Tree in Paradise [Tuba]
An insomniac poplar, I guard
the garden of the people.
My nightmares: axes,
cannons, rifles and explosives.
When human corpses fill my dreams
I'm too scared to sleep.
Just a tired plane tree, I'm imprisoned
in a golden pot. An ugliness
rests in my shade. My tender leaves
fall--still born--still green.
I am an ever-blooming date tree
in the Middle East
with a colonist sitting against my trunk.
My roots ache, my branches
hurt, my flowers bloom fetid,
and worms infest my fruit.
A passionate grapevine in Anatolia
I smile at the beautiful
who pass me by. I feel
dizzy, my eyes dazzled.
My blood circumnavigates the world
aware of the people in my roots.
I am the great Tuba tree in paradise:
in the garden of love my shade is
so grand both Jesus and Mohammed
can sit to together. Please,
reader, have a seat.
A young girl crosses
the Asarcik Bridge.
She's the age of falling leaves
and the height of crops calling to be reaped.
She holds her tongue tight to her cheek
as she hears the shrill howling of a dog shivering, chilled
as the arid land coagulates in my throat.
The genitals of darkness
beg to be scratched as seeds shrivel in the earth.
A girl crosses
the Antakya Bridge.
She is the age of migrating birds
and the height of white rapids.
She holds her laughter tight to her face.
The trees turned the boredom
with ferocious eyes
camoflauging their urge to pick a fight
with peaceful feathers.
Their hard beaks betray their anger.
A woman crosses
the Antakya Bridge
with a pair of prosthetic legs--
one golden, one tin.
Her feet walk close to history,
Above her, a furnished sky:
birds with white feathers,
mountains foggy with the mist of fear,
to the other horizon, loneliness blooms on the plains.
All the colors of the world bound tight to her dreams.
Her hair is a downpour
and her lips, the tornado's breath.
Since the birth of the earth,
she is my first love.
See how the delicate blossoms in the orchard
quake with my tentativeness.
No matter her color, she is sky,
and wherever she hides,
my birds will find her
for they have flown, right from my heart.
She will feel its warmth in their feathers.
The horizon has been melted
and collected in a cup.
Whenever she open her eyes,
a bruise-colored rain falls
on the curved roads
washing away the children's games,
but channeling a warm chill within me.
Such rain allows the roses to bloom proudly,
roses which would have wilted otherwise.
In the crooked houses at night,
mothers lay the covers of lullabies
on their chilled children.
Some have spun the bloody waters
into hair for their heads,
and they've painted laughter on their faces
with the tears of orphans.
May the brave be reborn courageously
for they had died by mistake.
Since the birth of the earth
she is my first flight
on my own wings
and with my own head.
My first flight: so obvious if she could see
the pure river flowing inside me.
From the Dig [Kazi]
I am a farmer from Hatti
who worships the earth's lush soil.
The sky once smiled whenever
I harnessed my oxen
to plow the sun and moon.
As soon as my cold plowshare
furrowed the warm earth
an aromatic rain would fall.
Once those first drops struck my tanned face
and the bread in my knotted bundle grinned.
I am an alchemist from Hatti
and I blend the earth with my sweat
so trees might begin to fly
and birds would blossom.
Ants would kiss the wheat passionately ....
I am a shepherd from Hatti;
I carved bas reliefs into the mountains
and used sea water for my paint.
Then the gods broke my flute, and my cloak
remained cold while my body was in flame.
The lightness of my face and eyes
and the bright words on my tongue
smile from my face
because I am the poet of Hatti.
I have worn this shirt for a thousand years
while dreaming of distant tomorrows.
Still, my adobe home grew
and I am not yet rotting:
my skin still holds my bones tightly.
I am like the fields of Hatti--
although just a few grasses grew on me
a few civilizations turned green.