Category Archives: Poetry

*”instead of . . .”

i surprised him

the second he spotted me behind his mommy
his little darling body became a dance all by itself
his forever-smiling face made room for giggles
many many giggles

then joyous ‘come on, grandma!’s

hand in hand
eyes locked on mine
my little enormous sunshine!

‘you come to anne car’
ending in 1/3 of a question mark
with my yes already housed in his brightly shining heart

leaving his pre-school . . .
amid the two grown women’s chatter
as untainted as any voice can ever be:
“I love you, grandma!”

i love him so
his little sister too
that each of my exchanges with them
takes my breath away

and i think . . .
together we all get to breathe again
laughing
crying
eating
drinking
sleeping
celebrating
loving and being loved again

yet on the many other ends of our world
because of a few power-fed sick minds
and their equally loveless bribe-filled grinds
children die
die die die

and die again

*This poem was posted here once before. When I recently got to see my grandson and my granddaughter after a long period of time had passed, I could not help myself but re-visit that most memorable day.

From my newest book of poetry:
Aflame. Memoirs in Verse. Inner Child Press (August 2, 2017)
Available at inner child press
Also available at inner child press are the following:
Trance (December 12, 2013), my tri-lingual poetry book with my own translations between English, German and Turkish, and
An Aegean Breeze of Peace, a book of poetry that I have co-authored with
Demetrios Trifiatis (October 12, 2015)

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“Naren”

the other day
i met Anjana Basu
online
following a forgotten vision
one i had
most likely
eons ago

if
my unexplainable
however reliable
instinctive being
is right on the dot that is

at any rate

i pursued her
inquired about her life
even traveled to Allahabad
to see if her town of birth
resembled mine

i took a connecting flight to London
where she had been schooled

within a couple of hours
i appeared in Kolkata
at her doorstep

a gracious hostess

she invited me in
her home was grandiose
not in an empirical sense

oh no!

she knew
what alone had mattered in life
love and light shone out loud
through every nook and cranny
of her otherwise humble abode

she served us tea with milk and honey
it was prepared in a colonialism-free manner
true to her upbringing true to her mother-culture

she had placed
rashly-improvised store-bought delicacies
(i had after all showed up unannounced)
a delicate modest-in-size-tray showed them off

the plane food made my fingers think again
they resisted reaching out
with a strong will
much stronger than my eyes’ appetite
so, i declined with my utmost proper
nay-say-gratitude

we talked and talked
actually, she talked and i listened
to her mesmerizing novellas
her Black Tongue
the novel for which she had been recognized
as the winner of the Hawthornden Fellowship
(in Scotland)

her successful endeavors in script-writing
and more . . .

details about her accomplished self
she had no intention to reveal to me
had i not done my homework right

the subject then came to “Naren”

an epic story-teller at its best
disguised as a poem in free-verse
and thus, began Anjana Basu:

The words I have for Naren are purely prose.
Prose. Prose of a chest
A mat of hair against the sun. Sometimes
It’s counting the tiles on a floor
Held down. Or a bed field of crumbs
And a dirty foot. Even greying underwear.
Sometimes an evening spent in hatred
Following in one’s head the footsteps of a whore
Down some dark lane or a street of crumbling houses.

These are words for Naren.
Perhaps a synonym for rage or hate.
Or even an undefinable word called love
That you could find in rage or hate.
There are other meanings – even other shades
Left out. Footsteps of a child or whore
Or other women deliberately taken
And then the running back to a familiar bed.
I called it lost child.
There were other words too –
Lover, Boyfriend, ex-Husband, boy-husband.
It meant keeping company in an empty room
With haunted corners. With shame
And a telephone wire.
Company against reason or sense
Or the blotting out of a curtain –hiding
From pigeons or from seeking eyes.

