you are

since the day i could sit alone with my thoughts
i knew my life would be anything but ordinary.
with twists and spirals of magic
wafts of remembrance from another life.
and you my darling,
you are the potion that melts my resistance and holds together all the fallen pieces for me to build a different kind of resistance
the kind that knows what’s worth fighting for.

you are the quiet in my angry sobs.
you are the balm on my open wounds.
the defiance in my brokenness
the silent dare that makes me want to run toward my fears.
you are a pilgrimage my sore and tired feet still want to walk
toward freedom and uncertainty.
you are the tomorrow on the hem of today.

my love,
you are the heat between my legs.
my forgotten desire
my forsaken dreams
you are the reunion of all the selves i’ve lost.
a fight. a reconciliation.
you are my indifference turned acute feeling.
my ice broken to warmth.

you are my ugly truth.
a mirror unto reality
an anchor holding me tight and steady
my madness
my shock
my utter disbelief
my calm tolerance of myself and you.

you are a dream.
you are time passing slow, then fast, then slow.
you are my minute at a time.
my day at a time
my thought at a time
my hope at a time
you are my now that stretches to eternity.
with you i know home is not a place but a safe passage
an unhurried resting.

darling you,
you are the stuff my poetry is made out of.
you are my words, my ink, the strikethroughs in my script.
you are the mystery in the plot of my life.
you are my unforeseen turn that should have got me lost but instead
brought me here.

[OneRepublic’s Let’s Hurt Tonight was playing over and over in my mind when I wrote this poem]

©Tsion B., 2017

name calling

you should have your breasts done.
i’m more than willing to pay for it.
i know you’re proud of them.
but you know, you’ll just have them bigger.
trust me, they will look good on you.
oh, and while you are at it,
get your teeth straightened too
may be a brace will do.

that week, i stood in front of the mirror every day,
and looked at myself differently.
at the things that needed correction:
my small breasts which have fed two babies till their cheeks grew chubby and their thighs grew dimples i like to rest my fingers in as they fall asleep on my milk.
my barely crooked teeth that have grown to the front over the last few years.
my receding hairline.
the tiny furrows that have emerged at errant places on my face.
i never noticed them before.
may be he is right.

you know they do amazing hair transplants in Turkey.
i can take care or your brow problem for you,
so you don’t have to worry about them every day. wouldn’t that be great?
and if you want, we can go somewhere where they can give you more shapely calfs.
then you can wear dresses more.

now, i can tell you this.
sometimes, it will take you hours.
sometimes, it will take you years.
sometimes, you may never get to call something by its name.

i love you, but…
you’re beautiful, but…
you’re almost perfect, if only…
honey braised sour.
call it by its name.
changing its faces.
you should not take a minute of it.

he will tell you, he’s never hit you before,
never even raised his hands.
he’ll take offense when you call the cards.
‘you ungrateful bitch’ he will say.
he’ll say he’s given you everything you’ve never had.
and you will feel guilty.
even while knowing these words you make poetry out of
can be poison.
said in the right way, cunningly, at opportunistic times,
they will give you wounds you’ll find hard to recover from.

don’t take a minute more of it.
call it by its name no matter what.
changing its faces.
honey braised sour.
spit it out.
and walk away!

©Tsion B., 2017


my body is not a gift i can wrap up
in generous boxes and flimsy paper that reads ‘I LOVE YOU’
tie it down with a ribbon into a bow
and wait for it to be torn by prying hands
on a birthday.

my body is not an offering.
i cannot give it to you. you cannot take it from me.
i can’t make it open; it’s not a hinged door.
i can’t make it behave agreeably
lay down silently to be worked by your plundering limbs.

my body is not a field you need to crop to satisfy your hunger.
you cannot dig it, or weed it, or harvest it.
you can’t half-heartedly fumble with your careless hands
and blame it for being dry, unyielding, unforgiving
like it’s a patch of dust that needs to be watered.

my body is not a road you can travel;
nor a tunnel or a two way street.
you cannot walk on it.
you cannot pass through it.
you cannot pound on it endlessly
and expect to return on it.

my body bruises.
my body bleeds.
my body breaks.
my body grows poison.
my body leaves.
my body opens.
my body closes.
my body goes incognito.
my body’s ice.
my body’s fire.
my body births.
my body feeds.
my body’s star and moon and sun and earth.
my body is a galaxy you’ll need a body map to read it.

my body does not want your body.
my body is not up for possession, or negotiation, or persuasion, or permission.
my body does not want your body.
how is that not clear enough?

