Statement of Record

Three poems

by Ümit Güçlü


Three poems

by Ümit Güçlü



gm 2010 annual revenue: 6.172 billion usd,

you got yourself a new motorbike
although you didn’t need it.

you have no money. 
no worries we’ll loan it to you.
what should you be for the rest of your life
if not our slave 

promise we’ll help you if you can’t pay us back
and then if you still can’t pay us back later 
we’ll help again. promise.
worst-case scenario we’ll repo your bike 
(a green product, no doubt) 
we’ll lower your credit score
you’ll frazzle a little and thank our bank
so what? it happens. take it.

work away then and see, retard,
if you can get a loan for a ferrari
just the tires perhaps, on your salary
delay payment for fifteen minutes
and a friendly hand waits at the keyboard
saw and tooth. an environment-friendly hand no doubt

the guy at the industrial compound
who says he wouldn’t favor anyone
you are an employee of general motors too
friend to the environment and a patriot

faber castell colored pencils in your boy’s backpack 

the other day we went in dad’s ferrari 
to plant saplings with my teachers 
from the private school

environmentally friendly green saplings
dad said to his friend that 
we can reach a hundred kph in four seconds 
he works at general motors, a patriot, 
an environmentalist
their revenues sometimes approach 
seven billion usd for one earth year 

i like dad’s friends a lot
they are kind, understanding, cheerful people
you should see how environment-friendly they all are
they make engines in their spare time
checks and ious for the third world
you should see dad

he is organized every day like an engine 
respectful, understanding 
with good communication skills
just one bad habit though
if you don’t pay your debt 
he’ll evict you and make your flowers wither 
(green flowers no doubt)
he’ll repossess everything you have
it can happen 
so what

dad has friends in the police department
so he got a special plate 
if you have an accident with your motorbike
he will send a tow truck
if you lose your family 
he will summon their spirits
with insurance
he’ll send a wreath to your funeral 
(an environmentally friendly one)
if you die your family will inherit your debt

we’ll help you worst-case scenario we’ll destroy you
(in an environmentally friendly way)
communication, security, peaceful living spaces 
are sine qua nons
we’ll die at your pleasure 
we’ll kill for it
we make one-minute commercials
for your quality of life 
thanks to your poet friends going on about justice 
we appreciate it 
you know they are respectable employees of general motors
their salaries are paid on time

they are peaceful obedient kids
sometimes they accelerate to one hundred kph 
in three seconds
they have friends in the police department

we screw and unscrew a nut all together
in the warehouses of general motors 
a nut gets unscrewed here and there though we screw it tight
followed by screams from the ditches
get unscrewed from slums

poor people bring hot food to the wake
tv is watched respectfully on mute  
worms wait for the night 
speaking a secret language



space mechanic

when engines converting hydrogen
in the air to water 
become cheap
oxygen will come out of the waterworks

when flying cars ride on water
capitalists will bill the sea 
left unpaid
petrol will be so cheap then
such a common material

when cryptocurrencies become widespread
grocery stores will be done for
with empty shelves
food will be in pill-form in any case

plants and animal species already
dwindled down to zero

robots will walk around in human form
recognizing the real humans at first sight
good robots vs the bad ones

—here is my gene map 
—no need, we have it in the archives

spirit seances will be broadcast live in abundance
no more birthdays (because there will be no days)
or minutes hours months calendars
due to orbital changes 

one thing that will remain the same
vendors on the kadıköy ferry (in hologram) 

movability of space—it is all yours 
—we will get three units of accommodation 

no need for a space elevator 
teleportation will be invented in any case 
(i send get well wishes to nasa from here) 

breathing will have a price 
oxygen masks will have counters
your job description for the day 
goes like this
measure the change in gas density per unit in space 
and report to hq 
then you are free to fly in specific sequences

when the earth is cut off from the milky way
first the lava will pour out
then kids who drilled a hole from the top 
will come out at the bottom
they’ve already grown up and climbed the towers

when all the poems in the world 
are translated into turkish
and coded onto ultra pcs 
will you look at the absurdity
complete rubbish
because languages will be dead by then
having become a freak of nature
look what you got a space shuttle to deal with

i feel fine these days
said a robot
from among the oxygen tubes thin as nails
there was this place called earth 
where call to prayer was heard in the forties and fifties



white teeth with tinned ipana*

thank you very much, shakira, mille merci
we have white teeth thanks to you 
if you didn’t make billions
if we didn’t whiten our teeth 
how could we live
so filthy. behind trellised windows. us, old istanbulites 

in the military, everything is so cheap, shakira 
ipana abounds all around

i see your shiny boots from here every day

what nice teeth you had in 2010 in africa
i wonder who you cheered for
during the ghana-uruguay game
we give you a standing ovation
you can share first place with ipana
on the list of the most powerful women of the year

seize the moment, shakira, do your belly dancing, 
have fun, small world
donate one thousandth of your income to africa
you are the prettiest woman of tooth-brushing 
you wouldn’t say yes to any old commercial

i look up to your teeth
white straight orderly like new york 
artist of the year 
of lebanese descent 
speaking three or four languages
in the harvard church 
fly, shakira, why don’t you

we need time to work on our relationship, though, shakira
after all you squeeze the toothpaste tube 
just once or twice

*ipana: a Turkish toothpaste brand


Translated by Sevda Akyüz
Read Sevda Akyüz’s translation of two poems by İlhan Sami Çomak here.

About the author

Ümit Güçlü was born in Istanbul in 1989 and still lives there today. He is a poet, editor, publisher, and critic with three books of poetry and a book of criticism that investigates the relationship between poetry and crime. Books include Dehşetler İçerisinde (In Horror) (2015), radyodan bütün gün saçlarının dağınıklığını söylediler (they broadcast all day on the radio that you had messy hair) (2017), Sessizlik Partisi (Party of Silence) (2021), and Suç Şiir (Crime Poetry) (2019).

About the author

Sevda Akyüz studied English Literature at Bogazici University. She has taught English and Academic Writing at the University of Nevada, Reno; Bogazici University; and Koc University. She has also taught Western Civilizations, Translation, History of Drama, and Film Studies. She edits and translates books, articles, stories, plays, and poems.

Statement of Record

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