These were words for Naren.
Are still perhaps.
Pretended love made in a mirror,
A shuddering belly and tonsils hurt
The way a face may flush or voice darken
Denying everything but lust or hate, or accidental love. Naren’s words.

when this wonder-filled wondrous woman
of unforgettable demeanor ceased her voice to be
her tangibly exquisite
enriching enchanting exfoliating
purity-extracting plate of human-ness
took the external load off of her
and lain there for me to devour

plenty of leftovers gathered up in an orderly row

i am on my way to bring them over to you

 

© hülya n. yılmaz, 2.15.2018

[This poem was submitted for the March, 2018 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly international anthology published by Inner Child Press. The Year of the Poet has its regularly contributing poets from various parts of the world and features between three and four new poetry writers every month. Now in its fifth year, this book showcases -outside its monthly changing featured poets, the poetic works of fourteen “permanent” writers. The book’s 2018 offerings have been conceived to highlight a different civilization each month. Accordingly, it serves also as a collective educational undertaking to offer insight into various aspects of civilizations of the past and present.]

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. . .

20180307_150455

[Photo Credit: Self]

hand in hand with its clouds above
the mountain mist sheds its blanket
as if to invite me to eavesdrop
where three little black birds went astray
hours ago into their vast depth quietly

i inhale but hesitate to exhale
in my respect for this collective silence
even those Nature’s darling hyper minions
had tucked in their calm under their wings
who am i what on earth am i
to interrupt their cherished harmony

the remainder of last night’s snow
begins to take a nap high above and below

i sit then stand up next i want to jump
up onto the horizon of the self-revealing sky
to soar beyond eternity
in tight embrace of my third eye

hülya n. yılmaz, 3.7.2018

 

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. . .

20180307_085020

[Photo Credit: Self]

they faded away
into the mist above the mountain
little black birds of three
as small as my i lately appears to me

was it over there
where my near-sighted past aimed to see
or right here much farther away
at a distance anew
where today my mind dares to seek
an imagined door ajar
in the vastness of the land and its sky

little black birds of three
as small as i surely am to me
as small as we all are in reality
despite our effort-ed pretense

there is only one enormous entity
that is aware of our stature so miniscule
nothing at all next to the eternal grandeur
to continue to spread before and thereafter
behind us generations’ of lives later

the unfathomable expanse of the universe . . .

three little black birds
two little birds
one little bird

hülya n. yılmaz, 3.7.2018

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. . .

20180308_094621

[Photo Credit: Self]

sitting on the balcony
comforted by a sun-warmed chair
being kissed by the generous morning sun
soaking its reflections on the lake’s expansive air

the last day of this journey
promises countless others on my path

oh what a walk this one has already turned out be

do not wait up for me
you trials tribulations sorrows sadness
i will make this one worth my while
for each of the past ordeal-rich years

with steadfast trots
i will fly up through the sky
sing and dance there and below
in my own tiny but thus far strongest
ever so gigantic steps of my own beat
excluding all along from my dictionary
all words that distantly resemble defeat

hülya n. yılmaz, 3.8.2018

 

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“is what we call ours, ours?”

my life in Turkey was multi-colored
brown and dark brown were the most favorite hues
served inside delicately painted frailly little cups
they were devoured by the dearest indulging
who passed the age-limit
with flying collars

thanks to a multitude of gatherings
i watched joyfully time and time again
many rites of simple pleasure
and observed how my ancestors consumed
the thick strong- and bitter-looking taste
sweetened only by a delicious mix
of laughter-typhoons and mouth-watering
gentlest lullaby-like mesmerizing-ly gorgeous
collective-art of masterful story-telling
often a jamboree of exotically aromatic spices
materialized right before all the senses of the gathered
while they sip by sip went on to starvingly inhale
the short-lived though lastingly multi-layered hot vapor
that oozed through the syrup-attired
ready-to-be-painted-already walls
of our little but heart-heated home
all the way to my behind-the-doors dancing steps
then into my heart’s vast collection of inestimable memories

Turkish coffee
Ah!

soon after i graduated
to my loved ones’ passable grade in age
i accumulated all around me
an army of those intricately hand-made
ceramic art pieces . . . one by one
not even the slightest trace was left behind
of the dark matter that once belonged to their insides

worse!
i started to call them “mine”
resorting however with no waste of a second
to olden plausible lessons in my own defense
i riposted to my inner voice:
Turkish coffee was after all
solely in the custody of the Turks
besides . . .
everyone in my familiar
but also foreign vicinities knew
how it long ago was baptized as “ours”
having held on to the reign
for countless memorable years
so powerfully controlled
that the world still speaks of them today!

then . . .

