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An Excerpt for Staying

     translated from Turgut Uyar’s Turkish

          by Selda Suer and Deniz Suer


an ancient remark: horses, kittens, sparrows, 

     dogs dozed off in nooks and throughout the years

the third sibling of sorrow and joy, herself in every street

     taken in as a greeting

and the pressure of the sea’s roots compressing green and some clouds

     in a flux, in a thickening from east to north


an ancient remark: a heated exchange in September

     leads to the longest days on a bandit’s bed,

love’s other name is now the lost war in cities

     it is taught historically

as is the shame old jackets feel when not hung

     beside brilliant fur hats on engraved hangers 


an ancient remark: blood, vomits the sun livid and remembers

     her in tallgrass near a neglected rocky waterfront

remembers the way a hand holds the neck

     of a decanter as its filled-- regardless of all this

what am I saying: if streams and creeks are this calm and clean

     and so determined in meadows, if its beds are protected,

if the shroud that the sun has sheared fits the milked night’s 

     obediently dried out and shadowed body

here is the ache, here, the neigh of horses like rebels

     in lightened night

I say let me stay, let me stay, but it doesn’t work

I am leaving.

Selda & Deniz Suer are a young married couple living in Izmir, Turkey, where they tend to olive groves, language, and their one daughter. They begin their days with tea and simit, and they are currently working on a project to translate Turkish poems of the 20th century into English.

Turgut Uyar was a Turkish poet born in Ankara. His work is associated with the movement known as the “Second New,” a group of poets writing, largely, in response to Nazim Hikmet and the Strange poets. During his life, Turgut published over ten books of poetry. His poem, “An Excerpt for Staying,” published originally under the title “Kalmak Için Bir Yazı,” appeared in his book Toplandılar.

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