{back to poetry and prose}


Murat Nemet-Nejat




Distance is created either by space or the slowness of movement as one can move thirty-one
years back in time by visiting my Turkey.


Kadikoy, a ten-minute ferry boat ride from Istanbul, a continental shift, Europe to Asia,


A crowd.


Fishermen on the wharf, keeping the fish fresh by sprinkling them with sea water, next to
peeled cucumbers.


But these can't be the same fish stale alive in my memory!


Now, thirty-one years later, in the falling dark, the ferry now, not a pleasure craft, but a
commuter boat,                                                 


Carrying tired grim people sailing from work,


And I, the prodigal son returning,


Not to the embrace of his brethren, but to those for whom he is a stranger,


Alien in the alien corn,


A tourist...


When the space traveler returns, having travelled at the speed of, spun, puns, he'll find
himself/herself much younger and unable to filter          through the membrane of weird,



old/new words,                                                                              


Meanwhile, down on the slop ranch, pig ranch, cow range, slow-as-snail plough ranch,
words have stripped off, shuffled off, brushed off, stripped off, kicked off, put in the
closet their angelic natures,        wings of paradisiac aphrodisiacs, but are slow witted

(even                                    airs

retarded) gamins, sad ruthless Monte artists, addicts, soiled fifth columnists... 


I can feel the cool breeze of Kadikoy's             secluded square,





Change, in a chain: time bends space bends light, bent in water...


Words chain. Change.


Nostalgic hope, you dope, rope.



                           After 31 Years A Bookstore Under A Huge Tent  In Kadikoy


Intermingled bulbs, shaking in the breeze, hanging from a rope all across the tent.


That rope has been an irritating resistance, a ghastly, ghostly double exposure, streak of


Faces, political posters, intermingled with bulbs, shaking, stretching on a rope inside the


Wind and choral music blaring, the flaps pulling back on all sides, the sea breeze...


I begin browsing along the sides of the tent,

stop in front of racks of political postcards,

with drawings of a grieving mother and hungry child

or a photograph of a

black man or a marching group with flags.                                               


Suddenly, somebody steps to my left very near behind me. He is the secret police
checking out a new face.


I pick a few postcards, leave them with the owner at the counter, ask him if the music
playing is the radio or a tape, he says a tape, I ask if he has it for sale, he checks, but says
no, but


he has others by the same composer, ask him to give me all and ask him if he
recommends others and to put them

aside, then I go on to browse further.


The Secret Sex Life in Galata,    

Caning In The Ottoman Schools,

The Charms Of The Chador,

Ottoman Bathhouses for Lady Dowagers,

The Art of Secret Communication With Signals,

Womanizing In The Winter Snow,

The Methods Of Avoiding Police Raids,

The Varieties Of Supporting A Mistress

The Rules And The Lingo Of Street Compliments In The Ottoman Period.


I bought also Eleni Fourtouni's, Women Hanged in the Greek Civil War,

with the cover photograph of two women hanging from branches of an oak tree, necks
broken, arms and legs dangling, with a third figure, in the back, merging with the black
oak tree, only the lighter rope visible.




In this veil of tears


Air heavy.




In the eyes.


Sweat falling from the forehead


When working the fields.


As I carry her,


The arms, unknowingly, caressing the water,


Just if she were not dead, but heavily drunk with water,


Last hope, like last of city lights, last window, the last kind face


Blowing out.


-{ana sayfa}{marmara}{trambolin}-