How to Cure a Writer’s Block
by Shahé Mankerian

for Aram Saroyan

To my students I say, “Go outside
at midnight and climb the tilted trellis

to the roof. Grip the waterspout.
Keep the finch’s nest and the sprout

of moss intact. Like Jesus, pretend
the ceramic shingles are your Sea

of Galilee. Find the chimney and rest
your back against soot of the bricks.

Fix your gaze on the glaze

of the black blanketed sky.
Tuck yourself in. The full moon

will ascend like a Chantilly cake.
Squint your eyes and take a bite.”

PAINTING: Across the Orange Moons by Alexander Calder (1967).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is an homage to a friend and a renowned minimalist poet, Aram Saroyan. For many years, it has been an eighth grade tradition to recite Saroyan’s minimal poems at the school I teach (and administer). During recitations, students love his compressed poems because of their rhythmic and melodically soothing qualities. Crickets—crickets—crickets— 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School. He is on the board of International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA). His debut poetry collection, History of Forgetfulness, will be published by Fly on the Wall Press in October 2021.