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  • My Favorite YouTube Channel, and: Midnight Blue, and: The Joke, and: Chandelier, and: Faith
  • Luisa Muradyan (bio)

My Favorite YouTube Channel

think Beetlejuice without Michael Keatonbut with one hundred Geena Davisesdressed in floral nightgowns

think absolute freedom

standing in a houseof haunted women

listen to the music

furniture movingwithout explanation

in this videoyou can clearly seethe outline of a facein the fireplace

everything has burned down again

and I still can’t say out loudthe most erotic partsof the alphabet

a ghost once spelled a dirty wordin a Ouija game and I am convincedit was my childhood selfcommunicating with my adult self [End Page 83]

in this video the dead give a makeup tutorialand I finally have a smoky eyewithout charcoal or blushwithout violence or fire [End Page 84]

Midnight Blue

I own exactly seven pairsof crushed-velvet Juicy Couturetracksuits, and I have kept each oneas a relic for survival.Soviet diaspora womenglittering in Swarovski unison:the rare turquoise tealI fished out of the seaof discount bins, the buttercreamfrosted banana I accidentallystole from an outlet store in Texas.For the woman who isinterested in nature, I recommenda hunter green or an ombré sequined sunset.If you only want to dip your toe in velour,then we can start you off with a modest grayor a cool mint. That was the color I was wearingwhen a man on the street called me a Russian whore,which wasn’t quite as bad as all of the academicswho have called me exotic and asked how much vodkaSvetlana should drink in their short story. The truth isI would be the tsarina of tracksuits if I wasn’t bornafter the denim revolution. When they come for me,I want to be dressed in the midnight blueand buried with every stereotype you can think of.Inside my coffin there will be a smaller coffin,the papers will call it “A Matryoshka Laid to Rest,”embalm me in caviar, and have Yakov Smirnoff give the eulogythat begins, “In Soviet Russia tracksuit wears you.” [End Page 85]

The Joke

My father is a funny man.What killed him the mostwas not being able to makemy mother laughin this new language.And no, I’m not talkingabout a mayonnaise knock-knock joke or a chicken crossingthe road. I’m talking about a jokeyou don’t tell in polite company.

The Midwest is full of mannersbut we come from a place of brutalintimacy. It took him months of study,listening to the other men at the factorytell their jokes during lunchtime,all Pepsi and sandwiches,until he came home one dayshaking and ready.

He sat her down on the good chairand we huddled around the tableas if we were at a comedy club

You see there was a womanand a taxicab and a driverwho tells herthat a man with large feethas a large penisand a woman with a small mouthhas a small vagina

And after a long silence my motherscrunched up her lips tightlyand said,Are you serious? [End Page 86]


I am six years old in Missouriwashing pieces of crystal with my father.We have nothing we needbut this hanging prism.

My great-grandmother boughtthe lamp from a man who sworeit once lit the powder roomof the grand duchess of Russia,the one who escaped the guns.

She hid the relic underneaththe floorboards alongside her daughter.

The room floodedwith light as we finishunpacking that which wasn’t stolen. [End Page 87]


I find out I am pregnant in a motelon Holocaust Remembrance Day.I pull out a Bible and searchfor “mother” in the index.There is no index,only revelation.Mary standing in front of the DeadSea, hair wild and full of salt. [End Page 88]

Luisa Muradyan

Luisa Muradyan is originally from Odessa, Ukraine, and is the author of American Radiance (University...


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