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SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Ode to Peeing in the Streets

by Arthur Kayzakian

just because I have
not said a thing
to my mother
or father
the feds
the men in regulation gray
with blue state mugs
and doughnuts
sugar coated fingers
stuck to clipboards
and holsters and guns
I am, in fact, very proud
to unbuckle my belt
unbutton and pull
my trousers down
so my bladder
like a tank of gasoline
will come charging through
and let the yellow
wiz out of me
just like that baby
just like that
let it wiz
all over the bank wall
or maybe on an ATM
a Safeway sign
an Immigration logo
or on the bricks
of my neighbor’s home
where I wonder if he
will keep on smiling
when he sees why
his dog keeps barking
or my other neighbor
who asked me
to decorate his new
home with old books
which probably
means his house
reads more
than he does
it is said the dog
is allowed to bark
1500 times a day
after the city ordinance
it is said doctors
give you pills if
you begin to feel
things you have
never felt before
all you need to do
is fill out the form
forms for this
forms for that
but the form
where I fill out
my information
has no box
for the Armenian
yes the Armenian
is not a visible option
on the citizen form
but I don’t sweat it
all it takes is a dollar
and a dream
maybe it is time to rise
like a swarm of flies
a swarm of flies
but I am not Black
I am not White
I am something like coffee
and I enjoy
how it spills out of me


—Selected for Honorable Mention in the competition for the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize 2016, and first published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2016-17 (Garden Oak Press, February 2017); appears here with permissions from both poet and publisher.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Arthur Kayzakian

is a poet and MFA candidate at San Diego State University. He is also a contributing editor at Poetry International and one of six co-editors for Magee Park Poets: 2017 Anthology. His poems have appeared in, or are forthcoming from, Northridge Review, Chaparral, Taproot Literary Review, The Food Poet, Confrontation, San Diego Poetry Annual, Serving House Journal, and Rufous City Review.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury