Aysegul Yildirim's poetry has appeared in various international magazines. Most recently, she contributed to Anne-thology: Poems Re-presenting Anne Shakespeare. An academic working at the intersection of environmental humanities and sociology, Aysegul has published a poetry pamphlet titled Plants Beyond Desire.
Her only childhood memory about plants is picking up
Dahlias from grandmother’s garden; a tiny medley of
purple dead nettles, camomiles, vervains, brought home from
park visits with mum.
By the end of the day, they’d always be in the rubbish bin.
Years later, she got put in a tiny medley of humans packed in
an aeroplane, never to come back. Those left behind are still
tired from grief, even though the plane has not crashed yet.
By the time the purple on the hands was cleared, dead
nettles flourished. Nobody had cried for them, ever. Later, the
idea of home has gone for us all, tiny corruptions magnified.
Except for the roots.
The Long Stay
I follow the threads of the dark grey carpet for some time. ‘Fix it before moving out,’ I answer myself. Something creeps through. I start measuring the cold surface of the confined space with my flesh, at once, and wear it.
Fits me perfectly, I think, except for the spiders who want to escape. They breathe surprisingly loud. I spoil their fantasies by staying fat and awake. The love-hate relationship. Includes giving space and pesticides.
I need to go out. Putting on my coat, doing up the windows, on the doorstep I calculate: if I leave now, the performance. Unforeseen contacts. Time is kaleidoscopic in this stone-built body. I have the eyes of a housefly. The carpet’s cleaning will be reduced from my deposit. My only connection with the anthropocene.
My solitude is my image. If vision requires distance, I must have been doing it all wrong.
Let’s start again: I need my coat when it rains. I need water too. I can’t unlearn the language of solitude, I can’t speak two languages at a time. It’s real. And it’s dark. I take off my coat. Feel the soft feel of the carpet. The grubby, quiet softness.
Someone told me to burn sage indoors but the true magic is
that no two leaves are identical. And the fact that I took a
dry leaf from where it waits for me in the mud. It was the
beginning of winter in Falmouth and sometimes you
need that moment of acknowledgement of your
image by the assemblage of the holy cliff.
I’m not able to speak their language.
I was receding endlessly. The leaf stayed
with me nevertheless. He just fell down,
he thinks. But he only had to leave
himself gently to the ground.
No two fallings are
times you need
to root faster
than you can
uproot / re-root: Plants Beyond Desire (Broken Sleep Books)
The Long Stay: exclusive first publication by iamb.