Didem Madak

Translated by Suat Karantay

"My life will begin Once
I am the black princess
Pippi Longstocking

You're frowning at my flowery poems, Sir,
But you don't know. Behind flowery curtains
I'm trying to conceal my body rent asunder.
Here am I sitting in the dark with the lights off.
Let the alarm clock ring until the spring winds down.
I am remembering a love scene with a bitter aftertaste
Like the irrelevant radiance of a knife.
I am an illicit rain which for years has been hiding in the clouds.
Were I to rain now, I'd ride in the whirlwind and direct the storm.
I am a guttersnipe, Sir.
Loneliness is the sole master in my cellar.
Lately I've been feeling as unbreakable as those plastic vases.
But I'm afraid. With your large-size shoes you'll be stepping
on the children playing in the garden.
That wouldn't be proper, Sir, would it?

"It's already dark!" I say.
I scatter breadcrumbs to the birds
They're pecking at glass splinters
In my dream in a bowl full of water
All I want to tell you about is the puzzle pieces in a rainbow of colors.
But you're not listening to me.
No, I don't think I can wait till morning
I feel that people must tell their dreams
As soon as possible.

My soul was fourteen years old, Sir,
It aged in the cold of a marble table.
My soul became a peg-leg, on slender white legs
I roamed the city making creaking sounds.
They even whistled at my artificial legs.
They laid siege to the unarmed legions
of flowers within me.
"Squeals of Orgasm" was playing in the cinemas.
I tried to escape but no success.
That's why I find it beneficial for my soul
To compose flowery poems.
Well, that's it!
I never forget a film.

I've often taken refuge in the unending nights of cinemas.
I remember having wept bitterly as I watched "Sophie's Choice."
I wish they had made a film of the kissing Guramis.

I'd never forget it, I'm sure.
Can anyone forget the sound of a spinning wheel deep within?
Moreover I've the habit of recalling
I am a "collector of articles", Sir.

The great ships of yore are no more, Sir.
And the great clippers are no more.
Now I want to burn large sheets of paper.
I saw a cormorant dive a while ago
It's not come up yet.
I wish it would emerge with the whole world in its belly
Death is a big big word isn't it, Sir?
I know I stink like marigolds.
But can you imagine the beauty of a forlorn lover
Who poaches eggs on a coal stove?
One rose would say to another if it could see
No, I am lying
Roses have lately grown mute, Sir.


Translated by Suat Karantay

To Corresponding Lovers

As of now you're but a memory
Like a cloud or a powder, fleeting
Let all (loves) be put into parentheses
Like wind chimes, you echo the language of the breeze
Neither clear refrain
nor distinct melody evokes your name
Your present essence as pitiful as certain songs I know

Let the days pile up like stubs in ashtrays
For that one day you're sure to show up on the train
You're the froth of the waves, living in the blue
Your skin whene'er you wish takes on a watery hue
I've left it to my hands, which shall now write my thoughts to you
Should there be two aged fish within me
Should there be two fish, one bare of scales, within me
And one is you, your return might well destroy it
This is what I wish to write to you
Then what I wish to put into the post
In a bare envelope
There is no longer any letter that can bring me back to life

If with these red ribbons adorning my hair
I look as wan as a fine sheet of muslin
-not only my countenance but my soul as well
Time will fade a page, whatever's written upon it
To my hands I've left this; they shall write my thoughts to you
As of now you're but a memory

In a transparency adorned with broken hearts
You're the glass and I'm the film; if you break
With my silver coat I shall make love to you
Upon that image adorned with broken hearts
Should there be two women in me, one in silver
You, if you come, might destroy them
This is what I wish to write to you
Then what I wish to put into the post
with a New Year's card adorned with gilt
There is no longer any letter that can bring me back to life

As of now you're but a memory
When a geranium blooms in the pot
Let all (loves) be put into parentheses
To my hands I've left this; they shall write you what I think
Should my letters go astray in the post...
Ah, my love
Your present essence as pitiful as certain songs I know

Translated by Suat Karantay
Each and every day tidbits from distant nations fall
From the pockets of the sun
Like those from the pockets of a hard-pressed papa
Melancholy and smelling of sesame seed.
Maybe a star like gretagarbo's died
Till evening falls ironmongers walk their black nightmares
Throughout all the city's thoroughfares
At each corner after nightfall the drunks now puke out their mundane day
With the sun now safely packed - with receipts for tax
Racks of cheap clothing now display a ruffled, ruffled sea
of bargains as a consolation prize.
In the damp drizzle toward sunrise then
There are only forlorn feline strays collected in the corners
Rubbing and preening their coats.
They contemplate the slanting rain
These filthy cats of every hue.
Peddlers selling
Crisp rings of fried dough, their hands greasy
Their eyes, their hearts greasy-filthy merchants!
Seagulls lacking any vote of confidence
Begin to haunt the crowded markets of Kemeralti
With tears from some thirty-three slashes of love's dagger dribbling slowly
from their eyes.
Waiting beneath the tower each day at noon there's Mr. Parkinson.
As a resident of this city
He's awaiting an earthquake.

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