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A Million Miracles

Ara Hagopian


I’m sexually aroused by dead men. Well, not really. Really it’s only one dead man lol. People might object to me using “lol” in my writing, but I think it has value as a kind of tone signifier. I’ll use it if I want to because this is MY manifesto. Well I shouldn’t say “manifesto”, that makes it sound like I’m gonna shoot up a department store. It’s just a sort of journal-type-thing. Just a journal.

So anyway let me explain.

I met this model when I was in LA. I met him on one of the gay dating websites (actually it was an app, but websites and apps are the same thing- nobody seems to realize that). His bio said “model”. He was a model but he was a little chubby. Not a “plus-size” model or anything, but definitely a model that keeps his clothes on. His face was great though. One of the best faces I’ve ever seen- shiny skin, eyes decorating big shelves of cheekbones. You know you’re with a model when you go to bite their ear and you get a face full of cheekbone. He lived in New York City, but he had switched apartments with one of his LA friends for a week so they could both have a vacation. Sensible. And, you know, he was just a very sweet person. One of those fat little kids that loses weight and finds out they’re beautiful. I can’t imagine a stronger high than that- he must have been on cloud nine 24/7. He talked about his grandma, the modeling industry, his skincare routine, his abusive ex, his favorite bars in Brooklyn, Pixar and stuff like that. Just a very sweet gentle-hearted person. People tend to open up to me, probably because I don’t say much. We kept in touch after he went back to NYC.

And then he died. Can you believe that? I saw it on social media. He died. Who dies anymore? People our age aren’t supposed to die, we’re supposed to wallow forever in our stupid pathetic incomeless misery. And what a waste of those cheekbones! Couldn’t they save them and donate them to some poor kid with bags under his eyes? I looked back on some of our old text conversations- mostly mediocre banter (the downside of people opening up easily is that they quickly run out of stuff to talk about). But I noticed the naked pictures he’d sent. He was a sexy guy, and they were sexy pictures, so I found myself getting aroused looking at them. And after a while I just thought- oh my god, he’s dead. I wish I could say that was my last time looking at those pictures, but I’d be lying. But, you know, I’m not a monster. I still feel bad. I spent like three nights with him and I still have survivor’s guilt.


Chewing on a hangnail, in a gay bar, incognito

Your own body parts that you couldn’t pick out in a crowd

Of body parts

Where would Achilles have put his weak spot if he had the choice?

Where would you put yours?

I’ll answer for you, babe

We get along like two hookers in a police lineup

Like two fish in two plastic bags in a toilet bowl

One saltwater, one freshwater

One dead, one just barely alive

Which is which? Doesn’t matter now

Hearing a song in each ear

And both songs go to the same cortex

Unwoven and rewoven, experienced as one

Life is all about making idealism seem reasonalbe

A counter-reaction to the hyper-potential

of quantum complexity.

Two bullets grazing each other

In JFK’s head

And then things start happening

Two or three at a time

Cumming, naming babies, buried placenta

Undefeated girls’ basketball in the Hockomock league

Watermelon Marshmallow, Strawberry Butterscotch

A sour skittle up my urethra


White-collar voodoo, dead-river dancing, holding these alligators down

The west book, conquistador the cat, Angolan leitmotif, ego amontillado

Situations without villains, situations with only villains

Yiayia’s sewing machine oil, romance between fifth Beatles

Lacan at the blackboard

Jung or Freud or even young Freud

Spit a loogie and then catch it

Throw a ball and then lose it

Zut Alors, ca c’est bien c’est ca

You do the Woo, I’ll do the Hoo

Because that’s the way it goes, babe

Things lived through and unlived through

Chewing on a hangnail, in a gay bar, incognito


When I was 24 I went to Armenia. At that point in my life, there was nothing I found less important or less interesting than my own “identity”. “I’m just some guy and I’ll be dead soon,” is what I said whenever the subject came up. But I’m ethnically Armenian and I went to Armenia because it seemed preferable to working in a liquor store. I went through something called the Birthright program, like the one they have in Israel- basically it’s one of those things that exists to get diasporans married to each other so they can start pumping out purebred babies. On the application to get into the program, one of the questions was “to what degree are you hoping to find a husband/wife during your time with us?” I answered 3 out of 5.

But they didn’t do a very good job of fostering a romantic atmosphere. They kept telling us about our people’s terrible history of genocide and war and famine- that kind of thing just doesn’t really get you in the mood. Last week our program director told us that, contrary to what was depicted in a 1950s Hollywood film, Armenian women were not actually crucified during the genocide. They were in fact stripped naked, raped, and forced to impale themselves by lowering their bodies onto pointed wooden stakes that had been forcibly inserted inside them. If they were lucky enough and skillful enough, and had enough of presence of mind, they could angle their bodies in such a way that the stake punctured a vital organ and killed them relatively quickly. If not, their dying might have lasted days. The program director said all this in a single breath. When she finished, she looked ashamed, as though she had let something slip.

