My friend, Küçük İskender, is a ‘cult’ poet for people with a wide range of political affiliations in Turkey, especially for the young. His poems are read as aphorisms or ‘postmodern proverbs’. He is very popular on social media and is tweeted & retweeted about often.
İskender has written frank, brutally honest, and sometimes shocking poems that push the limits of social norms. He has created profoundly philosophical poems with a unique literary style. He is a poet who deserves to be translated to many world languages and read widely.
What Pink Floyd meant for world music is similar to what İskender means for Turkish poetry.
He has had a long struggle with heart attacks. Currently, he is fighting cancer. In his most recent interview, he said, “I think poets are like explorers. They prepare the ship for sailing. They like bravery and the adrenaline of the unknown. In most cases, they are wrong, but that’s OK. Perhaps, poetry is self-discovery even if it does not work.” Finally, he added, “those who can should seek asylum in poetry. If they have the power, they’d better do so right away. Let these be my last words.”
World poetry needs him. He is still so young. I wish him a speedy recovery.
I would like to thank my friend Sevda for translating İskender’s poetry and the journal editors for publishing them. I hope poetry fans enjoy reading İskender.
Dr. Serdar Taşçı, Sociologist
- November 21 2016
The tree is always younger than the forest
We stripped and made love
The lake and I
If we have a child together, let’s name her shadow
Or let me go away
The night at the percussions
Anxiety at the base guitar
And a shitty Fall at the vocals
- December 19, 2016
I would like to thank the Fall.
I was born in May. I am a May child. I am an albatross shining
With May nakedness. I float over the sea without touching it.
Below me, beaches and the treasures I rejected as well as Middle Eastern pirates.
My only hope is colon cancer and science. Longing for the universe since Jules Verne.
I hit the brakes of poetry. Now my feet slip.
I look up, the sky slips altogether. The empty space cannot hold onto its place—civilizations are intertwined. It is 4:50 am.
As I sip my beer, I pack my suitcase worrying about ‘who is lonely, I must go to them now.’
No, no. I cannot bear so many memories. I do not want to be remembered like a fascist leader who stays alive and in power by burying the dead.
I must live a different story taking only a single color with me.
Water is made.
Air is made.
Love is made.
Happiness is an afterthought.
I almost forgot it. Or maybe it is the displeasure of not being able to wake up to the crowing of a cock in years.
Naturally, I will have a question for the Earth: what is with the arrogance of continents?
What would change if people believed in a jazz pianist instead of a prophet?
Then, aliens would come out of hiding for the concert. The colony would be complete.
We would never run out of booze.
Coincidences would disappear.
- August 1, 2017
Solitude is a factory.
Traumas, discouraging worries lead to loss of reason in the soul. But a person should always be treated as an outpatient. Leave the fallen behind. Do not remember who gave up. This annulment of freedom aims to execute colors. Life is thrashing in the net of the nervous system surrounding the body. This must attract the attention of some and hurt them.
Solitude is a privilege.
The well hidden in flesh: Do not make love or you will fall in it.
I suffer the night to protect the integrity of the flesh.
Otherwise, it would be too easy to crack open a skull and indict the brain.
Sharp instruments are sold everywhere.
There is fire, pliers and judgment in every case.
Each civilization’s idol is just Priapos—you know, the dwarf with the big dick. Cut it off!
Civilization is open for debate, but it is unacceptable. It is impossible to consider its origin city and what it represents as progress.
Possibility is an analysis.
What is analytical is independent.
What leads justice and equality sends me equations, not books, to teach me these.
Letters soil, numbers cleanse.
- March 17, 2018
‘Sow my scattered pieces and see what crop it will yield.’
I seek to establish an organization that robs the minds of corpses.
Not brains though as I cannot carry organs with me.
Mind and thoughts—the thin bridge in between is rather shaky.
I pass it slowly. Drum roll, please.
If Death came to claim me, I’d say ‘let’s make love first.’
Making love is a reciprocal act. Let us love each other first.
Let us take from Water and give it to Mountain.
How big is the Water’s cock? What are the Mountain’s tits like?
Is there anyone among us who drowned?
My eyes are fake. Actually I do not see at all.
I am a see-through.
Translated by Sevda Akyuz
Sevda Akyuz studied English and American Literature in college. She is bilingual in Turkish and English. She reads in Italian and Spanish, too. She has been teaching English and Academic Writing for 30 years in prestigious universities in Turkey. She has also taught Western Civilizations, Film, and History of Drama. She has translated and edited books, theses, academic articles, art catalogs, stories, movie scripts, plays and poems. She writes scripts for TV, movie scripts, plays and essays.