i became
an older grown-up
and re-conceptualized:
what if that knock-out flavor
which offered itself to us to savor
and those magically aromatic spices in it
were never ours to claim as “ours”
but rather invented and toiled over
by civilizations of the long-forgotten past
not unlike the one of the Sabaeans whose Ma’rib
the hub-city of their regime’s middle epoch
that is largely claimed to have earned its fame
not only for its spectacularly built temples
and other monuments but also maybe more so
for its agricultural prosperity

“Turkish” coffee?
“Turkish” spices
that enhance its perception?

what if its creation
had nothing to do with Turkish-ness

what if its construct
was rooted in the Sabaean ancestry

what if . . .

what if
we stopped to care
about things so mundane
and would re-learn instead
our gifted one-and-only destiny
allowing thus to be immortally re-born
the intended core element of our original self
which many moons ago was the sole stronghold
of that which we, the people
of the so-called “modern” times
ever so dismissively
insensitively
ignorantly
dare to label as “humanity”?

© hülya n. yılmaz, 1.20.2018

[This poem is my third that appeared in the February, 2018 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly international anthology published by Inner Child Press. The Year of the Poet has its regularly contributing poets from various parts of the world and features between three and four new poetry writers every month. Now in its fifth year, this book showcases -outside its monthly changing featured poets, the poetic works of fourteen “permanent” writers. The book’s 2018 offerings have been conceived to highlight a different civilization each month. Accordingly, it serves also as a collective educational undertaking to offer insight into various aspects of civilizations of the past and present.]

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Wishing to Time-Travel

Ma’rib

i time-travel frequently
to far-away places and times

do not misunderstand!
it is so not because i cannot cope
with where i am when i am who i am
it is simply so by choice
we all have that button
at our fingertips
do we not?

this time
i left for Ma’rib
to partake of its much-anticipated fall

no!

no!

better yet:
to witness a bit its oft-quoted glory

it was the years between  
. . .
(?)
surely
many a century
let’s estimate them to be
within the 8th century BC
and the 5th of AD
what matters is the fact
that i have indeed come back
to tell you a tiny story
all the way from its era of notable glory

look!
what you see
on the sand of its desert
at the bottom of its incredible Dam
are my footprints
marked forever on each

those fine particles between my toes
made a promise to me:
they will never give my ignorance away
if i were not to cancel my initial plans to stay
to which i replied in my heart’s tongue:
my spirit could not abandon them ever
for i had begun to fiercely shiver
in ecstasy so profound and prolific
that i could not help but compare
the touch of their excitingly hot stare
to my beloved King Solomon’s affair
with Sheba his Queen totally bare soul-wise
legendarily beautiful and well-dressed otherwise
that i had been admiring both
from afar long ago from there
where i am now and have always been

but then resurfaced
flooding along their insatiable hunger
(for the fresh blood of innocence that is)
the cold-blooded powers-to-be. . .

my time capsule rushed to bring me back

what –to my eternally aflame despair–
my ignorant grown-up-eyes did lack
was the growing notorious record
of my own era’s love for affairs of darkness

perhaps just perhaps
you would like to join me

my time capsule has reserved seats for many . . .  

© hülya n. yılmaz, 1.20.2018

[This poem will appear in the February, 2018 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly international anthology published by Inner Child Press. The Year of the Poet has its regularly contributing poets from various parts of the world and features between three and four new poetry writers every month. Now in its fifth year, this book showcases -outside its monthly changing featured poets, the poetic works of fourteen “permanent” writers. The book’s 2018 offerings have been conceived to highlight a different civilization each month. Accordingly, it serves also as a collective educational undertaking to offer insight into various aspects of civilizations of the past and present.]

YOTP February 2018 Front.jpg.opt836x1254o0,0s836x1254

[Image enabled with the permission of the publisher, William S. Peters Sr., a prolific poet who by invitation has made personal appearances at numerous poetry festivals in a variety of countries -including Kosovo, Morocco, Tunisia, Macedonia, Jordan, Palestine. Several of his poetry books have been translated into different languages. William S. Peters Sr. is also widely known for his dedication, devotion and passion for humanitarian initiatives, all of which are presently in growing fruition. *Please note: The audio-interview used here is from three years ago and accordingly, the information delivered with it is not up-to-date.]

 

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