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36 article(s) translated from Turkish

from “The Lost Lands of Paradise”

Aram, I am but a poor, ignorant woman. I have no one. My grandchildren laugh at me. I hear the whispers of the people who come to visit me. "She lived too long. Let her die and be at peace already!" I am unlucky, ignorant, unfortunate, lonely, unhappy, resentful, and angry . . . Aram, what would you do if you could see my miserable life now? Would you put me out of my misery with that shotgun you always had with you? Ah, Aram, the answer to all my questions. If only you knew how much I...

Omaira

The question I left you takes a lifetime to answer dear friend whose linen sleeve smells of blood The master’s gaze is bare, I lean back, untroubled my checkmate at hand, a cyanide solitaire in my ring and these two wayward angels, my groomsmen calling the end of the line, the adventure of the adventure, this love muddled with your name Here, a few hazy images stolen time, cloaked in atlas weft in the shuttle, cherry laurel a province dulled under snow Was it love or adventure, this...

Mirror Shock

My sister cycled through comments about my mom like beads on her tespih. "Mom is very sick, she’s starting to mix up who’s who." This was all she knew and all she said to me every time she called. I didn’t want to go back there. There. Childhood. The prayers read over me, the silver coins laid on my throat . . . The number-3 guard on the electric razor, the trachoma in my eyes, the empty lot where I was always chosen to play goalie. I particularly didn’t want to go...

To the Islands

She hadn’t seen him since the day when she had bitten his nose and he had chewed on her ear, in a fight over secondhand books. So when, from her comfortable seat on the swing under the mulberry tree, Hazel saw Mutti appear that afternoon, pokerfaced, she didn’t know quite what to do. He came to her and, carefully maintaining his serious expression, said: “I want to take you somewhere.” Under ordinary circumstances, her price for fulfilling this wish of...

The Map

In one of Ankara’s forgotten streets, there is a narrow, dark bookstore. I stop by there every now and then to look at the dusty old books. The moldy old books interest me; the smell of dust gets into the back of my throat there, I chat a little with the old bespectacled bookseller, who sits in a corner at a worm-eaten desk , then I go out into the sunny streets again and walk away. Late one afternoon I went into the bookstore, where the sun rarely penetrates and which has a kind...

Desert Lights

The wind chisels out of sand its own statues, its hours hot crystals splintered definition of light set in ambush a mirage aflame coming toward a roundabout the confidence of murders summer fades, the sand, the heat What matters in opportune moments Is a steady aim, not to miss time Poems written for the survivors Distances that must be taken into account Where the desert ends a plateau where it does not end your life's rhythm going toward chaos The confidence of your...

The Waiter

The waiter who arrives with the summer at the seaside café barely earns eight to eight and a half a week. But what’s the harm?  The café now belongs to him.  He can work as he wants. At the day's end, after setting the chairs on top of the tables, he can smoke a cigarette while gazing at the sea, then call it a day—earlier on slow or rainy days—and lie down on his back, on the bed made with five chairs put together.  He has no one...

Coffee Grinds

"In our house lilies, roses, magnolias, jasmines are blooming, while you are reading fortunes, while I am watching, while I am reading fortunes, while you are watching." 1 People hold hands . . . this one in front, the other by the feet, the other by and by, a tower of people toward the sky. Stretching toward the sky. Trying to catch the flying fish, reach it, to arrive at it. (You're first, of course...) People burning incense in the sky. One of them is holding the fish...

Tante Rosa, Would-be Horse Acrobat

At the age of eleven, Tante Rosa read the following caption beneath a photo of Queen Victoria in cavalry garb, in the weekly family magazine You and Yours: "The eighteen-year-old Queen Victoria inspects the Royal Cavalry Troops. Decked out in a fashionable military cap, spurred boots, and a uniform-like dress, Her Majesty once again conquered the hearts of the cavalry troops and citizenry alike." Shortly after committing to memory the phrase "conquered the hearts" together with the...

Door

Pass through me, I'll remain, I'll wait, pass through me, but where you pass through me I cannot know. I was told, there's a ripe fruit behind the curtain of patience, the world will teach you both patience, and the ripe fruit's taste. They said, you waited like these trees, a vision like these trees, sorrowful like these trees. I was opened, I was closed, opened, closed, I saw those who went as much as those who came, where is the end of patience,...

The Train

Some weekends my parents and I went from Mardin to Syria and stayed in Kamışlı, the town nearest to the Turkish border. Although it was a town, I compared Kamışlı, with its wide, well-kept roads, its big buildings and hotels, to the great cities I'd seen in films and come across illustrated in atlases and encyclopaedias. I remember we stayed in the Semiramis Hotel, then a night club ... it was the first time in my life I'd seen a nightclub. I think it...

The Hidden Me

Here is the photograph. It was taken on the day my father came out of the Diyarbakır Prison. A huge convoy of hundreds was already at the Kızıltepe entrance and cut off my father's path. As before he was lifted high up on their shoulders, accompanied by drums and zurnas. We entered Mardin in a great procession. While he was in prison my mother and I came and went daily to and from Diyarbakır. Going along that road every day in the frightful heat of summer was...

