Tropes of Father, patrimony, padre, Father-
cigarettes out in the ashtray, simmer.
old mansion now an enchanting bar rain on the rooftop.
running down a c o b b l e d street, boxes full of rosehips, black pepper, turmeric
oregano. Pablo Neruda, you old, inspired, fool. I am writing
fever into eternal optimism, as my people are imprisoned.
Nâzım Hikmet is a kindred resident-
a puddle in the rain, my still reflection.
Tiny objects on display for your gentle heart,
how many times have my feet hit the pavement,
queer and strong in our arguments of resistance,
your umbrella a tiny shade,
from the pouring rain.
Istanbul is Dionysus eternally fertile in April
despite the fragments of totalitarianism
each stripe on my sleeves a reminder or a soft smile, at home.
The water is velvet out of the faucet, the moon wanes
pushing on the Bosphorus as
Synagogue is translucent in greys.
Abuelita, the Catholic church-
I can hear your prayers
in my marrow making
pomegranate juice from my blood
like Persephone in the underworld, her
skin made of orchid petals like the ones
at the palace gates.
At an antique shop I buy glass beads that
now clank and click in my pocket where the
copper coins used to be which are now offered
at the base of an Ottoman vase, white and blue vase,
as big as an ox head and covered with flowers-
he, the salesman, told me to leave my money there,
where he could later
He goes mad trying to feed each of the objects in his
store that smells like my mother’s sandalwood cabinet.
If there ever was desire, it was indeed for the fruit of this
A longing so great, it expanded into the beautiful
light and shadows
between my eyes is small, remember it is
greater and into the womb
at the center, that very center, of the cosmos.
Small dove in my camera shutter. Small smile in the
Mona Lisa. Rose petals lead the way to a staircase up to a
balcony with the softest lanterns, glowing.
My heart hurts here-
not from the nicotine nor the caffeine nor my lost and misplaced
love for you-
but for those prisons in the United States holding my beautiful people,
for the ability to see the current governance of our territories
as the culmination of 1,000 years of patriarchy spill out of one
man’s twitter account and into decisions about my womb, the water, and the oldest,
oldest, oldest, trees.
It’s for you, you precious journalists in prison
all over the world, you story-tellers of truth
It’s for you indigenous peoples, my peoples, denied their land
and so their culture,
and so their language who wouldn’t separate the two-
again and again the seagulls fly over Istanbul
the skies clear after the rain
my chest tight and arms full of the anise bread of Easter.
We’ll resurrect a story of forgotten fishes,
languages spoken by the curandera in dreams.
Eternal optimism on the eternal horizon just as rainbows through the waters.
Little i would be a bird who soars.