I cheated on my house with the street
overhead the moon in this silver neighborhood
I’m three stories high the sea is watching me
from now on I’m just facing the sea
don’t come down on me moon-lady go up to Kuzguncuk Hotel’s
suites of benevolence your guests are loaded
what’s life but where my memories keep shacking up
this is my first stay at the hotel of my soul
same old room same old bed same old mirror
our first meeting no more farewells
I have to sleep with strangers sleeping overhead
don’t open up to the ferry of souls moon-
lady I’m not ready for you I’m on your side
I can’t get rid of whoever moves into the house within
Kuzguncuk Hotel’s benevolent suites are numerous
as stars up and up they never end moon-lady
from somewhere or other you remember this child
from somewhere or other I must forget this child
Translator’s note: Kuzguncuk is a neighborhood of Istanbul.
Turkish poet and essayist Haydar Ergülen was born in Eskişehir in 1956. The winner of multiple awards, his most recent collection is Aşk Şiirleri Antolojisi (Anthology of Love Poems, 2011). A retired columnist and copywriter, he frequently reads and lectures throughout Turkey. His poems have appeared in English in the U.K. in First Lines (2013) and are forthcoming in Modern Poetry in Translation (2014). He lives in the Çihangir neighborhood of Istanbul with his wife and daughter.
Derick Mattern is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Winner of the British Centre for Literary Translation’s 2012 Young Translators’ Prize, his work is forthcoming in Modern Poetry in Translation. He lived in Istanbul from 2008 to 2013.
Feature image by Mark Belokopytov