Friday, December 16, 2011

On a Sunny December Afternoon in Spain

I thought I heard a call to prayer
through poorly paned glass
echoing in the yard below
from children's play
afar, ago.

Barcelona, Spain
December 15, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Love Story

“Penelope is sometimes a shadow of your dream.” - Joan Margarit

From Port de la Selva,
a storm cloud shifts and I watch
the shape set sail from distant shore
your ship come home.

This love is an old old story.

Her story lasted twenty years
and one-hundred-and-eight drops of tears
each night through shut eyes would intrude
a scratched and silent film looping sepia nude.

Ten years to win ten more to return
and always he could feel her yearn
under sweat and metal mail
her fingertips played a gentle tale
across his back.

She is a shadow in my dreaming.

Beside my bed your fragrance teeming
preserved in a treasure chest-of-drawers
a secret nightly uncapping your scent transforms
a thousand years of swooning blood in one flash flood.

Words you write lie in bed with me at night
and impress upon your pillow
safe from the light of morn a hollow.

Safe from the blue-gray waters’ thorn
this old love is in many languages reborn
from the Mar Mediterrania to the Ak Deniz
gently billowing east a silky underwater breeze
calling coral currents and the darkest deep.

This old old love is a story.

first published in Barcelona Ink. Nov. 2012, Vol. 11. Print.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Venice Prayer

Why do I crave the fog,
a softened city silhouette?
Wrap me like a Russian nesting doll
in layers of mist that soak and sink;
Immerse me in damp whispers
and blur my outline into thick emerald lagoon,
bright, crisp stars twinkling above.

First published in Bear Creek Haiku. June 2013. Print and online.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Alaca Karanlık

Bana, bilmeceler karanlık bastırır.
Penceremden şarkı söylemeyi denerim,
ama alaca karanlık kent silueti, boğardı
ve şaşkınım.

To me, the puzzles grow darker.
I try to sing from my window,
but twilight drowned the skyline,
and I am distracted.

Erzurum, Turkey
January, 2011

Epilogue: I want to point out some interesting connotation differences between the two versions (this is the fun part of translating). Alaca karanlık, directly translated, means "darkness of varied colors" and connotes "twilight." Boğardı, directly translated not only means drowned, but also suffocated, strangled. Kent silueti, directly translated means city silhouette. So the direct translation of the third line is " The darkness of varied colors strangled the city silhouette."

My colleague gave the Turkish version to a class of 11th grade Turkish students, without showing them my English version. Here are their translations:

Riddles drown me in darkness.
I try to sing from my window,
but the twilight silhouette of the city, drowns me
I'm confused.

Riddles darken me.
I try singing out the window,
But the twilight silhouette of the city, suffocates,
and I'm puzzled.

To me, riddles bring darkness
I try to sing out my window
but the twilight silhouette of the city suffocates
and I am perplexed.

Riddles bring nightfall to me.
I try to sing out my window,
but the city silhouette at twilight, suffocates
and I'm amazed.

Riddles imply darkness upon me,
I try to sing out my window
But the silhouette of the twilight city drowns,
Surprises me...