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Tina Demirdjian's first book, IMPRINT, is published thanks to a grant from the City of Glendale’s Arts and Culture Commission and additional funding from the Durfee Foundation. A selection of Demirdjian’s poems have appeared in Aspora, Ararat International Journal, the Los Angeles Times, High Performance, Midwest Poetry Review, the Texas Observer, and in Birthmark: a bi-lingual anthology of Armenian-American poetry published in 1999. She is the recipient of three honorable mentions from the Arroyo Arts Collective’s Poetry in the Windows contests. 

Ms. Demirdjian has taught poetry in schools, libraries and community centers throughout Los Angeles since 1991. Teaching, for Ms. Demirdjian, is the vehicle that allows her the opportunity to best serve the community in which she lives.


It was always a fiasco 
to put away the dishes
to stack the amber glasses
one on top of the other
toss the miss-matched 
silverware in the drawer
stolen from the airlines
or the Fountainbleau Hotel 
during my parent’s honeymoon.

We always like to steal
a little memory

dad said with a smile
and so we had a collection
of stolen things
in my childhood 
the memory of them
coming back to me 
at the oddest moments
sticking to me like the humid nights
in New Jersey

the way you stuck to me
that day in the kitchen
the third time we kissed
when your hands 
went beneath 
my peach sweater
to touch my breasts
I think I’m falling
in love with you,
you said
and I kept silent in the kitchen

thinking I heard 
the jerking of those amber glasses 
being stacked on top of one another
and the clanging of silverware 
tossed inside the drawer

like I tossed my peach sweater
in the closet
after we kissed:
you stole a little of me 
that afternoon
and inside my sweater
I stole a bit of your smell.



in dusty fields 
where their mothers 
and fathers 
once soiled their feet

two women 
on their heads

with their hands:

fleshy shovels 
holding the earth,
tilling the soil,

digging passages 
like human veins:
calling their ancestors
to send us prayers,
to chant 
the ancient songs.



When you forget 
that the red dog in your hands
was playing with you yesterday
it doesn’t bother you
sitting on your lap
it’s feet folded in your hands
looking at you with small black eyes
you don’t remember doing this before

it’s as if you never remembered rain
something that happened throughout your life
when you wore your galoshes
sifting through streets in New York

so many years 
in the cream-colored house
so many people walking past 
the two red maple trees

memories seeped 
into the pink-flowered wallpaper
in your bedroom
the touch of his hands 
only a memory of the wind now
and his kisses
maybe the saliva from your lips 

just like my little baby girl
who doesn’t even remember 
when I give her the same red dog
again and again
she smiles at me bursting with laughter
and I burst back into her
a kiss kiss kiss on the cheek
and then again

I could play this game forever
but for you whose memory has trailed back
as if the world lived in reverse
and rain could go back up to the sky
memory lost in you is different 
than new memory gained by a child

we live in between those two worlds
watching the world lose
watching the world gain life
in ourselves.

© 2005 Tina Demirdjian


"Tina’s images…reach deep into the experience…that the world she represents becomes our own." --Dr. Arpi Sarafian on IMPRINT

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