When a larger-than-life beloved is no longer…

dayim-2.Sinop 2006

The photograph above is one of the many I had taken of my larger-than-life beloved maternal uncle with two of his grandchildren in 2006 in my former flat in Sinop, Turkey – my back-then-short-lived-residence he had enabled me to purchase and renovate from top to bottom. He was overjoyed to have my Turkish home in the same building as his own.

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A 2012 photograph I believe to have originated from his flat in Celle, Germany.

The Turkish poem below belongs to my beloved Dr. (Med.) Mahmut Oğuz Ergün, in which he reminisces some of his vivid memories from his early life in Sinop – his birth town in Turkey he loved with passion. While I am sharing his heartfelt words with you, I remain in the hope that you also had, have or will have the rare fortune of knowing the beauty of someone as special to you as you couldn’t possibly describe but would have to conceive at the core of your being. For me, that beloved legend was Mahmut dayım – my maternal uncle, with whose death early yesterday morning my life has stopped being a privilege of his making.

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His poem, “Sinop’um” with a brief insight:

I may eventually translate and re-post my uncle’s Turkish poem, “My Sinop” but refrain from doing so for the time being, because I know I won’t be able to do justice right now to his upbeat, mischievous lad-like poetic tone or his tireless enthusiasm for life mirrored in every line below. I lack all of the above. At least for today.

Sinop’um

Gene gemilerin ışıkları görülüyor limanda

Demek dehşetli bir fırtına var dışarda

Yeşilimsi, mavimsi, beyaz köpüklü dalgalar

Ürkütüyor gemileri açıklarda

Gene Sinop kollarını açmış limanda

Bağrına basmış, koruyor onları kucağında

Eskiden de böyleydi, çocukluğumu yaşadığım Sinopda

Bahçe içinde ahşap bir evimiz vardı adada

Sabah, motor sesleri ile uyanırdım yatağımda

Taka taka, taka taka, taka taka

Yolcu vapuru uğrardı iki kere haftada

Yolcular, karşılayanlar, satıcılar kaynaşırdı limanda

O zamanlar, demir atardı gemiler açıkta

Yolcular çıkardı iskeleye motorlarla

Taka taka, taka taka, taka taka

Bir çok balıkçı kulubeleri vardı kıyıda

Uskumru, hamsi palamut dolu tekneler

Neşeyle dönerlerdi kış akşamlarında

Taka taka, taka taka, taka taka

Gündüzleri balık tutardık adabaşında

Geceleri fenerle lüfer beklerdik kayıkta

Iyi kalpli bir balıkçı motoru

Bizi çekerek götürürdü limana

Taka taka, taka taka, taka taka

Yüzmeyi öğrenmiştim su yuta yuta

Beş yaşında denize girerdim çukurbağında

Eve geç gelince, korkudan girerdim yatağıma

Ama denizin tuzu kalırdı yanağımda

Güzel annem anlardı yüzümü yalayınca

Hınzır derdi, gene denize girmişsin çukurbağında

Cık yataktan, gir bakayım banyoya

Seni velet seni, öyle yalancıktan ağlama

Piri pak olmuş girerdim yatağıma

Ucuz kurtuldum diyerek dalarken uykuya

Gene ninni gibi gelen motor sesleri

Taka taka, taka taka, taka taka

© MOE- Celle -Almanya; 30 Nisan 2004

MOE is how dayım – Mahmut Oğuz Ergün, would sign his full name, sometimes with his medical title right before it.

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“Nanki-poo” ~ Poetry and the Opera

a traveling musician was he,

entering the stage in a cheer: “A wand’ring minstrel I!”

this character stunned many a prop of the two-act comic opera,

“The Mikado” or “The Town of Titipu”

each, a tongue twister of some sort

but a brain-teaser, too, for us – the non-Japanese

mikado stands, after all, for the Emperor of Japan

while it represents – online references claim the same:

“the great gate at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto”

no mind-boggling intent is actually there to spend

an age-old tradition of respect is merely in to maintain

when addressing nobility, that is…

where, then, do i come in?

let me make the attempt to explain:

Nanki-poo speaks of his father as the “Brutus of his race”

the world-renowned assassin of Caesar

for the Mikado “condemned his own sons to death”

charging them with “treasonous conspiracy”

one act’s revelation of this son’s escape from execution

is, please beware, of no notable importance here

the Mikado’s rise to the throne however, is

along with his lifelong pretense as a “fool”…

why, you ask?

