“Am I a Woman Now?”

Am I a Woman Now?

I had heard it from some of my friends, but had never experienced it. “It” stands here for sexual fondling.

            In high school , I had to take a public bus; on my way to school and back home. A friend who lived in the flat below ours was always with me. We always stuck together for fear of what we knew from hearsay. That afternoon, we somehow got separated in the bus. It was packed. A man with a strong BO started getting close to me. It must have been either springtime or early autumn. So, I had no coat on; just my school uniform and my shoulder bag, filled with books. He managed to touch me inappropriately. I looked up and saw my friend intently examining my facial expressions and my overall body language. I held my tears back, but felt utterly dirty; all along thinking that I had caused him to do that to me.

            When we exited the bus at our usual stop on the main road, I couldn’t say a single word to my friend. She too was silent. As soon as I went home, I ran to my room, locked it and bawled. I was hysterical, not knowing what to do with myself. Someone knocked on my door. “Leave me alone, please!” That someone knocked again. “Please, I don’t want to see anyone. Please, go!” Then I heard Mom and Uncle Tunç pleading with me to open the door. They didn’t give up; finally, I did. My aunt was also there. I had forgotten that they were going to come over for dinner that evening.

            My aunt was a nurse. She wanted to talk with me in private. I let her. After I told her my story, all I could do was ask one question, again and again: “Am I a woman now?”

            I was a late bloomer when it came to sexual matters. My description of the incident must have given my aunt all the details she needed to know. What that man subjected me to was not a sexual assault; hence, under no circumstances, would he have violated my virginity. It was a sexual fondling, for sure, but not anything beyond that.

            I still kept crying for a while longer. My pride was hurt, to say the least. Also, I had now realized how naïvely I had lived to that age. My friend probably knew it all along. Perhaps that was why she seemed calm and collected on our way back home.

            Long after my high school years, I noticed the news about a female-focused social movement: The Purple Needle Campaign. Whenever subjected to an unwanted treatment by men in public spaces, women all over Turkey had been poking those males with specifically designed purple needles. I remember shouting out loud: “ Yes! Thank you!”

            The Purple Needle Campaign was launched on the 2nd of November, 1989. Its slogan read: “Our bodies are ours; stop sexual abuse!” Other similar initiatives have been materialized by the women of Turkey since. Not a moment too soon . . .

*From my upcoming book of short stories, Once upon a Time in Turkey . . .

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Filed under Impulses, Reflections

“convoluted”

convoluted

sitting still,
contemplating;
body, numbed,
knowing that neither a taser
nor a bullet touched it . . .
yet
feeling safe in the color of my skin
no one has despised or violated
any aspect of my external humanness . . .
yet

sitting still,
contemplating;
spirit, in grave despair,
crying me the longest river on Earth
the at-my-face pain and suffering
of my co-human beings
have eras ego been the writing on the wall for me –
a succinct display of one of the ugliest barbaric timelines,
of a collective guilt- and shame-canvas,
cloaked in a hooded “patriotic” cape
of the palest hue of white
a sight, i no longer can bear  

sitting still,
contemplating;
mind, convoluted,
incapable of making any sense of it all –
all that which is taking place
again and again
and then . . .
once again

as i sit still,
mind, body and spirit
immersed in convolutions,
my decades-long readings
come back to haunt me repeatedly;
for, those supposedly learn-ed
and often-regurgitated pages
cannot even begin to compare
to anything that has been unfolding
right before my eyes in this century,
as long as i have lived consciously
for a considerably extended period of time, that is,
and not just once, twice, thrice . . .
but again, again and again

what continues to dominate
the stance of the willfully ignorant –
ordinary people as well as the powers that be?
an age-old prejudice,
words of unconditional condemnation,
extremely negative stereotypes,
blatant injustice in the name of justice,
self-justifying acts of discrimination,
self-justifying acts of selective violence,
a wholehearted condoning of brutal murders
that are being committed against each soul
who happens to not share
my skin’s particular hue

on and on, i ponder the events that transpire here and now
in the hope that a poem will eventually emerge
from the innermost turmoil
which each of my living cells senses to the core
having become a second skin,
my anguish weighs heavily on me,
it tears up and cries me the longest river on Earth
while my petite, fragile external frame
is faced with the onus of climbing a mountain
so massive that nothing which had prepared my self
mentally, psychologically, emotionally,
and spiritually in many a period of time before
comes even close to sufficing to serve
as a source of comfort for me anymore

i then remember a calming fact,
namely that there is also a most powerful side of me:
an all-empowering monozygotic pregnancy!
it doesn’t take me long at all to realize
that only the true “i” in me can carry my twins full-term
as can you through the “i” in you!
once born, our twins, Aequitas and Justitia
will begin their peaceful reign of goodness and truth
whatever is needed for an all-inclusive humanity,
they will instill in the hearts and minds of our youth

i am not the one to judge
if a poem has, indeed, materialized from my words
as for their impact – if any – it will remain unknown
but of one outcome i am absolutely sure:
i no longer feel any despair;
for, that self-defeating state of existence
is replaced by a boldly deep resolve
in which i unhesitatingly let myself dissolve
it is there where Ludwig Uhland’s painless joy
cuddles me with a kissing breeze:

“Oh fresh scent, oh new sound!
Now, poor heart, fear not!
Now everything, everything must change.”

convoluted?
no more!

