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POETRY

poems of the month

fish

vagabondage

measuring my face

ostracism

old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

the book of nothing

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

leda and the swan

confession from belgrade

gloss on rilke's
ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa:
a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic

imagepoem

 

TRANSLATIONS

 

BETWEEN POETRY AND PROSE

good riddance to mankind

the maxims of michel de montaigne

400 revolutionary maxims

nice men and
  suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper

disgusting

art, truth and bafflement

 

SHORT STORIES

godpieces

the three bears

three albanian tales

odorous underwear

a little creation story

 

PROSE

helen's tower

extortion through e-bay

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

are doctors autistic ?

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

masturbation

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

a note on the cathars

happiness

londons of the mind

genocide

a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope

combatting normality

shoplifting
in britain & america

this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

a holy dog
& a dog-headed saint

fools for nothingness

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

the visit

 

PHOTOGRAPHS

prelude

 

Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

houses for the dead

ireland & the phallic continuum

the sheela-na-gig conundrum

french megaliths

a small town in france

western values

 

 

 

 

 

 

this site only

 

 

 

"Ruhun ihtiyacı
dokunuştur sevgiyle..."

 

 


OLD CLOTHES
poems by Orhan Veli Kanık
(1914-1950)

 


 

versions by Anthony Weir
of translations from the Turkish
by Murat Nemet-Nejat and others

 

 

WALKING DOWN THE STREET

Walking down the street,
I realise that I'm smiling.
And I smile even more
because I'm thinking
passers-by must think me
a bit funny in the head -
or, of course, that I've been drinking...

 


I, ORHAN VELI

I, Orhan Veli,
famous author of the famous poem
Suleyman Effendı, May He Rest in Peace,
have heard that you are curious
about my private life.

Let me tell you:
First I am a man - that is,
I am not a performing seal, or anything like it.
I have a nose, and ears,
though they are not perfectly-formed
or even shapely.
I live in a house,
I have a job.

I don't walk around with a cloud above me,
nor do I have a sign on my back.
I am not as modest as King George VI of England,
nor am I snooty like our former President's
late-lamented Chief Groom.
I love spinach.
I am crazy about cheese Börek.
I have no eyes
for material things -
really I don't.
Oktay Rifat and Melih Çevdet
are my best friends,
and I have a lover,
who is Very Respectable.

Naturally, I cannot mention her name.
(The literary critics can root it out.)

I also keep busy with unimportant things,
but only between Projects.
What more can I say ?
Perhaps I have a hundred other habits,
but what's the point of mentioning them all ?
Lists pretty soon begin to pall...

 



POEM WITH A TAIL

We can't be seen together.
Our paths are separate.
You belong to the butcher.
I'm just an alley cat.
You eat off a metal plate,
I from the lion's mouth.
You dream of love.
I dream of dinner.

But your path isn't easy either, pal.
No, it's not easy
to wag a tail
all and every
godforsaken day.

 

 

OLD CLOTHES

I buy old clothes.
I buy old clothes and refashion them as stars.
'Music is the food of love.'
I love music.

I write poetry.
I write poetry and buy old clothes.
I sell old clothes and buy music.

If only I could also be a little fish
in a big bottle of raki!

(NOTE: the word eskiler can mean anything old,
including 'The Ancients')

 

 

THE VISITOR

I was so bored yesterday evening
two packs of cigarettes did absolutely nothing for me.
Tried to write, wrote nothing.
For the first time in years I played the violin,
walked around,
watched people play backgammon
and made appropriate comments,
sang songs off key,
caught flies — a matchboxful.
Finally, dammit!
I came here to see you...

 

 

MUSTARD

I was so stupid.
For years
I didn't understand
the place
of mustard
in society.
One can't
Live
Without mustard.

Abidin was saying
the same thing
the other day
to those
who understand
Deeper Things.

I know I don't need to say this - but
May God let no one
be without Mustard.

 

 

MY TREE

If there were other trees
in our neighbourhood
I would not love you so.
But if you knew
how to play backgammon with me
I would love you even more.

O beautiful tree!
When you die
I hope we'll have moved
to another neighbourhood.

 

 


THE HILL

If, in the next life, after the factories close,
the road taking us home
in the evenings
is not
so steep,
Death
is not a horrible thing
at all.

 

 


AN EXCURSION

Birch trees are beautiful.
Even so
when we arrive
at the final destination
I'd rather be
a river than a birch tree.

 

 


THE BAR

I don't love her any more.
So why should I walk
every night
past the bar
where I drank
every night
thinking about her?

 

 


KEEPING MYSELF BUSY

Those lovely women thought
the love poems I wrote
were about them,
and I always suffered,
knowing that I wrote
to keep myself busy.

 

 


POSSIBLY

Right now, possibly
he's thinking
of Edith Almera
by a lake in Belgium.

Edith Almera
is the first fiddle
in a gypsy band,
very popular on the nightclub circuit.

Curtseying to
her applauding admirers,
she smiles.

Nightclubs are beautiful.
There,
a person may fall
in love
with a girl playing first fiddle.

 

 


TWO POEMS ON TRAVELLING

I.

When you're travelling,
the stars speak to you.
What they say
is often sad.

II.

The song you whistle
when you're drunk at night
is cheerful,
but the same song
from behind a train window
is not.

 

 

The world is made just to drive a man crazy.

It's midnight, there's a quiet buzz
from the moonlit hills...and a certain scent,
and trees all covered with sudden flowers.

