Nicola by küçük İskender



you decerebrate the rose. don’t do this.

verses, cannot find the poems they deserted

you become a humiliated evening

your hair wet to your waist

your eyes

turned away and fixed on a couple of cracked glasses

left on a claret, velvet coverlet

almost exploded. Soon to blow

before the storm

closely sheilding your face, poor and lonely child

storyless, bashful and amicable

you should have a macedonian name: nicola

I sat on your balcony, drank Choπcko beer,

over the way were

grand men wounded by the earth

grand women are sleeping

grand women wounded on account of grand men

turned into tramps by grand men

a pen knife, holds its blade inside like a secret

the pen knife I put on the table on leaving

a perfect portrayal

if it were nicola what would appear

if it were İskender what would appear

somehow, not far away

was a beautiful graveyard where songs are laid

poet: küçük İskender

translator: caroline stockford

First published in translation in Assaracus Journal of Gay Poetry, Feb 2016


surahs for slovens – küçük İskender

Image result for flaming snake mouth


surahs for slovens

in the flood tide of the first sound the full moon grew
we were dreaming as we passed through the flaming snake-mouth
in the fat eye was that look, dragging its capilliaries along
dark rage of innerwords, that utter oubliette
that unheard sabotage, inferno, that last blazingblame

we knew, it was wrong to be scared
of the graveyard overhead – – segregation
the smile we winnowed out of passions: deep dismay, and
that incidental paleness. what happened to: my lover! i got lost,
yeah, that night inside the secret passage, the
secret passage that opened onto your soul, the flesh candle
in one hand, in the other my enzyme bracelets.. lips’ curls..
i know, that sometimes this city doesn’t exist
it’s not the ones who left I miss,
but the era I didn’t witness. how can you do this,
you, who say my shoulders are like copper,
my hairs like golden grass,
how can you do this,
(all sons are strung on crucifixes raised by their mothers,
our failings bought on credit,
most of our misdeeds – childhood heists)

i know, that sometimes this city doesn’t exist
hauling, bearing, carrying like a
solitary backward-growing tumour of dust,
love is a stream of allusion
love, causing the glut of you to overflow in my face

the sprite fell out, i am the fairy
of the fullmoons, waning famously, you petal
are feral. take / me. he kisses the foal on the head
and kills it in the secret passage!

or according to one hypothesis
i am the decomposing houseguest
in the place where the moon touches
the beach seen from his bedroom window
– at that time. my legs
are plastic and if you glimpse a letter drawn by a scalpel
on what can be glimpsed of my chest
through the open collar of my shirt
if the bloodbrimming from this letter’s opened wound
is salty and a little mushy.. take / me. armageddon
is pregnant with betrayal.

poet: küçük İskender
Translated by Caroline Stockford 2015
(c) küçük İskender, Sel Yayıncılık


mendebur süreleri
ilk sesin med’inde dolunay büyüdü
düşleyerek geçtik yanan yılan ağzından
iri gözde damarlarını sürükleyen o bakış
içerisözlerin karanlık hiddeti, o çok zindan
o duyulmaz kundaklanış, yangın, o son yanışbiliyorduk, ki yanlıştı korkmak
yukardaki mezarlıklardan – – tecrit
aşklardan ayıkladığımız tebessüm: hüsran, ve
o tesadüfi sararış. Hani: sevdalım! içine
giden gizligeçitte
kaybolmuştum ya o gece, ruhuna açılan
gizligeçitte, elimde et mum, ötekinde
enzim bileziklerim.. dudak bukleleri..
biliyorum, ki bazen bu kent yoktur
terkeden, özlediğim değil
kaçırdığım çağdır. Nasıl yaparsın bunu,
omuzlarıma bakır
tüylerime altın otu
diyen sen nasıl yaparsın bunu,
(annelerinin tuttukları çarmıha gerili
bütün oğullar; hatalarımız
veresiye, hatalarımız çocuk soygunu)

biliyorum, ki bazen bu kent yoktur
yalnız tersine büyüyen toz bir ur
gibi taşımaktır taşımaktır taşımaktır,
taş bir ırmaktır aşk
aşk, sende taşırmak’ı yüzüme taşırmaktır

cin düşmüş dolunaylarda ben peri
şan, sen gül
yabani. Al / beni. Gizligeçitte öldürüyor
çünkü tayı alnından öpen elişi kişi! .