You’re probably upset with me for providing all those grizzly details. You’re probably a little disgusted. But I think that’s a good thing. Empathy without disgust is just stamp-collecting.

Every Sunday I went to a local restaurant called Ponchik-Monchik, which roughly translates to “Donut Schmonut”. I ordered two or three pastries, five or six shots of cheap watered-down Belarusian vodka, some Lahmajun (which is sort of like really thin pizza), maybe a bowl of soup. There was a church across the street that must have been at least a thousand years old, black stone with an orange domed roof. I reflected on the fact that millions of people, all throughout history, have suffered as badly as Christ, if not worse, without becoming an object of worship.

The war flared back up again, so I had to leave.


Ugly people in love is a beautiful thing.


I’m actually married now. I have affairs with men (mainly one long affair with a boy named Eli that I’ll talk about later), but I’m married to a woman. She’s an African-American woman- our friends call us “the reverse Kardashians”. I love my wife with all my heart, really I do.

My wife has a medical condition that makes her infertile. She got the diagnosis a few years ago. It was tough on us because we always wanted kids. We’ve been trying to find a surrogate, but we’ve run into some problems. Because of my wife’s condition, in vitro is not an option, so it would be a quote-unquote “traditional” surrogacy. That is to say, the baby will grow from my sperm and the egg of the woman we hire. Our child will not be biologically related to my wife in any way. That was hard for her to accept at first, but she came around to it.

The problem is that I want our surrogate to be Armenian. Obviously having Armenian kids wasn’t my first priority since I married a black woman, but with the way this situation has worked out, I think it’s a worthwhile thing to do. It would make my parents very happy. And I have to admit that it is a little bit sad as a diasporan to watch your culture slowly fade away, not because of war or genocide, but because your people have dispersed around the globe and married into new cultures. A million miracles adding up to a tragedy.

I’ve tried to explain this to my wife, and she understands, but she doesn’t really seem to sympathize. I think people today are all about individualism: you can be whoever you want, love whoever you want, and stuff like that. When you bring up the collective in any capacity, they get a little bit uncomfortable.

My wife came home yesterday with five surrogacy candidates. All five were black. I rejected all of them.


Remember when Trump said that thing about “shithole countries”? Everyone said he was being racist. I don’t even like Trump, but in that situation his critics were being worse than he was. Countries on this earth have rich histories and beautiful traditions, their people run the gamut between good and bad, but many of them are shitholes right now. “Shithole” may not be a term that a polite person would use, but in many ways it’s accurate. I’ve been to Armenia and Armenia is a shithole (a beautiful shithole, but still a shithole). But why? Look up what Clinton and Greenspan did to the post-Soviet states. They looted the entire region and left everyone so poor that all the men drank themselves to death. Look it up! You probably won’t.

Look up Árbenz and the Guatemalan coup. Look up Patrice Lumumba. Look up what we did to Vietnam, look up what we did to Cambodia, look up the CIA’s reinstallation of the Shah on behalf of the oil companies. You go against America Inc., you’re toast brother. You’re shit on a shingle. The whole world knows it. South America and Southeast Asia are basically giant plantations. It’s like that Tired/Wired meme:

TIRED: Buy slaves and bring them over to work in your backyard where everyone can see them.

WIRED: Buy a part of the world, bomb the shit out of anything resembling a fledgling socialist government, keep the slaves over there where they’ll be out of sight and out of mind.

And now there’s this whole emphasis on “diversity”. Like, look how diverse our soccer team is! It shows our progress as a nation! First of all, Nigerian soccer players on the English team are being used to sell athletic gear made by 12-year-old Indonesian girls. Second of all, people shouldn’t have to leave behind their homeland and everything they’ve ever known just for a shot at “a better life”. Like, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that’s not actually a good thing. But if they do come to the west, and if they do become successful, you can be sure they’ll be touted as shining examples of diversity (and used in advertising, patriotic messaging, etc.). Just please try to remember that for every famous immigrant who’s an athlete or an artist or a politician, there’s about a thousand of them picking vegetables for ten cents per day. I’m pretty sure my wife agrees with me on this (even though she won’t admit it).