Sacrifice

I bought you a lampshade today just the tip of my mind baltimore or an open-doored green Chevrolet, registered a masterpiece sacrifice is the tape you play wayward toward the shore all around us angelhoods, in blood cleaning at each other's throats, hanging on each others' calls I wrote you a letter today, more than trivialities, talking of roses the anxiety of turning into a rose can't you remember I bitched, wept left and right cigarettes lit, burnt out...

from “Harbinger”

when yıldız was a little girl, big letters were always a problem for her. also the big ideas written in big letters. from the very beginning some people said that it was a disorder. for example, when she was only in elementary school—she must have been about five and a half years old at that time, her teacher asked her mother one monday morning—a gray, rainy morning, after the flag-raising ceremony it was—and a nasty, grumpy anger could be felt in the voice of...

The Prisoner

She woke up long before the alarm. As though wanting to make sure the night was over, she blinked for a while in the dawn. She'd slept a total of three hours, but the night, full of tossing and turning, and full of realistic dreams, dreams far more painful than reality, had seemed to last forever. An endless waiting... For hours, she'd lain like a chained ghost, ears pricking up at the slightest sound, afraid to budge, knees bent to her chest. Unable to cry, unable to sleep, not...

Tunnel

The roads I walked didn't tire me, the plans I formed to kill myself didn't work, I did not diminish one bit, I did not increase I forgot the night I died in your nakedness. I found myself like an inner pain I neither escaped from your murder nor died there was blood around, it felt cold, desolate . . . Carrying a tunnel's wind-rush in me I passed through the agony, throughout the road, in time's fragments they reckoned me a shiver and yet, except for a...

Water

I won't talk anymore, I won't say harsh words in the morning for a dream I embroider a flower of pearl on my bosom. I never knew, what you understood from my words, I spoke the forest's frightfulness the plain's tranquility silenced you slept a long sleep, I saw the dream. Unceasingly I spoke of a path: I'm water, I didn't forget my name I spoke of a mountain I came across while wandering; I didn't meddle with the world's affairs, the world does not...

For Years

The hospital odors do not offend anymore. We have been here since yesterday morning and I am used to them. There are two beds in the room. Day is breaking. The man in the other bed is my brother. His still silhouette and even breathing tell me he had a comfortable night. A little while ago, I reached and turned on the small fan on my bedside table. My nephew brought two early yesterday evening. He placed one on his father's table and one on mine. He is set to join the army next...

Story of an Island

And in the desert between the two rivers the battle which had been going on for many days continued. Day and night the whole desert was filled with the intermingled sounds of cannon and machine-gun fire, the neighing of horses and the shouts of soldiers. In disorderly groups, one after the other, the soldiers of the disrupted army fled south to the farther end of the desert straight for the Mediterranean Sea. Many cannonballs caught up with them and exploded in the middle of these crowds...

from “City in Crimson Cloak”

March marks the end of the long dry season in Rio. It's the month when the tropical rains begin, rains that persist for days, nights,weeks. A huge army clad in black suddenly spreads over the horizon; it approaches at a gallop, full speed, and attacks just like that, without warning. It descends upon the city like an abominable, inescapable fate, without even allowing time to pull down the shutters. A furious, savage, vengeful, insufferable, merciless downpour . . . The sky finally...

Offering II

You are earth. You lie beneath everything. Everything is above you. Even the earth's crust. You are water. You are afraid of and for the stones you will strike as you flow. You stop for fear that the stone's skin will be scraped. Go on, flow. You'll stop if the stone bleeds. If you fear pain, you'll exhaust yourself. You are air. Wind curves inside you. Whereas you are invisible. Blow. Even if no trace of you remains, plane trees remember every breeze....

House of the Edge

Retreat to places that smell of soap Go to wet balconies Wrap your hands in cool, damp gauze Scrub your flesh stark white Purify your tongue and all you've seen Gather your illuminated words onto snow white paper Retreat from the war zone, you can't manage, The deaths in this zone are contagious Full of crumpling and scuffling maggots, I say flesh has gone wormy- What difference does it make If it's yours or someone else's! * In midafternoon,...

Seven Aches

After grasping the games and their rules The fatigue of participation becomes less and less bearable. Straight after grasping the knowledge of gain One must leave the game; This is not the story of losing But of not winning Because: The city is a woman so forlorn she can't say "no," Who makes love because she doesn't want to speak; The city is a badly beaten dog That no longer responds to pain; The tonic words that touch the hearts of urbanites Can't handle...

Time and Illusion

Flying into the field of clouds With the taste of sun and water There is no night out there Night does not fall in the distance A silver cage around my neck Like an unfaithful concubine I lay down and curled up In the middle of the moon It is a grandpa I am a goddess For days we flew in the twilight My neck was weak My heart was empty I rubbed my face against the trees I let my eyes touch the clouds painfully The roads I traveled over And that nightless sky I flew...

Women

With their blue tattoos And bruises from endless mournings They stand still looking at the fire They all shiver when the wind blows Their breasts bend to the earth Carrying burning wood in their hands Old as black rusty cauldrons Women continue their wandering When the fire bursts in a rage Voices multiply The fire burns incessantly there Extinguishing it is such a hassle Women with shrunken breasts Are thinking of the hardness of the wood They'll hold with their...

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