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from the October 2008 issue

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 by the hand. All together they are on a long journey, mixing with the smoke, and becoming an object.

One single object unified by smoke, that one which turns many into one, dense and propitious smoke.

The holders of feet are suddenly constructing themselves into a swing on the sky.

Then, the rainbow has become a bow of folks.

Then, it's shining, swinging in the sky, watching those below.

Three roads are opening from them, next to each other, all of them opening toward the same place, the sky, emptiness. Pure, blessed emptiness.

The blessed smoke is taking the shape of a person. A saint who makes decisions. (Both a saint and a human being. A saint when he pleases, a human being when he does . . . )

In the full moon of the coffee grinds, together they are spinning, onto that the grinds won't change them, onto that kismet can't be stopped.

Together. In the sky. Becoming a human rainbow.

This way the sky turns human, as the fortune-teller pulls, pulling the thread . . .

(The same tower of folks, the tower which has turned into a rainbow of people, is also on the saucer.)

Also wearing the delicate clothing made of coffee grinds.

2 Here, I've turned up your cup. (Because the grinds are a bit dried, your fortune has set.)

(In order for your fortune to set, must we make coffee grinds wait? Whatever, let's look at the cup, see inside.)

A mountain. Flying to the sky. (As in all fortunes, is this mountain an inner distress? Shouldn't words, as moving targets, in fortunes also have various meanings? And couldn't unknown words enrich the interpretation, therefore a fortune?

The mountain is flying to the sky, continuing to fly, leaving its main mass of land behind. But also know that that block of motherland will not remain where they were–are themselves blocks which will continue to fly. As big pieces, as small pieces they will fly to the sky, there forming a mountain.

Mountain, in the sky. Even though their densities are different, only clouds can sustain their existence as mass. If so, what's this mountain which has rediscovered itself doing here?

You can tell me that. But it seems you're emptying your insides. And this, in the language of our coffee grinds, means an easing up. (Easing up block by block. If it happened all at once, it'd be like an electro-shock. Because of that, this way is a good thing. Maybe also the pace has to do with your personality.)

With this passing of the mountain to the sky, as if you are also being reborn. Midway, between sky and earth. And as if with your rebirth a crescent is oozing out from your skirt and mowing the skirt of the mountain.

Along with a cat in silhouette and a pregnant pigeon (or is it malignant) flying to the sky.

Between the sky and earth, or, seen another way, like the depths of the sea. Heavy, silent, or functioning among the noises of the depth of the sea, the migrating mountain, parcels of mountain, rocks, stones, the silhouette of the cat, the pregnant pigeon, you wearing a long gown, tiny fish, a crescent moon like the knife . . . you're in that sea.

Or seen from another angle . . .

The crescent is also on the saucer of the cup, in addition, exactly opposite the crescent inside the cup. Exactly like the reflection of a mirror, the right side on the left. The left, on the right, etc. (Or, to say more, the West in the east, the North south . . . )

According to looking in the mirror, hearts are on the right.

Does this alter anything, anything?

Opposite the crescent (the one in the saucer, that is crescent in the mirror) there is a star. (Like a flag, exactly!)

The crescent becoming a full moon, that star also will keep growing.

(Why the mountain is migrating to the sky is now crystal clear.)

Finito! 3 Wearing a mask, you're mingling with a crowd. There, beasts and human beings together . . . A midget with wings, or a midget angel, is viewing everything . . .

Holding fish and birds. Casts them over the crowd. Birds are flying. Fish diving into people's eyes, trying to swim. The fins are tearing folk's irises. The flying birds are regurgitating balls of fire.

Birds are bad news, fish, bad news, the winged midget, or the midget angel, also bad news.

Don't you ever, donning your mask, lose yourself in the crowd. (These folks are all leaning sideways, in italics. Don't ever mix with them . . . )

People, exchanging souls, are pulling each others' strings, in the sky.

From a lit up distance a man like the wind is approaching. (He is not coming like the wind, that is, adverbially, he's the wind, standing straight, looking every way . . . )

He's dispersing the clouds, the birds, the fish, the balls of fire, the winged midget, or the midget angel . . .

And in your heart, also, a good-hearted rooster is rising, is being born . . .

This fortune reads exactly like a fairy tale. Exactly.

4 Your coffee grinds have seeped out, it's raining. Exactly, such a distressing day. Besides, apart from reading your fortune I want to talk of other things. Which is not possible in every fortune. Now, instead of your fortune, I'd like to be strolling in Moda.

Wearing a long gown, you will dance. Like the Spanish, shawl drooping from your arm. Turning and turning. Everyone will look at you, you'll fascinate everyone. (Which is what the fortune is saying.)

Then, a path will be opening before you. A wondrous path.

You'll inflate balloons, fly them.

A crow, no, a seahorse with the face of a crow, is pecking at your breast. (This isn't a bad thing!) So that it pecks at you more fully, you are opening your breast. Then, outside, the you standing beside you, is peering at you at length. Analyzing you.

You're chasing someone, by leaps and bounds. The balloon, in the air.

The three of you, the dancer, the peerer, the opener of the breast.

Yes even the singer. Still in your ankle-length gown.

The day is dawning in the East. The crescent still there.

And there are still things I cannot write about.

Is that fair, is that fair!

5 This fortune is woven loosely, there was so much water left in the cup. (Even this weaving of fortune loosely, finally, how much freedom does it leave a human being!)

You're with various members of the tribe of beasts. (You being the only Adam's descendant among them, but doesn't this lead to another question? How much of a beast you are, how much a human being? Saying it in another way, what's the expiration date of the balance, or its absolute lack, between your passions and reason?)

Here, the beasts: a bull on its hind legs, a playful fox, like puppies, a cat its tail behind it standing up, another cat squeezing the thought-balloon above its head, a fat beaver, a marten costumed as a bird, an ostrich carrying a rider on its back, a sparrow flying and capturing seeds, a rooster with seven heads, dinosaurs flying, walking within the time and space dimensions of a creature metamorphosing itself from a cat to a person, containing within itself all seven aspects, details of this metamorphosis, like a dream . . . in the middle you. In the middle of them and above them, spraying milk on all of them. Above them, and leaning backward against them spraying it over into their world. You're lying on the ground, leaning on your elbows you are thinking, and shaking your tail a little. (Because you're in touch with the animal world through your elbows, they also bestowed you a tail. This looks very much like Alice, wandering in the wonderland.)

Amazed at everything or ready to be amazed, childlike.

Not childlike, a child, a baby.

(A cat, one different from the others, has grabbed a bird by its wing. And this is the last news of the fortune.)

In the depths there is a fault-line. That is, an earthquake.

And in the coffee grinds on the saucer there is an arsonist. This is the second person in the fortune.

There's a person in the saucer. A person in the cup.

This fortune's has run out!

Translation of "Gül ve Telve." By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2008 by Murat Nemet-Nejat. All rights reserved.

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