People draw borders
Some, in their own lands
Some, in the mind and heart
Like a death circle of Ezidi*
Beware! Don’t draw the circle.
You are doomed inside,
With me outside

I was born there,
I don’t have to die there.

This is war
This is death
This is poverty
This is hunger
Everywhere artifice
Behind every individual cruelty

Everyone suffocates in their own tragedy
Like drowning in a spoon of water.

I drown in the seas
That is not my body
People’s selfishness washes ashore.
I die due to your borders
I drown due to lovelessness and loneliness

I’m waiting at the border, the limit- of your imagination
Your heart beats in the left
But does it beat correctly and conscientiously?

I’m waiting at your borders
You ask “ Do you know my language?”
Do I care
How many languages you know?
Where is your humanity?
How is your heart language?

I’m looking for a flame
In your eyes
In your soul.
It seems,
Prometheus never put in an appearance in your lands.

Hatred in your eyes.
Ice covering your heart
Your voice- cold and perishing.

Let me break the ice in your heart.
My bosom as burning as **Amaterasu’s fire.

Let me become your breath
with primeval words of Humanity

Let me look through your eyes
Let me flow through your eyes into your heart
with deathlessness and depth of legendary loves.

The storm gathers,
My foundations are shattered.
Can you repair the destruction of my soul?
Because of them, because of you.

Endless middle-eastern war in my soul
Touch me.

Kiss my heart that bleeds
Let me smell your scent,
No longer smell the blood.

Kiss my orphan lips
Embrace the feelings
Accumulating at your border

I’m waiting at the door of your heart
With my asylum seeker soul
Open your heart
Let me in.

Insaf Yalcinkaya

*Ezidi is an ethnic group of Kurds dispersed and persecuted in Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq (Kurdistan)
**Amaterasu is a Goddess in Japanese Mythology

Around a table
We strike a bargain for my life
They think
I’m just a number
my life is worthless

I put my knowledge up for sale
my art, my poems, my music
They are not interested in them
They are worthless

I put my happiness up for sale
They don’t want happy people
Happiness is worthless

I put my hopes up for sale
My future, my dreams
Their border is priceless
My hopes are worthless

I put my sorrows up for sale
my tears, my deep griefs
They want to buy them
to pretend they are merciful
They should take pity on me
Their mercy is priceless
But my humanity is worthless

What a stupid bargain for a worthless life
Meaningless words between their lips.
What a stupid life.
All its riches – worthless

Insaf Yalcinkaya

(It’s about my interview in Direct Provision process)

Go far-away
Think poets
Who gave their own necks to the executioner
in the cause of their poems
Shot the time
among verses
I am even more orphan in this dying humanity

Go far-away
Far away from struggle and love that are not yours
Time is not yours
among verses
I am even more alone in my heartbreak

Go far-away
Far away from Man’s slaying of man
Perfidy is not yours
among verses
I’m even more in retreat from everything

Go far-away
Think Troubadours
who gave their own lives in the cause of love
Leaves of autumn are falling
among verses
I’m even more in love with what I couldn’t reach

Go far-away …

Insaf Yalcinkaya

(For Kurdish poet Panahi, executed in Iran, 2018)

My city, Dersim,
crushed with a bronz fist,
is in danger.
My people, how can you praise
someone who laughs in your face?
Who forces you to listen
to the blaring of Ezan
from sun to sun?
Your *Pirs set a table for bastard men.
Our Pirs would not let their dogs behave like you.

Are you proud of your children’s high career?
The most noble profession is teaching
But they are taught to represent a fascist system.
A new generation has forgotten
honour, sharing, how to offer
a real contribution-in the name of assimilation.

At the back of beyond a poet is executed
On the other side a troubadour is excoriated
A writer is shot in the back
A youth commits suicide
A child is murdered by rape under the blue sky
A child is married off in order to legalized her rape
A woman and yet another woman and one more woman is killed
For want of value in the holy books

Are you still proud of yourself
for being a racist in your leisure time:
you represent a rancid system.

Are you still proud of yourself
In spite of all these things
When you look in a mirror
Are you really proud of yourself?

Insaf Yalcinkaya

*Pir: Spiritual leader of the Alevi community. This is an inherited role, passing through generations of men and women

Can you name my pain
what is it?
Is it despair?
Is it existence?

Where is its homeland?
Where does it dwell?
In hearts?
In eyes?
Or is it where the goodness was buried?
Tell me the place of pain.

Is the pain, blood on your hands?
Is it the fire in your heart?
Or an experience we have never lived.

I come from the homeland of pain,
Pain is a heritage in my hometown,
It’s gene-transferred between generations.

Is pain remembering everything?
Or is it a lack of words,
to give it measure?

Let me learn forgetting,
Learn only to laugh in your language.
Don’t teach me any mournful words
To describe what I may have forgotten to feel,.
Maybe I cannot speak it.

Let me bury it,
In a grave so deep my children will never discover it.
I will forget where I came from,
And then I will forget painful lands,
And I will forget my language,
And then,
And then,

Insaf Yalcinkaya

Black and white
White and light.

White’s nihilism,
Contrasts with
Black existentialism
Moving inwards.
Which is more narcissist?
The white?
Which refuses all colours
Or the black?
that absorbs them all.

To this I say-

I am a waterdrop
That tricks the light
And transparent
I make visible all colours
And fragile

I am a waterdrop
I am not what I seem
I am full of secrets
My memory is not a river of Lethe*
I am in everything
I am life
life is in me
I have been there since the beginning

Don’t let the white blind your eyes
Don’t let the black cover your heart

Find me, like one finds,
a secret
a tear

Find me
I am just a waterdrop
in the river passing your door.

Insaf Yalcinkaya

*Lethe is a river in Greek Mythology

Non-being trickles in through the windows instead of sunshine
No name of the days
No value too
My hair messed up
Bedroom-kitchen- restroom

Poverty infiltrates into homes
Everyone’s humanity has a limit
Between purse and relentlessness
My hair messed up

There is a huge silence in houses
no tick tack of clock
No tick tack of my heart too
I’ve forgotten my voice
My hair messed up

Loneliness leaks from houses
Loveliness leaks into houses
My hair messed up

Insaf Yalcinkaya

Today I’m a couch grass
taken from nature
put into a flowerpot
I’m in a dark room
desperate, lightless

Sometimes, someone gives me water

Today, I’m a cactus
I hate the flowerpot
the water I’m given
the room
I miss the sun
hot, burning sunshine

Today, I’m still cactus
I don’t want to be watered
I don’t want to be in the flowerpot
I have to be in nature

I was a lily
a hyacinth
I was a mountain flower
a snowdrop
blown with the wind
singing songs
making people jealous with my beauty
I was a snowdrop blossoming freely
I had beautiful colours
But now, I’m a flowerless houseplant

Indeed I would like to be a dung-beetle
rolling humans’ brains along
with their stupid systems
backwards and forwards
backwards and forwards
For rectifying *Phtha’s mistake

*Phtha; creative power in Egypt Mythology

Insaf Yalcinkaya