Tag Archives: The Year of the Poet

Wishing to Time-Travel

Ma’rib

i time-travel frequently
to far-away places and times

do not misunderstand!
it is so not because i cannot cope
with where i am when i am who i am
it is simply so by choice
we all have that button
at our fingertips
do we not?

this time
i left for Ma’rib
to partake of its much-anticipated fall

no!

no!

better yet:
to witness a bit its oft-quoted glory

it was the years between  
. . .
(?)
surely
many a century
let’s estimate them to be
within the 8th century BC
and the 5th of AD
what matters is the fact
that i have indeed come back
to tell you a tiny story
all the way from its era of notable glory

look!
what you see
on the sand of its desert
at the bottom of its incredible Dam
are my footprints
marked forever on each

those fine particles between my toes
made a promise to me:
they will never give my ignorance away
if i were not to cancel my initial plans to stay
to which i replied in my heart’s tongue:
my spirit could not abandon them ever
for i had begun to fiercely shiver
in ecstasy so profound and prolific
that i could not help but compare
the touch of their excitingly hot stare
to my beloved King Solomon’s affair
with Sheba his Queen totally bare soul-wise
legendarily beautiful and well-dressed otherwise
that i had been admiring both
from afar long ago from there
where i am now and have always been

but then resurfaced
flooding along their insatiable hunger
(for the fresh blood of innocence that is)
the cold-blooded powers-to-be. . .

my time capsule rushed to bring me back

what –to my eternally aflame despair–
my ignorant grown-up-eyes did lack
was the growing notorious record
of my own era’s love for affairs of darkness

perhaps just perhaps
you would like to join me

my time capsule has reserved seats for many . . .  

© hülya n. yılmaz, 1.20.2018

[This poem will appear 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.]

YOTP February 2018 Front.jpg.opt836x1254o0,0s836x1254

[Image enabled with the permission of the publisher, William S. Peters Sr., a prolific poet who by invitation has made personal appearances at numerous poetry festivals in a variety of countries -including Kosovo, Morocco, Tunisia, Macedonia, Jordan, Palestine. Several of his poetry books have been translated into different languages. William S. Peters Sr. is also widely known for his dedication, devotion and passion for humanitarian initiatives, all of which are presently in growing fruition. *Please note: The audio-interview used here is from three years ago and accordingly, the information delivered with it is not up-to-date.]

 

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What Can Peace Lilies Do?

When my father died, I found myself swallowed up by one thought -but I wasn’t thinking it, I was living it: My last Çınar is gone. Çınar may have its translation in other languages as a plane tree/sycamore/maple, its mention in my mother tongue within contexts of life and death signifies an impenetrable, indestructible, undying fort of mutual, eternal trust and unconditional love. And when the undying dies…

Cankardeşlerim, my soul sisters were immediately there to rescue me from falling into despair and be lost. They had brought along this gorgeous, tree-look alike Peace Lily plant. Stories were shared, about how this plant soothed their hearts when losses to death scarred them. The somber story-telling was frequently interrupted by love-smelling hugs and exchanges of salty drops.

My Peace Lily plant is still alive (I say still because of my fame as a flower- and plant-killer). While looking at it, months later, I still cry. Thinking of Çınarlarım that are gone for the rest of my remaining days. And, I live a want again and again: To be next to them so that I can tell them…

The Peace Lilies have their steady place on top of a cabinet in my breakfast nook, immediately visible to me as I enter my home through the garage onto the kitchen spot. What used to be a builder-dictated area, I have recently transformed into a personal space with only my essentials: my lounge chair (heavily worn-out, therefore only its quite-intact back visible to guest-eyes), a large reading floor lamp and a side table (ignorable in its size but large enough in its function to keep one or two of my most favorite books and a coffee cup). The Peace Lily plant is now grown so much that I feel its presence even without staring at it, as I end up doing sometimes. And: I find day after day a sense of serenity growing inside me, promising growth of my internal peace. Sadness is there in its chronic presence, sitting heavily on the heart. But, acceptance of my newly established orphanhood and gratefulness for all that I was privileged to have lived under the love and care of Çınarlarım for this many years surpass those sad moments.

The poem trilogy below with all the fluctuations in its emotional tone  is my dedication to the ultimate poetry for eternity -life, an unceasingly fluctuating phenomenon that is worth being revived at the core of the psyche.

Peace Lilies

Leaf 3 fell on August 5, 2016

sometimes i drink two in a row
not both at once like you used to
out of your Babiş-cup
despite much teasing

i recycle the same demitasse
for the second round
rinse the inside and the saucer
very fast and without looking in
when the fortune-telling-remains
make me a huggable promise
just like the aunties told and showed me
in those impressionable years

of course i laugh at myself for that ritual
but i no longer have a biting tongue about it
i lived long enough remember enough and well
to see those women through their diamond-hearts
now decayed for decades

just living through the breath-long being
while indulging in the fact
that i have grown an inch
maybe even a bit deeper
so as not to take the self as seriously anymore
the several minutes i set aside are each time
my most memorable simple pleasures of life
around a table setting for Turkish coffee
surrounded by priceless company
that is only visible to me

memories of a most affectionate love

Leaf 2 fell on March 28, 2015

so often i take my mind to a ride
to your birthplace of my particular pride
though merely a dot
on world’s vast geography lot
its all-forgiving all-accepting serenity
saved even me ever so compassionately
during my months of autopsy
where no one but you unpained me
with your right dose of regular Anesthesie

my home phone rings only once in a while
hey i am home not more than only once in a while
it is telemarketers mostly
with their terribly poor timing
and invitations to many an unnecessity
yet i choose to ignore the “caller blocked” sign
and anxiously pick up the receiver time after time
yearning to hear your care-filled voice “Ah, Hülişim!”

