Meliz Ergin Poems






I became interested in the mechanics of breath


In the exact number of seconds spent inhaling

Unkind references to the body


The amount of oxygen

Required to exhale


obsessive ideal



I was intrigued by strategies for optimal breathing


How mouth breathing creates a carbon dioxide deficit

Preventing oxygen to get to the cells


Causing a chemical imbalance that leads one

To say things like sky-is-the-limit



I reckoned the amount of vapor produced by one mouth


Speaking conquest below -15 degrees celcius

And wondered whether fractures formed


By such acts of respiration are pleasant

And can be considered





I wondered if perhaps respiration is history


And history a delicate exchange of gases

Condensed into explosive linguistic units


Air-dropped on the wild territories of the mind

Engendering unprecedented impacts such as


warlords parochialism organizational charts military entrepreneurs



      if perhaps in every breath the world is recaptured


By lungs carving space in the rib cage

To filter the air exhaled by other lungs


In body caustic indifferent pacified

That perhaps this makes me






* Latin word conspiratio: 1. breathing together / 2. plotting together; unanimity / 3. an agreement between two or more people to commit an act prohibited by law or to commit a lawful act by means prohibited by law







Meliz Ergin lives in Istanbul and teaches comparative literature at Koç University. She pursued her graduate studies in Vancouver, where she co-founded the Play Chthonics Reading Series and collaborated with the now defunct poetry collective Vertigo West. Her poems appeared in Bone, Locuspoint, Interim, and The Enpipe Line.





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