Blesok no. 99, November-December, 2014

Looking at You

Efe Duyan

Imagined Conversation

you ask why - perhaps because of a few white strands from your hair  like a scar or a royal crest,    like terrible memories or fabulous advice, a difficult day, a sleepless sunrise all trailing across your cheek.  you ask why - because your proud fingers can become playful in a instant I’m not talking about some magician’s trick but untucking a tight blouse from a shirt…  you ask why - because your constantly-escaping hair is the crumple in every fairytale sheet; because an adopted princess is what I’m really looking for, a frog that stays a frog after being kissed. you do know fairytales are just for kids? and I'm not a child anymore.  what else? because of your single black dress, the smiles that you hand out like flyers because that dress and the kitten rubbing against your legs both suit you – was there even a kitten? –  and because I don’t know if I will get scared in the night  by your lips like a river  which flows in two contrary directions or mess up or fall like an idiot for you  I’ll tell you only once don’t ask me again my heart pounded softly   good bye.

translated by Sian Melangell Dafyd

Funeral Notice

The funeral has taken place of
at ….. …….. on ……., ………
The ceremony was conducted by
……   ……. ………..

the carefully protected house of cards
the art of not engaging
of not committing
to anything
bitterness that has been nourished
with bread and paraffin
of not getting involved
of not trusting the snowball
left out under the sun
of not being astonished
until complacency is overturned
by the sight of a factory occupation

the skin that was shed that day
the language to be slowly learned
the suddenly confronted death
on the marvellous and dangerous tarmac road of rebellion
a man
who took one step beyond

we who loved him
will forget him

translated by Richard Gywn


The terminal is useless
if we are not going to meet
our memories shouldering

cider and chips as they slide
from the ferry. Every morning
I iron memories of my old love,

straight, flat and pregnant
with childish questions
I dreamed then forgot.

I keep her photos ready, alien
on the blue bedspread as pirates
on a quiet blue lake,

like a crossword stuck
in the corner of my life
would she like to answer

my call for a third night with Nastenka?
All the facades in Baharive street are so clever
they know she still hides herself in brown cardigans

but I wonder why she won't go out
when there are no clouds
in her pockets.

When we finished our final tea
Istanbul quit repeating itself
and I took off my redundancies.

Reality can be softened
by daises, cut and waiting
in a vase I never bought

and just now
the first rain
of autumn begins.

Trans. by Ryan van Winkle

One Out of Three

the first man to light a kerosene lamp in the street, in beyoğlu or rome he should've burned this city to the ground
they wrote in one of the temples in ancient egypt while drinking beer from a common bowl
kicking over the barrels and flicking a match  is your only elixir to forget but after the invention of gunpowder it was learned  a city can be burned nothing can be forgotten  if it is true that a man puts a dove beneath his dark raincoat to warm it up that another always buys from the same bagel-seller  because he knows the man is cold that a gypsy girl is happiest when she finds a doll in the rubbish that I could never say to the road-sweepers that I really love the fallen leaves that I hesitated to help the rag-and-bone man pull his cart  just because he was the same age as me   if it is true
that I secretly inhale the dust in second hand bookstores
then it is certainly the case
that sailors only go to sea to say that one sentence on the tip of their tongue
for the moment  I appear and disappear in my own dreams and disperse myself throughout the streets  there are traces of you everywhere we’ve been  can a street  sometimes lead to a few months ago?  is this cold weather really worth getting ill for? I don’t like those who sit outside on the ferry  only in the summer because they're prepared to brave the winter beetles can just fly around all August - come December I am going to knock on your deaf door…  there are four seasons here three of them are winter…

translated by Bill Herbert

Am I to you?

Am I far away to you? Not much
Bus plus ferry plus tram

Am I forbidden to you? Don’t exaggerate
Whenever I look in your eyes
The irreversibility of a recently dug tunnel

I am child to you, let it be
I like to be a nuisance when I’m with you

I am anxious to you, I know
I make a fuss sometimes, Miss

I am inclined to you, don’t move
Like one wave merging into another wave

I am night and day to you
The wicked fox of hesitation

I am wistful to you
We haven’t met each other too late, have we?

I am maybe trouble to you
Will you manage to start again from zero?

I am a blank white paper to you
The smell of a newly sharpened pencil

I am now to you
The enthusiasm of a watch that’s just been repaired

I am later to you, always to you, you to you

I am ‘let’s go’ to you
Are you sure?

I am a basic question put
To you

Trans. By Robyn Marsack

Looking at You

Upturning the turtle, little girl runs away
For the first time, turtle sees sky

Trans. by Raman Mundair


far away form my familiar childhood
is this boy trying to fix the breaks of a bike

I must stop trying to learn lessons

from his hands accustomed to iron and copper
in streets where we hung around on summer days

from the long hours he works
whereas we hate working itself in this century

from his incurious eyes
looking at the stuff we saved from a decaying sky

from the darkness he wants to get rid of
like a low cloud he drags round

seeing that I don’t know how to love
I must leave them all behind and go

all those books about the working class
that I know by heart, and stop equating
unanswered loves with revolutions

and I must leave my familiar childhood
at the top of the hill along with that bike
whose brakes are bust

created by