allow me now to get to my final task:

we each seek a safe space in our memories, as i believe

an alternative reality to help us avoid self-destruction

for me to pretend i am a fool is a long-lost obstruction

besides…

no seat of any significance ever meant anything to me

so…

it’s not the opera’s mikado i can relate to

or ever do

the daughter, i have in mind instead

one he had only from afar

she betrayed her own paternal kin

no conspiracy was there to wrongfully pin

she thought him the fool her entire life through

though to him she was the brightest shining star

one who refused his admiration, for she was dead set

but…

now that he reached a most fragile age

would declare herself a saboteur of notorious fame

having always received either love or more of the same

without ever having given in return anything without rage

who today remains in hopeful despair and desperation as well

for her homecoming not to be too late to cast anew its desired spell

 

© hülya n. yılmaz, December 16, 2014

Source: One of my three contributions for the January 2015 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly book series published by Inner Child Press, Ltd.

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…reminiscing our beloved through poetry…

Welcome, dear reader! Also today, I am sharing with you a new poem. This one comes to you as one of my three contributions for the January 2015 issue of The Year of the Poet – the monthly book series published by Inner Child Press, Ltd. of which I have informed you last Sunday. I want to hope that you will come back next week to accompany me for yet another one. My best wishes for your new week!

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“The Twist” and Tunç dayım*

 

a pre-natal fascination it must have been

not only for him, for me too, when on my own

lured by the unheard-of piper’s glamorous tune

coveting a First World culture’s tempo-precision

falling into the magic of his feet’s swing-succession

 

1960s, for pity’s sake!

i, a mere wonder-detecting-eyed toddler

he, a tall cool-dancing swift-footed prince

with an affable smile on his handsome face

removing remarks from his balding greyed head

laughing hard at his pants for their bowlegged dent

those “futbolcu bacakları”* are insured, his pride would allege

for a rare high amount, and upon invitation at that!

by whom? we never learned enough to pledge

 

in 1941, awing the world, Chubby Checker gets born

Tunç dayım had thus far been moving fairly along

to witness the year 1960 for an album’s dramatic release

extracting joy from his music-filled youth of disease

“The Twist” had arrived – an all-American song

competing against his magical feet so strong

inside his shiny all-American shoes

 

that year saw in me a toddling and toodling little fire

my often sickly eyes lain on the twists and turns of his legs

leaving me behind in my sick-bed within a safe distance

frequenting his visits in sets of carnaval-colored attire

to balance my weakness with his weakened substance

 

in 1970s, self-centered-to-the-limit was i

the world-is-solely-about-me-all me-i was i

he – sentenced to an early death at birth

danced in grace to his reserved time’s drum

taking me always to a felt-deeply-inside-mirth

at each of my moments of the slightest glum

having lived with us for years when young

an attentive brother to me is what he had become

his selfless love and care had since often been sung

from me for him however, there was not a thing to come

 

he died, we learned afterward – on the stairways to his office

one late night in his attempt to rush to answer a call

 

late 1970s

1980s

1990s

2000 to the present year

the youngest and a most precious darling of the Erguens

gets forgotten

by me

the universe-turns-around-me-i of me

 

then a friend’s public post the other day

lends me a ticket to that now valued past

its stub shouting a valid grist,

“Come on, baby, let’s do the twist!”

Liked.

Shared as well.

In my chamber’s core canal.

 

“Take me by my little hand and go like this.”

Once more. To tell me you forgive me

for forgetting you this long.

Your brother is among us still,

caring for me since you have left.

And i…

have learned,

have finally learned

not to let him slide by

while he is among the living yet.

 

*”dayım” equals “my uncle from the mother’s side” and “futbolcu bacakları” means “legs of a succer player” in Turkish, my native tongue. Crooked legs in men used to receive a light-hearted description while I was growing up in Turkey, succer being the country’s national sport and one that supposedly caused men the less-than-straight look in their lower body. This younger uncle had been a succer player since his very early ages, and always proudly referred to his legs under this common excuse, while he would don a huge sneaky smile for those of his happiest childhood times.

