2 poems by John Casquarelli -translated by Sevda Akyuz.

Sevda Akyuz translates the poetry of John Casquarelli, a poet and lecturer of Academic Writing at Koç Üniversitesi in Istanbul, as well as the Managing Editor for Lethe Journal.


“She won’t always be there

to help you with epilogues,”

my father would say. 

“Emotions are landmines.”

Wounds may bleed, but are

necessary for the healing

to begin. Each day, a series

of movements, a dawn 

unfolding, the long breath

between glances. Shall I tread

carefully around seashells and

man o’ war to bookmark the

ocean? Thirst is a reflex, 

and it comes with a cost. 

A commodified glue binding

everything from fruit trees to

expectations to blank pages

in an old Red Leaf notebook.

If the mirage of originality 

is lost, the palate loses its

desire to taste. Distance can

be an invitation, an open door

to enter. In the spectrum

of innocence, colors are most

vivid when our bodies touch.


“O her zaman sonsöze yardım etmek için 

orada olmayacak,” derdi babam. 

“Duygular tıpkı mayın gibidir.” 

Yaralar kanayabilir, 

ama iyileşmenin başlaması için gereklidir. 

Her gün, bir dizi hareket, 

şafak sökerken,

bakışmalar arasındaki uzun soluk. 

Deniz kabuklarının ve 

denizanalarının arasında

dikkatli mi yürümeliyim 

okyanusu işaretlemek adına? 

Susuzluk bir reflekstir ve de bir bedeli vardır. 

Kırmızı kapaklı eski bir defterin

boş sayfalarından beklentilere ve 

dahi meyve ağaçlarına, 

herşeyi yapıştıran bir zamk. 

Şayet özgünlük serabı yitip giderse, 

damak da tat alma arzusunu yitirir. 

Mesafe bir davet olabilir, 

girilecek açık bir kapı. 

Masumiyet dizgesinde renkler

en çok bedenlerimiz dokunurken canlıdır.

John Casquarelli is the author of two full-length collections: On Equilibrium of Song (Overpass Books, 2011) and Lavender (Authorspress, 2014). He is a Lecturer of Academic Writing at Koç Üniversitesi in Istanbul, and the Managing Editor for Lethe Journal. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.

Sevda Akyuz Translator

Sevda Akyuz studied English literature at Bogazici University. She taught English and Academic Writing in prestigious universities in the US and Turkey for 30 years. She also taught Western Civilizations, Film &Visual Culture, History of Drama and Translation. She translated/edited books, articles, theses, dissertations, art catalogs, movie scripts, plays, stories, and poems.

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