i don’t know if the historical your-wonder-inspiring
cafe-in the main mosque-courtyard
the entire town’s gathering place of peace
managed to survive the new regime

Divan Pastanesi is intact
in utter relief i hear…

my soul after all joins yours over there
around two large plates of Revani
playing hide-and-seek with us
under scoops and scoops of ice cream
home-made vanilla we both silently scream
you then ask for a generous serving
of your most favorite topper of desserts
as you always did with a sweet sneaky smile
Sahne – but the real kind please you add as usual
your dark brown eyes sink into their childlike shine
i watch you move in your elegant soul dance
around your once again-found-childhood treasure

i continue to aliken
that bake of generations-tested-recipe
was nothing though next to the sip
you chose to take routinely
with every single part of the package

the address: life itself

as greeted by you

together with its

immense beauty
acceptability
prosperity
gentility
clarity
opacity
brutality
difficulty
cruel absurdity

spoiled milk
All-(or General-)Purpose Flour
broken shell-close to-rotten-eggs
patiently melted but lump-eager butter
hard as Stone Age-rocks-sugar cane-blocks
in lieu of the required finely-blended-granules

one hand-finger-count days of health toward the end
repeated merciless ID-carded cancer visits of types galore
audacity to also take away your newly-a mom-daughter

you must have loved your beloveds so…

memories of a most affectionate love

Leaf 1 fell on May 7, 1981

he loved me as everything you meant to him
because i am your legacy he would say
without ever tiring he tucked me in
with his courageous love for life
his call came in not skipping a beat
on the verge of each of my stormy vibes

your little-girl-picture
appears before me these days
countless years didn’t cloud my awe
how striking your emerald-green eyes are
how intensely you adore him through them
with the selfless gentle caress
of an eight generations-old-woman

i want to unearth your older pictures
my orphaned bodily-grown self
refuses to get colder
and colder anymore
those windows of your soul
may help me turn mine into a whole

memories of a most affectionate love

© hülya n. yılmaz, January 21, 2017

I will never tire of raising my voice to shout out my heartfelt thanks to William S. Peters Sr. (i am Inner Childjust bill) and the late Janet P. Caldwell of Inner Child Press, Ltd. for having privileged me with the courage and opportunity to write publicly and continually as well as to launch my free lance writing and editing endeavor (related links, though not updated recently –AuthorWebPage; EditorWebPage; my co-authored book of peace-poetry). These two unique individuals who are recognized poets, writers and thinkers are also the ones behind the onset and continuation of my poem-contributions to their monthly publication, The Year of the Poet -an international anthology. My thanks go to The Poetry Posse (the same link as The Year of the Poet), my family of mutually caring and giving soul poets who together with our dearest Bill make the said anthology possible. My poem trilogy above was my contribution for the February issue.

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“picnic on a rainbow”

Last week, I had shared with you a poem I was considering to submit as one of my three contributions to The Year of the Poet – a monthly anthology of international sustenance published by Inner Child Press, Ltd. (and thanks to the encouragement I received from you, I have sent my “afloat” to its destination). You are invited to my “picnic on a rainbow” today, the second of the three poems I have submitted this month to address the theme of summer. Imagine what you will get to see next Sunday . . .

the new day is breaking
sleepily it seeps through my bedroom window
then stretches on my bed rests on by my side
i brew tea
dried rosehip
(my no-longer-a secret-addiction)
and inhale both aromas
taking my time
my companion is in no hurry either

then i spot a snowflake
it travels in through the screen
begins to tap dance
on the tip of my nose
its pals end up on the tip of my tongue

they feel the same as before

long before i had orphaned the i in me

how i would insist on keeping them
from melting inside my mouth
so i could taste their delicate crystals

my favorite season was not winter back then
long ago though it has won me over

but summer arrived anew
again
it always does

the more the merrier
folklore dictates me to say . . .

alright then i reply
after all progressive holiday parties are hip
and under our noses often enough
why not throw one for the seasons and me

bury your hatchets everyone
we’ll all have a picnic on a rainbow
the new day is also coming along

i’ll bring my collection of snowflakes
one of you will gather the autumn leaves
the other one will be responsible to bring in grass
nothing but freshly-cut

what a lovely blanket they would all make

after we eat drink and dance
we’ll tell funny stories of yore
then we’ll ride on a sleigh of beach
and out of fright the tidal waves will screech

© hülya  n. yılmaz, 6.17.2016

rainbow-wallpaper-1[1]

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Ageism

excessive now?

