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The Literary Groong - 07/01/2001

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	HAMPIG AND HIS BROTHER

	by Y. Stephan Bulbulian


	In the church hall, we sat at a table 
	With folks that farm in the far reaches
	Of the county, between Parlier and Del Rey.
	Seldom seen, except on occasions like this,
	By their dress, it was evident
	They didn't get into town much.
	Hampig wore a tie from 1940. 
	His brother wore a brown belt 
	Above his mid-section, short arms 
	Resting on his chest, fingers interlocked.

	They talked to Garig about the packing-shed,
	That old walnut tree his father planted 
	In front of the tarpaper house, near the road 
	Forty years ago, when the vines were planted;
	The 20 acres of black Muscats.

	Hampig spoke of family gatherings,
	Old customs celebrated on warm days,
	Sharing bread, cooked vegetables and lamb.
	Hampig's brother spoke of their parents, 
	Now 20 years and 17 years gone,
	(The father died in a truck accident 
	Hauling raisins in late summer).

	The mother couldn't live without him, or so 
	The story goes, among the towns' women.
	The fathers' death was the slow final 
	Heartbreak of her long life of grief.
	Like her mother, left to die                      
	In the Syrian Desert, she gave up.
	The same girl that escaped by a miracle,
	To live near Parlier, California.

	The ladies surmised that the parents death
	Made Hampig and his brother solitary people,
	Working alone among the dark grapes,
	Their house in the shadow of the old tree.
	They seldom ventured beyond their element.
	Once a week, the sister would drive to market.       
	Though their faces were familiar and benevolent,
	They'd grown much older, time had been cruel. 
	The sister, Susianne never married.



Y. Stephan Bulbulian writes poems about Armenian life in the Diaspora,
farming, heritage, and life in Fowler, California.  Mr.  Bulbulian's
poetry has appeared in The Armenian Weekly, Asbarez, Nor Hayastan, and
Hye Sharzoom.  His poems have been anthologized in Vintage, 1994 and
Vintage 1995, published by the Poets Of The Vineyard. Mr.  Bulbulian
was recently anthologized in Armenian Town, 6 Fresno Armenian-American
Poets, published by the William Saroyan Society.  His poetry is
regularly featured in Ararat, a quarterly literary journal published
by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU).  Mr. Bulbulian was
the 1990 AGBU Art Award winner for poetry.  He is a member of the
Fresno Poets Association, the New England Poetry Club, Poets Of The
Vineyard and resides in Fowler, CA.


Copyright   2001 Y. Stephan Bulbulian


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