Tag Archives: The Year of the Poet V

“Nimi’ipuu”

the French
named them “Pierced Nose”
the ignorant
happened to find it befitting
such a limiting tag
the signaled practice however
is known not to have been wide-spread at all
othering the other “Self”
what’s new?

rivers have understood them
the lower Snake River
the Clearwater
the Salmon
as have streams and high plateaus
but also nature’s other gifts of abundance
berries roots a wide range of game
to which they would ask for forgiveness
for having had to kill for survival
while the French and non-French alike
continued their Nez Percѐ-butchery
among other acts of carnage
to pierce noses . . .
perhaps

horses were discovered in the 18th century
by this warlike-growing North American tribe
to its peoples alone does the gift of breeding belong
of the largest horse herds in the continent that is
including the distinctively colored Appaloosa
a most popular breed in today’s U.S.A.

looking at them with robotic eyes . . .
one should not neglect an add-on to this tale
what was (or may be still) their linguistic grouping?
we had better not forget our manners!
encyclopedias deliver detailed data on “Sahaptin”
even add this tongue is also called
Shahaptin and Sahaptian

imagine

if only we had this insight before
we would have . . .

© hülya n. yılmaz, March 15, 2018

[Published by Inner Child Press International in the April issue of the fifth volume of The Year of the Poet]

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“what else is left to do?”

what else is left to do
but to bow in highest respect
before the pens of a power
that overrules the brutality of the
segregationist
colonialist
chauvinist
ethnicist
sexist
racist
surpassing time and space
as only the unwavering ink can do

now is the only time
and here, the only place
where we must and shall
unconditionally embrace
for one loss from our unity in diversity
is a cause for an irreversible tragedy
that will appoint us with no delay
to the expiry of our humanity

© hülya n. yılmaz, February 18, 2018

[Published by Inner Child Press International in the March issue of the fifth volume of The Year of the Poet]

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“a coincidence”

“Guyana Pastoral” kept calling me
from a place i dare not describe
i had no knowledge of the language
it was dubbed as Guyanese Creole
i still have no knowledge of the language
but assume to understand some words in it
it was the composer i just had to “get” anyway
and i believe i now have
Guyana’s Ambassador-at-Large
David Dabydeen
an explorer of the history of Guyana,
UNESCO’s Executive Board member
presenter of “The Forgotten Colony”

a mere sand particle at the sea colonies . . .

the owner of the incredible response
to J.M.W. Turner’s “Slave Ship”-painting
Turner’s depiction of African slaves in chains
being thrown overboard . . .
Dabydeen’s contemplation
on the ‘submerged body of a drowned slave
in the foreground’ of the piece,
his fantasy- and history-melding
upon the slave’s portrayal
his compelling act of reclaiming
and redeeming of the past
amid the shadows of his insights into
and studies of “the horrors of slavery and
colonization”, under the ever-so-thickening
clouds that carry on the darkest fame of
European barbarians, among which he ‘stages’
the migrant predicament
stating it as it is in an interview:

I’m inclined to think that Britain has
heavily depended on us for its material
and cultural development. The tribe had
an important say and influence in the
[British]development. You can’t be
a Guyanese without being a Brit and
you can’t be a Brit without being a
Guyanese, or a Caribbean.

recognition came along, it indeed came along
for Dabydeen would not leave any of it alone
along his steadfast extraordinary way
he helped the British develop some more
for he wanted the cast over the bloodied pools
under the blood-soaked beds no more
he helped the world develop some more
so, he co-edited a monumental how-to-book
for the walking dead of colonialist barbarisms-at-large
the Oxford Companion to
Black British History
which went down to history
as “a magisterial excavation of Black Britain”

one award after another accompanied Dabydeen
not merely for his editing work but rather as
a poet –the winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize
a masterful novelist
a model scholar
a literary-icon-educator
the Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies
and Professor at the Centre
for British Comparative Cultural Studies
at the University of Warwick
and much more . . .

a coincidence?

I think not!

my discovery
of the Highly Esteemed David Dabydeen
was meant to be

for it has materialized
at a time of an utterly-trying
professional hardship of mine
not to exclude all those contemplations
on the value of poetry to me
a life-ring in a turbulent sea
with a nearby-view of the long-lost years
to no longer be
David rescued me
a professor passionate in teaching
a heavily-faded scholar of some merit
however depressed or self-oppressed
a struggling writer of fiction
a poet starving for self-attention
with much to tell and speak of yet
including the ‘migrant condition’
though not of Black History alone
nor purely of David’s “Slave Song”

besides
i wouldn’t know where to begin
and doing disservice to any gems
is not cannot will not be mine to claim

so,
it is my own path that i will follow
believe me there is significant sorrow
in that which i am able to pierce
through at least one lightless shadow

so,
i shall proceed
whenever wherever the ground is opportune
of course, always all ways
with fiery thanks from the soul
to that magical tongue
called the Guyanese Creole

© hülya n. yılmaz, February 18, 2018

[Published by Inner Child Press International in the March issue of the fifth volume of The Year of the Poet]

 

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a poem-trilogy

In recent times, I have been experimenting with my poems as far as their thematic bond whenever a demand was in place. The year of 2018 alone has now seen my poetry in connection with one another. The latest example are my three poems below, all of which will appear in the July issue of the international anthology, The Year of the Poet made available in print to readers every month. This month’s focal civilization was “Oceania”, and the following poetic narrative is what dictated my contribution:

entitled, 1

does the name “Cook” James Cook
as in Captain James Cook that is
sound familiar to you
no, you say?
how can that be!
he has a monument in his name you see
for the monumental service he has done in 1774
he proudly did vandalize torture butcher and colonize
the natives of Vanuatu Islands of 500 BCE
whitened them ever so graciously with a new name
The New Hebrides . . .

you get it of course
there was nothing “new” about the host-land
up until that year ambushed it mercilessly
then . . . there were no more
the same as they were before

the white legacy

isn’t it just grand?

entitled, 2

Kudos to the British!
they worked also 19th century
to their advantage
they took home the bounty
yet once again

the poor unknowing Spanish!
a rushed glimpse of the Tuvalu islands
did not suffice to make them stay

Alas!

they thus failed to discover
the land’s richness in phosphate
mined by the islanders
profits fed-exed to the Commonwealth

entitled, 3

there once was an island called “Nauru”
1,400 people lived on it in peace
they spoke their native tongue
they had their native culture
phosphate was in abundance . . .

the year was 1843 then

45 years later

only 900 survived

together with their phosphate

their language and culture?
out the window they went . . .

© hülya n yılmaz, June 15, 2018

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Related Links/Readings:

Vanuatu.History.People.Location
Tuvalu.Culture.History.People.Facts
Nauru.Land.People.Culture.Economy.Society.History

 

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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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“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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