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Kosrof Chantikian: California Poets Part 5, Four Poems

Kosrof Chantikian

December 22nd, 2022

California Poets: Part V

Kosrof Chantikian

Four Poems

Hamlet’s Regret to Ophelia This letter arrives to you because I have also crossed the sphere of the living to the shades of the dead I remember only the man who seemed older than the waves of the sea approaching swiftly chiding me for arriving late putting his appointments in disarray by whatever authority exists in this state of disorder I knew then I was not dreaming and he had come to collect me as dead when there are no moorings to guide us when the wind’s compass itself is doomed does time quickly shed itself once we are dead? do you recall you wanted to return the gifts I gave you? I spoke harshly to you saying I did love you once and then I loved you not but that was all a trick my love to trap the murderous king for you lad long ago burst out of me like the shooting star breaking free violates its ordained path to seek its heart with you the world well knows each of us bore witness to the folly and betrayal of others and I did not tell you then the full story of the horrors that became me but now we are here in this ghostly place and you will have become informed of these events tell me would not the Greek poets so taken with murder and revenge also weep for us? I have no wish to justify the wrongs in which I was the cause what was done cannot be repaired but someone jammed those lines down our mouths Ophelia – give me one more chance for a soul who died before he could give the stars to you I loved you in life and do still in this dead place when we meet there shall be no made-up script no counterfeit lines to bind us I’ll bring rosemary to remember our lost love and willow as soft as your touch lovers even now with hope almost dead –– Hamlet

In the Time of Memory The subject of our life and the world is secret we may decide now’s the time to fly away but we have learned each day of living grows deeper into the next and the dreams we summon will consume our breath this is our life the heart will live until it cannot see past the darkness then our breath will know it is time to summon light where it first was born for that final touch of your kiss

Commands of the Poem Slow slow ever reluctant the rain this night falls in the rhythm of song I get out of bed to write these lines to you is it the will of the poet or does the imagination come from other depths where seeing resides? it would be a blunder to imagine a spirit within our own spirit that causes these phases to appear spontaneously from our dreams of nothingness even flawlessly to be forged from that mysterious intersection of desire and thoughts of you the furnace of the imagination urges the creation that hammers existence into being from the white heat of your eyes that transforms itself eventually into love and so love into the clarity of seeing the rain dropping on the roof even when in the full night of darkness when only our hearing embraces and rubs silence into creation into your heart that furiously wants to see beyond itself

When Memory Forgets The way you move how you stir the soup in winter the jam you spread on your homemade bread and the flowers you place in mother’s old orange vase memory cannot be robbed of its inheritance only murdered when twilight comes you ask what does memory do? it tells the story about what passed before you – in the present before it begins to write the history of your eyes to remember the event is possible yet not clearly not with the precision demanded by elegant schemes of orderliness under the moving liquid ice then coming up for breath seeing something vaguely resembling scenes of my life to breathe to hold onto the world not let go of you memory knows all this tries to tell us to recognize what we must know witness how the wind behaves when it has stopped running away and you lost in reverie under the quivering sky the beating of your heart calls the ocean finally to rest

Author Bio:

Kosrof Chantikian's new book of poems, The Songs Inside of You, was published in June 2020.

His forthcoming book of poems, Love Poems in the Age of Corona, will be published in 2022.

He was a finalist in the Dogwood Literary Prize in Poetry for 2018 and 2020.

He is also the author of two earlier poetry books: Prophecies & Transformations, and Imaginations & Self-Discoveries.

He is the Editor of Octavio Paz: Homage to the Poet, and The Other Shore: 100 Poems by Rafael Alberti. He was Editor of KOSMOS: A Journal of Poetry, and Series Editor of the KOSMOS Modern Poets in Translation Series.

His poems have appeared in Amerus, Ararat, Blue Unicorn, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, Green House, Grey Sparrow Journal, KOSMOS: A Journal of Poetry, Leveler Poetry, Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Snow Jewel, Verse Wisconsin, and other journals.

His essay on Octavio Paz entitled "The Poetry and Thought of Octavio Paz: An Introduction” appeared in "Octavio Paz: Homage to the Poet," and was reprinted in Octavio Paz edited by Harold Bloom.

He was educated at New York University and received Master’s degrees in both Philosophy and Mathematics.


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