Sunday Turkish Brunch: Two Tales and a Half

A poem by Xavier Queipo for Passages (December 2017) 



A maelstrom of dreams invading your mind

You poor little girl, Fatos, coming from Anatolia

A whirl of incomprehensible feelings making all hopes vanish

When you find no place here, at home, to take a refreshing bath

To wash your hands, to wash and to comb your beautiful hair

When you found that the schoolteacher, she, strange to you

Never appreciates your perfect clean nails, your perfectly combed hair

Your immaculate handkerchief, your pale face of sad little girl

A maelstrom sucking until the last drop of life

Your dreams of freedom and almond trees

Your dreams in a language that your mates don’t speak


A maelstrom of dreams invading your mind

When you found difference and not a cosy place, Naciye

When somebody — that bastard husband — kept you secluded at home:

The torture of confinement, the sound of silence, the anguish of fear

But you, brave girl, defending your brood, giving them smiles and hope

Always finding strength when the first morning light bursts

In this grey, unpleasant space without neighbours to talk with

How to forget the pale skin and the crazy hair

Wandering the inner world in a permanent dream

Like a woman speaking in unspeakable languages

Surrounded by sounds you do not understand

Nobody was able to give you consolation and peace

Or perhaps somebody, yes, of your own kind

A brave woman that shows you how to smash the chains

How to break the rules and open your mind again, free, beautiful, full of strength

Working hard, defending your kids, giving them education and hope


And you, Kubra, educated, young, happily living in a new world

A maelstrom of dreams invading your mind

Imagine the blood, the anguished glance, the desperate breath

Of these two ladies that came looking for a nice time abroad

To find exclusion, anger and no public voice

Handle them with care, with the utmost respect, with love

Let them feel respected and free of mind

In this land that you finally find, also your own



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