Sacrifice by Küçük İskender


to blue özgür

today I bought you a lampshade:
it’s come to the end of something, the green chevrolet
doors open, baltimore plates, top job
sacrifice by elton john on the tape
we’d walked towards the beach
in our footprints lay capes of dead, dissolved fairies
fairies sworn enemies, capes not on speaking terms

today I wrote you a letter:
mostly I mentioned roses
see-through, colourless, free roses
for fear of becoming a rose
i can’t remember why, but I cried
to the left and right cigarettes, lit and left, forgotten
beginning with “darling..”
loads of half-abandoned pieces of paper
pieces of soul
pieces of love
pieces of vapour
pieces of pleasure
a shattered winter settled in my shot-to-hell self
do you know that I still
burrow for blood in winter
blood is a prize, quite frankly

today I slaughtered a sacrifice to you
they’re still aching and flowing, my wrists
ships that pass in the night
a love that hasn’t been named
mutually brutalised bodies
meeting on the same branch two kidsquirrels
Branch the tree’s enemy, squirrels at each other’s throats
a cynical sneer on the lips
and like a headlamp bangs on something and then its beam is gone
that glorious fantasy bumps at my mind for a second and is lost
colliding and vanishing pieces of soul and love
as the hand of an adolescent god
appeared and wandered over my white and sweating brow
softly rearranging my damp fringe
i dreamed of death for the first time in thirty years of life
today I bought you a lampshade, I wrote a letter
for you, I say, today a letter and a lampshade
i died for you today and nobody else
you know that chevrolet, green, doors open
sacrifice by elton john on the tape
a pink, tarry wedding band in my hand
colliding and vanishing pieces of vapour and pleasure
the things we stored up
things that piled up over time getting
entwined with the things that were saved up
his thinking ‘am I too a possession’
that thing that made him sad
he came to your side like a feather
and touched and trembled like a feather…
then his pulling back… sacrifice…

we spent a massive december month in music
in the street with wine bottles in our hands
we carved hearts on the trees
with our names side by side
a gesture against the grain of modern times
we were romantic we loved one another
we were never gonna part we were arabesque we…
today I bought you a lampshade
i came home
you always lay on the bed’s left side
i put it on the left side bedside table

i put in a bulb, soft yellow, as you’d always wanted
in it’s light I wrote you a letter
sacrifice by elton john on the tape
that telephone conversation when you told me we were through
the so-young blueness of your eyes
rain that started so suddenly, and poured all night in fury, that rain came to mind
and I can’t remember why but I cried
your hands that would cover my face
your hands that shielded me from the face of the earth
those ocean hands of yours came to my mind
the tape stopped, doors of the green chevrolet shut
i clasped the razorblade in the bathroom and kissed it with longing
the bulb exploded, instantly the lampshade burst into flames
blood is a prize
i took my blood out for a stroll tonight
bodies in enmity, lovers not on speaking terms
i can’t remember why but I was ashamed

(c) Küçük İskender
Sel Yayıncılık, Istanbul
translated by Caroline Stockford

This poem first appeared in Turkish Poetry Today, 2015

edited by George Messo and available from Red Hand Books


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