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Engin Akyürek

49,079 posts in this topic

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:14: OMG!...any resemblance to the men from our lives is just accidentaly, I suppose...:e13716:

 

Edited by Laura D.
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6 hours ago, Laura D. said:

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I can't breathe....halllppppp....:help:

 

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19 hours ago, Nanou / EnTu said:

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:hearted::hearted::hearted:

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17 hours ago, omya said:

Thank you @Laura D. ... :heartshape2:

I am rewatching some of OK episodes, there was soooo much potential...

 

17 hours ago, Laura D. said:

I have not seen yet the last episode  with subtitle.

 

 

 

 

 

16 hours ago, omya said:

I didnt rewatch episode 13 and 7 (where the father died)...:crying:

I too haven't seen the 13 episode with subtitles ,I feel like it's not the real ending but a cover up for:girl_maviglassesf:
a quick ending to a story we all had great expectations and we're looking forward to enjoy.:fiery:

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4 hours ago, Helen said:

 

 

I too haven't seen the 13 episode with subtitles ,I feel like it's not the real ending but a cover up for:girl_maviglassesf:
a quick ending to a story we all had great expectations and we're looking forward to enjoy.:fiery:

 

C7_U5k_Im_Xw_AAw_BCC.jpg_large.jpg

 

 

 

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Forgive me ... Maybe i am wrong or ... Maybe not :sadmavi:suddenly i just missing engin and tuba, their chemistry, their kisses, their hugs, their touch, their longing looked each other, their tears, their laughs their passion ... hmmmh ... what can i do ?! 

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3 minutes ago, ryza said:

Forgive me ... Maybe i am wrong or ... Maybe not :sadmavi:suddenly i just missing engin and tuba, their chemistry, their kisses, their hugs, their touch, their longing looked each other, their tears, their laughs their passion ... hmmmh ... what can i do ?! 

:4xvim2p: ...we too, canim...stay tuned! :heartshape2:

 

cassandra  GIF

 

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cassandra  GIF

 

cassandra  GIF

 

 

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6 hours ago, LILIAN F said:

 

Is that Levi's branding head seeing this picture??

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24 minutes ago, defleppard said:

Is that Levi's branding head seeing this picture??

Somebody took our comment on his back seriously.......he he he

:siffle:

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GOOD MORNING !

I REALLY MISS DAGHAN AND SPECIAL ENGIN AKYUREK !:starplucker:

IT WAS MY FIRST TIME THAT I SAW HIM LIVE!!

IT WAS AMAZING!!:girl_cloud:

AND IT WAS SPECIAL AND PERFECT WITH ALL OF YOU!!!  I AM VERY HAPPY TO MEET YOU ALL OF YOU HERE .!!! THANK YOU!! I HOPE THAT WE HAVE BACK ENGIN AKYUREK VERY SOON !!!

I HAVE A QUESTION !!! WHERE CAN  I FIND THE STORIES FROM ENGIN AKYUREK  KAFASINA  IN TURKISH? I HAVE READ ALL OF THEM IN GREEK !!

THANK YOU ALL OF YOU!!!:rosesmile:

Edited by TASIA T.
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 I don't know where my baby is ......

ENGIN AKYUREK:loveshower:

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On 4/18/2017 at 0:03 PM, Catherine said:

If u search here u can find his writings :)

But i post also here. Two of them aren't translated by EAUFC. 

https://www.facebook.com/EnginAkyurekUniversal/notes/

13

Hasan, the Son of Ahmet. (Translated by EAUFC) 

by Engin Akyürek

 

Hasan, the son of Ahmet…Don’t mind his dark and thin face, the energy emanating from his eyes can brighten an entire city. Hasan is a 9 year old son of a family who immigrated from the most eastern part of Turkey to its most western part.

 

My meeting with Hasan was not like meeting kids blocking your way to sell a selpak(1) on the streets. He had stood tall before me like a career boy who came for a job interview. Even though our first meeting was standoffish, he was among the regulars of my table whenever I wanted to have some tea. He wouldn’t answer a question with a question but he would use his answers built with his own sentences like a question. You would never see in his eyes or hear in his voice about the sufferings of his family. He wouldn’t talk much but he would create a velvety softness between one’s face and conscience when he talked. Hasan’s 9 years life, of which 6 years are in Kars and last 3 years are in Istanbul, had already passed the decimal numbers. 

 

Whenever he saw me, he would quietly approach my table and he would walk on his tiptoes as if there was something fragile if I were with other people. Elegance has no age and is not always in one’s eyes or voice. On the contrary, it may appear on Hasan, the son of Ahmet, when least expected.

 

“Hasan, what do you want to be in the future?”

 

He had left the selpak on the table and said, as if he had never heard this question before, “I don’t know. But, I am going to be something good.”

 

“Good?”

 

“I don’t know. Something good.”

 

He had wanted to be neither a doctor nor a pilot but I had understood him. The thing he couldn’t expressed very well was just to be a good person. Maybe, this was what I wanted him to be. As a good person, he could also be a doctor or a pilot; as long as he was a good person.

 

“You are here until late hours. How do you go back home?” 

 

When I asked this question after we got to know each other, he had showed me a huge crowd of children around us. 

 

“We live in Umraniye. There is neither a bus nor a dolmus(*) at night. So, we (kids) who sell selpak or flowers get together and share a cab. We pay 10 liras per person. Since the cab driver is our neighbor, he gives us a little bit discount.”

 

“That’s cool.”

 

“Well, it is not that cool if I can’t sell a lot of selpaks.”

 

You may find listening to or talking about one’s sufferings precious at that moment but Hasan’s story, his father’s unemployment, their move from their village in Kars to Istanbul, and his mother’s illness should have remained or was able to remain as the most secret story of the world. 

 

“Do you like Istanbul?”

 

Even though he liked Istanbul, there was always a dusty village road on the most distant corners of his heart while he was talking about Kars and the village he was born. When someone got angry with him or yelled at him, I would see him quickly going and coming back on that village road stuck in between his mind and his heart.

 

Hasan, the son of Ahmet, had become one of my best friends. Sometimes, I would go for some tea just to be able to talk with him, do our daily chat, and commit the sin of a childish gossip. When he got angry with someone, he wouldn’t curse like other kids did and would ashamedly save those vulgar curses stuck between his mouth and his tongue to himself. When sense of shame enters one’s soul, it wiggles around like a worm in an apple and, touching the seed, to our core, it would become one of our organs. Sense of shame was a beautiful feeling no matter what and I guess it mostly belonged to Hasan, the son of Ahmet. Even though he would blush or he wouldn’t be able to dare by gazing steadily, good things would always become him. 

 

We had a friendship that lasted 1.5 years. I had seen him last on September. We had met on a rainy day, had a very brief chat and manly said goodbye like two best friends shaking hands. I had never seen him again after that rainy day. I had asked Hasan to everybody from simit sellers to flower sellers. Did something happen to him? I hadn’t heard about his brothers either. Since he didn’t like to be asked questions, the only thing I knew about him was that he lived in Umraniye. In humongous Istanbul, that placed called Umraniye could sometimes become bigger than Istanbul itself suddenly. I had visited all the taxi stops in Umraniye and asked them whether they had a cab who carried kids selling flowers or selpaks every night. In one of these taxi stops whose count I forgot, someone had told me that there was one cab who took these children home every night. I had gone to that taxi stop, found the driver and listen to the end of Hasan’s story from him. Feeling uneasy at first, but after seeing my determination on my face, without understanding what’s going on, the driver had said:

 

“Brother, I take them to their home as my last ride every night. I live in the upper neighborhood.”

 

“Where is Hasan? Have you seen him?”

 

“Is he the one with dark and thin face? He has a brother, too.”

 

“Yes, he has a brother.”

 

“They moved back to their village.”

 

“Kars?”

 

“I don’t know that much, brother.”

 

Our Hasan, the son of Ahmet, had returned to his village. Had his story ended here or had he gone back to write a new story? I would miss his stories and our chats.

 

Even though I felt sad, maybe he would find his asphalt road on those dusty village roads. When I got back home and ended Hasan’s story that night, poisonous moths had swarmed my heart after hearing the following news on TV. Children whose name we didn’t know had burned to death in a dormitory somewhere in mid-Turkey. Sentences had lost their meaning, my words, with the effect of what I saw, had created crying waterfalls inside me. When I turned the TV off, I conceived a new story; Hasan’s story. Maybe, Hasan had felt some things.

