Murat Nemet-Nejat

Meditation On a Kiddush Cup


Honey     Honey
combs.     homes.

Honey     Bony
comes     wombs.

E-     In bony
bony     tombs,


An/kara: My Kind Hearted Step Mother


An--: moment, second.
kara: black.
Second black, not first.
An(a): mother.
kar: doing it.
kar: snow.
kar(a): to the snow.
kara: land.
kara: black.
K(i)r: prick.
kar(i): the snow.
kari: old crone.
Kirhane: prick house
next to our synagogue in Istanbul there was a prick house,
on wooden tables at the end of Yom Kippur
in the dark, in the intersection of our street and theirs,
the ladies of the night and their pimps left
glasses of water for us to drink
for free: Sebil.
Mysterious Cybil.
So civil-
thirty years later I went to the same spot.
the synagogue and its porch garden
(where I'd spent two evenings a year, the twinkling lights mixing with the stars through the  Succah)
was all in ruins,
the rusting gate ajar,
and a red rooster was strolling at home among the lunar mounds and weeds.
Red rooster: as in red light district?
Red: kizil.
(Kiz): virgin.
(Kiz): angry.
Yuzde yuz kiz: hundred percent virgin.
Yuz: hundred.
Yuz: face.
Yuz: swim.
Rooster: horoz.
and oz, as in the Wizard of O's.

A native of Istanbul of Persian descent, Murat Nemet-Nejat is one of the principal translators of contemporary Turkish poetry. His essay, "The Peripheral Space of Photography," is coming out in the Green Integer Series of Sun and Moon Press this year. He is also preparing a Selective Anthology of 20th Century Turkish Poetry for Talisman publications (2001). Nemet-Nejat recently read his poetry at the Brooklyn Public Library.

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