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The Home of Hakm's B-Side e-alter ego...his auxiliary brain or external hard drive...

Poetry from abroad: Turkey July 8, 2014

Poetry from abroadTuesday, 08 July 2014

Image
 
New Mexico poet Hakim Bellamy ruminates with his pen during visit to Turkey 
 
By Hakim Bellamy
If you believe everything the news tells you about Muslim countries, you might find it difficult to believe that one of the most love-obsessed poets of all time was from Konya, Turkey.
 
Rumi, the Sufi poet and spiritual master, is sometimes called the “hero of love,” and it’s not hard to see how he was inspired once you visit the landscape and lure of Turkey.

I had the distinguished opportunity to join an ambassadorial group of media professionals on a 10-day visit to Turkey with the Raindrop Foundation during the last two weeks of June. On the trip, organized by Necip Orhan (a native of Bursa, Turkey, and member of the Raindrop Foundation) and Aracely Chapa (of the University of New Mexico Center for Regional Studies), our group visited six cities, three homes (for family dinners), the Aegean Sea, the Whirling Dervishes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (Hagia Sophia), ancient Greco-Roman ruins and the house in which the Virgin Mary is said to have spent her last moments on earth.

Essentially, we tried to fit a country with a history that goes back about 15 empires into a week and a half. As poet-in-residence of the trip, I endeavored to write one poem a day for the duration of the journey. Some would call it journaling. I call it processing. Here is one of those poems.

           HasTavuk (Bread Basket of Turkey)

I hate to break it to you, America,
           but they have milk and honey in Turkey too.

I hate to bust your bubble gum, but 
           their taffy makes mouths
and little brown kids happy
           too.

Before we invented
           the Mother’s Day buffet
they perfected the Sunday dinner.

           They’ve got bad habits
that are older than our entire country,
           and what we call “recovery”
they call “still learning how to quit.”

           Thank God, Allah is patient.
Thank Allah, that God is growing up.

           The speakers on that minaret
put that ezran (sahah)
           on every street corner in da ’hood
like a boom box
           and a piece of cardboard.

Just like a headspinning
           Whirling Dervish,
cause to me and mine
           the “G” in G-Funk
stands for Gospel,

           kneels to no one
only the All Powerful.
           Make the music with your mosque, Byz…
-antine
                      Period.

Black America,
           stop pretending
you don’t know what it’s like
           when the rest of the Western world
is trying to wrestle and arrest you
           from your country and culture.
When the radio 
           is the only Ramadan you got
to keep clean.

           We are no more
or less post-modern
           than Hip Hop playlists
on Appalachian trailer park Pandoras.

           Modern as Muslims in Mevlevi.
Crypto as Christians in Chicago.

           We have no monopoly
on apple pies
           and peach cobblers,
trees of green
           nor clouds of white, America.

They are not “jealous”
           of your freedom
to pretend you have freedom.

           They are happy
knowing that they
           and their government
are simply “friends with benefits,”
           at least
they know where they stand.

           Just because we made
dying for your country
           cooler than dying
for your religion,
           who gave us
the Bill of Rights to pretend
           that’s less stupid?

How many of us are dying
           to enlist our children?
Strap them in
           for selective service,
what fraction of them
           are actually begging mommy
and daddy to go the war?


           Probably the same as yours.
America,
           I even bought a Red Bull
at a truck stop
           between prayers.

And maybe
           the only thing you do
five times a day
           is update your Facebook,
but between
           Mickey Deez
and Burger Sultans
           in Istanbul…

we ain’t as different
           as we’d like to believe.
Sometimes they hate themselves too.

           Thank Jah
that Jehovah is okay 
           with his nickname.
Thank the Most High
           that we can still see her
from down here.

           From our side of the planet
we don’t always see
           the same crescent of moon,
but even when it’s new
           we all still know it’s still there.

But in the end,
           at least our flags
wear the same stars and scars
           as a Thanksgiving dinner.
 

Hakim Bellamy, Albuquerque’s poet laureate from 2012 to just recently, is the author of the book of poems Swear.

 

Yeah. I’m more excited than a tweenage girl meeting Miley Cyrus! So what. I was interviewed by a titan of journalism and Black culture last week. I am humbled and honored to share it with you all!

Here is the program at Tavis Smiley Radio:

http://www.tavissmileyradio.com/hakim-bellamy-albuquerque-poet-laureate/

And here is the Facebook link (pictured above), let Tavis know how you felt about our interview! (You can also Tweet him at @TavisSmiley Re: @HakimBe)!

https://www.facebook.com/TavisTalks/posts/10152558925931278?comment_id=10152563591231278&notif_t=comment_mention#

All it took was a mention (by name) from Dr. Nikki Giovanni on Tavis’s TV Show back in November and a chance meeting of Tavis and my West End Press publicist Amanda Sutton in New York…and God did the rest.

Thank you and I love you all. - hb

Hakim Bellamy – Albuquerque Poet Laureate | The Tavis Smiley Show

It’s been a week and then some. I plan on being sleep before the sun goes down. I’m going to leave you with the Tavis Smiley Radio Show that aired today. Thank you Amanda & West End Press for making that happen for me. I feel mo’ blessed, especially because my son was able to listen to daddy on the radio in South Jersey with my parents. I hope he is proud of me. Link:http://bit.ly/1rG9sqo 

Local iQ - Poetry from abroad

BIG THANK YOU to the Local iQ for running an article on my trip to Turkey, complete with one of the poems I wrote while I was there (That was my poem a day exercise…I like to up the ante NaPoWriMo ;). You can check out the article here http://bit.ly/1r6tqMl and listen to the poem here http://bit.ly/1m4mqrs

Watch now: Colores | ¡COLORES! July 11, 2014 | KNME-TV/Channel 5 Video

Me and mi hermana Jessica Helen Lopez on New Mexico PBS’s ¡COLORES! Aired Friday, you can check it out anytime here

New York State Literary Center

Some poems I wrote with some prisoners…

Thank you John and The New York State Literary Center Center.

