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.
I came to myself
the boiling pot whistling
across the hall.
and I never made tea again
I watched the emptiness
of the sky
and this room the air could pass a thousand
birds through its spaces
for the many days the
living had left.
There must be empty
spaces inside the body
for a single drink that doesn’t scream—
in spite of the world.
kindness in the book I hold
before me, resting in the calm of my lap
it is in these solitary moments
that I remember intimacy lost
turning pages and the soft touch of words.
forget me not beyond this window
speed rolls by in cars, the wind,
the rush of a child’s legs
escaping the confines of home.
here in rest, the quiet title
yelling in the mind more,
more, tell me more about why
you love this world and
our uncertain place in it.
Moving orients as well as disorients. It provides reacquaintance with what you’ve kept hidden in both a physical and metaphysical sense. The objects, these passions of the past, reminisce as settings, complex emotional frameworks.
I found today a reading response journal, a piece of my journey into understanding. Pages and pages of epiphany as I was coming into myself as a young college student and a naïve visionary. I look back on my words in mystery and sorrow. How much passion we lose as life plays games with our resilience.
I want to share a bit from this with thanks to my favorite professor of the past for bringing these insights to the forefront, for opening my world. You guided my journey, wishing, with regret, that I could have done more.
Course: Introduction to African Colonialism
Reading Response Entry 6/16/1999
In Response to Violence, Exploitation and Racism in Africa
Out of all the entries this gave me the greatest pause as it provides relevance for what is happening present day in the United States. More importantly, the professor responds by asking of my responsibility to share my understanding almost as a premonition of what our present day responsibility will be. As a nation, our people are being manipulated to hate and to fear the innocent among us solely for the economic gain of those who could care less about our lives and what the average citizen will suffer as a result of their propaganda machine.
In moving, in movement, we travel with the same understandings and the same responsibilities to speak with our hearts. Reaching out from the mindfulness of 1999 to the people of 2016: reflect, share and act. I, like many, have not said enough.
dusk and dawn and
the pages in between
the perfect ambience
of a quiet day
I resolve to write you to sleep
wake these weary eyes
after the guilt
of clumsy fingers subsides
ah, what sensual guilt
to rest in indecision
the horizontal body
against the star-filled sky
I fear these eyes will not wake.
together. we may weigh more than the morning sun.
you were like an infant
coming from comforted darkness
into an array of wailing fresh light.
Mama has always given herself up
to send you forth
into the harshness of thought,
grow your legs
from the moist clay of the Earth,
open your mouth
to echo the sorrows of visible truth.
When you find this sweet country home,
you will find life, growing up and growing old
in the confines of honest exchange
in the textures of embrace
in the borders regardless of need.
Rests in you is barren forgiveness
in its most eloquent form.
Pity what we have lost to these huddled men
more than our country
progress in its infancy—
recognition of the dark, indignant past
we have ignored for too long.
There is no returning home, or so it seems
when the possibility of one another is lost
this is my nation at war, grappling with its own humanity
silent at a time when people will soon lose their ability to speak.