Luxuries, 5 (A HAIKU on Audio)

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Luxuries, 4 (A HAIKU on Audio)

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Luxuries, 3 (A HAIKU on Audio)

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Luxuries, 2 (A HAIKU on Audio)

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Luxuries, 1 (A HAIKU in Audio)

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“Ahh, That Mediterranean Breeze!”

A warm zephyr became my wrap this morning. It reminded me of my Mediterranean’s gentle air. Its vigor of the past, however, no longer stunned me. It still felt lovely, but it faded in me as a memory.

I think I know why it arrived at my doorstep and touched me affectionately. After your brief visit in my dream last night, my version of you had stayed on my mind. No! I did not cry this time. So, please be at ease!

While I have the chance, I want you to tell you where I am today: even then when I hit many a bottomless pit in our days gone by, I have always been grateful to you. I thank you for all the spiritual gifts. I thank you also for all the heartaches. In sum: Thank you for all that which we meant to each other.

As you can see, I let you in only to thank you once more. Be well, dear heart! Be very well! Today and forevermore.

~ ~ ~
From my upcoming new book of prose poetry, Letter-Poems from a Beloved (the original poem was published in my Aflame, Memoirs in Verse, and appears here in its revised version)

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“Human Bridges”

While in prison for 27 years,
Nelson Mandela has recited famously
one poem repeatedly:
“Invictus”, as versed by William Ernest Henley

Henley remained on Earth
between 1849 and 1903.
15 years following his death,
our globe was honored by Mandela’s birth.

One day, countless people woke up
to Mandela’s supposedly silenced voice
and learned about the restrictions and violence
he faced throughout his unjust imprisonment.

The now world-renowned Henley-poem
brought to clear view for humanity
self-empowerment’s vitality:
Mandela was anything but a broken man!

An enemy of war just like Aristide Briand,
Carlos Saavedra-Lamas also made history.
Latin America’s first Nobel Peace Prize
belongs to him. The year was 1936.

Born 19 years later,
I, like the poets in this collection,
did always and continue to heed poetry’s call
with an “unconquerable soul”.

I, like the poets in this collection,
arrived here with determination
to pen poems in deep thought and reflection,
showing our respect for him with dedication.

“Invictus” is being re-visited here.
(Minus any time in jail. Thankfully.)
For, through our poetry of and on peace,
we become “the master of [our] fate”.

Not unlike Mandela,
not unlike Saavedra-Lamas,
“I am the captain of my soul.”
You are it, too. Do you not yet know?

 

© hülya n. yılmaz, March 15, 2020

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Human Bridges” appeared in the April 2020 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly book published by Inner Child Press International.

Related Readings:

Nelson Mandela
“Invictus”
William Ernest Henley
Carlos Saavedra Lamas
Aristide Briand

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The Old Sprite

The Old Sprite

Accompanied by my imaginative theatrics, the story spread fast and consistently. My immediate and extended family, ever so eager and ready, would confirm that hearsay voluntarily: I was a dancer with a sprite’s flair, that I would improvise ecstatically. Whether over a real or an imagined tune, I would deliver my role as the honor guest of a yet-unheard beat. Leaving every loved one in awe, giving each an extraordinary treat.

Dance steps have always known how to find in me a most loyal companion. I, after all, had the dedication as long as I received undivided attention.

Ample laughter from an adoring audience was always alive. Without me on that imaginary stage, not even a single cadence had a chance to thrive.

In later years, that young bliss came back to me. On a day when I had concluded it was long dead. Hence, I submitted to the magic of the music in my head. However, I did so in disguise. For, my Self was still afraid to re-appear. The melodic joys, thus, ceased to be.

© hülya n. yılmaz, 3.15.2020

~ ~ ~
From my upcoming new book of prose poetry, Letter-Poems from a Beloved

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Short Stories on My Mind

Dad’s Wood Sandals

With his usual relaxed pace, my brother passed by Dad’s favorite chair on his way to the TV-set to change the channel. The tiny wood tower under Dad’s feet collapsed.