© hülya n. yılmaz, December 16, 2014

 

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“a woman of Anatolia”

a woman of Anatolia

Ve-kadınlar

thousands of years

numbers of civilizations

splendor in built-in riches

artifacts

nature

social, economic, religious reforms met the onset of 1923

Mustafa Kemal in Turkey – the infant republic’s first president

over night, the gentle father of his country for her people

 

she led a prosperous life since

enviable by the then world powers

jealous of his immense success

from the ruins of the Ottoman land

 

women became free

not in public merely

but also in their privacy

in her unrivaled bosom

the honor the pride of countless cultural icons

immersed in precious peace-filled diversity

self-differing faiths settled safely inside her

attained in his honor her long overdue legacy

tolerance

acceptance

co-existence ruled

 

decades later…

 

corruption

disruption

deconstruction

religion’s unreligious re-construction

of a merciless tyrant raped and is still raping her

unrelenting in its destruction of her glorious past

harmonious present

having robbed her of her dazzling future

 

monstrosity rules today

with its brutal violation of Turkish women’s fate

with no drop of hope for any left behind to date

 

© hülya n. yılmaz, February 16, 2015

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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Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) Photo Source

 

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Nazım Hikmet Photo and Spoken Poem Source

 

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…actions by Turkish men…speak for themselves…

Turkey Protest

If you have visited my Sunday reflections from last week, then you know what had been lying heavy in my heart. When I wrote last’ Sunday’s piece, my trust in the Turkish government’s just handling of the brutal murder of the 20-year old woman was shaken beyond consolation. Then, during the past week, a friend who is aware of my Turkish heritage, sent me the following link. Even if you merely scan-read the article, or simply look at the image below, you will know right away as to why my tone is quite upbeat today. For a February 23, 2015 article in Time, “Turkish Men Are Wearing Miniskirts to Fight for Women’s Rights”  by Laura Stampler narrates about a group of men in Turkey who publicly wore miniskirts. Not to make a fashion statement but rather as a silent protest against the growingly infectious mentality in the country under the current regime that ‘women ask for the wrong attention through their own clothing choices. In sum: against the legal justification of violence against the female population who has been donning and continue to don secular attire. Without any further thoughts from me on this serious matter, I will leave you to form your own opinion, if you were to become so inclined as to make any deliberations. I, for one, will seek comfort (for a change) in the said article’s every line. For there seems to be hope for Turkey, after all, with an apparently vocal male representation being intact – a male population that questions in public the legal support for the violation of women’s basic rights, stands up proudly against it, putting aside the infamous Turkish male ago along the way.

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Is Homicide of Women Being Legalized in Turkey?

ozgecan-aslan-yakilarak-oldurulmus-halde-bulundu [Photo Credit: ilerihaber.org]

The news has been visited this past week by Turks and non-Turks alike time and again under fiery captions since the murder of the young woman in the picture above. Terms like “brutal” or “cruel” are, to me, overused, hence unfortunately, misused referents. I, therefore, opt out from relying on such language. In fact, I choose to leave it up to you, dear readers, to form your own opinion through a synthesis of related information – some of which I provide below. I, myself, remain in grave sorrow over the strikingly intensified violence against and the rapidly increasing numbers in homicide of women in Turkey. I thus join countless others, living in or outside the country, in their equally fast growing disgust and outrage over the Turkish government’s approving silence in the face of primal dismissals of a woman’s right for a life.

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you probably were as unique of a soul as donned by your name of birth

not merely distinctive but a daredevil as well

it is being said you resisted being raped: what a feat…

yet three men ambushing you is not even for a man a fair defeat 

the word is out now: the entire country is crying over your death

a preposterous claim!

what fairy tale can dare to allege a country is made of the female alone?

besides…

even a fantasy land would have to have a leading hand

© hülya n. yılmaz, February 22, 2015

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Related Links:

Turkey’s Murder Rate of Women Skyrockets

The Journal of Turkish Weekly

Turkey.com

Cihan

BBC News – Turkey rallies over murder of woman who resisted rape

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…singing of your love…

Image for barbwired

barbwired

escape from your caress eludes me

scabs grow fresh wounds anew

i thus await the last fall of flesh

© hülya n yılmaz – March 10, 2014

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drought

come bottle your thirst put it aside

let us pass by a number of seasons

when you are ready lift the crack

the rain will obey no doubt

© hülya n yılmaz – March 16, 2014

Image for drought

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