2 Poems by John Casquarelli translated from Turkish by Sevda Akyuz

PRIMA FACIE                                                                 
for Jomyr                                                                    


Evenings can be hypnotic with good friends,               
but so can whisky shots on an empty stomach.
It’s good to have options. Besides, I like variety.
It keeps things mysterious in much the same way
one starts a conversation. While heading to Iriga,
we drove past goats in rice fields. Do they dream
of electric sheep? Did Philip K. Dick understand
the pressures of living up to his surname?
Communication often begins with heartbreak.
Red and orange sunset hues, cigarette butts
            in ashtray, planes flying in the distance, the sigh
            of the body once eyes have emptied their tears
            and glanced at the dancing smoke. The thunder of
            toned arms wrapped around your waist as if to say
            that a thousand bridges are worth crossing to
            understand your chemistry. The laws of nature
            do not function the same way as laws do in
            the courtroom. I teeter from one to the other.
            Sometimes, it makes me dizzy and confused.
            A hung jury can be a double entendre.

İLK BAKIŞTA
Jomyr 

Dostlarla geçirince, akşamlar uyuşturur insanı,
ama aç karnına atılan viski de yapar aynını.
İnsanın seçeneği olması güzel şey. Hem çeşit severim ben.
Aynı bir konuşmaya başlarken ki esrarengizliği devam ettirir zira.
İriga’ya giderken pirinç tarlalarındaki keçilerin yanından geçtik.
Onlar da elektrikli koyun rüyası görür mü ki? Philip K. Dick,
soyadının getirdiği ağır sorumluluğu anlamış mıydı acaba?
İletişim çoğu zaman kalp acısıyla başlar.
Kızıl ve turuncu günbatımı renkleri, sigara izmaritleri
            küllükde, uzaktan geçen uçaklar, iç geçirmesi
            gözyaşlarından arınmış bedenlerin, göz atarken
            dans eden sigara dumanına. Kaslı kollar belini
            sararken haşmetli, sanki binlerce köprüyü geçmeye
            değer der gibi, sırf anlamak için senin kimyanı.
            Doğa yasaları işlemez mahkeme salonundakiler
            gibi. Birinden diğerine salınıyorum. Bazen,
            kafam karışıyor, başım dönüyor.
            Asılı bir jüri iki tarafa da çekilebilir.

HUNGER

first
there is you
nervous
though divine
within your eyes
dusk
a new mingling
lips and teeth
on reed
the moan
of jazz saxophone
fingers crave
wet rhythms
dizzy chords
a playful and
mysterious glance
legs panting
at the center
of a garden
I love the thrill
of your silhouette
merging with mine

AÇLIK 

önce
          sen varsın
heyecanlı
ancak ilahi
gözlerinde
          alacakaranlık
yeni bir karışım
dudaklar ve dişler
mercan
inleyişi
caz saksafonunun
arzulayan parmaklar
ıslak ritimler
         başı dönmüş akortlar
şen ve
esrarengiz bakışlar
bacaklar nefes nefese
ortasında
bir bahçenin
bayılıyorum siluetinin
benimkine karışan
heyecanına

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 has translated and edited books, articles, theses, dissertations, art catalogs, movie scripts, plays, stories, and poems

About the contributor

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, as well as the Managing Editor for Lethe Literary and Art Journal. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.

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