          “Hınzır oğlan!”

          “What? What did I do?”

Son: 1, Dad: 0. The first-born succeeded yet once again in his sabotage of Dad’s hard work. The formula: one sleek move of a foot. Like that of a skilled soccer player. The barely-there grin of a few minutes-ago turned into a broad smile on my brother’s handsome face. Mom and I could not help but side with the winner. Dad teasingly chastised my brother after our conspiring threesome laughter stepped out of our living room for a little while. “Hınzır oğlan!” My brother did not hold his gut-laughs any longer. Proud of his repeated success, he practically hit the floor laughing. Mom and I, though with a bit more tact, were ready and willing to join him. Dad gave us a supposedly disapproving look at first, but joined in the fun soon after.

          “Baba, you know that I am going to get you each time. So, why do you still keep using your sandals as a footstool?”

          “Oğlum, my feet feel really good like this. I am very comfortable. Besides, it’s great for circulation. If you sit for a long period of time, your . . .”

Before Dad finished his sentence, my brother was already out the door. He knew too well what was coming up. Mom and I knew it too: a set of mini-lectures by Dad about the health benefits of lifting up one’s legs during prolonged sitting-sessions. While the first-born began to have the time of his life again with his basketball buddies just around the corner of our apartment building, Mom and I, the members of Dad’s captive audience, stayed put – awaiting our doom. After one more of his pretend-angry “Hınzır oğlan!” outbursts, Dad talked on and, poised, put his sandals back into their original cooperative state: one on top of the other, each tucking in one foot in an envy-raising tenderness.

          “I got these in Germany during my first stay there. Prof. Mitcherlich told me then how wood was the healthiest way to go as far as footwear. He was an intelligent man in every which way! I learned so much from him. He always said to me that our care for our health must start with our feet. In spring, summer and autumn, he would wear open shoes only. Inside and outside. In winter, only wood sandals inside.”

Mom and I knew what the mere mention of Dad’s doctoral advisor’s name was going to cost us: an onslaught of many more assorted anecdotes. We just had to escape without hurting Dad’s feelings. Just at that moment, our kitchen made an announcement: dinner preparations were in order. Thankfully, Dad was not paying any attention to the clock . . .

By the way, did I mention that Dad absolutely loved everything “Made in Germany”? His totally worn-out wood sandals, in particular?

© hülya n. yılmaz, 2.20.2020

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From my manuscript of short stories, Once upon a Time in Turkey . . . 

 

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“A Special Treat”

A Special Treat

A government office in our precious Ankara . . . it was not yet evident that you had been struck by dementia. We were in the lobby, waiting for one of the employees to call my number. Many people in the waiting hall seemed to be in some kind of a slumber. Business as usual in Turkey: addresses to modify, IDs to renew. And, I had been away for too long. With this process, there was no room left for me to prolong . . .

Your anxiety was probably higher than mine. I still felt like I stayed longer than necessary in that line. Already back then, you were quite fragile. Though, you gave me your usual alert, “Have confidence, my girl”-smile.

Dad, that day, you told me once again how proud you were of me. The fast fading light in your aged eyes mirrored your love for me repeatedly.

When I asked you for my favorite dessert, you didn’t skip a beat. The Café where we both enjoyed it was quite a treat. That afternoon, 2015’s high summer tasted like cool lemonade. A favorite phrase Mom used to formulate.

Sharing a rich serving of Dondurmalı Kazandibi with you was one of the last gifts life has given me of you. Less than a year later, we no longer had you.

© hülya n. yılmaz, 1.30.2020

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*Dondurma is “ice cream” in Turkish, and Kazandibi is a traditional Turkish dessert that is often eaten with ice cream.

From my upcoming new book of prose poetry, Letter-Poems from a Beloved

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