This Friday was a special holiday in Turkey with many people traveling and visiting family members in different parts of the country. Midweek, we headed to the Black Sea region to visit the village my mother-in-law spent her childhood in and also to pay respects by the grave of my late father-in-law, a man I loved very much. As you can see in the first photo below, family members are laid to rest adjacent to each other on the outskirts of the village all facing the direction of the holy city of Mecca. In a central area, spring water can be found so younger family members can fill jugs and feed the Earth surrounding their loved ones.
What I found most interesting walking back towards the village was this tombstone, shown in the second picture. Typically, what is written on the stone is only the name and dates of life, but above this man’s name, it is written “emekli öğretmen” in English meaning, “retired teacher” in his community a title of great honor. We asked my mother-in-law if she remembered him and she said…fondly.
All over the world—in villages, in the countryside, in bustling cities, teachers are making a difference in the lives of generations of students. So, as the school year begins this month, don’t forget what teachers do and don’t forget to…hug a teacher 🙂
the sun sets for me here too, even when my words fall
into pieces on this incoherent ground
color still finishes the day, reminiscent of hope
that the Earth will wake up fertile with choice.
I am not naïve as to uncertain presence
the nuances of where I am
even more reason to treasure quiet skies
as bleak days continue to multiply
what to do now, only measure the radius of peace
around our universal sun
and bask in its warmth.
certain things follow us like peaches
stare and flee, to catch the brightness of light
chase peach days to be more than green
on this side it is never enough, on that side pieces of home
what I can hold in my hand to remember what I left
is enough, what will come back to me is spoken
in the sweet juice running down the words of an open mouth.
this is naive
this dress, this heart
it will live outside this body
and talk as death surrounds it
what else is there to do
the wind says no more for you
the sky scolds, only color left to give
down pink clad woman, heart known to all
death will find you too, quiet
regretful of what never lived at the hands of your love.
I have not known this place until now
how the Earth seems to settle at dusk
and my silence is a disguise for a circus of thoughts
and intense contemplation. Seeking answers
as to what may live beyond the boundaries of comfort
guilt from frivolously accepting this as a condition of life
where my years have passed without tragedy
the days have been often alone, but not lonely
the middle of life, pensive without sadness
blooming without seasons. They say
my home is the country of empty promises
where everything is for sale, including our hearts.
Maybe it is true, maybe flight predicts the safest landing
but today I would sell my soul for contradictions
and a bit more time lost in the American dream.
how can I catch the poem running
through my mouth
it can’t remember the texture
of your lips, this aging mind complacent
of sensual possibilities
youth felt like this, soaking wet
views placid, crystallized
as if time shined without the need for sun.
how can I catch you running
reincarnated into new words
but the same body, aged only slightly
arriving in similar worlds that cannot touch.
it will never be as we imagine
lips cracked, the sun so strong
our mouths so thirsty.
I love you, I swear I do
an ode to all the stranded eggs
living in purgatory for my sins
a wise man (yes a man) once said
that a woman’s body remained
with a neglected mind
women hear the voice and tuck it away for safekeeping
until the invaders arrive.
how many more
from still waters before what unravels
cannot be put back together
the world screaming for us to plant new seeds carefully
those thrown frivolously are lost to the wind
the ones I grew
penchant in disregard for this absurdity
this world and its flowering stares
understanding confusion, how humorous
a compensation for the forgotten destinies
that would have meant my death.