NIGHT LOOKS TO THE EAST

I

…sentences began with Syrian merchants.
Much later I opened a window facing the river.
A wounded woodcock came in.

I woke to the sounds of rough Latin.

II

We fell from the middle of a book, medium-sized sentences in search of our place, in a city we didn’t know (for the city’s name was nowhere to be seen) all through the night we wandered. It looked like London, but it wasn’t, that’s for sure; how could we be so sure? Nowhere did the Thames bridges suddenly appear; no Oxford Street, no Hyde Park; it looked like Istanbul but it wasn’t Istanbul; it could have been Venice, Amsterdam, canals everywhere, water, everything living on water, but it wasn’t; maybe Baghdad, Delhi, Peking; the three of us kept our eyes to the floor and didn’t speak; but fireflies, birds, playing cards, ants, suspension bridges, Carthage – yes, Carthage – dinosaurs, dogs, water ways, sewers, water flies and bandages all caught around our ankles and kept stopping us and still we couldn’t find our place on pages.
Maybe our existence was prescribed.
We were cast off.

III

We were in a Palace of Delights, then moved to a House of Dotage.

IV

I’d undress you.
Your feathery nudity would hit a cloud and stop.
(I couldn’t reach out.)

V

O word transformers!
You stopped giving news from above.

VI

Sentences are being destroyed…

The world belongs
To ovals and circles!

ILHAN BERK
from The Book of Things (2009), translated by George Messo

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Filed under ilhan Berk, Poetry of the Middle East, Turkish Poetry, World Literature

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