Karen Karslyan: Poetry as transgression

From a friend of Autonomies …

Karen Karslyan is a writer. He is in love with words; their texture, music, variations. He may stretch them and minimise them, turn them into objects that scream and images that see other images as their own dreams. He is ironic and playful, his joyful games entertain and spread laughter, they also carry joy of carnal pleasures, and the marvel of breaking things into pieces.

“As for the main reason why I write poetry, I like breaking the lines. Poetry is a kind of sublimation of the childish predilection for breaking things.” (Karen Karslyan)

In his country of birth when he first published he became known as a scandalous writer because of the themes (sexual) and the language (colloquial) he chose for writing. Karen Karslyan was born and raised in Armenia, Yerevan. He then moved to Los Angeles, U.S where he is living now. He’s been doing translations and writing poems and novels in both languages, Armenian and English. An example of the last is the book ’Doomed to Spell’ which is a bilingual edition of what he calls deformed hayrens (medieval Armenian poetic form that can be associated with love and erotic verse).  Two more books are to be published soon in Armenian. One of them is an experimental cinematic/graphic novel about war called Aterazma. And the other one is a collection of poems and the dreams they saw. It’s called The Dark Side of the Week.

Below are two poems by Karen Karslyan…



Early in the morning
I shouted
The alarm clock woke up
Took a shower
Brushed its teeth
Had coffee
Scrambled eggs
Watched the news
Shoeshined its shoes
And went to work

Late in the evening
The alarm clock returned
Had dinner
Drank tea
Watched TV
And went to bed

Early in the morning
I yelled
The alarm clock woke up
Took a pee
Took a shower
Brushed its teeth
Shoeshined its shoes
And hurried to work

Late in the evening
The alarm clock returned
Left dinner unfinished
Lay on the bed
And drifted off

Early in the morning
I screamed
The alarm clock
I shouted
The alarm clock
I yelled
The alarm clock
I racketed
The alarm clock
I shrilled
The alarm clock woke up
Peed in the sink
Washed with toilet water
Shoeshined its teeth
Brushed its shoes
And scrambled out to work

Late in the evening
The alarm clock returned
Collapsed on the bed
And dozed off

Early in the morning
I shrieked
And shouted
The alarm clock woke up
Put its clothes on
Opened the door
And fell asleep
I grew hysterical
I hollered
The alarm clock
Shot off to work

Late in the evening
The alarm clock returned
Flaked out
In the bathtub

Early in the morning
Rant and Rave
Roar and more
The alarm clock woke up
I lifted it in my arms
Held it over the toilet
Dressed it
And kicked it out
Back to work

Late in the evening
The alarm clocked returned
Collapsed across
The threshold

Without peeing
Without washing
Without dressing
Without brushing
Without shoeshining
Without waking up
The alarm clock
Ran off to work

Late in the evening
The alarm clock returned

Early in the morning
Boy I screeched
And I squealed
And I yelled
And I yelped
And I bellowed
And I bawled
And I roared
And I cleared my throat
Then I thundered
And boomed out
The alarm clock wouldn’t wake up
Scream and shout
Sound and Fury
Cricket and racket
The alarm clock didn’t even budge
Crush and squash
Brawl and scuffle
Smashing into smithereens
Nose and cheekbones
I Sent a jab and knocked it out
Kicked it and trampled it down

