If Mystics Drink Poison, It Will Become an Antidote

“If mystics drink poison, it will become an antidote,”

-Rumi, The Masnavi, Book 1

Turkey’s Decline

لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله

lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh

There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.

Oğlum (My Son), as an Erbil,
Let’s be practical,
We are are a mobile,
People of the east,

Mountains, rocks,
Are our Mother,
When food is scarce,
Survive, tell a white lie,

Walk West, hide your,
Soul, a wild soul,
Hard as stone, soften,
Lie, and eat,

Another day,
Dream for the day,
Uludağ becomes,
Too small, Olympus,

Is a mountain for,
Frauds, and philosophers,
Men of our blood,
Climb with ice, steel,

Allah built Cilo Dağı,
For you, trained,
To climb spirit-style,
In the West,
No ropes, poems,

After war and killing,
There is healing.
Even Sons of Wolves,
Can lie with and love,
Daughters of Lambs,

The path is narrow,
As that ice chute you,
Climbed on Mt. Shasta,
In 2008, during collapse,

Oğlum (My Son), as you placed,
Front points of crampons,
Into ice, clinging to,
Your ice axes,

1000 m above death,
You will learn to love,
English, not a language of love,
Swedish, no warmth,

Turkish and Arabic,
There you go, Oğlum (My Son),
I made a mistake,
And forgot my Qur’an,

On the plane to Boston,
Oğlum (My Son), restore your memory,
Your grandfather was a Guardian,
Our village Hafiz, our tribe,

Learned this from a trader,
After the genocide,
That trader told us,
Stop speaking Kurdish,
Stop speaking Armenian,
Your Mother tongues,
So, learn those too,

As the Somali people,
Taught you in a poem,
Last year, Warsan Shire,
Of Kenya, says on coming,
To America,


no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger

forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i don’t know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here”

Oğlum (My Son), Erbil, Iraq is war torn,
After the chemical attack,
Not safe, learn to love,
In the fogs of poison gas,
Oğlum (My Son), do not be angry,

When the mustard gas,
Makes you blind as a bat,
Learn to be a bat,
See with your ears,

When nerve agents fall,
VX, sarin, and tabun,
Do not blame, or get angry,
With British, German, or Russian,
Chemists, simply get a Ph.D.,

Get a Ph.D. in chemistry,
From the best school,
For chemistry in the world,
University of California, Berkeley,
Learn how they are made,
How they work, so you,

Can can feel what your,
Brothers and sisters felt,
Discover the molecular basis,
Of their screams of agony,
So you can deliver them in poetry,

Meditate on their pain,
For seven years more,
In your postdoctoral research,
To discover what the gas feels like,

In your body, mind, and spirit,
Learn to feel what it feels,
Learn to be gas, you are vapor,
Air, more space than matter,

Oğlum (My Son), you are empty so you can love,
Wake up America, ask them for help,
Allah has sent you to them,
To help, Kaya, rock, you are a helper,

Allah has trained you to heal,
Oğlum (My Son), recite after me,
Mountains do not do politics,
Today, we are doing deserts,
Tomorrow, we will build,
The mountains peacefully,

Oğlum (My Son), never be a purist,
There is no such thing,
Everything in life,
Has two sides,

Yin and yang,
Male and female,
Black and white,

From these binaries,
All the colors of life,
Emerge, rainbows,
Children, with love,
From man and woman,
Wolves and lambs,

Our bloodline’s survival,
Oğlum (My Son), depends on it,
Oğlum (My Son), I loved your mother,
For who she was, but I am,

Like a king, flying, promiscuous,
From flower to flower,
Do not be like me Oğlum (My Son),
Be a man, find a wife,

Do your best,
Make her happy,
Scrape by,


About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
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