*This poem represents but one of the dynamics within humanity that is screaming for a need of change . . . bias, bigotry, racism.

~ ~ ~
This poem has appeared in W. A. R. ~ We Are Revolution, an international anthology of poetry and critical essays published on September 20, 2020 by Inner Child Press International.

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“Survival”

Survival

I imagine a garden, a gated community, surviving on its own . . . never opening its padlock to those who under their clothes tag along determined drones, ready to elicit an army of loners with clapping hands of “rahs” and “hurrahs”, reproducing at wharp speed to outsource peace . . . in their dire hope for love to be forgotten soon.

*I am aware that “Survival” is about one run-on sentence. Please, do not call the grammar police on me, as this structure was and is intended.

~ ~ ~

*From my book of prose poetry, Letter-Poems from a Beloved (published on May 5, 2020 by Inner Child Press International)

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“minds, contaminated”

minds, contaminated*

female virginity
eternal purity 
its lack: the primary taboo
before during after matrimony

timeless obsession
ageless restrain
tireless phobia

true loves chained
vibrant lives ruined

oh, my sweet home country
depossess your manhood already
conceive your women in whole
remember the wisdom they wore
countless centuries before

see the substance beyond the frame
stop being a fool of inordinate fame
make yourself a new name
the bodies are never the ones to blame

~ * ~

*A poem from my first poetry book, Trance, a collection of poetry in English, German, and Turkish (published by Inner Child Press, December 12, 2013)

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“Undressed”

Undressed

The fragile soul had never been undressed to this ultimate extent. Back then, she had decided to be a once-only lover. She should have known all along not to attempt such a fatal risk. Still, she does not regret being left this bare. Nor does she resent the one for whom she had stripped herself of expectations, guilt, fault, and blame.

The yet-innermost turbulence trashed her apart many a time. A violent slash tore her into a blindness of the temporary kind. The ego cast guilt, fault and blame on the other. But it also dared to expect. Not even massive masses of tears mended the scars. Nor did they suffice to revive the spirit from its raging death. The fragile soul had against all odds resolved to pace steadfastly its torturous path.

From the beloved then, she borrowed a new breath to ensure an absolute stillness of the heart. She tried in vain to regain her courage toward a gate that is opened ajar at best. She sought peace and salvation from the lover’s final request: not to expect, nor to blame; not to assign fault, nor to designate guilt . . .  just to be dead.

*From my latest book of prose poetry, Letter-Poems from a Beloved

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Enough!

1 Comment

October 4, 2020 · 7:00 am

. . . having issues with the new WP Editor . . . please stay tuned. Thanks.

. . . having issues with the new WP Editor . . . please stay tuned. Thanks.

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Filed under Reflections

A New Poem

disillusioned . . .

you must have faced a savage opposition
fanaticism ran deep also in your beloved country
your 1990 Nobel Prize for peace speaks for itself
you have overcome obstacles during your presidency

i often wonder these days
if your birth into the life of regular people
– not with a silver spoon in your mouth,
as we say here in the good ol’ US of A,
was what molded into the essence of you
your non-exclusive dedication to humanity,
to your people’s well-being and sanity

the entire world is now under the threat of a deadly virus
some countries’ leaders have taken – ever so swiftly –
effective measures to control its wide-reaching spread
among their populace – affectionately, all-inclusively –
everyone in every nation today needs such leadership direly
yet several self-serving holders of a seat of high command
go about their own business while they continue to demand
that we bow down, keep silent, and accept what is at risk,
not persist with our questioning
and not insist on our rights
which we are too close to losing
with a hastened move of the leading hand’s swing

oh, how welcomed it would be to have a peace icon like you
if only we could rise above these dark times – all intact –
as if reaching to touch a sky of hues in azure blue

disillusioned?
oh, yes, i am,
about the good i believed that was all-embracing-ly true

(c) hülya n. yılmaz, August 15, 2020

This poem is one of my three submissions that will appear in the September 2020 issue of The Year of the Poet, published by Inner Child International. The year 2020 has been designated to Nobel Peace Prize recipients. September’s focus was Michail Sergeyevich Gorbachev.

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On a Break . . . Week Two

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2 Comments

August 30, 2020 · 11:27 pm

On a Break . . .

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2 Comments

August 23, 2020 · 5:52 pm