. . .

Your heart is the softest place on earth. Take care of it.”
Nayyirah Waheed

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. . .

no petting zoo

it was a strange encounter
a first-timer in my backyard

“my” yard?

not in actuality

for they were here
long before i settled in

without an ounce of humility
and unprepared this time . . .

. . . no fancy camera at hand
nor the skilled clicks of my phone

thankfully
my eyes were opened wide
so i took the picture of the hawk
in its stately perching-pride
with my enchanted inside

its persistent presence
appeared close to mine
(quite close i’d say)
not in the slightest
was it intimated

and I cannot say
that i was in my brightest
utterly sleepy at best …

the few-feet-long divide
was still a major delight
unlike “my” other little animals
that come and leave
as they ever so please at times
it didn’t run or fly away

at a single wave of my hand
the hawk made a secure seat
out of a branch of a barren tree
right at the border of “my” land
amid many of others
that were dressed in dainty leaves

it then flew off …

close enough to the ground
seemingly showing off to me
what it was (and is) capable of …

i stayed on for a while
too long
for a cold mid-November-day
looking forward to its return
to its to-be-continued servings
of customized discoveries ahead

it did not come back …

it may have been so
for it probably did sense
how much i was taken aback
by its self-introduction of grace

besides

a living being like that
cannot be held in chains
it is after all
(and must thus remain)
as one of the freest avians …

so i turned to my good old
worn-out wind-chime
hanging downward on a hook
i wanted it to create a tune
the wind however
(contently in a deep nap)
simply refused to play along

i looked around
and saw that i had
(right at my fingertips at that)
a symphony of a collective sound …

“my” other wild birds

“my” leaps-happy squirrels

“my” big and small cotton-tails

“my” time-traveler chipmunks

had all gaily gathered
for an in-rehears-able
tap-dance routine
vying for my attention
about to show off once again
their daily acts of loyal affection

© hülya n. yılmaz, 11.14.2017

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Aksum . . .

December 17 was the last date when I had posted on my blog . . . I have truly missed being here . . . so, here I am with the first entry of 2018 (Happy New Year, by the by) . . . my three poems that will appear in the January, 2018 issue of The Year of the Poet V, an anthology published by the globe-reaching Inner Child Press (monthly poetry offerings of the Poetry Posse and between 3-4 featured new poets). Entering 2018 strong in its 5th year, this publication will provide the reader with insights into a different cultural entity across the world in each of its issues. January’s focus was Aksum.

what i knew would simply not do

Ethiopia
the early Christian era
but Red Sea ruler?

~ ~ ~

empires surely rise

and
as we live it every day today
they also fall
out of history’s authentic tracks, that is
for only white men get to etch make-believe memories
in acid on the indestructible fabric of lies to come
together, of course, with co-travelers –their women
who in the footsteps of
their 19th century Orientalist counterparts
first become enchanted
(or better yet drunken)
by the foreign “object” of their own fantasies
but then upon their return to their home countries
adhere themselves in perfected loyalty to
painting, writing or chanting
pieces of fascinating stories
all of which serve to mesmerize
the self-appointed ”Subject”
of highest esteem in its collective existence

the “other” is doomed . . .
doomed beyond erasure
far beyond the abyss
of eternity

history’s selective books
again and again, as our times evidence anew,
mount permanently
those powers of self-erected “superior” thrones
in their self-designated importance
for generations and more and more generations to come
on self-constructed paper reserved for mass readings
however fast their seats’ physical capacity
may outgrow their miniscule competence
failing to make room for their incurable ignorance . . .

The Aksum Kingdom too is doomed
doomed to remain as “the inferior other”
not to be ever revered for
what it had in fact been, was and will be
namely, a domain of notable accomplishment
among our current world’s celebrated civilizations
worthy of equally noble presentations
as well as proud representations

it is doomed instead

if only this empire had not been discovered
to be an achievement of blacks
created as a “promised land for uprooted Africans”

if only this empire had not been revived
for its utterly memorable existence
through the efforts of enslaved
18th century black preachers
amid us

in the good old United States . . .