 

… because the best stories were the ones rewritten again. 

 

(1) Selpak: A generic brand name used for facial tissues (like Kleenex)

(2) Dolmus: A shared cab that carries more than one people (it literally means “filled”).

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12

The Snowman

By Engin Akyurek

[Translated by Engin Akyurek Universal Fans Club]

(Please note that there maybe some improvements on the translation later on).

 

“If he laughs well, he's a good man” – F. Dostoyevski

 

I don’t ask myself the question of “Who is a good man?” Which one is more effective; little bit of smiling of good people or spluttered guffaw effects of bad people? Even though a response to each question remains as an answer, one doesn’t usually question a beautiful laughter. 

 

He put his most shivering part of his heart on the middle of the table. His eyes, looking at me head to toe, were like the astute gaze of an old woman. Although he was eight years old, he looked like a youngster.

 

“What?” I asked with a disdainful attitude coming from me just turning 9. He had told me his New Year plan bit by bit as if he had breadcrumbs in his mouth and was carefully getting them out by trying to be cautious not to drop them all over the place.

 

We would write “Welcome 1990” on the window. We would cosmetically bury the 80s into the darkness of the history with the help of a glue and some cotton that he would steal from his mother’s drawer. Hakan had planned everything. The window of our living room would be used on New Year’s eve. Our families would gather in our house. We would have tangerines, kisir (bulgur salad - tabouli), play bingo and then go to bed. We wouldn’t forget about the snowing effect and use the carefully formed small cotton balls for that. Even though the reality of the snow outside slapped us in the face, we would prefer to be decorative. Japanese glue (1) would enter our lives later on but Japan would always remind us Baris Manco (2).

 

Hakan was very excited. He wanted to do so many things that it was as if he forgot that he was eight years old and waiting for someone to remind him this. The snow outside not only made fun of the cottons that we glued on the window but also told something to the 80s as well. Maybe we would miss the modest and humble 80s but we had such a strong expectations on 90s that we couldn’t even imagine how 2000s would belittle 90s later on.

 

After we got the glue off our hands, Hakan had told me his second plan: “Let’s make a snowman.” When the clock struck the midnight, we would take our families to the backyard and show them our snowman. It was a nice plan and would add high resolution to 80s’ single channel life (3). 

 

The importance and meaning of those days both colored our loneliness and caused us collect as many memories as possible. I had kyped a carrot from the refrigerator as Hakan stole cotton from his mother’s drawer. Because of aesthetical concerns, I had stopped by coal cellar and grabbed a handful carefully selected coal pieces.

 

At the backyard, we had first built a big body with the snow that we shoveled. Hakan had kneeled and, acting as if he was tired, showed once again what a reckless child he was. I had done the second piece and the most elaborated places between its neck and belly with my cold hands. It was getting dark. My cold hands, getting faster, had humanized the face of the snowman with surgical accuracy; a snow-white and smooth skin, two eyes from small coal pieces, and a smiling face with smaller coal pieces…The snowman’s smile was so beautiful that the darkness of coal pieces had warmed my heart. Making the carrot his nose and attaching a broom to its body, I had finished my snowman and it had a sparkling smile.

 

My snowman was the only thing that I liked in my 8 years long life. My pastel paintings and potato prints were like monstrosities from the Paleolithic period compare to it. One’s instinct of creating something and admiration to that thing one created could be accomplished with just a carrot and Zonguldak coal (4).

 

The sound of our single channel life which calmed us and, time to time, made us fall asleep would create great excitement as the countdown started. Streets were sparkling as if they were 8 years old and waiting for this day. Obviously, we hadn’t liked 80s.

 

When the anchor, using all the delicacies of Turkish language, announced the winning lottery ticket number on TV, the silence of the smallest prize had won in our home again. Meals that our mothers prepared, orange smells, and us who advanced to “Bingo” from “Sorry” trying not to sleep were taking revenge from the 80s. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6. … The start of a new year, our hugs with new hopes, and our fantastic belief for the future showed that we could stay human regardless.

Before reaching the most inviting hours of our sleep, we had taken our folks to the backyard. Siblings, grandmothers, aunt-in-laws had come to the backyard with us. We had some drunken or smoking audience who were watching us from their balconies. The backyard had turned into a fairground. Hakan’s father had said “So?” with a fatherly voice. And I said “here”, pointing out the snowman with my hands. The whole neighborhood turned their head as I turned my head and looked at my snowman. After a little silence, when I approached my snowman, I saw that his carrot nose had tuned into a sexual organ and his smiling face had become wicked adjectives of unfilial children. My snowman was ridiculed by everybody including drunken Uncle Selim in his balcony because of the lower neighborhood’s hateful eyed children had made fun of it. The crowd’s muttering laughter and the sounds made by old ladies had showed that we could still be embarrassed by a carrot. Tears had been welled up in my eyes and I had hardly contained myself from crying. I hadn’t liked the 90s at all. I had immediately wanted to go to bed, pull the cover over me and forget this night. What happened to my snowman had upset me more than people who laughed at me.

 

He had smiled so beautifully; I wished everybody could smile like that. It was as if something was blown into my ear, into my 8 years old soul. I had collected all of the smiles years ago by myself. I would collect tens of similes from the faces and gazes I loved, like a breath that I would take as long as I lived. I would find those smiles sometimes buried in a lover’s dimple, or on a friend’s hand extended to me, or most importantly, while laughing on the inside like looking at yourself in the mirror.

 

As soon as I wake up, I would make better faces to my snowman. I had woken up to my mother’s voice in the morning. It was almost afternoon. I was going to run to the backyard, but I had been petrified when I saw the rain drops on the window. It had rained and melted the snow away. The beads (tears) that I had been trying to hold in my eyes since the last night had started falling like evil-eye beads. I ran to the backyard and saw the smiling coal pieces, the carrot and the broom standing in silent homage on the wet ground. While I was collecting the small coal pieces, I heard my mother’s voice: “Come inside, you will get cold.”

 

Looking at the coal pieces in my hand and as if I was talking to my snowman, I asked: “Mom, do good people always laugh nice?”

 

“How did you come up with this? Who told you this?”

 

“Who can it be? My snowman.”

 

(1) super glue

(2) Baris Manco was a very famous Turkish rock musician who passed away in 1999. He toured in Japan in 1995 and this was a huge thing in Turkey back then.

(3) During the 80s, there was only one TV channel which was state-run TRT.

(4) Zonguldak is a port city in the Black Sea region that has coal-mines nearby.

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11

A Cloud Was Hidden In Her Eyes

By Engin Akyurek

[Translated by Engin Akyurek Universal Fans Club]

The bus had been able to stop without any incident. Even though its old body was red, this was not a kind of redness of a healthy glow emanating from rosy cheeks. Its long body and its folding bellows (Translator's Note: He is talking about articulation buses) , which looked like an accordion, were making its passengers dance the halay (1) at every brake, even dance the Erzurum Bar (2) at every turn and the horon (3) at sudden breaks. Every bus had a different name and they called each other with their names rather than the numbers that we assigned them.

When the bus was able to stop without an incident, its doors had been opened with the sound of its stertorous breathing. I had floated to the back of the bus like waves catching and carrying me along. Moving to back, an old habit from my school days, was making me show off my tallness gallantly. It’s known by some people that sitting at the back meant to be Avarell (4) of an organized crime.

My calculator watch showed 7:45. It was such a nice combination of time and location. The girl who had a cloud hidden in her eyes would get into the bus two stops later. She would get into the bus and elegantly find herself a place to sit.

When the bus arrived her stop, it seemed like it had cleared its hoarse throat and opened its doors quickly. When I looked at her, I always felt like it was drizzling even in a sunny weather. My heart’s weather forecast showed rain because of her partially cloudy eyes. Even though I didn’t know her name, I was dreaming scenes which her story and where she came from didn’t matter. The damp weather in her eyes haunted my dreams. I was naming her in my dreams and rehearsing our first greeting in my sleeps.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

There was no need to go further because anything expressed in sentences could steal the meaning in her eyes. The sentences would turn into verbs as we looked at each other and verbs would dwindle to our hidden (or null) subject.

