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.
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
Arts, Music, Food, Film, Culture ~ Albuquerque's Intelligent Alternative
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
Written as a New Year’s RESOLUTION…meaning, first reflections from a year where I see myself more clearly…and I thought of photo resolution…and folks posting their top 20 selfies of 2013…and I immediately thought of my best selfie…my best friend. My son. You can see the Six-Word Memoir here courtesy of Smith Magazine.
My most favorite Six-Word Memoir to date! I came up with this one yesterday while I was sitting in traffic (and running late) for my three class, guest instructor visit at New Mexico School for the Arts. A haiku/senryu is 17 syllables…this Six-Word Memoir is 10 syllables…7 short of a picnic…like me…if you know what I mean.
#OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest (A “found poem” and “found Six-Word Memoir by they way! I can’t claim authorship of this one though.) ;(
Check out my Six-Word Memoir published here. Then, submit your own!
A Six-Word Memoir written by me today. My life, my life, my life, my life…in the sunshine…thanks Mary J. Blige. A residual from my workshop yesterday at New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We introduced ourselves to each other via this platform.
Check it out my Six-Word Memoir published here. Then, create a profile and publish your own!
Two Hak-ku and one Nah-ku from yesterday's drive to Silver City.
Two Hak-ku (Hakim + Haiku…really Senryu…= Hak-ku) and one Nah-ku (short haiku-like poem that is a few syllables too long) from my drive to the Poet Laureate Panel & Performance at the Southwest Festival of the Written Word in Silver City.
Big thanks to Silver City Poet Laureate Bonnie Buckley Maldonado for inviting me and sharing a brilliant reading!
Look at You
If your conscience is
so clear, then why do you
continue, to drown it
Reminder (for Career Artist Parents everywhere)
I solemnly swear
to not turn my son’s childhood
into a business
Life is Like a Bad Poem
Life is like a bad poem, where the obvious is painfully obvious…and the subtle is too.