‘I must condense, and zip the files to fit them in:’ a love poem by Armenian poet Violet Grigoryan

'I must condense, and zip the files to fit them in:' a love poem by Armenian poet Violet Grigoryan
Image: Mushegh Hakobyan via Unsplash

24 September 2021
Intro and selection: Vahe Arsen

Violet Grigoryan was born in 1962 in Tehran, Iran and she repatriated to Armenia in 1975. She is one of the founders of the literary journal Inqnagir, where she currently serves as its editor. The author of four books of poems, she has won the Writers’ Union of Armenia poetry award for True, I’m Telling the Truth (1991), and the Golden Cane prize for literature for The City (1998). Her poems have been anthologised in France, and in the English-language collections The Other Voice: Armenian Women’s Poetry through the Ages (2006) and Deviation: Anthology of Contemporary Armenian Literature (2008). She is a member of the Writers’ International PEN fellowship.


African Kiss

Written by Violet Grigoryan

Batter and Filling
150 g. butter, 6 eggs, 2 cups sugar, ½ cup milk, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1/5 cup flour, baking
soda, vinegar, vanilla extract.

Frosting

70‐75 g. butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, ½ cup sugar, 5 tablespoons milk.

Baking Instructions
Combine the yolks of 6 eggs with one cup of sugar, add slightly melted butter, mix well. Separately,
mix one teaspoon of soda with one tablespoon of vinegar and add it to the mixture. Add 2
tablespoons of cocoa powder, vanilla extract, ½ cup lukewarm milk and 1/5 cup of flour. Mix
thoroughly, then transfer the batter into a pan and cook it for about 30 minutes on very low heat.

While cooking, read the following:

What lovely body, crimson heart, amazing esse (it must be said), perhaps we’ll never meet again under the sun, nor by the sea, nor on this earth
(my little “esse,” welcome here, into my text, a foreign girl, my newcome bride, nomadic sister, may you be lucky for my lines)
I know, we’ll never meet again under the sun, nor by the sea, nor on this earth
But I would like to spend ten years just kissing you to get enough,
I’ve got no choice, I must be brief, I must condense, and zip the files to fit them in,
I’ll turn ten years into ten months, I’ll turn ten months into ten days, I’ll turn ten days into ten hours, ten
hours — a single day of love

That day of love is all I’ve got, a winning ticket, large and small,
Today we’ll have ten years of love, tomorrow — bye, tomorrow — gone


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