Heading out west this week. I’ll be putting in work from L.A. to The Bay and back.  Here’s a little taste of things to come.  Check out www.flypoet.com

Heading out west this week. I’ll be putting in work from L.A. to The Bay and back.  Here’s a little taste of things to come.  Check out www.flypoet.com

#SFAI140

Any balloon can tell you,

if you breathe enough life into you,

you will fly.

A bouquet of strings attached

that lead to happiness or heaven,

anywhere but down.

Some of my best friends

are full of hot air,

but they say the nicest things.

Like “The vast majority of us will land on our feet

hopscotch power lines

and peons of people, and some

never land again.

Hellbent on that hand basket in the sky.

This rapture is running behind schedule.

There’s a floating queue of flame throwing, 

parade-goers forming a line

where the horizon used to be.

Marching their bright idea 

somewhere over my head,

like a light switch

at dawn.

Hear me reading this poem (and see the proper line breaks) HERE.

Chora

On this side of heaven
houses are humble,
gods…
 …are born,
and the walls of empire
are gateways to heaven.

Chora,
They will confuse you
with the daughter of Zeus,

as though every sanctuary,
a womb.

Vestibule a vagina.
Your narthex,
an immaculate birth canal
where cross marks the spot
between your legs.

Just like your matron saint,
you were born in the boondocks too.
But when your newborn is marked for death,
that bullseye on that baby’s back
is no Calvary.

Chora,
We crawl up inside you
like the only way back to heaven
is through your abdomen.
Like your pelvis
was the cradle of humanity.

We bend at the waist,
sometimes five times a day,
to open your hips
and see the light.

But you were once
just a wall.
A portion of a fortress, confused
as to whether you are keeping the divine
out,
or whether you are keeping the divine
in.

Whether you are
Constanti-pated
or regular.

Like me,
and every gentile, jew,
and god fearing muslim.

Chora,
you weren’t trying
to make a name for yourself
like Constantine the Great
‘cause somedays
you didn’t wake up feeling too good.

Somedays,
you were no Suleiman the Magnificent.
Those days
you locked yourself in the room,
looked yourself in the mirror
and said, “I’m not going anywhere
with this foundation looking like an earthquake!”

Those days,
you felt a lot like a foot
at the bottom of the Ottoman,
and on those days
It didn’t matter whether you were
a church
or a mosque.

Because what was going on
inside of you
could peel the plaster
off the walls
of the Virgin Mary’s stomach.

But Chora,
gods are people too.
And sometimes,
other people get them confused
just like you.

Sometimes they die
too young.
Sometimes people call them names,
say their mother
is a whore…
a holy, holy whore.

But not you.
You never put them down.
You put them on your ceilings,
remembered them as they were.

So that whenever
we couldn’t remember,
all we had to do
was look up.


(c) Hakim Bellamy, 18 June 2014 Istanbul, Turkey

Hear me reading this poem (and see the proper line breaks) HERE.

Chora

On this side of heaven

houses are humble,

gods…

…are born,

and the walls of empire

are gateways to heaven.

Chora,

They will confuse you

with the daughter of Zeus,

as though every sanctuary,

a womb.

Vestibule a vagina.

Your narthex,

an immaculate birth canal

where cross marks the spot

between your legs.

Just like your matron saint,

you were born in the boondocks too.

But when your newborn is marked for death,

that bullseye on that baby’s back

is no Calvary.

Chora,

We crawl up inside you

like the only way back to heaven

is through your abdomen.

Like your pelvis

was the cradle of humanity.

We bend at the waist,

sometimes five times a day,

to open your hips

and see the light.

But you were once

just a wall.

A portion of a fortress, confused

as to whether you are keeping the divine

out,

or whether you are keeping the divine

in.

Whether you are

Constanti-pated

or regular.

Like me,

and every gentile, jew,

and god fearing muslim.

Chora,

you weren’t trying

to make a name for yourself

like Constantine the Great

‘cause somedays

you didn’t wake up feeling too good.

Somedays,

you were no Suleiman the Magnificent.

Those days

you locked yourself in the room,

looked yourself in the mirror

and said, “I’m not going anywhere

with this foundation looking like an earthquake!”

Those days,

you felt a lot like a foot

at the bottom of the Ottoman,

and on those days

It didn’t matter whether you were

a church

or a mosque.

Because what was going on

inside of you

could peel the plaster

off the walls

of the Virgin Mary’s stomach.

But Chora,

gods are people too.

And sometimes,

other people get them confused

just like you.

Sometimes they die

too young.

Sometimes people call them names,

say their mother

is a whore…

a holy, holy whore.

But not you.

You never put them down.

You put them on your ceilings,

remembered them as they were.

So that whenever

we couldn’t remember,

all we had to do

was look up.

(c) Hakim Bellamy, 18 June 2014 Istanbul, Turkey

If you happen to be in the Racine, WI area in mid-July…. 

If you happen to be in the Racine, WI area in mid-July….