POEMS OF Gökçenur Ç

Gökçenur Ç was born in Istanbul in 1971 and spent his childhood in a number of Turkish cities. He started publishing his poems in Turkish magazines since 1990. His poetry books are Handbook of Every Book, Rest of the Words, The Only Way of Looking at Thirteen Blackbirds at Once, So Many Words On Your Back, We are in the World So Are Words, How Nice Everyone’s Here, Dead of Nature, Encyclopedia of Forgotten Things. He has participated, organized and managed many poetry translation workshops in Istanbul, Gümüşlük and Tel-Aviv.
His poems are translated into a great number of languages and published in literary magazines. In the Lettres Capitales Project of European Capital of Culture Marseille, his book in handwriting in French and Turkish has been prepared and published as a single exhibition copy.
He is the Prime Moverandco-director of Word Express (www.word-express.org). He is one of the founders and board member of Delta International Cultural Interactions. He is a member of the editorial board of Macedonian base international literary magazine Blesok. He is the editor in chief of Turkish literature review Çevrimdışı İstanbul (Offline İstanbul) and Offline Istanbul International Poetry Festival.

Death Thinks Stars Are The Scabbed Over Wounds Of The Night

Death    runs a shop on the street of fez makers in the grand bazaar
Death    thinks the occasional use of English words is really cool
Death    tries to hide the existence of stripeless zebras from everyone else
Death    wagers with time in a game of backgammon
Death     whispers the meaning of beauty into a horse's ear
Death    is scared to death because he doesn’t know his real name
Death    is gray-eyed but does not remember he was blue-eyed once
Death    prefers that little whore of the jasmine gardens, yosadhara, to Siddhartha
Death    dreams of combining 5800 days of paid premium with his social security
            and retiring
Death,   yellow firefly, learns something from everyone he touches
Death    doesn’t care at all for the idea of settling down in the country
Death    says to his neighbor, I saw your father, he sends his love
Death    keeps a diary but doesn’t date it
Death    offers cloaks of forgetfulness to the relatives of the dead
Death    can’t sleep if he doesn’t drink every night, he prefers bourbon to scotch
Death    is attached to his habits, he brushes his teeth with salt
Death    takes out a consumer loan to pay off credit-card debt
Death    works at a job he doesn’t like
Death    collects postcards from the castle at van
Death    thinks stars are the scabbed over wounds of the night
Death    is pissed at god, but doesn’t neglect to pray before sleeping
Death    underlines his favorite verses
Death    can’t stand people who ask “why me?”
Death    is no longer ashamed to cry

Translated by Mel Kenne, Kurt Heinzelman and Deniz Perin


Praise For The Concrete Action Of The Hand

I rested my head on your naked chest
blood dripping from my nose flowing
down the whiteness of your belly to your crotch,
I said: “Words - I thought words can save me.
I don’t believe any more that any image can be
more shocking than a blow to the neck.
How silly I am to think that the reaction chain
set off by my poems will change the world.
The ones who change the world are
those who are not afraid to touch things with bare hands,
with their animal-foot hands, with their night-foot hands,
those who can tie their shoe-laces at once
those who can hammer a nail in without bending it
those who can open a jammed jar
who feed their hands like fire-crows
who water their hands like oleanders
who sharpen their hands on the night
who rip reality with their hands
who settle up with the world with their hands
those who change the world are not the ones
with good ideas, those
who can hold the power of destruction without fear.
Good ideas appear and disappear everywhere
because a good idea is nothing
before a destructive activist gets hold of it.
A line of a poem, even it is
harder than kucklebone, thinner than shinbone,
empty and light as the bone of a bird,
articulated as the bone of a lizard's tail,
straight as tibia or
heavy as elephant bone,
can sprout a black-blue carnation in the field of the body.
See, nonsensical words again, the eye turns black
when punched, that's all.
I'd rather be able to punch with my fists than
write poetry.

Translated by Gökçenur Ç. and Alexandra Buchler


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