Jennifer A. Reimer, assistant professor in the Department of American Culture and Literature at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, received her PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011, and her MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco in 2005. She is the 2011 winner of the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Award for Independent Scholars, awarded by the Women's Committee of the American Studies Association. In addition to over a decade of experience mentoring and teaching students in two of the world's premier research universities, Jennifer has numerous scholarly and creative publications. Her first prose poetry book, The Rainy Season Diaries, was released in 2013 by Quale Press. She is the co-founder and co-editor of Achiote Press, an independent press dedicated to spotlighting underrepresented authors and artists. A proud native Californian, Jennifer enjoys weekends on the Mediterranean coast, where the raki, like the poetry, is abundant.
Café Bien — Ankara
You pick Café Bien because it's close to your shuttle bus and his office.
It's been two days since the Kızılay bombing — the evening of March 13
rock music fills empty space : a car laden with explosives — he — the third major attack
shows you the broken windows of a friend's shop, in Ankara in 6 — shows you his
stop — killing at least 37 and wounding 125, slivers glass eyes hollow, dark
where a number of bus lines meet men like him and not. Still you sit still
you sing because what else officials failed to avert will blossom
from scorched sound sent burning debris showering down into
silent keşke. You cannot stop looking at his hands. He said too
close. He said he thought of you a more naked form
of terrorism reading about his death. fire and heavily damaged — you
say nothing you could say in his words. According to an official statement —
Because when your hands were cold, he took them,
an area a few hundred metres from the justice and interior ministries, a courthouse,
and the former office of the prime minister said how much
blood will fill this window this bus this woman this man —
pressed and sunken the attack showed more mouth than —
melting your body into. Fire, this thing we do despite a number of
intelligence warnings you know you'll remove that
later Turkey's air force hit Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq
Because candlelight appears less fully formed the TAK: Kurdistan Freedom
Falcons breath opens to — claim responsibility for the attack
salted air and acid jazz like that night in Izmir with Esen and Bilge, you
high on ecstasy and the world was amber and the stars in the dizzy sea
eyes dizzy now like then addiction and electric the struggle against
terror together that is all this and nothing more and all this and what
more, you said more the way he teaches you tongued deep
into pull of tidal law of physics — "will for certain end" — keşke —
— "will be brought to its knees."
"Cafe Bien — Ankara" is a selection from my latest full-length poetry manuscript, Keşke. Keşke combines prose poetry with more experimental forms of verse. In Turkish, "keşke" means "if/only" and "I wish. From the sacred spaces of myth and memory, Keşke explores the radical potential of the wish. The book draws inspiration from the cultural, historical and geographical terrain of the Mediterranean, invoking the classical epic in both form and content. Parts of the book attempt to re/vision Homer's The Odyssey from the point of view of the sea nymph, Calypso. Many of the prose pieces, such as this one, comment the recent political unrest in Turkey. Other portions of the book (re)consider Hamlet's Ophelia or various goddesses from the Greco-Roman pantheon. In foregrounding female voices, Keşke enacts a feminist poetics that seeks to reclaim epic and re-write epic and tradition. As in previous work, I often use collage and multiple voices in my writing because I continue to be interested in the radical potential of language to create and disrupt meaning. Collage and multi-vocality push back against narrative traces and tendencies, opening the fields of the poem to diverse reading opportunities. I am as interested in what cannot be spoken or revealed as much as I am in what poetry or poetic prose reveals. Thus, Keşke contains silences, gaps, erasures, fragment, and partial confessions, both as content and as form.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.