 

 

FOR FREE

We are living for free;
The air's for free, the clouds are for free,
hills and dales are for free.
Rain and mud are for free.
The outside of cars,
the foyers of movie-houses,
shop-windows are for free.
It's not the same as bread and cheese -
but salt-water is for free.

Freedom will cost you your life,
but slavery is free - somewhere -
to anyone who wants it.
We are living for free.
For free.

 

 


ANOTHER EXCURSION

It's after midnight.
Why is the light on
in this hillside house ?
What's going on ?
Are they talking
or playing cards ?
One or the other...

If they're talking, what about?
War, taxes ?
Perhaps they're talking about nothing,
the children asleep,
the man of the house reading his newspaper,
the lady of the house sewing.
Maybe they aren't doing any of these things, either.
Who knows?
Maybe what they're doing
has been cut
by the Censors.

 

 


LULU, MY LULU

I also want to have black-skinned friends
with strange exotic names
and sail with them
from Madagascar to Chinese ports.
I want one of them to stand on deck,
watching the stars, singing
"Lulu, my Lulu'' every night.

I want to meet
one of them
in Paris
one day.

 

 


A GLITTERING POEM

I woke up one morning.
The sun came up in me.
I turned into birds and leaves
which glittered in the springtime breeze.
I turned into birds and leaves.
My arms and legs were rioting.
I turned into birds and leaves,
birds
and leaves.

 

 


THE GALATA BRIDGE
[across the Golden Horn]

Strolling on the bridge
I watch all of you with pleasure.
Some of you are pulling the oars, whispering,
some of you are picking oysters from the buoys,
some of you are holding the tillers of the barges,
some of you are ropemen at the hawsers;
some of you are birds, flying like poets;
some of you are fish, glittering, glittering;
some of you are boats, some of you are floats,
some of you are airy clouds.
Some of you are steamboats, dropping their smokestacks,
they sneak under the bridge;
some of you are whistles, blowing;
some of you are smoke, also blowing.
But all of you, all of you,
all of you worry about A Living.
Am I the only hedonist among you?
Don't worry, maybe one day
I'll write a poem about you.
I'll make a penny or two (but not by writing),
and I'll buy myself something to eat.

 

 


THE TRAM-DRIVER

He looks in front of him all the time.
He doesn't smoke.
He is
a wonder!

 

 


LISTENING TO ISTANBUL

I'm listening to Istanbul, concentrating, my eyes closed:
at first there is a gentle breeze
and the leaves on the trees
sway softly.
Far, far away,
the bells of the water-carriers unceasingly ring:
I'm listening to Istanbul, concentrating, my eyes closed.

I'm listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
Then suddenly a bird flies by -
flocks of birds, noisily, up to the sky,
while the nets are drawn above dishing-weirs
and a woman's foot dabbles in the water.
I'm listening to Istanbul, concentrating, my eyes closed.

I'm listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed:
the shady Grand Bazaar
and the Mahmutpasha full of pigeons,
and sounds of hammering from the docks,
and the summer breeze bearing from afar
the smell of sweat.
I am listening.

Concentrating, my eyes closed, I'm listening
to drunken revelries of times past.
In a seaside villa with its derelict boathouse
the roaring south-west wind is trapped.
My thoughts are trapped,
while listening to Istanbul withmy eyes closed.

I'm listening to Istanbul, concentrating,my eyes closed.
A pretty girl walks by, eliciting
obscenities, wolf-whistles and cat-calls.
Something falls out of her hands.
I think it is a rose!.
I'm listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I'm listening to Istanbul, concentrating, my eyes closed.
A bird is fluttering around your skirt.
I know if your forehead is hot or cold,
and if your lips are wet or dry,
and if a silver moon is rising above the pistachio tree...
my heart, fluttering, tells it me.
And everything is as I supposed,
and I'm listening to Istanbul -
not-so-new Byzantium - with my eyes closed.

 

 

Tanıyanlarsa, "Zavallı, demeli,
Çok sefalet çekti.."
Fakat hakiki sebep
Bunlardan hiçbirisi olmamalı.

 

Anthony Weir

 

SIX POEMS INSPIRED BY
ORHAN VELI

Anthony Weir

 

SUPERLATIVE

I love thin hairy bearded men,
I also love hunky working men
and sexy men on the dole
(I'd make the latter piles of toast)
- but I love thin, hunky, working-but-
unemployed, bearded men the most.

 

 

SUICIDE

I know
it isn't easy to live.
I know very well
that living isn't easy
especially if you
(think you) have to shave.
But dying's no doddle either,
guys.

To leave this world
when you decide you've
had enough
is not the easy option
that you think it is.
Let me tell you
it's only for the bravest
of the brave.

 

 

BEAUTY

How beautiful the colour
of fresh green tea
is
in the morning
in the fresh air.
How beautiful
the fresh air
is.
How beautiful that tree.
How handsome and how
venerable the waiter
is.
How beautiful the tea.

 

 

PRO PATRIA

Many died
Many more were maimed
Some gave speeches
None spoke out

 


SEXINESS

Where
where is my sexiness ?

One of Satan's minions took it,
couldn't sell it,
couldn't even give it away -
so he threw it away.

O where O where
is my sexiness ?

 

 

TRAVELLING

I have no intention of travelling.
I am happy in these gorgeous gorges
of the Aveyron.
But if I were to travel
I wouldn't go to Beijing,
La Paz or Mafeking.
One day you might think
you've seen me making
taking magic potions
somewhere beyond the seven oceans,
farther from here than eerie Pyongyang...

but I told you:
I have no intention of travelling.

 

poems by genrikh sapgir >

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