Ya da bir varsayıma göre
çürümüş misafirim ayın
yatakodası penceresinden görülen sahi
le dokunduğu yerde- o zaman. Bacaklarım
plastik ve gömleğimin açık yakasından
görülebilecek kadarki göğsüm üstüne
neşterle çizilmiş bir harf görürsen
bu harfin açtığı yaralardan akankan
tuzlu ve hafif peltemsiyse.. Al / beni. Mahşer
gebedir ihanete!

küçük İskender

Küçük İskender – Mothers do not forgive their sons

Küçük İskender’s latest poem in English translation featured this month in Kalyna Review

Click this link

photo copyright of Istanbul Places

Abi by Küçük İskender


1. Abi – (aah-bee) The word used to address an older man, meaning ‘big brother’

2. Basket on a rope – in some Turkish apartment blocks they send a basket down on a rope to the porter at the bottom with a list and money in it for him to pop to the corner shop and buy a few essentials. The basket is then hauled back up to the person’s balcony.

3. Grapes is also slang for depression medication in small gelatin capsules.


You know Abi, we were something we were.

You were the first to show me I had hairs round the back.

I’m not lying, honestly, I really loved you.

You were my picture-postcard; I told all my friends about you.

If a strange mood descended on the city

I’d lean out of the window to be in your world.

My dad would shout, “Stop leaning out like a basket on a rope..!”

You’d go down with the setting sun Abi, to your flat was across the way.

Every night it sank, that opposite block.

The building burrowing, slowly in the ground; I’d feel let down

Because my mom just cut watermelon, summer and winter.

Dad nagged for yellow melon, summer and winter.

I liked grapes.

I used to see from the window Abi, you ate grapes, Summer and Winter.

You’d cry, eat a grape.

Cry, eat a grape.

Like a sparrow that’s swallowed an emerald and whose belly’s in pain.

Like a sparrow whose wings have been clipped.

On that basement level, that nest of devils

you didn’t look like a sparrow. Holes in your arms.

Coca Cola flowed from the holes in your arms. Pepsi spraying out.

They’re all connected.

I couldn’t watch you a lot, Abi

My dad would blow his top.

Dad was a nationalist, he’d get angry at getting angry.

He beat my mum in all the right places.

You know Abi, we were something we were.

You never knew me at all.

That girl who came to you at nights never knew me.

The sex you had with her didn’t know about me.

Your drapes were open.

Your arguments with her didn’t know me.

My folks were asleep. I’d gone down to the street.

The knife you stabbed her with didn’t recognise me.

Your drapes were open.

It was shadowy inside.

Your silently carrying her out didn’t know about me.

We met at the street door, in a moment… the three of us…

one of us lifeless…

I took the girl by the legs, to help.

We put her in the trunk.

You had a car.

Cars are cool, If their licence plates have meaning,


MT: the Matrix, my favourite film.


FK: Franz Kafka, my favourite maths equation


KC: Kurt Cobain, my favourite natural disaster.

Your car had no plate Abi.

We didn’t say a word all the way.

But I’d already faced the fact that

I’d never speak with you for a lifetime.

I sat in the front, by you.

You didn’t take your eyes off the road, Abi.

It’s good to respect the rules of the road.

Morning was coming when we reached the beach.

Three or four sea birds hung in the sky, watching us.

We took out the corpse and threw it in the sea.

Water, swallowed.

Water swallows everything”, you said.

I’m gonna throw my report card in the sea too”, I said.

You smiled.

You leaned on the car and lit a cigarette.

You passed it to me.

As you fitted the second one to your lips you asked,

What year are you in?’

High school, Year One. I’m always gonna be in Year One”

You took a deep drag on the cigarette you’d lit

Half the oxygen in the atmosphere filled your lungs with that smoke.

Thanks for your help”, you said.

It’s me that wanted to”, I said.

You weakened and looked me up and down.

First time.

Now you know everything”, you said.

I don’t know anything, I only saw”, I said, carefully.

True”, you murmered.

Now what you gonna do?”

I’m going to take you back.”, you said, ‘Just imagine that, some time ago I

I took you from somewhere and put you with your mum and dad.

And now I’m going to take you back.

Sure,” I said, “Of course I’ll come”.

Well done” you said, “Seems you’re a good kid.”

You took a few packets of tablets from your pocket.

Take these. Go and swallow them all down with sea water. Go on!”

There weren’t many tablets.

Around thirty.

I came back to your side from the shore.

Get in the car. In the back. Lie down”,

I did.

You got behind the wheel, Abi.

The inside of the car was navy blue.

You turned the key.

We got up speed.

The place we’re going to is both far away and close. Try to sleep.”

