Aynur Kuğay

Aynur Kuğay is a poet, songwriter and freelance editor from San Francisco now living in Istanbul, Turkey. Her poetry
has appeared in Fresh Words Magazine, the Bosphorus Review of Books, and the Walrus.


Leave me alone again,
the wind has something important to say
shaking up pollens so that I can drift,

free of the buzz. I have idled on nectars.
The thing we’ve been afraid to say
is ringing through the leaves –

has it been heard by the birds
singing it back to us
in the dawn chorus?

Desponding in a cell of this hive,
I remember saints
not yet relegated to the other end of time

And saying it is useless,
All the honey in the world
wouldn’t bring back a spring flower

Surely you are as bewildered as I am –
how breathtaking it is
simply to take in the morning air,

and how even that is a clue
to how the heart
repeats itself, too


Little one, do not weep
for the loss of this little life
and everything that seems contained
inside it

But do weep: there are many things to water,
and wash,
and drown

Fret not the salt in your tears –
too much a part of the dust of this world,
that light dances as it travels through the air

Little one, when we have lost
everything, we may feel what it is

to have anything
and what Being is, freed up from its tie to forms

Little one, you are nothing apart from me
but I had to leave these little selves behind

like too many sieves binding me in time
and false Gods that, too, wanted to be free

Little one, you too can die
and lose nothing
not even a life,

just an angle
that keeps you bending backwards

Lesson from a Cowboy Song

Leave Before You’re Gone –
it was just another Cowboy Song

You wanted to sing along,
roses untangled from their thorns and lifted you
into a minor key

Some tinkled, some were tilted;
be them poets, be them
thieves even take the bars when they finally break free

Now your ears are peeled: how painful it is
to live in this time of constant opening

Even the oxalis grown in tufts against the refuse
of our abandoning rings its song when the wind
so graces us

When everything must close, or have a season
Love doesn’t need a reason

Don’t let the saloon door hit you on the way out,
make haste –

Make haste! Go on,
there are no secrets left for the very last one, see

there’s no one else –

Everything You Left Behind

Previously published elsewhere

Beneath the sawdust,
beneath the fallen sparkling rinds

Look at the show,
look at the moment bursting from the sky
we know

A presence circulates,
responsible for the fire

The show to end all shows
shows what good it is
to show anyone anything

Dogs run, hearts fly,
a memory lands on the leaf of a dream

Close your eyes.
Remember to forget this world,
you must live in it completely

Garden Walls

Previously published elsewhere

I found a new wall today.

I didn’t ask for its name, who had erected it
or what they were pushing aside.
I didn’t worry about erasing its history.

I named it Nothing,
and realized it wasn’t truly There.

I found a new garden, a meadow throbbing with stars
sprouting out through ancient scars
revealing fertile possibility.

I gave it Everything
and found it wasn’t mine to give.