on the cusp of January: approaching the new year in Izmir 2015

with trepidation
remembering
my mother
whose taste
for January
was less
than palatable
sour
in one’s mouth
fear
mixed with
anxiety
too many
deaths
in this month
a realization
later come by
and as I stand
facing the end
of one year
the beginning
of another
honor those ghosts
who stand
with me
this night
and drink
enough whiskey
to forget
my name
so as to
sally forth
blameless
from darkness
into the light

poised before the new year

I would like to have
only good memories
of this day
this time of year
but I just see hospitals
both parents dying
this first month bodes heartache
for me
so I approach January
tentatively
like a door on a house
one fears might be haunted
for ghosts reside here
and though I see candlelight
a woman dancing naked
friends huddled around fondue pots
three floors of live bands
parties with casinos
and people dressed as elves
dinner at the Duck House
a woman in a tuxedo
and fishnet stockings
tap dancing her way
into my heart
there are still those ghosts
hovering
like birds of prey
waiting for another soul
to stumble to fall
in the desert
that is sometimes
life

New Year’s Eve by Nazim Hikmet

The snow falling hard through the night
sparkled in the starlight.
There is a house on a street in a city,
a wooden house so far away.

The child sleeping on the pillow
is plump and blond–my son.
There are no guests, no one.
Poor Istanbul out the window.

Shrill whistles screamed outside.
Loneliness feels like prison.
Munevver closed her book
and softly cried.

There is a house on a street in a city,
a wooden house so far away.
The snow falling hard through the night
sparkled in the starlight.

translated by Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk