Efe Duyan














The Forgettable Death of Engin Çeber*

A man is dead

I do not know him,

He is just another face in the morning paper

I stared at him for a second

And we shared a moment

One mask to another

His name a misprint

I realise later. When

Did life become a foreign word?

A man is dead

I didn’t even think about him

Let this be my crime

My share of the common ball of sins.

Let it lie,

A man is dead

Wind the violence like a clock

That ceremonial nothingness, the syrup of consolation

That cloud of forgetting,

Let the lie puppet my life

Let my heart pump this lie.

Let it flow in my veins

A man is dead

Let me hide the stench of death with autumn air

Let me walk in a country of lies

And let me include you in my blame.

We never knew who Engin Çeber was

He was born, he grew up and the details

of his death are reported in my morning paper:

when he was beaten up by the police on the street,

at the police station in İstinye;

in a cell at the Metris prison,

just before he lost consciousness in a hospital.

He was all alone

And I am sure he was not afraid of death,

but rather of the not being understood

This alone closed the sleepless nights of revolution on his eyes

And his adventure in history

Was left incomplete.

This loneliness is not his, but ours

His heart’s desire is not his, but our

If I could just hear the last beat of his heart

Touch the last object he looked at, know his last words

Or when he last laughed – if I could know these things.

Your friends say that you liked to laugh, that you never took

Your hat off but in your prison photo your head is bare.

I wonder about you. I want to know you. For instance,

what did you think of last? Were you thinking of your past lovers?

Your friends tell me you were cheerful

I didn’t know you but your picture makes me wonder –

Did you really love life so much?

You left us and became a single face in the morning

paper. You left us in the gap between sorrow and curses.

A man is dead

I did not know him,

I stared at him for a second

And we shared the same moment.

In a moment I will take a hat from my wardrobe

and I will wonder – ‘Is it something you would wear?’

Trans. by Raman Mundair

Looking at You

Upturning the turtle, little girl runs away

For the first time, turtle sees sky

Trans. by Raman Mundair

The Kid

innovators, nobel addicts, bespectacled faces…

which of you could have invented walking?

Trans. by Neslihan Akkar

The Lover

You are beautiful so much

Everyone must have been saying this to you

However as years and years pass by

You will be beautiful even more.

Trans. by Neslihan Akkar


Prešeren’s protective eyes watch
over the city from his plinth.
But look, not at the obvious :
that he seems strong –
that he looks at
the slow water flowing,
and how time is fast.

Up and down with his giant’s step along the river,
and of course, he is drunk
and of course, the day is full of rain,
among the dream filled sonnets
a woman disappears slowly.

But don’t look at the obvious:
that he has self confidence  –
And that although he feels the wind in his hair
he would fall at the feet of that woman.
And although  he can plant the tongue of Slovenia in the soil
he doesn’t have any words to call her back.

And Prešeren, I also have dreams, even though they’re not burning.
And Prešeren, I also have poems even though they’re not so brave.
And Prešeren, I also have a woman who hasn’t turned her back on me yet.

I’m thinking about how much she might be mine
in the wet and empty streets of Ljubljana.
and it’s possible to realise a dream,
but it’s not possible
to find the right words to call her back
before learning how to cry.

Translated by Raman Mundair

* Written during the Word-Express journey, October 2009.

Lost Word in the Middle East


An old man

leans on the window, taming his pain.

Packed his clothes already, does he have anything else except his memories?

When he was pressing the grapes of the ten thousand year old wine

There were no tanks – none at all.

A kid

has left his tyre at home today,

narrowing his eyes on the edge of the river Tigris, he daydreams,

he will learn to swim for the sake of bouncing balls on the minefield junk.

But we don’t know the rest of the games

passing from mountain to mountain.

The pages of the atlas gets yellow,

but nobody sits on the threshold of

the best prophet school of the history anymore, why?

A tower was built in Babylon just to disrupt the silence,

don’t we have anything more to say since the Sumerians?

A dessert chef in Armenia listens to the voices from Antep instead of to a fairy tale;

Miniatures of Bursa mingle with the ones of Tabriz.

Cold gets inside Damascus through the walls of Felluce.

The ports of the Black Sea hides the Moorish pirates.

The water, lacks in Arabia, burst out of the rivers in the north.

Sometimes, a bomb fell in the south of Beirut

Could not be heard two blocks away,

but still, a greeting can bind the continents

seperated since the Ice Age.

Trans. by Merve Tezcanlar

Lost Word in the Middle East


As the sun gallivants in Gaza no matter what happens

Shadows grow longer and longer for decades

While life always walks a few steps behind, shyly.

An old woman, with one last black strand on her hair

Feels tired of waiting

It’s a long time since the guestroom was opened

Speaks as if it’s her first talk but to whom

People in the photos wear out although she dusts off

Making up a bed everyday though it never gets untidy

Rain pouring on Tel Aviv will soon fall in her garden

Since between Palestine and the sky

Can nobody

Build a wall

Then again, she feels tired of waiting

Trans. by Merve Tezcanlar


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