The alarm clock


I suddenly woke up
I’m running late again
Jumped out of bed
And sped out to work


The Poet’s Cardiogram

Will you make a terrified dash for Poetry will you jump off the top line of Poetry will you shoot up Poetry into yourself will you glut Poetry will you piss Poetry will you fight Poetry will you get high on Poetry will you pluck the feathers off Poetry will you smooch Poetry will you revolutionize Poetry will you bare Poetry howl! howl! Poetry laugh Poetry if you fuck Poetry you’ll get STD I did Poetry roar with laughter! will you shoot Poetry will you ascend Poetry will you beg Poetry Art is higher than Love bigger than Love I failed even to afford sufficient space for Art in myself I wasn’t enough it spills gushes out of me Poetry will you slap the innumerable cheeks of Poetry will you get kicks out of Poetry will you shriek Poetry will you extort Poetry will you slaughter Poetry mumbling will you bark Poetry will you hound Poetry on those grazing Poetry will you shit Poetry will you stutter Poetry groan Poetry will you comb Poetry will you steal Poetry will you grow Poetry will you encounter Poetry will you weld Poetry (Art + Philosophy + Science + Politics + Sports + Business + C + + + etc)n – Poetry = Poetry Art is more enduring than Love more beautiful than Love Poetry I’m getting drained of Poetry will you conjure with Poetry will you play the fool Poetry will you excite Poetry will you sacrifice Poetry will you asphalt Poetry will you concrete Poetry will you enslave Poetry will you fly Poetry will you get the shit out of Poetry Pop Poetry committing adultery with penis or with Poetry Poetry right now! Poetry! right away! Poetry is the same for prophesy as fetish for the truth let’s get dead drunk and pass out with Poetry hurry up! Poetry will you scare Poetry Rendezvous inside Poetry will you recognize Poetry will you ejaculate in Poetry technocrat Poetry Poetry will rape will Poetry suck will you demine Poetry will you envy Poetry will you be as famous as Poetry will you operate on Poetry Poetry will you gurgle Poetry will you excite Poetry will you make a cuckold of Poetry will you burp Poetry will you skin Poetry will you jerk off Poetry will you peel Poetry will you cure Poetry will you beat Poetry black-and-blue will you castrate Poetry will you pervert Poetry will you write Poetry will you wipe Newborn Poetry’s ass I am piercing Poetry with my teeth punching kamikaze-Poetry’s tongue I am dashing forth ready for everything wherever it may take me mess Poetry’s haircut and send it off to revolution wind Poetry around your hand and measure your blood pressure watch TV with Poetry watch the outskirts and the ghettos of your soul undress Poetry and fuck it! will you realize Poetry do you want a child from Poetry will you prohibit Poetry will you smash Poetry will you mock Poetry will you challenge it to a duel Sing! will you be Poetry’s brother-in-arms will you give definition to Poetry will you deafen Poetry will you blindfold Poetry will you hush Poetry will you die Poetically will you Poetically immortalize yourself will you politicize Poetry will you do September 11 to Poetry Magnanimous is Poetry! Will you interrogate Poetry will you giggle Poetry will you get a slut for Poetry will you drive Poetry to suicide will you bring Poetry home will you go mad Poetry still getting drained of Poetry will you clone Poetry will you go crazy Poetry will you go mad Poetry are you round the twist Poetry will you guzzle Poetry will you betray Poetry will you stroll all over Poetry will you hide Poetry will you be ashamed of Poetry will you punch Poetry thrust Poetry into the ass hole of my lost cat and let me know the temperature will you flirt with Poetry will you go to prison for the sake of Poetry will you snivel Poetry you won’t close the eyes of Poetry! will you astound Poetry do you ever need Poetry will you attack with Poetry Sing! will you whip Poetry 39 times will you profess Poetry will you enter Poetry in your account will you fart Poetry is magnanimous so will you fart Poetry aloud will you tramp on Poetry will you devour Poetryburger will you glue Poetry will you discharge Poetry from your bowels right onto Poetry Poetry beyond yes and no will you sideslip Poetry will you scratch Poetry will you replicate Poetry will you replicate Poetry will you replicate Poetry will you fry Poetry will you trundle Poetry the cheated husbands butt Poetry will you exhibit Poetry will you proletariate Poetry And would you make it And you And you And you And you and and and Waiting for Poetry And you And you And you Poetry – Be the F!rst to Know Art is higher than Love Poetry of mature searches will you film Poetry