Liberals may be saying “Trump is an asshole for calling countries shitholes”, but what they’re really saying is “Trump is an asshole for reminding me of the global oppression network which I pretend to disavow but actually benefit from every single day”. Such is the hypocrisy of the language police. And I’ll tell you something else- there’s no fighting this. It’s over. The bad guys won forever. There will never be another Jesus or Muhammed or Buddha All of you people talking about “revolution” are morons. There’s just too many avenues for propaganda (i.e. screens) to allow for original thought, too much surveillance technology to allow for organized dissent. They’ve got you by the balls.

The CIA paid academics to create a bureaucracy of language around Marxism. That’s how “rich people have too much stuff” became hidden behind a bullshit veneer of “theory” and “deconstruction”. It’s part of a larger project to make the world seem un-understandable. If it weren’t the CIA, it would be a different institution. The CIA is the Council on Foreign Relations is the Rockefeller Foundation. It’s all the same shit. Very little policy gets done in DC. In the last election I voted for my Eli (who I’m about to discuss in more detail). In the election before that, I voted for Mickey Mouse.


Have you ever looked through two kaleidoscopes at the same time?


Empathy is not a panacea. It’s no inexhaustible. It’s a zero-sum game; the more empathy you have for the doctor, the less you have for the patient (I know Chekhov would agree with this). I just can’t bring myself to have much empathy for Eli because I know he’s a lost cause (to clarify, Eli is NOT the boy who died that I discussed in a previous entry).

Eli is one of those people with a big skeleton and tight skin. He has a very prominent Adonis belt, those pelvic lines that show up when you’re in shape. The Adonis belt, combined with the jeweled bellybutton piercing, makes his waist look like some sort of priceless ancient artifact. He’s a little gay boy from a shitty rural town in Pennsylvania, you know, long road to Canaan and all that. Long way back to Canaan for Elijah. He’s had a rough road- not Oscar winning, maybe, but still pretty rough. His mother had some sort of nervous breakdown when he was 11, his brother gets drunk and sends him dick pics. Or maybe it’s the other way around lol.

He works in a nursing home. Comes in late, sucks dick in the break room. They keep him on because he does a good job of not taking any shit from the old people.

I think I may be a little bit in love with him, which is kinda scary.

Eli will never be “representation”. He won’t ever be paraded in front of the people so they can say “wow, look at all the gays have accomplished, what a mistake it was to ever look down on them as perverted sex-crazed maniacs”. There are plenty of more respectable homosexuals to fulfill that role. The liberals get to feel good about themselves, the gays are freed from the harmful yoke of “stereotype”, the corporations get promotional tie-ins, everybody wins. The only person who doesn’t win is Eli.

Eli thinks I’m hot because he likes Arab men. I don’t have the heart to tell him that I’m not really “Arab” per se. Armenia, while geographically in the Middle East, is actually a Christian nation (it was the very first Christian nation, as a matter of fact).

This poor kid. He’s just not gonna have a very good life. He won’t ever get better. There’s just no way to quit the drug of hypersexuality in the modern climate. For starters, you’re born addicted, so you’re a crack baby by default. You have a little machine in your pocket that magically gives you infinite hits at the press of a button, and you can’t throw away that machine because you also need it to communicate with your friends and send emails for work. Temptation is everywhere. Just looking at someone can make you want a hit. Imagine if everyone was born with little plastic heroin needles sticking out of their back like porcupine quills. Or no, better metaphor, imagine if everyone had heroin needles for nipples. You turn on the TV- look at this cool group of friends, we can’t show them shooting up with each other’s heroine-needle nipples, but it’s strongly implied by the way they’re all laughing and touching each other. You could have those sexy heroin-needle nipples in your life if you bought that truck they were driving. Or, you know, here are some famous heroin-needle nipples that you’ll never see in person, but if you go to the movies and pay eighteen dollars you can watch them bulging inside a tight spandex superhero outfit.

There’s no quitting a drug like that.


Got a text from Eli’s number- This is Eli’s Master. It’s cute how close you are to my faggot. I did something to him that I think you’ll like.

I won’t describe the photo, but suffice to say it’s not pretty. The “master” is wearing one of those puppy masks, black-and-white spotted like a dalmatian, so I can’t see his face. His body isn’t very impressive, though. Pretty flabby. I might have been jealous if he were buff or something, but honestly I just feel sad.

Obviously I’m not blameless here. I cheat on my wife, so I’m not totally comfortable playing the whole “woe is me” card. But it’s more than that- I used Eli just as much as he used me. My marriage isn’t going great, I might not ever have children. I wanted someone who would be dependent on me. I wanted to crack him open and expose his true self just to prove I could. But what constitutes the “true” self? It’s arbitrary. People like to place personality above looks because it’s more subjective, which means they can more easily conceive of themselves as above average.


The meaning of life is to prevent the heat-death of the universe. Consciousness is a chemical weapon in the war between matter and the laws which govern it.

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