The bus had moved forward. Although I should have gotten off the bus three stops ago, I had still been in the bus to be with her. Clouds in those eyes could breake away easily in a world where 3-bus stop distance could be a problem. Overcoming my ego, I had memorized the EGO (5) timetable. Our two weeks story was as old as Adam and as unique as Eve. I was traveling to the most beautiful places on earth with her in the bus.

When the bus driver, turning back with his voice rather than his head, said “Move all the way to the back”, I was already at the swing carousel part(6) of the bus. When the crowd swarmed over me, I had caught her eyes as if we had a date. When two pairs of eyes were too close to each other, one couldn’t look.

I used to love clouds. Those clouds that heroically challenged the condescending sun were this girl’s story. And her story was my story.

We were filming the most beautiful love story of the world. Looking at my calculator watch, she had asked me “Excuse me, what time is it?” It was 8:15. The quarter-ness of time wasn’t important anymore. She would get off the bus at past-twenties anyways. My inner recording devices had recorded her voice. Her musical note was on all my sounds now.

This girl was the topic of everything I told my friends. I told them so many things under that topic that they were really curious about her.

“What’s her name?”

“I don’t know.”

“Have you talked to her yet?”

“No.”

“Why?”

If we trimmed the question parts, my answers would be hidden in her eyes. It was like looking the most beautiful view of the world from the most beautiful hill. I had wanted to grow or green something in the most crowded borders of the bus. Our first sentence, first hello should last a lifetime, let alone three bus stops.

Hakan and Mehmet had begun to get on the bus although they didn’t need it. Curiosity was a beautiful thing. Loving someone from distance was more beautiful and more intriguing. The more I talked about her hair, her skin, and most importantly, her eyes, the more she was turning into a fairy tale heroine whose name I didn’t know.

I had my vocal chords, screaming like a bunch of hooligans, gathered at the command echelon of my heart. They had the power of translating “What time is it?” question into Japanese. Although all translations had the same meaning, I could only understand her language.

My two weeks story had extended to its third week which was the Gregorian sign of transition from the Ice Age to the First Age.

Grinning, Hakan and Mehmet were waiting for me at mybus stop at 7:30 in the morning. But there was childish malice behind their grinning. They were there as if they would steal something that I had. However, the thing that they would steal wasn’t a couple of car pictures collected from a Turbo gum. These things that I told them belonged to me and it was more of a story of clouds, this girl’s story than my story.

The red old man, one of our old men (TN: he means the bus), whose name I didn’t know and I recognized from its torn bellow, had come at 7:45. As always, I had moved to the back of the bus. Mehmet and Hakan had stood closer to me, under someone’s elbow (TN: He allegorically implies that they were short). They were shorter than me. They didn’t know back seats. They always loved sitting next to the driver. Their grin hadn’t been died down and they had been grinning like a Cheshire cat, like a flaring pear beacon.

It was almost 8:15. The morning traffic was making people stressful. My excitement was causing landslides inside me and they were turning into erosion as Mehmet and Hakan kept grinning and people kept honking in the heavy traffic.

When the bus reached the famous bus stop, all three of us had snapped to attention. I was the head of the protocol and, thank god, I was the tallest one. The door hissed and fizzled as if it released its bolts. It sounded so bad that it suited neither the girl we had been waiting for nor our pathetic poise. While I was waiting like a Simple Simon, our girl got into bus holding hands with some else.

At that moment, the bus got older and turned into the face of a grumpy old man on his deathbed. I could wash the face of the boy holding her hand with a softener; his soul was smelling hydrochloric acid anyways. As Mehmet, elbowing my side, asked me who she was, the bus was becoming uglier and turning into my feudist. Even though the weather forecast showed rain, the weather was becoming sunny and the clouds were breaking away as if they were never there.

Hakan, catching my stares, had said, “Was this the girl?”

There were moments that we didn’t need the truth. Dreams and the things that stayed with us were sometimes more important than the thing we called reality.

Turning to Hakan, I had said “The weather is sunny today”.

“What?”

“I mean, no bro, this girl is very ugly.”

Footnotes:

1) Halay is a folk dance style performed in Central and Southeastern Anatolia which people dance together in line hand to hand or shoulder to shoulder 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2jOK_mWkjw


2) Bar (means dance in Armenian) is a folk dance style performed in Eastern Anatolia which people dance together side-by-side, hand to hand, shoulder to shoulder and arm-in-arm


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QOZnh8OjUs

3) Horon (originated from Greek χορός (dance)) is a folk dance style performed in Black Sea region of Turkey which people dance together hand-in-hand in short steps. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZCsYWRu4bI


4) The tallest, youngest, and stupidest of the Dalton Brothers in Lucky Luke comics series created by Belgian cartoonist Morris. 

5) Abbreviation for “Elektrik Gaz Otobüs Genel Müdürlüğü - Ankara Electricity, Gas and Bus Operations Organization (EGO General Directorate)” which provides electricity, gas, and public transportation under the umbrella of Ankara Metropolitan Municipality.

6) Pivoting joint of an articulated bus that connects two rigid sections.

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10

A Marble

By Engin Akyurek for Kafasina Gore Magazine

[Translated by Engin Akyurek Universal Fans Club]

 

My summer holiday had started three months after I learned how to read. I didn’t have my red ribbon (1) that I proudly carried on the left side of my chest. My black school uniform which wrapped my body was wide open and it, flying like a cloak, had visually completed my report card which was full of good grades. I had my report card on one hand and my holiday book on the other. I guess I don’t have to tell you that my book bag carried on my back looked like a camel hump. Although it was the last day of the school, I couldn’t fit my holiday book into my book bag because it was full of beans and colored reading papers. My bag was like a legumes warehouse. Of course, this had nothing to do with our brains turning into a kneading trough as we grew older. (2) By the way, don’t look down on this holiday book, because this book which was sold by using very tactical sales techniques was the rescuer of our entire holiday and the assurance of our future. No more than a coloring book, it was an insult to human intelligence, let alone a colorful activity for hot summer days ahead. It was impossible to love the kid on the cover of the book even if he was your child. It was that bad. He was looking at us as if he was saying “you are an idiot.” Yes, we hadn’t solved Egyptian hieroglyphics and all we could do was to write “Ali look at the horse.” But, we were human after all, not a horse. Years later, we would understand that too much was expected from a generation who were entrusted to a holiday book. I hadn’t liked the book at all; it was a total disappointment for me.

 

After I showed my report card to my family, I had hidden the holiday book that I concealed under my shirt into one of the secret corners of our china cabinet. I had built a set in front of it with our whiskey bottles filled with tea. It wasn’t the right thing to do to throw it out into the garbage because our teacher would check our homework when school started. I have to tell you that I had already added a mustache and a beard on the kid’s picture on the cover. I had planned to solve all the questions in the book two days before school started. It was a nice plan.

 

Summer holiday was readily spent like the money you got out of nowhere. 15 days had already passed before the marbles season started. German-Turks (3) and their families hadn’t come yet. When they came, it was fun to beat them in a marbles game and pick their marbles. Since our neighborhood sits on a higher hill, it was a little bit difficult to play on the ridge. Children of lower neighborhoods were a little bit afraid of playing as a visitor. Big and contentious matches could continue until dinner time or until we heard the voice of someone’s mother. If you ever played marbles, you would know that every game had its own ground. Therefore, the feasibility of each neighborhood’s ground was done by the older boys of that neighborhood. Our little hands could take every kind of geometric shape like a protractor. If you wanted play the pit, the tilt, or the head game, your thumb, your wrists, or your eyes had to be strong, respectively.

 

I wanted to make a very strong entrance into the marbles season which I had started with a very little capital. We knew that there wouldn’t be huge fluctuations in marbles exchange before the children of German-Turks arrived and we would yield to domestic market conditions. I was on watch both for marbles and the Kapikule border gate (4). 

 

I was checking my holiday book now and then. If my mother ever found the book, I wouldn’t be able to lift my head from the book until my military service, let alone play marbles. The beard and mustache that I drew on the kid with a pencil was the proof of how my mother would sort me out. Whether it is a visitor game at the lower neighborhood or a hosting game in our neighborhood, my hands had started getting cracked and flaking off like a Somali map. Especially in a pit game, we pressed our hands on the ground so tight that it would take the color of the ground. It is true that I soaked my hands in soft soap not to show my flaking hands to my father at the dinner table. My tanned face, my sunburnt neck, and my hands like a cracked chicken leg were the summary of my three months after I learned how to read. My small capital had begun to grow and my marbles that I hid in the shoe cabinet had begun to spread toward my winter shoes. I was very proud of myself because I was doing great things with my small capital. I wished the kid on the cover of the holiday book could have seen my success. 