Okay”, I said.

I closed my eyes.

My mouth went dry.

My body went light.

Dad used to say, “don’t lean out like a basket on a rope”.

The rope snapped.

The rope snapped.

The basket hit the floor and the grapes exploded with a deafening crash.

Poem:  küçük İskender

translator Caroline Stockford

publisher  SEL Yayıncılık

First publıshed ın Assaracus Journal of Gay Poetry, Feb 2016

Murder on Consequential Child Street by küçük İskender


i saw items draped in dust sheets

on the breast of the woman in my last play

so engaging was the hawk in her gaze

that had I turned my face away for just a second

the shotgun gale inside me, that innocent traitor,

would have blown out the candles on her lips, one by one,

I unflinchingly believed this.

slowly i rose

and descended the mountain on which i’d sat

and as i passed by the beautiful whores

beat on by rough men

my soul rang with the

afternoon prayer-call of a funeral with no followers

my soul held a half-formed kernel of panic

and a chill of april smiles

and they held out their hands to me

nothing but their hands, and i descended

from those casually remembered and forgotten balconies

into a city’s roughest watersides.

if i say a word, if i can speak, if i dare

summer would flinch back into infinity

summer would be pull back into infinity and

no season fill the void that summer left

and whatever summer means

whoever, whatever makes it summer

would stand bared

i unflinchingly believed this;

i wanted to tell her about my beatings

the magic looted by bandits

the sleep stolen from me and carried to another

to tell her of dream, the son of sleep

my dreams, my sons


the feelings that call to me

the painters that draw me and color me

i wanted to tell her of the architects who

used me as a sidewalk

all i wanted was to tell her some things;

as for her

she was sleepy and had no forest to run to! what’s more

the horses she would mount

and ride off on were ready;

her body was a charm

pinned on nature for luck




a witch still on fire, never to go out

her eyes were a spider stooping down to water;

the eyes of a loving one won’t let you pass

for a loving one’s eyes can ambush time;

i picked a flower from my palm

i got closer

and closer

the flower gave me to her, i believe this completely

and i said, and i could have said to her:

– i’m dying my love

you play another hand!

the thought that he could laugh like that

never skirted the edge of my mind

at the edge of my mind stood my childhood

if i’d have touched it gently

my childhood would have fallen off the edge

i would never have saved it

it really would fall

him, there

heaving out huge odd laughs

my mother held me tightly my father cut my wrists

the eyes of a loving man won’t let you pass

for a loving man’s eyes can ambush time;

i was pouring blood

all my being turned to blood and i was pouring

now i was bleeding from who knows where?

to who knows where?

i was never going to stop

if i were to stop i’d form a stain that never came out

i would be the blood of sacrifice smeared on his forehead

my blood would be painted on his fingers like henna

i wanted that then, i believed without doubt


as i skidded and slumped

from the punch i’d been swung to the floor

i saw with my own eyes, with my own eyes, with these

the white veil i had pulled from the shapes

and there lay the body, there on her breast,

of a dead female snake

later i choked that woman with it

hung her with the snake

with the snake I swung her filthy corpse from the balconies

from those casually remembered and forgotten balconies

i screamed!

i screamed!

i screamed!

let none of the uninvited

come to my opening night!

don’t let them come, not even for a minute!

küçük İskender  (Manalı Çocuk Sokağı Cinayeti)

 SEL Yayınevi 2004

translation Caroline Stockford

First appeared in Assaracus Journal of Gay Poetry Feb 2016

Arabesque by Küçük İskender

the first day you spoke my name

blood came out of my ears that night

quickly i left home

i searched for you for hours

find you and i’ll shoot  you

when you died i was gonna kiss your lips

to keep off the germs

was gonna put iodine on my mouth

all the pharmacies would laugh at me

cross my heart and hope to die

i love you, that’s all, what can i do

reunion is just conjecture, a slim chance

longing is a passionate muse, a broken dream

but that crushing, distressing blue voice of yours

keeps saying, “you will suffer, you will fade away”

and i protest to god

you must not be, i scream

yes, yes, you are there

what’s more your gown

your gown has fur borders!

and me, as i’m dying will fasten tight to those borders

give me an answer, i’ll shout, give me an answer

why why why why why why

all the demons will applaud me

the first day i saw you

a gull picked out my two eyes too

Poet – Küçük İskender   

Copyright  (c) Adam Yayınları 2004

translation copyright (c) Caroline Stockford 2013

First published in Assaracus Journal of Gay Poetry Feb 2016