Poem: It Takes Five Verbs to Tango

Detail of “Armenian Wedding,” tapestry by Anahit Galstyan, 1992 (Photo courtesy of Lori Sinanian)

It Takes Five Verbs to Tango

To think of a thought,
To question the thought,
To contemplate the thought…
On and on and on,
To make connections that don’t make sense to the thought,
To make a connection that makes sense to the thought.

You just did it.

You read the title and connected it
To the saying “it takes two to tango.”
Then you questioned
What it may mean,
You tried and tried,
[on and on and on],
you made a connection to that phrase you always hear:
“it takes two to tango”
Thinking it is the right connection to make,
That this will be about that,

It has nothing to do with it.

“It takes five verbs to tango,”
An entire thought process
That starts with a human and a brain,
An experience,
Whether one has been through it,
Listened to it,
Heard about it.

Passed down trauma,
Subtle trauma
From the surface level.

“Trauma” defines as firsthand genocide experience.
“Passed down trauma” means a descendant’s experience
Of an embedded thought of genocide,
Through stories,
Articles, and so on—
On genocide.

It allows one to deeply retain
The information
From constant exposure to the subject,
Though not firsthand genocide experience.

“Subtle trauma from the surface level”
An understanding of what occurred,
Knowing it is a humanistic matter,
That allows one to experience humanistic reactions,
Though it is not first hand.

It all depends on the person.

Between the categories,
But do not place yourself
In any of them,
For you could fall under all
Or none of them.

Instead, I ask you to leave it unanswered,
For most of our lives
Will forever be an unanswered question,
But with a chance
To fill those gaps with knowledge,
Through words,
And pictures,
And other mediums alike—
Anything that will teach us more,
More about us.

In this educational lab we call life,
Fill in those gaps of what you don’t know
With what you will know
By simply exposing yourself with knowledge
By listening—
especially to stories
That are vanishing.


Lori Sinanian

Lori Sinanian

Lori Sinanian graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a B.A. in English Literature. She has received awards for her writing, such as the UCI Black Lives Matter Writing Contest and “Be Heard” Calouste Gulbenkian Prize. As a community advocate, journalist and literature scholar, she has come to appreciate the versatility of language in its many genres and modes. Lori has been featured in publications including Wall Street Journal, The Armenian Weekly, and Insight Magazine for her journalism and creative work.
Lori Sinanian

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