Tag Archives: The Year of the Poet V

“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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“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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Filed under Poetry, Reflections

“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