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 🙂
This is an old Turkish folktale. It is the story of a pious and humble saint of his time. The thing this saint loved most in life was his beautiful, white horse. All knew him with this horse as he rode through the towns surrounding his home. One afternoon on his travels, he was riding with his horse through the desert. He came upon a man desperately calling out from the ground for water. The saint dismounted his horse to offer the man water. All of a sudden the man mounted the horse and started away. The saint fell to the ground crying. When the man turned and noticed, he yelled towards him, “What kind of pious man are you crying over a horse?” The saint replied, “I am not crying because you have taken my horse. I am crying because when others hear this story they will not get off their horses to give a thirsty man water.”
so much we want, so much we have
so much we play, so little we love
we yearn to possess false pleasures
we climax from transitory highs, struggle with pain
but don’t know how to ask why.
ask yourself what your place in the world is meant to be
for the sake of thoughts consuming? for the sake of pleasing “me”?
one person born among millions can do so much to change the world
how hard it remains for our generation to realize the mission of their souls.
You are a beautiful skeletal inspiration
projecting truth, provoking emotional congregation
humans can’t help but respond
eyes can’t help but correspond.
Isn’t that how it has always been with love?
The sound of the wind gives up telling.
The brightness of the sun gives up blinding—
all is matter not mind, ripe fruit
without an avenue to reincarnation.
Fallen, this body into the ground.
Achingly present in this Earth.
Forage me now so I can be found.
Please God give me time for poetry.
I am fantasizing about words intimately woven together on knotted threads.
Hypocrisy to only be bright on your way to death.
Can I make their suffering less by suffocating this vision?
My eyes as innocent as a sponge.
This world is never too much.
Too much for love.
Too much for the Fall.
Too much for the inevitable.
Frame this world in a moment of color
for those who can no longer see beauty.
In the end you tell me they will meet you.
You can show them this other side of life
so often vibrant in color.
I want to write you into life
the one I want
your humble fragility jumping inside of piercing eyes
my complemented voice, my requited gaze
I have lived through people, body and soul, raised my own
and they still grow climbing above
my confused sense of what the ideal should be
talking in metaphorical needs, fighting much needed sleep
if it should pass in the night and doesn’t, God must be
my reliance on this One, as I abstract my mind
in tangled fiction—anything could be real
the state of the world is evidence
of that and it won’t sleep, please sleep
every window pane, every mirror
every piece of plated glass is him, his image
the one I want but cannot have
a figment of my beautiful, impossible imagination.
This is the midweek hump
The honey of my breath
I want sticky on my fingers
This is middle earth
tired limbs, aching bones.
I remember birth and death
come at the other end.
Sanity in intermediate flux
Here we stand. Middle ground
Hungry for equidistant passages to inspiration
Middle fear, mid life
Whys and hows and hopes
The book of ours burying thick
pages on its own in intimate layers.
They know each other too well—
sticky fingers can’t seem to flip to the end.
I am drawing hearts for the world
I am dancing on clichés like a child
Let me be a colloquial mess for a while on this journey
Togetherness, though fleeting, is my fool’s illusion
Let me swim in ignorance tonight
The songs rang from their mouths like a people’s army
who fought to know one another by name for the first time
and there You were staged for the final order.
You said be and it was.
You told us to kill the pain and we did.