It always seems a little strange
When you say “I am Armenian.”
You often get a blank look,
Or a nervous laugh
Even a sophisticated smile, “How wonderful!”
No one recognizes
The depth, the warmth, the love
The shared pain of millions
The often unintentional, yet innate, pride
Alternatively: “Ayo, yes America-Hai em”
You will find some half smiles
Some wistfulness, some envy
Perhaps even derision
Certainly a little pity
One foot in the door, the American Dream
One foot outside, Repatriation
Azad ou Angagh Haiastan.
Who am I?
What am I?
Where am I?
Why am I here?
Was it good luck to be born in the “land of opportunity”?
Or has my opportunity to be truly Armenian passed?
How do you embrace your people’s 3,000-year history?
3,000 years of culture, 3,000 years of survival, 3,000 years of struggle
How do you find a future with a homeland under attack?
Beset with traitors, demagogues, genocidal dictators
How do you represent, honor, uphold the memory of the heroes of the past
How can I smile? Knowing our state.
Where do I look? Knowing where we are.
Where do I become myself? Knowing what we have become.
Where do I go for our future? Knowing only uncertainty.
I think of the pain. I think of the suffering.
I think of Yerablur. I think of the 18 year old men, fighting for our existence.
But I also think of the beauty, the mountains, the people
I don’t want to lose it, but we may already have
And yet, there is still so much to lose
When a child smiles
With big black eyes
And a wide toothy grin
Full of innocence and love and pride
She is Armenian
That child is part of me
The shared me
I realize something.
Though I may straddle two worlds
Though I may never truly feel at home
I am Armenian.
I will always be Armenian.