I Meet John Lennon in a Dream
I meet John Lennon in a dream one night in my sixteenth year in this world and his sixty-fifth year in the dreamworld. He stands in the middle of my room, with his Abbey Road look, dressed in white, with long hair and beard. I heard that you want to learn how to play the guitar, he says, as I look at him in awe. His white suit is too bright for my eyes, adding to his otherworldliness. I gulp, and say, Yes, with a hoarse voice. We’ll start with The Beatles songs, then, he says. I’ll teach you how to play. I run to a music shop when I wake up and buy their cheapest guitar. I teach myself the chords of Help!, For No One, Yes It Is, and others from an old, tattered The Beatles chord book I find at a second hand bookstore. I write songs of my own too: one about my estranged father, another about a pink Cadillac, and one for a love I haven’t even tasted yet. The songs become an extra shoulder to carry the weight whenever the world comes crashing down. Every night, I step into the dreamworld with my cheap, black-orange guitar strapped to my back, and look for him in the nooks and crannies but John never comes back. I never learn whether I progress. I must have, I think to myself, looking at John’s many faces over the years, immortalized on paper before my time. Or he’d come to show me my mistakes.
My insides are older than my shell. My organs shrivel up, wrinkling severely like faces hardened against the perpetual sun. Fatigue injects itself into my veins, dying my blood mercury, weighing a moon. I’m crushed. He cries, and just as limbs with arthritis, my heart stays rigid, cold, unmoved (what stone heart you have). Who am I, today? I want to know. I want to cry but the tears don’t come, embarrassed to trickle down the cheeks of someone who feels everything and nothing (how fickle tears you have). I lay on my stomach to repress the pain (what big belly you have) like a dog with stomachache. Alone (how infinite loneliness you have), I stand. I wobble with each step (what big feet you have). There is something wrong, I tell you. What if the hunter cut me up, filled me with pebbles, and sewed me back? What if I am the bad wolf (what ugly face you have)? I can’t trace the stitches with my fingertips (what big fingers you have), yet I hurt. Should I go out and drink to soothe my thirst (how ruthless a drought you have) or would the pebbles be my end? Underwater: it may be a good death to tell (what big mouth you have). But who am I now? Today? I lean. I check my reflection on the water.
Ecem Yucel (she/her) is an Ottawa-based Turkish writer, poet, and translator. She holds an MA in World Literatures and Cultures and is a Ph.D. candidate in Translation Studies at the University of Ottawa. Her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Idle Ink, Kissing Dynamite Poetry Journal, Cypress Poetry Journal, Ayaskala Magazine, Wine Cellar Press, Alien Buddha Press, and Boats Against the Current Magazine. Her poetry book The Anguish of an Oyster is available on Amazon and Kobo. You can find her at www.ecemyucel.com or on Twitter @TheEcemYucel.