 

It was very difficult to hide my marbles every night. If my father had found them, I could have been banned to play marbles by the local court (means his family) before German-Turks arrived. God forbid.

 

It was the middle of my summer holiday. I could make waves on my hair with my comb. My face on the mirror had shown that I grew up a little more. Well, it was almost four months since I learned how to read. 

 

My mother made me read the newspaper at every breakfast. That was my entire education. All books were boring. All the characters in those books were either too idiotic or lotus eaters who enjoyed their vacation here and there. It was easy to talk under an umbrella during the summer, but I was spending my holiday by playing marbles on a dirt field. Life would shortly teach me to be interested in the things that I hadn’t experienced before.

 

When the children of German-Turks arrived, our neighborhood became livelier. German cars were as if they were swearing at our Tofaş (5) brand cars. I had never wanted to witness an Eagle (6) being belittled like this. German cars with their strong muscles were taking up as much space as their owners’ belly. If they had invented smartphones, we would have taken a selfie but only German-Turks had cameras back then. A German-Turk, leaning his belly fat against the wall and lining us up like glassware, had said “Guys, let me take a picture of you in front of the car.” Back in those days, we used to take a picture in front of new white appliances, too (7). We had lined up in front of the German-Turk’s car like penguins and smiled like humans. He had said “I will send this picture to all of you.” But, we hadn’t got a single greeting from him, let alone a picture. That picture of me which he had taken with my marbles in my pockets had been lost forever along with the Deutschmark bills hidden under the German-Turk’s belly fat. We had smiled so beautifully in that picture.

 

I was winning in the marbles games and collecting the German-Turk children’s marbles. Then, I was selling them from a daily rounded exchange rate. I was very happy. The entire neighborhood was expecting German-Turks to come back home; how could they leave such a beautiful country?

 

By the end of my summer holiday, I had bags of marbles. I had understood how the banking business started because it was very difficult to hide that many marbles. I was sneakily hiding them at the out-of-sight corners of the house.

 

My mother had found my holiday book just one week before school started. My marbles had also been exposed as if the kid on the cover told everything. My father had announced the completion of my collapse: “Take these marbles out and never bring them back. The school will start next week. Look at your hands! One can’t tell if you are a beggar or a student.” The marbles at home were just one tenth of what I had and the ones that I hid under trees or over roofs were my real treasure. The children of German-Turks had lost all their fortune.

 

It was one week before the school started. My long and wavy hair was cut in crew-cut (it was very ugly hair style that unmans a human) and I was out of spirits. I had to go home in the evening and solve the questions in my holiday book. I had lost all my spiritual and material connection with my marbles. My father was right; the school was starting and I had no business with marbles. I had decided to make an announcement for the children of our neighborhood; I would climb the highest hill and distribute my marbles among them without allowing any sense of looting. 

 

I was there at the exact hour as I promised. My child eyes were seeing a massive crowd before me. There were children from other neighborhoods as well. The children of German-Turks were also there, hoping that they could get back what they had lost. In their eyes, I was like a lunatic distributing his wealth. 

 

The marbles that I put into two big black bags were not visible. The older boys of our neighborhood had told me that they would shoot me instead of marbles if I was joking. I knew that they meant it. Rising on my toes, I had started throwing my marbles away. It was a mad scramble to get marbles. Throwing marbles away, I was trying to push the mad crowd away from me. My arms could become a bird and fly away and my elbows could head for the sky like an arrow. I was scared and sad but also enjoying this situation. Throwing the marbles that I honestly earned was causing egocentric ripples on my younger self. I was throwing the marbles so away that you almost needed to pass at least two neighborhoods to catch them.

 

When I came home in the evening, I saw my father nailing something with a nail between his lips and a hammer in his hand. The nail at the corner of his mouth showed that he was angry. 

 

“Dad, what happened?”

 

“Our window was broken. A blackguard has thrown a marble from the hill.”

 

Footnotes:

(1) When first grade students learn how to read, they are given red ribbon to show that they can read.

(2) He means empty like a kneading trough. 

(3) Turks who settled in Germany as a worker

(4) Turkish entry point from Europe for German Turks road-traveling

(5) Turkish automaker and one of the three global production centers of Fiat Auto. A popular series of the Tofas brand

(6) The series produced by Tofas during 1980s.

(7) During those years, white appliances or foreign brand cars were not easy to get because Turkey’s economic policy was mostly in state control until the very radical economic package announced on January 24, 1980 which shifted Turkey from mixed capitalism to a free market economy.

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9

Old Woman

By Engin Akyurek

[Translated by Engin Akyurek Universal Fans Club]

 

Valor has been lost whence guns were invented (1). Encyclopedias have gone away like flying coupons when Google was founded. Our search engines (i.e encyclopedias) that we got for 180 coupons (2) began to turn yellow inside cardboard boxes. Our decorative information sources (i.e. encyclopedias) left our living rooms and abandoned us. The information we had on our phones started stinking like the Maltepe Dump in our hands. That is, the curved blade (or a scimitar) in its holster shall rust.

 

Rising clouds of dust, a car had passed by us. Hakan, telling the expensive price tag of the car with his always smiling face, had said “Look at the car; it is a diesel car.” It was nice to have nothing to talk while going to school. The road was dusty, our shoes were the ones bought for Bayram celebrations. Talking about cars while walking had tarmacked our dusty roads. If you want me to describe the roads that we walked, there were empty lots between some buildings. An empty lot meant a ball, a game. Hakan and I had looked at each other. Our stares were like the stares of the two people who wanted to kick a ball. He had already crossed the ball with his stares and at the same time, throwing his bag aside, he had run towards the lot as if he was expecting me to score a goal. Metin, Ali, Feyyaz (3) meant scoring a goal. I had run to the lot right after him to play soccer. Turning my tie, which looked like a sewing pinhead, into a captain band by tying it around my biceps, I had passed the ball to Hakan. Our sweaty armpits and neck had created an adolescent tension. In our second period, our geography teacher could tell countries’ geography by looking at our faces. Hakan could turn into African deserts with his sweaty face, and I could be the most reddish parts of the world atlas. We hadn’t known with whom we were playing soccer; everybody was excited to kick the plastic ball passed to them. It was as if we weren’t playing soccer but throwing a javelin. We were happy and we had the physical comfort of not attending the first period. And this easy manner was not related to our first period being a Physics class. It was the dirt field equivalent of the pleasure of ditching the school. And another truth was that passing ball to each other could become as official as a certificate of residence since we were from the same neighborhood. I had rolled myself over to bottom of the wall when I sweat bullets after all those running and kicking. I was like I was making a rosary with the drops falling from my nose to my mouth using my tongue. I was so thirsty that I hadn’t even realized the old woman who approached me. When a person gets thirsty, the life gets silent as well.

 

“Son…” she said. When I raised my head, I saw a person with two compassionate eyes and an old body looking at me.

 

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

 

“Son, please don’t think that I am a beggar.”

 

Her telling me that she wasn’t a beggar was actually kind of a homing pigeon (an indication) of how she would want something. The old woman’s husband had passed away last year and her useless son had spent all her retirement income. She had ended up in the poorhouse and had even needed help of a little kid like me sweating bullets. The things which the old woman told me had created tsunamis on my thirsty tongue. I had gotten sad, which proved that one could get sad when one was thirsty. The old woman had wanted money for her medicine. I was a student and my lunch money couldn’t even create a placebo effect let alone afford her medicine. I had yelled “Hakan!” When Hakan raised his head and saw us, he had understood the situation and come next to me right away. The old woman had also told Hakan her story, finding the strength from me, without getting tired or being embarrassed. As if our sweaty faces weren’t enough, our eyes had gotten sweaty, too, because of what she told us. Were we too sentimental or had the old woman created a “Kemalettin Tuğcu (4) scene” in our minds? Hakan and I had caught each other’s eyes again. This time, I had thrown a glance at him. We had to help the old woman; at least, we should buy her medicine. I had already forgotten my thirst. My sweat cooled my body down and created a colder weather. Hakan and l were throwing stares each other’s way to find out what we could do but we couldn’t score in this single-goal post soccer game that we played with our eyes. Hakan, taking my arm, had said “You, go get your penny bank, and I will bring the money that my brother hid.” I guess, what he said had created a “Robin Hood” effect, I said “Ok.” There was a problem, though. The first period was a physics class and my mother had kept my penny bank in the living room which was the most central part of the house. Hakan’s smiling face, with a seriousness that wasn’t expected from him, as if he already solved the problem, had said “We tell our parents that we forgot our homework. That way, you can get your penny bank, and I can get my brother’s hidden money.” Why couldn’t I think such a simple plan? A jealous conceit as a result of not being able to solve simple things had visited my body for a couple of seconds.

