Two Poems by Sophia Armen

15 February, 2022
“Dry Tears” by Vahé Berber­ian, 2019, acrylic on can­vas, 121.9 × 152.4 cm (cour­tesy Vahé Berber­ian).


Sophia Armen


We Want to Be Pat­ti Smith and Robert Map­plethor­pe, But We’re Armenian

me and you lived downtown
in the jew­el­ry district
where every­one is named
harout or hussein

across from the place my par­ents were married
woke up every­day, no mermaids
dressed in white and saw it
dressed in light

on the third floor
above a piss alley
and the metro station
that brought tunes until the AM

we lived upstairs
where the soot fell from the ceiling
and the trash shoot clanked from all 22 floors above
where the water flood­ed the kitchen
and the bal­cony was
a fire escape with­out the escape
we don’t care if we die here
because we’ve
nev­er felt more alive

i would beg you to go see the lati­no fes­ti­val in pershing 
and you would beg me to come back to bed
and we would both win
because i would come back to bed

buried beneath these tiger-eyed blankets
and in the kitchen up against where the draw­er doesn’t extend
we were two young kids just play­ing pretend
telling each oth­er who the oth­er is

but we don’t run
we’re from here
and dad has worked three blocks away for
twen­ty-five years
and grand­ma down the street too
an LA breed and everybody
we know every­body and why the hell does
every body know we are with
each other’s body

me a short black dress
with my curls fist-fight­ing my bob­by pins
your black-grease cov­ered elbows
from a long day at the shop
you col­lapse on our ugly blue couch
and i col­lapse on top of you

our moth­ers are hor­rified when we bring them
there’s no such thing as exper­i­ments of life
for our kin’s kind
who believe they want noth­ing but to be free

but real­ly all they are
is every­thing they’ve always been



soorj and silva


daugh­ter of armenia
daugh­ter of iran
you can’t have known what you have give me

offer­ings of coffee
offer­ings of warm bread
you can’t have known what you have giv­en me

use 50% of heart
You said
in love,
50% of head

You can’t have known what you’ve giv­en me 
in the city that hums

daugh­ter of paklava
brings halt a daughter’s roam
in my ara­bi­ca-black eyes
you have known

sur­round­ed i’m alone

one scoop of powder
one of cardamom
you can’t have known what you have giv­en me

you have giv­en me home


Armenian AmericanIranian Americanpeacepoetry

Sophia Armen is a South West Asian and North African (SWANA) feminist organizer, writer and scholar from Los Angeles, CA, born in 1991. She is organizing for abolition feminism, racial justice, reparations for her community and communities in the U.S., and stopping the U.S. war machine centering women and queer people. She is the Co-Chair and founder of The Feminist Front and Armenian-American Action Network and has been building in the survivor justice movement, Palestine solidarity movement, and SWANA movements in the United States for over 12 years. She is the descendant of genocide survivors from Istanbul, Hadjin, Kharpert, and Van. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Hye-Phen Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Armenian Weekly, and The Electronic Intifada. She tweets @sophiaarmen.


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