~ ~ ~

what is to be your mark?

Aksum’s origin
is not to be traced back to
Semitic kingdoms

 

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. . .

How could we become our better selves, which I think we aspire to be, if we were not to experience routinely what the quote below suggests?

“Today again I am hardly myself. It happens over and over.”
Mary Oliver

 

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. . .

lend me an island
surround it with tranquil seas
i shall build a fort there
to keep all children away
from harm’s way
love alone will shelter that sphere

my grandson turns four today
i am in a trance with joy
for i lived to relive his birth
on that magical day
i cannot however possibly ignore
lost little anonymous lives galore  

© hülya n. yılmaz, 12.7.2017


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“no longer the same one”

please do not tell me anymore
how to cross my sitting legs in a skirt
to hide well under my pants the private fabric 
in what age-order to serve guests our coffee
what to do with the crumbs on the dining table
(no hand swipes on to my palms!)
not to laugh heartily in public
to wait for my turn in speaking up anywhere
. . .

my instincts had no trouble
accommodating the required obvious
catering to the needs and wants
other than my own
while i knew deep inside
that you all 
meant well
carrying me through life with your love

i am of old age now
and i have had enough

still conflicting no harm to anyone
holding not even an ounce of ill will
in any of my body’s cells
or inside the pure chambers of my heart
i am forevermore
as gentle as ever before
toward those 
who had no business in mine
or continue to think they have the right

i have had my bountiful share
of personal sacrifices

for self-prolonging decades
and then some more beyond
. . .

i am of old age now

and i have had enough

please do not judge me anymore
for actions that i have not undertaken
nor for the spirit-lifting deeds 
i was (and will always be)
happy to carry out

without inhibitions
with no hesitancy
through
with
and in love
love for one
love for all

a few chunks of real life
are awaiting me
as these days i find
in sweetest delight

i will not cease
to care about you
nor to eternally treasure you
in fact i would do so with my utmost might

whenever i am invited that is . . .

will you just please
try not to turn

my humbled joy and happiness
into a nonsense plight

© hülya n. yılmaz, 12.6.2017

 

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“like an eagle”

İstanbul dons a large number of majestic forts
those structures from many an ancient history
may today not appear as powerful anymore
but the debris alone suffice to astound
the willing eye through a peek
at the haunting view of the mighty Bosphorus
together with the influential breaths
that numerous civilizations of the past
have generously left in its depths

i have not been there in a long while
only in an empirical sense that is
frequent visits of my fertile imagination
have otherwise sated my hunger and thirst
my longing for the dead who were left behind
and my cravings for the impeccable times
each of which was re-lived in harmony
amid a painstakingly caring love

i borrowed an eagle’s eye on this special day
perched atop one of the bastions and began to sway

palaces teahouses trolleys Bazaars cafés fishermen
rare carpet, Kilim and antiquities-selling ambitious shops
yachts one of a kind-mosques the famed Dolmabahçe Sarai
freighters speed boats Hovercrafts scenic jogging paths
do not interest me in the least. The eagle’s eye is a loan
of refined delicacy. I refuse to waste it for the mundane . . .

on the bottom of the Bosphorus all of a sudden
underneath a recent undercurrent, oh so sullen!
amid seagrass . . .

. . . i spot my brass keychain
of four distinctive keys
my elephant still carries on,
towing them heroically
its movable pretty trunk
waves at me ecstatically

i lead us all . . .

. . . to the astonishing Sinopian coasts
to my breathtakingly serene flat-sanctuary

i discover to my demise . . .
. . . it is no longer there

only then do i recall my dream of this year
on the night of the 2nd month’s 14th

and

my loaner eye weeps

~ ~ ~

From my newest book of poetry: Aflame. Memoirs in Verse. Inner Child Press Ltd. (August 2, 2017)
Also available at inner child press are the following:

An Aegean Breeze of Peace, a book of poetry that I have co-authored with
Demetrios Trifiatis (October 12, 2015) and

Trance (December 12, 2013) ~ My trilingual poetry book with my own translations between English, German and Turkish

 

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