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Four Poems by Küçük İskender


Four Poems by Küçük İskender


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 ruby

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.

About the author

The famous Turkish poet, Küçük İskender (Derman İskender Över), was born in Istanbul in 1964. He studied Medicine and Sociology but left both halfway through. His name makes a playful reference to Alexander the Great. Alexander is Iskender in Turkish. By contrast, he calls himself Alexander the Little, i.e., Küçük İskender. He has written poetry, novels, essays and journals. He received many awards and was translated to other languages. He also acted in movies such as Ağır Roman (Heavy Novel) and O Şimdi Asker (He is in the Army Now). Some of his poetry books include Her Şey Ayrı Yazılır (Every Thing is Two Words) (2016), Waliz Bir (Suitcase One) (2016), Mayıs Giremez (May Cannot Enter) (2017), The God Jr (2017), Ölen Sevgilimin Şiir Defteri (The Poetry Journal of My Dead Lover) (2017), Kırk Kadeh Sineması İftiharla Sunar (The Forty-Glass Cinema Proudly Presents) (2017), Türkçe Sözlü Hafif Mavi (Turkish Pop Blue) (2017). The poems translated for this edition are taken from İkinci Waliz (Second Suitcase) (2018), which is a collection of poems, essays and texts about solitude, death, disillusionment, and the burdens of the past tucked away in his suitcase, among other themes. He uses nature images a lot here. Currently he lives in Bodrum, battling cancer

About the author

Editor-in-chief Andrea Scrima studied fine arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, Germany, where she lives and works. A German translation of her first book, A Lesser Day (Spuyten Duyvil), was published by Literaturverlag Droschl, Graz, in 2018 under the title Wie viele Tage. Scrima writes literary criticism for The Brooklyn Rail, Music & Literature, Schreibheft, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, LitHub, Manuskripte, and other publications. She writes a monthly column for 3QuarksDaily and is currently working on her third book. Her second book, a novel titled Like Lips, Like Skins, was published in a German edition in the fall of 2021, also by Droschl, under the title Kreisläufe. Check out her website Stories I tell myself when I can't get to sleep at night for more information.

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