Ich bin nicht Türkisch

Hallo, sind sie Türkisch?

Ich bin nicht Türkisch.

Naja? Aber woher kommen sie? Nicht Türkei?

[Where do I come from?]

Nein. Ich bin nicht Türkisch. Ich bin eine Amerikanerin.

“Nie, das ist unmöglich. Woher kommen sie? Ihren Familienstadt?”

[Family city? Well most of my mom’s family’s from Cleveland, and my father lives in San Diego. Or is this one of those “official” words you see on documents? Is he asking for my billing zip code? Is he trying to figure out where I live?]


“Versteh mir nicht.”

[No. Shit. Or would that be “nein Scheisse”? Nicht Scheisse? Kein Scheisse? Is there a German equivalent?]

Ihr Vati und Mutti, woher kommen sie? Ihr Nachname?

[Da fuck! Now he wants to know about the genealogy of my last name. What is this guy getting at? Okay, respond in the most elegant way possible]

Um, was?

Ihren Augen sind gross und braun und ihre Nase ist wie ein Berg.

[Berg? Like hamburger? Shit, I know this word. Castle? No that’s Schloss. Wall? No that’s Mauer or Wand or whatever. Berg? What the hell is “Berg”? Like iceberg, like a mountain. Son of a bitch! Did he just say my nose is like a fucking mountain?]

Mein Nase ist wie was?

“Berg, berg, gross, “zig-zag/crooked,” aber ein bisschen hübsch.”

[Is this really happening?]

Was hast du gesagt?

[Oh shit! I just switched to informal.

This dude’s gunna think his horrendous attempt at flirting is working.]

“Naja und deine Beine -”

[Now he’s using the informal. There’s no going back to the formal forms now.

Why is he still talking? Could this get worse?]

Meine Muttie würde mich nie mit einer türkische Frau ausgehen lassen, aber deine exotischen Lippen ….

[Oh yeah it’s getting worse. Sift through your little A-2 brain dictionary. Come on, come on, oh thank goodness my stop is coming up. Now’s my chance to lay it on him! To tell him off, to educate this man on the historical context for which such terms were created in order to oppress people based on their citizenship, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, okay you got this, you got this, stop’s right here. Now use that repertoire of language to educate this man and shut him the fuck up. You got this A-2.]

Nicht jeder mit braunen Augen ist Türkisch.

Nicht jeder, der anders aussieht ist Türkisch.

Nicht jeder mit einer großen Nase ist Türkisch.

Und Ich, ich bin nicht Türkisch.

Und du,

du bist ein Arsch. 

I am not Late

I was late today because I was on the phone with my sister planning a two week trip around Europe. We haven’t seen each other in four months. Way too long considering we lived an hour away from each other, more like ten states, or two vodka shots, or one broken jeep and a trench full of rain from each other. I was late today to plan for some sisterhood. I was late today to make time for myself, herself, and ourselves. I am late today which on other days isn’t late.


Other days, it’s thirty minutes right on time. Other days, it’s a photograph of two lovers embracing in momentary perfection. Two pints in one conversation. A biographical account and a pitied confession. On other days, I wouldn’t be late today. But you see, it started because my sister and I are planning a trip, and our minds are already on vacation. We are already freed from the “traditional” form of life (if there is such a thing!), and we have been freed from the inescapable: time.


So I am not late today,

and I won’t be considered late



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