hülya n. yılmaz

hülya n. yılmaz

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Born and raised in Turkey, hülya n. yılmaz [sic] is a seasoned college professor who has recently retired from The Pennsylvania State University, USA. After earning her doctoral degree from The University of Michigan, she has settled in North America. Her service for academia spans over forty years. hülya is a published writer, Co-Chair of Inner Child Press International and the Director of the Department of Editing Services at Inner Child Press International and a literary translator between English, German and Turkish. She has authored Trance, a collection of poems in English, German and Turkish ), which incorporates her own translations of her non-English poems. An Aegean Breeze of Peace is a book of poetry she has co-authored with Demetrios Trifiatis, a retired professor of Philosophy from Greece. hülya’s latest solo-book, Aflame. Memoirs in Verse has traveled with her to appearances at numerous celebrations of poetry in various world regions. The Year of the Poet, now in its fifth year, is an international anthology to which hülya contributes every month with her poems. Her poetic work has been published in an excess of fifty-five anthologies of global endeavors. On May 25, 2018, hülya has been honored with the prestigious WIN Award –Writer’s International Network of British Colombia, Canada. hülya finds it vital for everyone to understand a deeper sense of self and writes creatively to attain and nourish a more comprehensive awareness for and development of our humanity.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Is that 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”?

 

 

 

a poem with no title

 

tens of vultures huddled

playing phone tag with those in the farthest distance

they all heard it now . . .

breathing bodies lain there to feast on

tiny unprotected not-yet-knowing-how to-walk bodies

with each of their soon-to be-bloodied cells crying

their half-closed fear-laden eyes searching

for their mommies and daddies

while their fading whispers

hold on to their last hope

 

. . .

 

other adults would come

and when they do

their hurts will be no longer

first a warm calming hug

everything is okay-kind of a-hug

then their aching tummies will be filled

on top of a heated receiving blanket

they will fall into a sweet slumber

and see their mummies and daddies in their dreams

 

. . .

 

not so at all!

 

get ready you dearest little souls

too many grown-ups want you to die

but before you pass on to the yonder

which they themselves dread to death

throughout their miserable lives

know that there is not just one of them out and about

plenty of them play hide and seek all around

they come in different shapes and sizes

only their heart fits under the same reptiles’ rock

because they all don it in their rotting unified inside

a post-birth malfunction that is one of a kind . . .

 

 

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