©Tsion B., 2017

a kiss in a dream

if sometimes, in a dream, an occasional kiss didn’t find me
like a generous gift wrapped in soft slithers of silk
stars, glitter, hot pink
i don’t think i’ll make it
even one day at a time
even moment by moment
even now.

this kiss,
is sunlight breaking on my skin
like warm oil
like apple pie pudding on a cold afternoon
wrapped in my gabi with the hands that wove it
little tired cotton balls
soft with overuse.
it is like a scent that insists to stay
when you’ve washed it off to coarseness
to bleeding
to scars
still it stays.

he holds me
like a porcelain that would crack with too much handling
a little bit harder than you would touch a butterfly
a little bit softer than you would set a broken bone
he says
i want to call your name for the first time
say it like a magic spell
like even you are hearing it for the first time
so your eyes could stop darting like an arrow
rushing to its wound.

a deep exhale breathes into me
there’s an unsettling that comes
with being truly seen
my body wants to grow flowers
water its thirsty soil
mend it’s burnt patches
grow roots and rise.

this kiss could be my home
a budding belonging that’ll make me want to stay
my tent by a bonfire
my shabby hut on a mountain top
my little house by the raging waves
where my feet make prints that stay till tomorrow
until i choose to leave again.

©Tsion B., 2017

don’t be mine

don’t be mine.
i don’t want to own you
even if it’s like a jewel i purchased yesterday,
new and shiny.

come to me when your heart feels like it;
when your blood thirsts for my scent like an adventurous land.
love is a returning;
sometimes in wild, raging fires,
sometimes in drops of vapor from faraway countries.
i want to be your resting place,
your home for an evening,
for many evenings.

but don’t be mine.
there’s a tiredness that comes from belonging.
instead, visit me like a distant dream,
an unfinished love affair you wish to start again,
a beginning where ending can come but may not come.

i hold my desire like a flag for you
like there’s an army behind it.
upright. unwavering.
but i don’t hold a promise for tomorrow;
it would be heavy for us to carry expectations of what we ought to be.

don’t be mine.
come to me when your soul seeks the quiet in togetherness,
the space in becoming,
the hours of searching in all sorts of light.
come to me
when you hunger for the oneness that can only come with releasing each other.

©Tsion B., 2017

love letter

last night, before i went to bed
i asked god to write me a love letter
because it’s been too long since i got one
and my soul feels tired from all the waiting.

i said look here god, i don’t need any fancy words
nor do i want you to write me a poem
i just need a few lines that say
‘your heart is fine, your heart will heal, your heart will love again.’

send me a rainbow
or a sunflower,
send me freshly turned ground, red and black and blue
send me seeds newly sprouting.
i’ll keep an eye out.

you have to do this for me.
or else i’m folding up the stuff that i’m made of.

i’ve done too much hoping in this vicious world
my knees have been skinned from too much falling
i’ve started growing bruises as if i were caned and stoned
beaten to brokenness
as if words could suck the blood closer to the skin
and skin wants to show off the invisible pain
wear it like a medal,
a prize of emerging.

send me a sign
a feather from an angel wing
dipped in ink dripping
like my pen and my tears.
or maybe a glimpse of my childhood dreams
where i can cup my hands and drink
from clear streams
take breath from all the running.

there are days i can’t remember my own name
this city feels like a wilderness to me
and i forget where to turn on roads i’ve taken so many times before.
my body has become a ragged field of rocks
where barefoot bleeds
a gentle touch turns me into gutters of muted screams.

so hurry!
i’ll keep a watchful eye for the coin in the dust
fled from a careless pocket
or colors in the sky
or a flower turning its head toward the sun
the forgotten sound of crooning water
a new growth.

i will wait.
my last waiting will be a not giving up
my last waiting will be an unwavering grace.

i’m at the same address.

©Tsion B., 2017