 

“Ma’am, you wait here, we will be back,” I had said. The old woman, letting her old body sit on a rock, had stared at us with a look that she could wait forever.

 

The old woman’s last look had greased our heels and we had run to our homes. I had brought my penny bank and Hakan had stolen his brother’s money. Would we be up to no-good in the future, too, by stealing our children’s money? While we were going back, Hakan had have a new idea. Our neighbor Sister Nesrin was a nurse who worked at the community clinic at the next street. We would take the old lady to the clinic and have her treated. This was Hakan’s day but I had have the idea of exchanging coins for bills and putting them into an envelope. We had gone to the clinic, taking the old woman who was waiting us. The old woman who obeyed whatever we told was the youngest voice of our conscience.

 

While Hakan was talking to Sister Nesrin, I had put the money into the envelope that we purchased from an office supply store and given the envelope to the old woman. The old lady had been moved to tears and broken my penny bank once again. Hakan, sticking his head out of the clinic’s window, had said “Come, come!” The clinic looked like a World War II postcard with babies crying and children infected with mumps waiting in line. Sister Nesrin had told us there was a long queue and therefore we had to wait a little. She hadn’t forgotten to ask why we weren’t in the school, either. When we got out of the clinic, we couldn’t see the old lady in the garden. We had checked the restroom, the corridor, even the field in which I sweated bullets. We had thought that the old lady was embarrassed and therefore didn’t want to be hurt. We were bad kids. We had embarrassed her. We were inconsiderate kids who stole money from our siblings; who were penny bank robbers of today and real bank robbers of the future.

 

I want to stop my writing here and tell you something. I can hear that you call us idiots. I know that this is not a story worth telling today. Are we wiser today? The curved blade in its holster shall rust.

 

The next day, we had told our story to our class mates. I don’t know if it was because we didn’t have much to do, everybody had been interested in the old woman’s story. Hakan and I had stopped by the dirt field every day in the hope of seeing her there. We both had missed the old lady. If we could find the old lady, we had many friends who wanted to help and who could steal from their parents. Even our teachers in the school had wanted to help. After all these years, the simplicity of this story and our life experience were the proof of how that old lady fooled two adolescents. Our experience, our sufferings, our happiness had stolen the innocence of this story and labeled us as idiots. The wiser we had gotten, the more foolish we had become and our experience had retired our conscience.

 

While we were going to school, we had always stopped by the dirt field. The rock that the old woman sat had been like a shrine of the Geyikli Baba (5). It is true that, calling our classmates, we organized a mystic travel to that rock. We were the helpful thieves pointed at during breaks.

 

Every story needs some time to end. We had stumbled the old woman whom we looked for in another neighborhood after months. We had whooped when we saw her. We had finally found her. We had questions for the old woman. Had she bought her medicine? What had happened to her retirement salary and her useless son? The old woman who saw our happiness could run away if her feet allowed her. We had said “Where were you ma’am?” The old lady gaped at us and couldn’t say anything. Hakan, relaxing his smiling face, had told everything. And I had asked her if she took her medicine. The meaning of the old lady’s stare and surprise was an information that was valid today. I don’t even want to talk about how her face looked like when I told her that the principal would help her. From the principal to the neighborhood artisans, everybody knew her story. Even our neighborhood’s young men had a plan to beat her useless son. The story had been exaggerated and changed his useless son to a drunk who beat his mother. Creativity and gossip knew no limits in such kind of situations. The old lady was keeping quiet and was not answering our questions. Thinking that she was embarrassed, we were answering our own questions. We were like the candidates of candidate in municipal elections. We were going to buy chairs for the old lady even though we didn’t have a credit card.

 

The old lady tidying up her headscarf that didn’t show her hair had said only a single sentence:

 

“Son, where do you live?”

 

Ah, the old lady!

 

Footnotes:

1-“Valor has been lost whence guns were invented / The curved blade in its holster shall rust.” were the verses taken from the Epic of Koroglu (literal meaning is son of the blind man) which is one of the famous Turkish folk tales that tell the story of a hero struggling against the unjust ruler. These verses tell that the old chivalric ways lost forever with the invention of guns. You can find the story of this verses at http://quatr.us/centralasia/literature/koroglu.htm and more information about this epic at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/kroglu-i-literary-tradition

 

2-In the old days, Turkish newspapers used to give out encyclopedias for collecting certain number of cut-out coupons printed on the newspaper each day to increase their sales.

 

3-Legendary players of the Beşiktaş Football Club in the late 80s, early 90s.

 

4-Kemalettin Tuğcu was a Turkish writer who was famous with his very melodramatic stories that reached many young readers in 70s and 80s. We can say that children of those years learned how to cry from his books. 

 

5-Geyikli Baba (Father who had deer) is the nickname of a dervish named Babasultan who lived in Babasultan village of the city of Bursa during the era of Orhan Gazhi who was the second Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Rumors say that he fought with a huge sword on a deer during the establishment of Bursa. Because he was very sociable and well-spoken, the soldiers of the military post there called him as “Father”.

 

[Translated by Engin Akyurek Universal Fans Club] 

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8

THE SCENT

By Engin Akyurek

[Translated by Engin Akyurek Universal Fans Club]

Years ago

In my school bag, a scent had started permeating from my notebook next to my 0.7 retractable pencil. When one has a school bag, one’s mind is also like an office supply store. It had taken me as long as a child in a red school uniform memorizing the multiplication table to figure out the source of the scent. An answer for nine times seven or zero turning everything into zero was way beyond our comprehension back then. The scent diffusing from my notebook had captivated my school bag so much that it had almost seemed like someone else’s bag. This was the scent that was latched onto my school bag, and implicitly to me, by the scented eraser belonging to Ayça (ay-cha) whose teeth were like gnawed by a mouse. The scent exuding from the pages of my notebook had created the scented world of the child who had been trying to study on the table at home. The relationship between the scent and the action of erasing had become Ayça herself rather than a philosophical level. Erasing meant a little bit hiding. Like a stamp collector, I had started collecting my memories with the scent permeated from that notebook. This was the beginning of a passion that would become the world’s most beautiful hobby. I had recorded so many things while deleting a wrong-placed comma. The eraser of Ayça whose teeth were gnawed by a mouse had become the world’s most powerful recorder. Maybe, this was why the things I tried to erase for all my life had a smell. Trying to erase things was a superhuman act and there was no place for spelling mistakes in life. Maybe, I wouldn’t remember Ayça’s face years later, but everything shared during those school years would cling into my memory with a smell, making me more human.

Years later…

In my most preoccupied manner, I was browsing the worst sellers in a bookstore. I felt as if I was in a supermarket rather than a bookstore and was taking a literary journey among the aisles. When I was just about to turn to Turkish Literature aisle, my coat and my hands suddenly started smelling like a perfume. Actually, it was more like the way she wore the perfume rather than the perfume itself. I looked around, thinking if the girl standing at the personal development books aisle was wearing it. The more I walked the more the scent permeated. It seemed like I was exuding perfume monoxide as I breathed out. Why had this scent that created big hearts at my smell borders been surrounding my body? Leaving the book store, I had gone to the restroom of the café across the street and I had wanted to get rid of that scent by washing my face and hands. When I had caught my eyes in the mirror while washing my face, I had soused water on my face again, thinking that it might be a dream. When someone had knocked on the door, I had been pulled back to the reality by the first knock and left the restroom to the next person without even toweling my face. I had jealously looked at the man whom I met at the restroom door because it was impossible for him not to smell the scent exuding from my body and sharing her scent with that man had brought the word “jealousy” back to my life again. I was walking fast and meanwhile, turning my nose around and sniffing my body to mark where my body exuded that scent. I knew that I had to get rid of that smell as soon as I could by taking a shower. When once the memory file was opened, the world might turn into a perfume caldron.

