Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 50
buck moon, 2023

Featured artwork, Frank along the Cumbres and Toltec, by Kathleen Frank

new works

Ecem Yücel

Poetical Chairs
For Onur

Have you ever wondered if Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Neptune, Earth, and Uranus are orbiting around the sun only to play musical chairs? The music must have been going on since before the beginning of time, so, who knows how many other planets and stars are left out of the game so far? And also, our existence is fleeting— we would be long gone before we could see which planet would be stranded when the music finally stops this time and the eight remaining players jump on the seven remaining chairs, panting with palpitating hearts, thirsty, dropping sweat on universe’s carpet. They left out Pluto last time.

It's you whom I want to play musical chairs with, but let’s use poems instead. I would write poems for you differing in heights and lengths, colors and scents, emotions and raisons d'être, and though each one would look small and insignificant at first, you’d see the beautiful patterns their woven thread makes when you take a closer look: a spider poet. I’d write a poem and read it out loud, and we’d dance to its rhythm as we turn around the chairs, the world turning with us in its own game. I’d write one more for our dance, one more, then another, I’d write poems for you for the rest of my life because we have only one chair, and I know I’ll let you have it, but I’d squeeze the drops of time for any extension, to be able to dance with you longer, to keep at it forever, never losing our brightness, just like Venus, Saturn, or Jupiter.

Siren's Song

It's 2:22 am in Ottawa downtown. A siren's song reaches to my ears through the open window, riding the silence of the night. A coloratura soprano masterfully hops from one high note to the other, her voice echoing angelic with the acoustic of the empty street. I heard on the news that some sirens have been washed up on the riverside due to the severe thunderstorm the other day. I wonder why one of them is here, in my street, singing through the night, longing for home. Her voice caresses my senses, calming me down enough to stop thinking about illnesses, money, work, and death. In a haze, I get out of bed, leave my apartment, ride the elevator down nine floors, and throw myself in the arms of the fresh, night air. I follow the song and find myself in front of a bird-like creature with the face of an exotic woman framed by long, black hair, the bluish hue of her skin glimmering under the street lamps. She looks at me both seductively and hungry. “Hello,” I say, embarrassed. “Are you a sailor man?” she asks, with a voice from the beyond. “No,” I say, “I’m not a sailor nor a man.” “That’s too bad,” she says, “looking for someone to take me back to the sea.” “It may be a bit tough, especially on a school night like this,” I say. “I’ll keep looking,” she says. “A warning though,” I say. “This is not like the sea you came from. It’s a wolf-eats-wolf world, full of tricksters and cannibals, hungry for the flesh of inexperienced maidens.” “So, what do you suggest?” she asks, not really believing me. “Would you like to come up to my apartment and order some bagel sandwiches from Kettleman's? They're open 24 hours. We can watch Titanic on Netflix. Leo DiCaprio is really cute in that movie,” I say. “I don’t know the meaning of any of the things you’ve just said,” says the siren. “We can also ask Reddit if there are any sailors that can take you out on the sea,” I say. She shrugs. “Why not? Let’s go to your house.” We walk for a bit before I point at my 27-floor building. “This is where I live,” I say. She examines the tall building with a surprised look on her face. “So big,” she says. “Surely there must be a sailor among your neighbors?” “I don’t think so. They’re more like parliament members and stuff,” I say.

Ecem Yücel (she/her) is an Ottawa-based Turkish writer and poet. She holds an MA in World Literatures and Cultures from the University of Ottawa. Her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Evergreen Review, Salamander Magazine, HAD, Maudlin House, Overheard, Stanchion, Autofocus, Idle Ink, Kissing Dynamite, Selcouth Station and more. Find her at www.ecemyucel.com or on Twitter @TheEcemYucel.