will you run away Poetry would you spend 80 Days Round Poetry will you be jealous of Poetry Let’s celebrate Poetry!!!!!! will you evening Poetry will you turn on Poetry will you compete Poetry will you snore Poetry will you joke Poetry 1000 and one Poetry The 40 days of Poetry Poetry 49 100 years’ Poetry Three Poetries Ali Baba and the 40 Poetries X Poetry/Poetry will you deify Poetry Thus spake Poetry will you fondle Poetry will you elephant Poetry will you revolt against Poetry Let us make Poetry in our image after our likeness and let it have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth and over all violent crimes will you reform Poetry will you dethrone Poetry will you socialize Poetry will you infect Poetry with yourself Sing! Poetry Protest Poetry Remonstrance Poetry swamp Poetry Protest Poetry is 23 years old will you put your tongue out to Poetry is here before your eyes will you get Poetry out of levitation will you give Poetry the creeps will you shave Poetry falling Poetry sowing Poetry mowing are you ready to drown 20 000 leagues under Poetry for 40 days and 40 nights will you yank Poetry out of the slime pull it out and you will be free mother-fucker I seem to be a Poetry martyr a sectarian epidemic Poetry virus Poetry everywhere And on the seventh day God ended his Poetry which he had made and he rested in peace on the seventh day from all his work which he had made Veri ver Verily verily I say unto you Except God fall into yourselves and die it abideth alone but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit will you execute Poetry The World is Poetry Poesium Mobile! Agitpoetry Porn Star Poetry Rock Star Poetry Pop Star Poetry Shoulder-Board Star Poetry will you disgrace Poetry will you leap up and down Poetry will you squat Poetry will you sweep out Poetry will you mew Poetry like my cat will you lick my Poetry! You are Fire Dressed in Fire You are Fire Dressed in dressed in black will you mutter Poetry Poetry.exe will you sack out Poetry will you belly-dance Poetry Poetry Poetry Poetry hoo Poetry hehehehey! Cherché la Poesie will you militarize Poetry will you discriminate Poetry will you bomb Poetry will you wake up Poetry will you sleep Poetry Have a Good Night Ahead! will you worship Poetry will you whistle Poetry here Poetry there Poetry.swf Poetry everywhere will you yearn for Poetry will you x-ray Poetry will Poetries gush out of your tattered veins Poetry dripped off excited organs will you help Poetry piddle shall Poetry kick your ass will you hang Poetry shall Poetry kick your ass will you leave for Poetry Poetry.jpg Poetry.html shall Poetry kick your ass Poetry is loose in the bean Poetry is overflowing shivering strongly Poetry thundering Poetry never gets tired will you whirl away Poetry Only Poetry will overtake and surpass the speed of light Poetry turns up speed of both light and darkness but needs none will Poetry sulk you off will you make friends Poetry will suck in your menstruation O Let’s make things better Poetry Poetry beyond books will you breakfast Poetry will you bring up Poetry will you hold Poetry as hostage counterego Poetry ecstasy Poetry extremism against Poetry counterculture utopia escapade toward Poetry motherland of word anarchy counterecstasy counterpoetry counterutopia counterthey cross-counter cross-counter cross-counter antistate antifreeze antihuman society shall Poetry kick your ass Die! shall Poetry kick your ass Die! Poetry will kick your ass!Die! Die! Die! ha ha ha ha antigalaxy antideath-antilife witchcraft salvation rebellion Redeemer Poetry Poetry Poetry till the end Poetry Poetry Poetry till the subsequent beginning Poetry Poetry till the subsequent end despair isn’t there anything beyond beginning and ending Poetry Poetry Poetry’s there Poetry ? Poetry there are pupa poets of Poetry there are bullet-shell poets of Poetry I am the alarm system of Poetry any type of Oxymoron is excluded in respect to Poetry there are several oxymoron cases related to Poetry though e.g. Anachronic Poetry Anatopic Poetry Anaanthropic Poetry and Oxymoron related to Poetry Poetry pigging out on barbecue of Kars rinsing it down with Coke and squeezing into heterochromatic pussies as a condom Poetry is a sacrifice of existence to word to that element fixing existence Poetry is more than the word and that’s the pledge of the possibility to write Poetry Pharmacological Chemical Garbagical Poetry of Psychopharmaceutic industry My 911 is Poetry will you caution against Poetry will you snap Poetry nu Poetry.doc Poetry at gunpoint Have you ever driven Poetry burning the breeze along ROUTE 66 will you imprison Poetry and fuck it in the ass Poetry game Poetry another another another