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Tragedy exists so man can watch man self-destruct so that he does not have to.

During life, man is both an actor and a spectator.
Theatre and plays remove the necessity for man’s participation,
rending him above all
the spectator.

With literature, with the written text,
man does not get off so lightly.
He is required to act; compose; rearticulate to himself
the written word,
as he simultaneously sits back and watches any and all
masquerades unfold.


The comic is always aware of the tragic,
otherwise how would it remember its own name?
Take it as seriously as stone
before you let it skip Christ-like; unnaturally.

At the end it’s always been about the same thing.
That’s why the end doesn’t matter.
And you still can’t wait to get there.

Keep checking your phone.
Pretend it’s for time.
Pretend you miss the ringing in your ears.
Pretend to be personable
—to be able to person.



the act of writing from notebook to macbook

When writing on a sheet of paper with a piece of pencil, it is close to impossible to see the image of one’s reflection on that sheet of paper. One may even be writing in an attempt to articulate said image.

On a type writer, the keys may shine enough to offer glimmers of a distorted mirror.

With a computer, it takes just the right angle to avoid seeing oneself. Sometimes regardless of the brightness one cannot avoid staring past the screen into this unwanted makeshift mirror.

Aiming the arrow–why write

The other morning I started filling in/out an application. It never occurred to me that both those directions would be appropriate. Regardless.

The application was for a writing mentorship. I wasn’t particularly interested in it, but I started filling it with the thought that, “Hey, if I finish it, I might as well turn it in”. I rattled off a few paragraphs for each question, but then I went back to the first question, which I had intentionally skipped to begin with because it put me on edge;

“What do you hope to achieve as a writer?”

First of all, the word achieve puts me on edge. The most in my head that I hope to achieve is to be a writer. If I were to set up goals for my writing to accomplish, then my writing would be steered towards that accomplishment. The track would be laid out and we all know how difficult it is (though not impossible) for trains to jump tracks.

However, this did bring up some thought and concern. Why do I want to write? I’ve wanted to write poetry ever since the second grade when I entered one of those scam contests, but that’s probably/mostly because I enjoyed writing poetry. Since then my writing passes between poetry and literary criticism and philosophical sprinkling. My manuscript attempted to emphasize the relationship between text and the reader. But if the reader were to notice this relationship that I am pointing at, so what? If I go on and on about the different interpretations of a few lines in The Master and Margarita, so what? Will it be useful to anyone?

This notion of usefulness is something that I try not to think of in my writing. Because whatever I deem useful may be entirely overlooked, and the most useless words may be highlighted and examined for days on end. It betrays the idea of what a text is to try to emphasize what is useful, what should be noticed, what should be achieved through the reading.

George Steiner begins his text Tolstoy or Dostoevsky with the line, “Literary criticism should arise out of a debt of love” and the first page ends with “Through some primary instinct of communion we seek to convey to others the quality and force of our experience. We would persuade them to lay themselves open to it. In this attempt at persuasion originate the truest insights criticism can offer”.

“Debt of love” and “lay themselves open to it” I believe are two of the most important phrases in those lines. Because that is not only what a text is aiming to do, but that is what one’s own writing, whether it be creative or criticism, should aim for as well. The achievement should lie not in hitting the bullseye, but being able to aim the arrow at all, for yourself or for another.

now what is the word for it?

the word rings like a summers bird
at 4:33 in
the morning
right before gulls will leave and bird may migrate

if they so choose.
sleep comes to those who know what to expect
what is just as it should be.
a shoulder is only a shoulder if it’s there.

a bed is a bed only if it’s comfy.
no. not if it’s comfy. that pays no matter, it’s
broke now
of course.
one is too
one is too
one is just right
said the locks
on the doors

under what definition shall we call these lines?

the levels of apathy are at astronomical levels. it’s almost as though the alliteration makes it tolerable. oops. there went the alliteration.

asking three times. it’s always three times. sometimes the going back and forth is the most frustrating thing. but then again, i’ve spent so much time in absolutes, that it only makes sense that the movement is inherently frustrating. the difficulty part is something that is not only difficult, but is difficult to articulate and difficult to know what to do with such a difficulty. it’d be nice to sleep for a few weeks.

sailors fighting in the dance hall.
take a look at the law man beating up the wrong guy

those lines always make me think of clockwork orange. not entirely sure why.

we know failures aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be. we know that we must relish the failures in lieu of successes. but what do we do with these failures? where do we put them? how do we juggle them? do we throw them up into the air and let them drop like cannonballs upon our skulls one by one?

smile when there is no reaction, when there is no idea of what the reaction should be.

Continue reading “under what definition shall we call these lines?”

Six or Seven Petals

Something you wouldn’t recognize.
Crookedly the cat walks and trips
over lily pads he yanks out himself. 

Overtures are overrated
Symphonies of silence are no longer for
the common folk. 

Is it better for the bumblebee
to die alone?
Just one with all.

Walking in water is more comfortable,
as is taking the train. But we must take the train,
let it run us over, and conduct.

What if plants could handle more than one beer?
All flowers smoke cigarettes. All mushrooms
get high. Everything has trouble sleeping.

3×3 seems too small, but three is
a phenomenal number. Well, aren’t they all?
Suppose it depends on a memory.

Names only reveal if another speaks, but
the audience never knows. They hear music
when beat and tempo mean the same thing.

So many stories about looking back,
no one said anything about moving backwards whilst staring
straight ahead. 


-Marina Manoukian