While my nose swapping place with my mouth which was tired of smelling, one of my friends whom I would usually stumble into at the most ridiculous moments, had said “What’s up bro?”.

Using one of the circumlocution sentences, I had said “Fine, and you?”

“I’m fine bro. If you have nothing to do, let’s have some tea.”

“I will go home.”

“Just one tea, man.”

“Do you smell something on me?”

“You mean like sweat?”

“Don’t you smell anything on me?”

“Nooo”.

The three “o” of “no”, which don’t have any correspondence in Turkish, had confused me more. I guess the nasal valves under his nasal hump had been clogged.

“You mean you don’t smell anything on me?

“Nooo.”

After we went on our ways scentless, I had gone back to the bookstore. Actually, I knew what I needed to do. I needed three things but I had especially wanted to browse the section where they kept scented erasers. Colorful and featuring animated characters which I didn’t know, they were smelling like a detergent. While I was moving my nose over erasers, I had caught a little girl’s eye. Trying not to get an attention, I had found an eraser similar to Ayça’s eraser, bought a notebook and a pencil with it, and then left the bookstore.

A table, a pencil in my hand, and an empty white paper… Although the scented eraser was the leading actor, it knew the importance of how and where it would be used. The smell, becoming tangible like a part of me, was on the move with my hands and my hair. I had started writing the source of the scent, our meeting, our first hello…

HELLO

HELLO

Before I half-finished my tea, I had written many pages. The harmony created by beautiful sentences was gushing out of my mind’s seven tower dungeons [Translator’s note: He means deep corners of his mind.] As I wrote, Ayça’s scented eraser was being demoted to an extra from a leading actor. I didn’t want to delete anything. Everything was as real as what I wrote. While I was writing her scent, I was describing all kinds of flowers without using a single comma.

HELLO

Everything was continuing in an innocent manner created by a greeting. I didn’t have a dictionary to write bad sentences. As I wrote, I was feeling that the scent surrounded my body was diminishing slowly. My verbs were becoming permeated with the basil smell, and the ruthlessness and rebelliousness of a verb was conceding itself to the supremacy of its subject.

HELLO

I was underlining that word as the world’s most beautiful love word. I knew that some words had scent and legendary poets’ rooms had beautiful scents that couldn’t be produced by any of the fragrance brands.

I wasn’t even drinking the tea in front of me because we had sentences that we drank tea. The things pervaded into our memories could be stronger than anything else. Even the sound of teaspoon was more effective than modem indicators that indicated time and place. I had a huge smile like a croissant on my face. It was a smile between my lips and teeth, waiting to laugh. When I raised my head, I had caught my friend’s eye, whom I stumbled into earlier. My smile had slid from my teeth back to my internal organs. Accosting me and sarcastically,

“Bro, weren’t you going home?”

“I wanted to have a tea.”

Saying “Uh-huh”, he had sat before me. As if that wasn’t enough, he had said,

“Can I have one, too?”

Then, when he got up and said “Bro, what’s up, have you washed yourself with a woman fragrance? Your whole body smells.”

I had warmed up my old smile back and said “Noo.”

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7

Silence by Engin Akyurek

Winter day. Ankara has become like a refrigerator. There was a loud whistling wind. The snow covered the street with its soft white. The edges of the roof looked like lace of wedding dress, it was the very picture of innocence. I put the tea to cook, but I stayed in bed, in order to not interrupt my dream. I tried to sleep, put my head under the covers but my butt was left outside. From the street came this sound. Next door I heard the symphony of muted and silenced voices. I leaned my head on the moist window and my eyes saw the reason of these silenced voices. Selim's father died, of one of my best friends. People have been transmitted the message silently. I stormed out on the street without my boots and my coat on. My mother's voice made me returned to put on formal clothes.

I went in Selim’s house. In front of the door there was a lot of shoes, evidence on what was happening inside… At one point I realized that the whole neighborhood was there. Everyone is wearing what they found... Some came with summer slippers in a hurry to share the pain of the death of the neighbor. I thought, "Gee, Mom, will you now say that I came into the house of the deceased with the boots and the coat." Carrying this thought of what others will say I snuck into the house of the deceased. I rang the door. A small girl opened. Her frail youth made me feel the death even more tangible. She showed me Selim’s room. I went in. Selim and other kids from neighborhood were trying to ease the pain of death with the silence. In the next room the mother of Selim and several elderly aunts mourned the deceased. On the opposite side was another room. There was elders uncles and older people from the neighborhood steering at the carpet on the floor, not lifting their look from it… They have reacted to the death with silence. Everyone had a design on the rug that belonged only to him. I said, "My condolences, Selim." "Thanks," he said.

I could not think what else to say before the face of death. I, like others, ducked my head and I tried to find a figure on the carpet that is totally, reflecting the state of my soul. They brought tea. All the crying has stopped for a cup of tea. I and other kids from the neighborhood we wanted to defy death by starvation. We decided not to put any food in the mouth, so we fight for our boyish hearts. Of course, we understood ourselves without even looking at each other, and not taking our eyes from the ground, but the voice of grief was even bigger than our stomachs rumble. At one point is an auntie put before us gurabie and cookies. It was a real torture, as when a man struggling with a physical desire, but we did not want to give our victory up over the first temptation. They poured us tea. Selim raised his head and said: "Eat, guys." At that moment late father of Selim became our dad. I forgot who first began to push, but I remember that we threw ourselves on the food as if it were prey pushing each other hands. When in the body lies a child, a little smile, at the right time of life, is enough to wake this child. Selim laughed. We crammed cookies and gurabie in our mouth and he hid his mouth for no bursting into laughter. Despite the postulates of psychological science, Selim was just a child. Our confusion was short and we began to burst with laughter. Auntie brought tea and Selim said: "Quiet, it's a shame my son. Your father died today," and explained how to meet death. He continued to laugh and I said, “Selim, you want to go get some air? " Our faces are shining and it was our victory over death. Without telling anyone, we flied so nobody sees us and speeding like thieves we caught jackets and rushed out. We hurried down the street without knowing why and where we run. We followed Selim. Too tired from the chase We crashed to the ground. We knew that today we'll do what ever Selim would asked (told us). I asked: "What do we do now?"  Selim looked at us with sad eyes, said to follow him and stood at the head of the group. First we went to a room full of computers. With a single stroke we free the acces to games from small children … We started to play on computers. Everyone was letting Selim to win. We were to small to let us play billiards, but we pretended to / illegible / and we entered. We didn't know how Selim felt at this right moment...We could not know everything. Better this way. Tired of our large pool that was just our size, we took to the streets again. One child stopped us. "Brother Selim everyone in the house is asking for you." "Well, go home, I'm coming." said Selim. He wanted to live his pain with us, despite the cold breath coming out of his mouth, we went out on the streets of Ankara. We were his best friends, for kids that means as close as brothers. We walked around the neighborhood. Our causeless smiles were welcome in cold weather. It was the most natural way to warm us up. A single smile in the snow can do that on the roofs flourish flowers. As we walked around smiling everybody watched Selim with looks saying: "So that is the way the child, whose father has died, behave."

