Grief and the motions of menstruation meet in this cyclical exercising (and exorcising) of loss and longing for an absent mother in Sevinç Çalhanoğlu’s beautiful and poignant poem, ‘Mourning Yoga’.
I mourn in every 26 days
I keep a record of my mourning cycle on a calendar. I endeavour
not to mourn on my period. I relinquish if I find myself
menstruating on the full moon. It’s called red moon cycle
and I embrace the sync.
my mourning flow lasts two to five days. Meditation
I’ve meditated upon my mother’s absence in crowds
on office chairs, on the floor
on the bus and on the trains.
I’ve tried to call something Mother, breathing in
through the nose
to fill in the loco matris with something arcane
weight of my tongue
irregularities of the body
node in my chest
a loud sigh is the guide for a relief is the mantra is the felt is the light
Mother earth I’m the energy
Mother energy I’m the spirit
Mother spirit I’m the body
Mother body I’m the ghost
Mother ghost I’m the daughter
Mother daughter I’m the woman
Mother woman I’m the birth
Mother birth I’m the Mother.
About Sevinç Çalhanoğlu
Sevinç Çalhanoğlu, born in 1988 in Istanbul, Turkey, is a poet, artist, and researcher. Her work explores issues around childhood and memory, grief, and cultural patterns. The transformational aspects of literature have been the main motif in her artistic practice. In addition to poems, she creates interdisciplinary literary works incorporating sound, photography, and painting. She is the author of three books of poetry in Turkish and the initiator of the poetry journal Moero. Her published books in English are: A Promenade at Home (Bored Wolves, 2021) and My Life in Curves Recently (Bored Wolves, 2020). She is based in Brooklyn. Follow Sevinç on Instagram @tamarapekala
This poem was commissioned for our latest mini-series, Our Body’s Bodies
Everything is written on the body – but what does it mean to write about our bodies in the era of Covid-19? And is it possible to write about bodily experiences in the face of such pervasive and continued violence? Using different modes of writing and art making, Lucy Writers presents a miniseries featuring creatives whose work, ideas and personal experiences explore embodiment, bodily agency, the liberties imposed on, taken with, or found in our bodies. Beginning from a position of multiplicity and intersectionality, our contributors explore their body’s bodies and the languages – visual, linguistic, aural, performance-based and otherwise – that have enabled them to express and reclaim different forms of (dis)embodiment in the last two years. Starting with the body(s), but going outwards to connect with encounters that (dis)connect us from the bodies of others – illness, accessibility, gender, race and class, work, and political and legal precedents and movements – Our Body’s Bodies seeks to shine a light on what we corporally share, as much as what we individually hold true to.
Bringing together work by artistic duo Kathryn Cutler-MacKenzie and Ben Caro, poet Emily Swettenham, writer and poet Elodie Rose Barnes, author Ayo Deforge, writer and researcher Georgia Poplett, writer and poet Rojbîn Arjen Yigit, writer and researcher Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou and many others, as well as interviews with and reviews of work by Elinor Cleghorn, Lucia Osbourne Crowley and Alice Hattrick, Lucy Writers brings together individual stories of what our bodies have endured, carried, suffered, surpassed, craved and even enjoyed, because…these bodies are my body; we are a many bodied being. Touch this one, you move them all, our bodies’ body.
We also welcome pitches and contributions from writers, artists, film-makers and researchers outside of the Lucy Writers’ community. Please inquire for book reviews too.
For submissions relating to trans and non-binary culture email firstname.lastname@example.org
For poetry submissions email email@example.com
For reviews, prose submissions, artwork and general inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org
Submissions for this series are open on a rolling basis. For the full Call Out, click here.
Read the series so far here.
Feature image by Sevinç Çalhanoglu