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Three poems



i always ask
how many life stories does a man have
and which one is the fake

how would it be to think of a city again,
forgetting those feelings that have remained cozy for years,
of a sea that turned scarlet
of those who got missing while being tortured
of roads built on stakes
of our identity that is different and the same

while the city collapsing down upon us
with all its avenues and streets
while habits swallowing people
and while the street names being changed
who could believe in magic,
or fortune-telling by water or time deposit

surely i believe in myself,
the most constant of all beliefs
the language consisting of gestures and looks
the last of the ten commandments

i have no license regarding the society
my arms are tied behind my back
fake loves and happy marriages
just become me

while waiting in the still waters of life
the following is the thing that keeps my mind busy
how do managers' kids pass their class
picking my nose
playing doctor

you got it, i have been so lonely for ages

May 1989
Translated by Zeynep Akkus


it was as if everything had been experienced before
we had already known those streets before even we walked on them
all the words to be said had already been written
our cold corpses were destined to be sad

little fragments of life and trivial details
included within the limits of our knowledge
but we weren't allowed to change anything at all
this life had to be led that way

while waiting to calm down, after each and every nightmare
there was one statement that we could hold onto:
"Children who eat fire
die before they turn out twenty."

June 1990
Translated by Zeynep Akkus


i am the one who flows in the bosom of that city
the scream that whips the night
everlasting, unbroken

why are all the knives inlaid with nacre
why is a claret red rose like the cry of a dervish
why does it flow out of the lips so thunderously

yes, i know you are into blue, too
i know that the claret red rose reminded you of death
the flower of your song wilted

well, how should i put it
i am the one who flows in the bosom that city
i either place myself into your bloodshot eyes
or become a damn bullet in the streets

i am the one who flows in the bosom of that city
no matter how hard you try to hide my name in the letters
i am in all of the photographs
dog-eared, a bit sad

i am the one who flows in the bosom of that city
it's i who waits for you in the queues
the one who pops out anytime anywhere
in the dark corners
in the middle of the night
and behind any doors
it's i who waits for you

December 1981
Translated by Zeynep Akkus

Metin Celal