Suddenly in front of us appeared Selim's uncle. Seeing him smiling, he gathered the bushy eyebrows up, so the snow on the edges of roofs turned into ice. "Are you not ashamed? What kind of business you have to be outside? Your father died today," he said, emphasizing what he said with his thick eyebrows. Selim bowed his head in silence. Perhaps he searched in the snow a design that was on the rug. "I was going home, uncle" The noise-free, but gentle Selim voice, did that our childelish bodies suddenly got grown masculinity. Selim became a soldier, Hakan got married, Veli got a bunch of kids. We walked down the street like grown men. We talked how we are experiencing pain. Only Selim talked about some nice things. His uncle had to prepare the funeral, so he turned into the alley. Selim then paused, looked us in the eye and said: " I do not feel like going home." We listened to Selim, and well we did. We came to a place (some unknown) and we started to talk about the various adventures. If you try to close your eyes, and go back to your childhood, lead into it with a couple of sentences, I do not know exactly which ones, but certainly you'll like, and it will be close to what Selim was just telling us . We were starving. With the last remaining coins that we found in our pockets we bought soda and chips. Everyone was talking about the girl, and when stucked between love and lies we laughed again. But the freezing in Ankara was not harmless as children's lie. We threw some looks around to make sure that no one of the neighborhood saw us. Fearing that we could be seen or heard, we tried to open the chips even without the rustle. When Selim began talking about a girl, who is his love, we all believed. We wanted to believe him. Before our eyes Selim turned into Kerem or Mecnun. We were left to assume the role as liars and just for fun we told our invented stories, sipping from a bottle of mineral water. Selim put the bottle on his head, looking at the clouds, and then he lowered his head and looked at us sadly, but with his eyes laughing . Perhaps as he looked at the clouds he saw his father. Maybe it was he, smiling, among them. Just the way Selim smiled at us. When we started to talk, he was silent. He just smiled. I said some things. It does not matter what I was talking about. All that matters is that we are together trying to counter pain. We were kids and sitting on cold stone so we wanted to stay children. Everyone sometimes wished to remain forever a child. I think even those whose childhood was hard, when they grow up, they are ready to swallow anything in order to go back to being children. Maybe it's my childhood, but if we sat together on the cold stone, drank soda and then you might think the same. Veli quietest boy among us, said: "Bears, how you ate those cookies this morning." We all laughed again, but this time we exchanged some kicks. Because of laughing my chips was blown from my mouth. I put a bottle of mineral water on the head and said, "Cheers!" Selim looked at the clouds. His eyes were full of tears. "Shut up, shut up!". We stopped and we asked together, "Selim, are you all right?" On this day Selim was our father, brother, our conscience, it was part of our hearts. "Shut up hell. Today my father died!"

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6

 

Introduction 

The most elevated words for who?

After having made someone a hero should there be attached victories or criticism to A4 sheet? It comes with the velocity of light, settles at the most covered rooms of our heart,and if it doesn't conquer all the continents and doesn't put down the most outrageous revolts, there is still mumbling of the most enthusiastic melody of tomorrow within our internals. The intention of a hero is not to be a hero. Have only the campaigns made the Napoleon - Napoleon? The hero, if only to do everything like a hero, will take its place in a story with photographs at the appropriate moment. And the biggest heroism of Super Mario is collecting gold, he's got technologies, he's got three live,but he can't get through to the hearts. Everything is pushed into our pockets by the modern life,like molasses health,sparkling on our cheeks and our casual manner. It's like if Mecnun was looking for his Leila , the likes of social networks falling on our bodies and every taste and every soul to be Mecnun , to get blind, leave us condemned. In the same way that we have natural gas in our houses, the words that have been called love are being thrown in different directions with the crackling noise of the burning fertilizer, our phones ring and with the total sum of the likes we comprehend the new future. There is no love formula in the findings of the Swiss scientists that have been written on the last pages of newspapers, the tree trunks as if crying when we carve the hearts with the jack knives - this is the fare. The helplessness of the scientists that created atomic bomb is the helplessness of mind. Elderly scientists can't find the reason that lights our hearts. The medicine for vanity hasn't been found and unfortunately not our laziness, or ignorance or sacrifice can solve it.

Either the scientists are so lazy or we are so used to getting nine months installments on the credit card at the appropriate moment. In the world where everyone accused the greatest poets of these lands the inspiration of our fairies doesn't call.

Development. 

School years. Which year you would ask about there immediately comes only one picture to the mind. If you are very interested let me tell you how it is. The years when our favourite girl can't be found in any social networks. School years among teenagers brought our minds to the extremes, many people don't like to remember the teenage years and will look at those photos cursing them.I am in the middle class of the lycée . My closest friend is Mehmet. Don't look that I said the closest, we praise the brotherhood of blood, we don't divide anything to such extent we are brothers. Mehmet and me are at the same class,and I know that during narration It’s important to affect the moods, and what was happening in the country in those times the same way we were. My blood brother Mehmet is self - contained and I can not sing as a nightingale. However, it was me who made speeches on the occasions. The neighborhood kids during school and at the mathematics and even our doors, everything said about good neighborly relations to one another. If our neighbors were lying down hungry we couldn't fall asleep. Until that time as our teachers noticed the novelty of the situation we continued our business and got the three digit marks in front of their surprised faces(100 is the highest mark at the lycée). We laughed a lot, the easiest thing from everything we spend our time for is to laugh.

We are stubbornly told that we should be serious. We have already given reasons that new smiles can't be invented only physically in the laboratory environment. But if we find the drawback we wouldn't know on whose opinion or what our mistakes were for. However, so confidently called word more and more inflames our cheeks coming into our lives years later. After having played enough "the street fighter" to break the confidence of our bodies, to lead to the state of national pride Mehmet says loudly: "they hooked into the game people from all over the world , we've got nine friends already." Then to support the Indian Dhalsin (one of the characters of "the street fighter"), we would withstand taking Asian side.

I felt happy from the fact that Mehmet was my friend. When the person learnt to cooperate in those years the future would sparkle brightly. We would share all our secrets.

Conclusion.

When our childishly thin girls in checked skirts talked we would become serious people. Love only love remained in our language not adding meaning as is, by reason or no reason. After the holidays at the end of the semester a new girl came into our class. Her name was Bilge (translated as wise , prudent). When this wisdom passed by wiggling sat at the desk cross from me I felt myself a complete know nothing. I know the reason is in her hair, as she was moving along the class she was spreading some grown up aroma rather than perfume.

The things called love at a quarter of a second divided my heart into eight pieces and I said " hey, I love". To love platonically, to look from far, not to sleep, to write letters, to try to start a conversation and as a result to fail to hit the topic. Lycée was the most suitable place for platonic relationships. If to look at love after years with the stern look of the philosophers that I have read , then a man would have a problem in the world where everything seems to be a problem.

A month passed, but still our conversations were so serious…as if we are 2 people who were about to save the world…

I was determined to explain my condition to my friend (who is more precious to me than my soul) Mehmet...

At the end of the week, i was watching the snow man outside our house while rehearsing my self on the words I wanted to say to her…

Some days are never forgotten in the year… that day was among them… it was Monday… Morning words as usual from the school principal… then lines into the classes... the first lesson was an excellence in Math and excellent presence from beautiful Bilge… even when years passed... all what the teacher gave us in that hour remained in a place inside my mind… 

If they asked me back then to write the Arithmetic of my love, then X would've been my unable condition to contain my inner love anymore…

The bell rang for break time when I found my friend (who is more precious for me than my soul) Mehmet right in front of me...

"Brother, come i'll buy you a sausage with swiss" he said.

"I don't like sausages" i said "i'm not hungry either".

I didn't want to add a garlic smell to my scene with Bilge…

"How stubborn you are brother ya.. come on".

It was not from my best friend's habits to insist on something, but when he did, there used to be a real reason behind it…

"Brother, i want to talk to you about something…" he said.

As far as i knew him, when he says that he wanted to talk to me about something, that thing isn't really a good thing…

"Brother, until now i haven't shown it to you, but i fell in love" he said.

Some sentences aren't important to be said… letters just stop one by one and return back to the places it came from...however you can understand them…

"As if you've prepared pages of sentences to say" i said…

"But you didn't ask me who she is" he said.

"Bilge?"

"How did you know?! And i was trying not to show it to you!"

And some questions don't have answers…

"Brother, you can pull words out of her tongue… can you know the girls feelings?" he asked.

It had been sometime since Mehmet hasn't asked about me... it seemed he was rehearsing well for the play…

I was silent and having some long looks on Bilge… my friend began to suspect my silence and me not commenting on his love…

We didn't talk about it again and we silently started to take Bilge out of our hearts…

As time passed, tastes slowly but intensely returned back to its places… salt became more salty and sweets were over sweetened to the extent of being sticky…

On another day, we were in the P.E lesson doing whatever we have to do to become athletes… in stretching movements, I was facing Bilge… she held my arm and while she was pulling(stretching) it towards her,it wasn't only my arm pulled… she was pulling the veins of my heart along…

I wanted to look into her eyes but I couldn't… my arm became as soft as cotton…

"Are we in a dispute or something?!" she asked.

The lesson finished and the redness of my heavy PE shirt had passed to me and i was already feeling the heat of my ears at the time her hair was touching my face and burning my soul!

"I love you, idiot!" she said, went to the class without looking back…

At that time with the redness of my shirt, i was taking a lesson in life…

Next week i told her "i love someone else".

