Mother’s Day is for some…

A week before at least all developed world countries began to celebrate the day, I was introduced to the concept of death. The finality had passionately been kept away as taboo from any type of discussion in my family. When at the age of 48, my mother died on her older brother’s day of birth, May 7th, I have learned. In a childlike innocence at the age of 25, I concluded her death to mean a life-prolonging gift for my uncle. The same dearest man – closer to me than my father in numerous and incomparable ways, whose dedicated protection and devoted guidance I wrapped around myself like a security blanket to last much longer beyond March 28th of this year, is no longer. And the childlike innocence finds me still at an age a mere few months short of 60. With my plane ticket intact, one I finally managed to get after 7 long years of self-imposed separation, I was to hug and kiss him. The last breath cannot be scheduled, right?

So, I am left with the will to continue to write. As I have done earlier this April for my publisher’s monthly book project. I am especially thankful to him this time, for not having limited us, the contributing authors to circle around the theme of Mother’s Day. For each of my three poem contributions leaves much to think about outside that idea frame. The one I am sharing with you today is no exception. I want to hope that you will grant me your thoughts on it.

lions and ants

we like to hunt

to attain gain obtain remain

in eternal sharp-fanged hunger pain

not at all unlike the hero of Walt Mason

he put himself on a quest for a hungry lion one day

its mauling left him alive yet merely undead

forty-seven gashes wreaked his mutilated head

he wore his scars with beaming pride along with his fame

the lion thus became sacred for his until-then-modest frame

on one new day he rested atop a mound of ants

a million bites all over him that was the claim

he is said to have never since been the same

this tale is not told only once upon a time

it roars in us all at the first sight of worldly ills

while the overpowering ones meet our sword and armor

worn out small agonies slaughter our resilience in thrills

piercing bloodless our spirit and valor at their prime

© hülya n. yılmaz, April 2015

“lions and ants” will appear in the May 2015 issue of The Year of the Poet by Inner Child Press, Ltd.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sunday Reflections

…epic poetry…with the intent to reveal…

soiling lies

inside the coat of my mother’s yearning

its snow color fur on my black midi-length

dabbing my face

wet with virgin flakes

an anchor its receded touch

rusted out through and through

in struggle to sew my fabrics together

to repaint each of my two myrrhed walls

cold

the table hasn’t been set for too long

waterless the ewer breadless the hearth

beds unmade in their tucked-in warmth

devoiced the radio ringless the doorbell

interference over and over and over

silenced words silencing the road-weary spirit

icy bare halls resounding unending wishes

dark

slipping through my fingers

while i saw nothing in the oozing mirror

it bled once again from out of each spore

i turned a cliffside into a dam this time

but overlooked the open flood gates

dry

her lap a pillow of tender quills

the worn-out blanket soaked in her scent

“snow falls on top of those who sleep”

awake

sequential persistent nonetheless covert calls

to pay a visit to pay a visit to pay a visit

alive

activate the life support though now in vain

quieted with force yet determined to self-end

ensuing her sevenhundredfortyone and a half-day extent

on the seventh of the fifth with eternal respect

ceding her remaining air to her beloved kin

she spins to a nothing never to be felt again

no womb to take the tears to

late

void

shrill

in pity the homeland enters the main vein

revives herself in memory reappears in flesh and blood

her scent crawls through each of the passing cells

thirst arrives in hunger pangs

eight precious households come into view

singing dancing flowing in sync to an eternal feast

mute

eyes lock on the trail to her breathtaking peak

from where the sea struts its azure wealth many seek

and there a mere step away

dons the house its unending hospitality

bricks worn out shutters in their lately ashen trace

erect in its famed humbleness as yet

vying to amass a few more gasps

the ornate transoms eye the vast sky

their weathered glances collapse as waves

the ground’s dirt is tender as maternal caress

its trees’ depleted roots ready themselves to finally rest

as have those who were there before lying forgotten abreast

decomposed

heart seeks shelter on the faded print undug

wide concrete steps lead to a colossal wooden door

where a stately man holds a briefcase in one hand

a fedora complements his stunning handsome face

a mere toddler my mother’s one intensely beloved brother

his nose glued on the front window in their mother’s arms the other

a gorgeous sight my own sweet darling mother

as one yet with her all-giving esteemed soul

warm

her precious girl all grown up

on her path of rights escorting more than a few wrongs

having pained many a hearts no exception her tortured core

housed beside those by whom she does not belong

in her filthied resting place she laced not only once

heeding love’s enticing whisper in relentless hope and intoxication

inside its stolen womb questing its easing promise to not end

is it courage in her choice if left with the intended self to blame

fake

the bliss of a mask of strength the innocence-alluring pretense

hollow

knitting her fate into her caftan weaving patternless loops

feared

cursed

disapproved

still in refusal to sense the self’s contention

© hülya n. yılmaz (March 20, 2015)

“soiling lies” – together with the works of my seventeen fellow poets appeared in the “Epic Poetry” section of the April 2015 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly book series published by Inner Child Press, Ltd.

2 Comments

Filed under Sunday Reflections

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.

 417316_121635561299475_1537323278_n

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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Sunday Reflections

“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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sunday Reflections

…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!

 IMG_2525 (1)

“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

 

IMG_2522

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Sunday Reflections

“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.

 

mustafa-kemal-ataturk_175874

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) Photo Source

 

1389625746144_386

 

 

 

Nazım Hikmet Photo and Spoken Poem Source

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Sunday Reflections

…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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sunday Reflections