 

did one of them hit you in the heart again

do they already find you unnecessary

your shaky voice won’t let me be

 

with that beloved’s passing

last march had brought me my first regret

 

of having potted my roots here

 

my second followed today

 

when you almost apologized

for having lived this long

honoring your four siblings who died before you

adding how your youngest the only sister

still breathes together with her many grandchildren

whose longevity you then wished upon me

a faint hope for the women in our family

 

in all your ninety years

you grew up very little dad

loving but a self-centered man

high-maintenance

as the modern label goes

why did you have to catch up with it all

in one day

today

on the phone

 

i am not like them at all that you know

is that why you reassured me over and over

how well you are doing on your own all alone . . .

 

thirty years younger but i am unwell too many times

 

i also grew very little dad

loving but a self-centered one

perhaps not as high-maintenance

nonetheless a daughter of your essence

 

since the time our pillar collapsed

then much more recently

when you two fell apart

you have shifted to a deepness

 

he won’t come back he cannot

she however may return soon

it hasn’t been that long yet

 

why though are you in such hurry

with no fair warning in advance

but plenty of subtle goodbyes to me

 

are you telling yourself what i used to hear you say

“aloneness is reserved only for God”

please don’t you also rush while i’m so far away 

 

i agonize over your loneliness

how it befell upon you this late in life

did you really not hear me well when i asked . . .

 

they are merely a few blocks from you

yet choose not to be there

and you already stopped forgiving yourself

while you grant them forgiveness in abundance  

 

i just wish so very desperately

you wouldn’t have to hurt this much

that you could cease to grow up at once

 

and to forgive me for everything i couldn’t be for you

 

would you possibly throw in a sixty-year-long hug or two

© hülya n. yılmaz, 2.12.2016

≈ ≈ ≈

Like last week’s poem, also this one appeared as one of my three poetry contributions for the March 2016 issue of The Year of the Poet III, a monthly international anthology published by Inner Child Press, Ltd. and consists of poems by eighteen writers, with between two and three featured new poets each month.

 

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Before love, even death bows down

do you

fear death

i still do

that of my loved ones that is

 

when the heartbreak is too much to surpass

my memory box takes me by surprise

 

and i realize . . .

how even death bows down before love

 

© hülya n. yılmaz, 2.12.2016

≈ ≈ ≈

This poem appeared as one of my three poetry contributions for the March 2016 issue of The Year of the Poet III, a monthly international anthology published by Inner Child Press, Ltd. and consists of poems by eighteen writers, with between two and three featured new poets each month.

 

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A Trio of Landai

*smile, It Is 2010 and Spring

May the forked tongue bind their bloody hands,

And the womb birthing you all char them in their own fire.

                               § § §

O You, Honorable Grandfather-Husband!

You think a prayer cleanses your sins.

My cradle, barren yet long after your manhood burst!

                                § § §

Mama, Did You Turn Into Stone?

Why did you rip me off of your breasts?

Under his atrocious soil is where I now must rest.

© hülya n. yılmaz, 3.12.2016

≈ ≈ ≈

*The first folk couplet – a Landay (defining also a short poisonous snake in Pashto), is a tribute to a teenage Afghani poet who died soon after setting herself on fire in protest of her severe beatings by her brothers. Her crimes? To fall in love, to seek education through other women’s poetry, to write her own poems and to read them on a hotline for girls. Mirman Baheer, a women’s literary group that, in addition to offering other services for Afghanistan’s female population, ran the radio program. This young frequent caller whose poetic word was of promising extent was much adored. The news of her burning would reach her circle in the spring of 2010 from a hospital through a phone call by the teenager herself. Her on-air persona was Rahila Muskasmile in Pashto.

This Landai Trio appeared as my poetry contribution in the April 2016 issue of The Year of the Poet III, a monthly international anthology published by Inner Child Press, Ltd. and consists of poems by eighteen writers, with between two and three new featured poets each month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cultural supremacy? Hence the problem within…

lion

(Source: Google free images)

In my poem below, I try to come to terms with the concept of superiority some cultural entities feel entitled to exert over others. The mainstream culture of my country of birth country was no exception – one of considerable dominance, in the world of the recent past, in particular. The perspective I adopted for my poetic attempt here, however, is of universal concern – as I perceived it then and perceive it now.

exclusive memberships

it’s a learned thing

nothing to be proud of, if gone awry

and as time is an esteemed witness

these matters too often go amiss

parents, grandparents, great grandparents lead the way

they don’t want us to ever go astray

as fast as the revolving door can sway

they scatter us all on a multi-tiered tray

we thus journey as scattered selves into which we are made

though we return to our source as the one that we are meant

 “our culture is extraordinary,” has always been the firm claim,

“learn our rich heritage, live up to its age-old fame,

wear your ethnic pride always all over your untainted build,

have the inferior assume the massacres’ guilt blame and shame”

it’s a learned thing

nothing to be proud of, if gone awry

and as time is an esteemed witness

these matters too often go amiss

Forestwander.com

(Source: Forestwander.com)

This poem is one of my three contributions for the February 2015 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly book series published by Inner Child Press, Ltd.

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