroyan's artistic work focused almost exclusively on line, Minasian was far more interested in form and color, and worked in representational art at times. Saroyan's works often felt more constructed, while Minasian's were more organic. The cousins were complimentary while working on opposing ends of the same spectrum. 

In the coming year, Forever Saroyan, LLC, will be publishing an anthology of Saroyan-Minasian family literary works. This will include poetry, fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and theatrical writing from across five generations of this remarkable lineage. Some of the pieces will be appearing for the first time, while others will be re-printed from journals and literary magazines across nine decades.

We are pleased to present three Minasian poems, all of which appeared under the mononym 'Khatchik' in the Autumn 1952 issue of The Armenian Review, along with three of his watercolors from the 1970s.

 

 Minasian 1 72 LowRes

AWARE OF AUTUMN

Can you hear the autumn rustle in the bare woods?

can you hear the sparrow’s disconsolate note?

I have listened and have heard the breath of the seasons

breathe their comings and farewells

I hear the inaudible complaints from the woods

when autumns’ there

From trees when leaves hang sick and dead,

from birds surveying naked boughs

and a host of other grievances unexplainable

mumbling in the hazy atmosphere

of the dying year.

I know a strange awakening

of the dying year;

what a fevor of delight –

hastening through the yellow woods

with a madness in my blood unequalled of other seasons.

I know the evening wind in the hedges

preparing the pathway of my exit to the fields

where smoke streaks from the piles lean horizontally still;

I know the moon of the late months

and the dim stars;

I know the naked trees against the days dying,

the breath of the damp herbage

rotting in the roadway ruts where leaves gather;

I know the shout of the house wife

from the house yard in the field,

the call of bird at dusk from the lemon trees;

I know the flutter of wings

when the quail soars aloft of the vines

in the dusk’s broad avenue of silence,

the sparrow’s soft stir in the hedges;

I know the smell of the after harvest

that rests above the stripped fields,

suspended like the smoke from the leaf piles,

I know the grape and the melon,

I know the peach and the huge family

of nectareous edibles

blistered in the sun’s heat and suspended

in the heaviness of the year.

I know of autumn’s presence

for I have been eager with expectance

with the recollections of autumns past.

I feel autumn

like the fingers of women on fabric during purchase

invisible to my touch

yet as tangible as the breath of my being.

I lean for autumn before the summer’s gone

eager for its arrival,

and I lean on it through every hour of its glorious stay.

I know autumn like the mother her child

from perception of manhood to age,

the days of watchful delight

to mischievous grieving.

My soul is the meter of this season

Registering is coming and going.

I feel its dampness

when I trounce the hay piles on my rounds at dawn,

on the sleek plum boughs beside the house;

I feel it in my clothes

when I prepare my dress on awakening,

chilled with its presence and ever grateful for the familiarity.

What a fevor of delight

to know, to feel, to breathe, to touch

this quiet season,

the restful season of sadness,

moody season

that I see suspended over me,

leaning across the roof tops to the bare woods

and beyond and beyond,

so gloriously commingled in the atmosphere

of the dying year.

 

 

Ocean Episode II 20x15 LowRes

LEAVE THE DEAD

Leave the dead where the red roots are,

shame to lift the bone etching itself

to the contours of the claiming rock,

decay’s inexorable sweet-tooth,

            lock the door! lock the door!

Leave the dead where the spirit hovers,

the breath and the red pattern locked eternally

in the semblance of the inanimate crust,

still form perfect.

            lock the door! lock the door!

Leave the dead to the green grass spears

after the maggot nausea and the stink,

sucked out of vision, diminishing pattern

quietly returning, returning.

            lock the door! lock the door!

Leave the dead where the red roots are.

 

Dreams and Desires 20x15 LowRes

LIFE BEGINS AT THIRTY-FIVE

I counted on the elemental roadway, ran aground

and since dragged keel against a world of barbs-

grown weary, water-logged and scarred

with dislocated vertebrae and knotted head

that syllables a reason why I'm good as dead.

So plunge me down in cold surrender to the sea,

out in the levels of the flora and the fin,

the rhythmic crashing silence of the heaving continent;

so plunge and let me glide and let me glide

and rub my body in this subterranean tide

where Babel’s tower-like, all dismal with the word,

apart there I as lime ooze bubble and the whale,

suck in an understanding of this drifting world

through senses peeping out against the skin,

swing on a moment of eternity, black-out and then begin.

Stay Up to Date With News, Events, and Publications

A Family Legacy Project

Social


© 2012-2022 Forever Saroyan, LLC | Website By: Tree Top Web Design