Poetry you won’t blockade Poetry it is impossible to horn Poetry is every thing and every where Poetry is everywhere will you run it down you will never overtake or outrun Poetry is ubiquitous the Planet Earth is the most poetic planet of all galaxies with feasts poetry sex poetic porn sites poetic business poetic world history and especially wars famines crazy celebrations scuffles night clubs parties orgies us poetic concentration camps with eyes and palms of hands brains and lungs buttocks and balls resembling the hemispheres of Earth and poetic tits that have never been subjected to cavitation with poetic revolutions mortal poetic failures and depressions entreaties and lamentations poetic moans and groans and deafening yells and poetic genocides poetic dollars poetic loves and hates Ballistic Poetry epidemic of Poetry I’m suffering from the final stage of Poetry disease past cure I’m getting drained of Poetry Poetry Poetry Poetry plenty plenty of Poetry Deciphering the several lines of Poetry engraved upon the father’s forehead in the course of pre- and post-mirror stages I’m crushing into pieces I’m split into as many pieces as there are dissociated words in this world no it’s the mirror reflecting myself that’s smashing I ferociously hurled Poetry on the mirror will you substitute for Poetry Poetry smashed too and now I have been hastily pasting collaging whatever was left after the rebellion when I caught a glimpse of God’s image in the mirror Can you Poetry The history of my surname originates from one of the most poetic genocides of the most poetic planet will you give Poetry a head trafficking of Poetry through ads will you dig Poetry will you sweat Poetry will you get angry Poetry will you swear Poetry will you poison Poetry will you boil Poetry will you freeze Poetry will you hear Poetry will you blow up Poetry explode send it up will you set Poetry under the parliamentary building will you murder Poetry Verily verily I say unto you Except Poetry fall into yourselves and die it abideth alone but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit bringeth forth much wrath bringeth forth much madness throweth me off my balance infuriateth me bloweth me up Poetry nauseateth me no one can ever contrapose oneself with Poetry Protest against Poetry Absurd Poetry you fucked me up Poetry piss off Poetry won’t leave me alone and I’m releasing Poetry from claustrophobia torturing Poetry but it’s no use My Poetry is tormented with claustrophobia wherever it is whether inside or outside in these words or beyond them in you or in them Entire Art is the Artist’s notion of death the totality of Poetry is death the death of Poetry ah the universal totality of any phenomenon implies decomposition traceless loss of that very phenomenon and my cruel attempts to somehow give a definition to Poetry gall the latter tick Poetry off and I get I get hiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh thereon on that sadomasochism acknowledging that the real POET’S DICK NEVER SURRENDERS TO GRAVITY Be Realists Demand the Impossible! Demand Poetry! I’m as much impossible as Poetry It is Poetry that has chosen me and not the reverse so will Poetry end me like a book and this will be the suicide of Poetry in Juvenile ecstasies when ecstatic anti-Adornean music tattooed on the erupting skin of history from 60s to 90s was driving me mad and will you abort Poetry and the performance and the happening I lost the track some favorite and not favorite special effects and posthumous sex or the salubrious properties of aesthetic cataclysms sci-tech achievements that would devise some delusions and would thereby allegedly shut the revolutionary yap of the youth once and for all at a loss not to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric Sing! confused losing count of one’s own hair will you read a bedtime story to Poetry tonight about dinosaurs will you exchange Poetry for Motherland will you exchange Poetry for money will you direct these same questions to Poetry on your behalf Poetry is a unit of measure by which one can measure the volume of the Artist’s misfortune and the unconquerable despair of inner antagonism and boundless happiness through the following formula poetry – poetry = poetry Not to Fear Poetry is Not to fear Death Whatever is Imaginable is Realizable Poetry As soon as mankind annihilates Poetry mankind will enter a stage of eternal peace and then mankind will need no wars no armies no warships no warbirds and no toxic products Thenceforth mankind will for ever and ever see no war and its own reflection in mirror either


Karen Karslyian keeps alive his own website.

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