Tag Archives: The Year of the Poet 2018

“Cherokee to Ho-Chunk”

Cherokee to Ho-Chunk

it is not only the volume as far as their names
but also their inherent cultures’ vast and timeless bounty
that made today’s North America, the supposedly
newly discovered world’s 3rd largest continent

and, each of their tribes suffered

Native Americans, that is

they faced pain beyond

humanity’s capacity

they were subjected to tortures
to butchery, to slavery and to conversion
to Christianity – or else, they would have met death

we all sit now in our own comfort on their land
having pushed them into the most remote
corners of low lands of their country
either pitying what has become of them over time
or admiring their enduring strength, integrity, dignity

how, amid immensely bloody tragedies, they still do rise
to shout loud and act out their ancient words of wisdom
as to how to live with respect for every dab of our world
in honor of not merely the two-legged animal species
but, of our four-legged counterparts, too

regardless of what any of us has / not done in person
collectively, we bear the onerous weight of annihilating
an entire indigenous people, together with their languages,
cultures, generations-surviving rich history and daily lives;
of guiding them to their irreparable shameful demise

how many times have i cited your wise insights
not having a clue whom to give the credit to
dear members of the Cherokee, the Apache,
the Iroquois, the Pawnee people, the Sioux,
the Miwok, the Shoshone, the Osage Nation,
the Navajo, the Lakota people, the Ute people,
the Sauk people, the Cheyenne, the Crow Nation,
the Nez Perce people, the Ho-Chunk, the Ponca,
the Paiute, the Omaha people, the Hidatsa, the Odawa,
the Chumash people, the Mandan, the Duwamish people,
the Iowa people, the Cahuilla, the Modoc people, the Otoe,
the Yakama, the Pima people, the Chiricahua, the Arikara,
the Missouria, the Sac and Fox Nation, the Omaha people,
the Meskwaki, the Odawa, the Washoe people,
the Patwin, the Goshute, the Serrano people,
the Maidu, the Quechan,
the Oneida Indian Nation,
the Yankton Sioux Tribe, the Kumeyaay,
the Indigenous peoples of the Northwest,
the Chinookan peoples, the Clatsop, the Miami people,
the Tulalip, the Mandan, the Hidatsa and Arikara Nation,
the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes . . .

forgive my silence
forgive my ignorance
i bow before each of you

forgive my daring, desperate plea
that which i brought along with me
in my quest to seek wisdom from thee
it is said to come from a Plains Indian, you see:

“Give me knowledge, so I may have kindness for all.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This poem was submitted to the January 2019 issue of The Year of the Poet VI, published by Inner Child Press International

 

 

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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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“the world’s timeline knows . . .”

they had to be noted
while their desert of sand
still chuckled in giggles
with their newborns’ tickles
but also drained out persistent tears
that were soaked by parents’ eternal fears

wars were aplenty back then

are you with me?
do you see what i see?
on second thought . . .
never mind!
forget about me!
just look
please take a good look
with your heart’s eyes however
holding on all along
to the hand of your conscience too
surely you will heed
the desperate call for a minute-long silence
in the face of the so-called
ancient times’ wholehearted embrace
of building legendary and timeless monuments
of constructing age-old destructions

oh, the broken spirits’ tears!
oh, those souls-burning tears!

wars are too plentiful today

© hülya n. yılmaz, 1.20.2018

[This poem 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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Filed under Reflections