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.
the other day
i met Anjana Basu
following a forgotten vision
one i had
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 . . .
an older grown-up
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
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 . . .
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
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 . . .