A long time passed, the sacrifice i made to my friend (who is more precious to me than my soul) became the head line in the school wall newspaper and gossips whispered in the school… they named me as a hero and respected me in a really special way… I wasn't treated as a student anymore… I was a Rock star…my entrance to the school was like a Marshal entrance…

Years passed, I was talking to Mehmet about it… he had a smile on his face and asked "if it happens nowadays, will you do the same thing again?"

"I don't intend to be a hero" i replied…

At the time i was walking around in the school like Attila's soldiers who came to town, feeling the love in my friend's (who is more precious to me than my soul) eyes with red cheeks I said "I was born to be a hero".

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5

The child in me By Engin Akyurek (EAUFC) 

from Kafasina Göre Magazine



When you write a story, even a cat on the street can be its protagonist. But, I have to tell you beforehand that this story’s hero is me.

Heroes, legends, and prudish rumors which were fabricated over the course of time, with echoing sounds, and that were conjugated with “once upon a time”; those from the fairy tales of the East to 1001 Nights, from Tepegoz(1) to Dede Korkut(2), from Keloglan(3) to village plays in which the village headman plays a camel; if you get tired of them, travel two thousand kilometers away, and you will have heroes from Little Red Riding Hood to Pinocchio, from Cinderella to the bane of our life, Pollyanna. Even though we don’t realize it, they are our heroes. It sounds arrogant when we say “child’s mind” but our heroes with their glossy paper shininess permeated into our childish ways are still somewhere inside us. If you skip the fabricated parts, all of them whisper something into our ears. If we understand them, they become our Kellile-Dimme, if we don’t then we just forget about it. Your beard grows, your breasts develop, blah-blah you learn something and then you learn more… Then those colors painting your soul turn into a whiny scene of a drama actor who sees flashbacks with a lot of violin sound at the background. When you go out, you turn your teacher or your friends into a protagonist with an unexplained probability theory and you become the best cast director of the world with your childish joy. Just to spite actors abusing bad guy clichés, you adorn epic bad guys with conscience. Once those heroes become extras and become the sadness of Yesilcam Street(4), then they call you “a man”. And you start popping zits on your face with a razor in front of a mirror.

I am the hero of this story and I will build my sentences in a manner befitting to a hero. If only I could tell about myself a little, everything will pour out and I will start building sentences one after another. As you know, first you describe the physical features of a hero and then his/her psychological state. It is the misfortune of being a hero; the soul is buried between the body and its organs; it is described like an eye or a nail and you encumber your heart with a cardiovascular responsibility. Since I am the hero, I write my psychological state, choosing to write well-mannered things rather than make a literary mistake [Translator’s note: he is playing on words here. “Edepli” and “edebi” sound almost the same. “Edepli” means well-mannered or decent whereas “edebi” means literary]. SILENCE. Our psychological state that we are in foreshadows the future for some people and tells something from the past for others. I think it is been quite some time that I’ve found a “silence” button. I am turning it on and off now and then without blowing my fuse and, praise be, I can use it well. Like a latest fashion kitchen robot, blending into myself, I can silently get lost in modern life. I am telling this situation only to you. Without further ado, I am back to my hero, that is, to my story.

It was Friday. I wanted to take Istanbul and feed it with goat milk in the middle of Anatolia on that Friday. Many people are familiar with its traffic. Its roads and bridges, as if they are Esztergom Castle, don’t give passage to you. You start doing calculations in your mind, “Man, when did they sell us so many cars?” If there is one car per head, widening metro bus roads is no use. After all, it is the same Istanbul conquered by Fatih (Mehmet the Conqueror). It was Friday and I was in a cab. My silence, permeating the cab, was charging 40 kurus per kilometer and mine was a silence of a kind that could mute 1.4 diesel engine of the cab. Driver, aloof, didn’t even look at my face, as if he was traveling with the cigarette that he was inhaling. His unhappiness and anger pervaded the seat, the inside mirror, and the rosary over the gear shift rather than the cigarette. I pushed my silence button once again and rolled down the window to prevent my diaphragm from bloating from the lack of oxygen inside. I assumed that there was a solution for everything with a habit from my elementary school years.

When the traffic stopped suddenly, a kind of steam iron effect came out of the cab driver’s nose.

“It is like that on Fridays”, I said.

“Puff”, he said.

I didn’t say “You may be used to it, though”. I was just about to say it but I gave up because I didn’t want the anger and the temper on his face to personalize the problems.

He lighted another cigarette. He inhaled a very caring sentence like “You won’t be disturbed, right” in one breath and exchanged everything inside with nicotine. He inhaled it so deep that the cinder of the cigarette was reflected on our faces from the cab window. His sufferings, angers, what he lived through or what he couldn’t do, all of them, becoming a smoke, got into his lungs, then was exhaled as a melody of severe cussing. While exhaling his smoke, he said “I wish we hadn't taken this way.” When he said “I wish”, I took it personal and said “It is like this on Fridays.” When he didn’t answer, I started playing with my phone. Nobody had called me. I began to read the old messages to pass time. Luckily, a couple of things disturbed the silence; first cab’s radio system beeped and then his friends told things like “No, don’t take that road!” “Ismail, where are you?”, etc. These disturbed him as well. So, he turned on the radio. Since the labels on the radio were wiped off, he just pushed the buttons randomly. He tuned to a very ridiculous station and we listened to the same commercial for 15 minutes as if we were listening to a lullaby and moved forward for 200 meters more. The commercial took so long that I wanted to be the first person who took the cure-all potion that they offered first 100 people who called. It seems that the potion had worked because the traffic built down and the driver finally shifted to second gear. When he shifted to third gear, everything got better. If he shifted to fourth gear, I could cry tears of happiness but I didn’t want to shift to fifth gear with this driver. When the traffic jam broke up, our cells brotherly started dancing Halay as if our arteries were unclogged. Even the driver inhaled his cigarette with pleasure. He inhaled it gently not to offend his brotherly dancing cells. My silence evaporated. The simple side of life made you dance Halay, the things you took so seriously made tinny noise on the strings of your heart. The cab became the center of some things like everything else.

Since I was going to get off the cab soon, I checked the meter. It showed twenty eight liras. While I was restoring the value of the folded money which I took out of my pocket by unfolding them, I saw the picture of a little child attached next to the meter. I thought to myself “How can this sour faced man have such a beautiful child?” I thought about his mother without crossing the moral lines. And then, to be honest, like every human being, I thought about how my child would be if I had a child.

“He is so sweet, God bless him” I said.

“Huh?”

“The child in the picture.”

“Ah,” he said and laughed, showing that he could laugh. “That’s me.”

“What?” I said without reacting too much.

“Yes, that’s me. I love this picture. I look at it when I feel stressed or bored. That’s my only picture.”

“Only?”

“Yes.” He had already passed where I would get off. I noticed that the meter displayed 32 liras now.

“Only?”

“My mother burned the pictures in the stove by mistake. I had only four or five pictures.”

“Sorry to hear that. Luckily, you have this one.”

“I made a couple of copies of this. You never know.”

“You’re right.”

I was so surprised. How did this merry child turn into this? As if this picture was the last time that he smiled.

“You smile there is very nice.” Looking at the picture, he clutched the driving wheel as if he was holding the hands of his childhood and as if he didn’t want to talk about this anymore.

“It is always like this on Fridays.”

“Yes, it is always like this on Fridays.”

When I told you that I was the hero of this story, I lied a little bit. The driver was the hero of this story. While getting off, I looked at that happy picture once again and he gave 10 liras change back to me.

I called my mom as soon as I got off the cab.

“Mom…”

“Yes, son?”

“Could you send my childhood pictures?”

“What gives?”

“I want the ones that I smiled.”

Translator’s notes:

(1) A legendary creature (ogre) with only one eye on his forehead in Turkic mythology

(2) A very famous epic story of the Oghuz Turks

(3) A bald boy who is a Turkish fictional character

(4) Yesilcam Street refers to Turkish film art and industry

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4

 

There is a smell of memories in the air(EAUFC)


When the weather started getting hot, it was like baking a “Trabzon bread” (1) on one’s head. People’s heads were like furfuraceous bakery shovel, their armpits had spotted patterns, their bottom were wet like in a sauna, and they were like earthlings kicked out of Hell when looking from above. Well… When the weather was very hot and when the summer changed its settings, people primitively tried to explain this intense heat. Some of them were being grateful, some of them were sending God’s blessing to whomever invented air-conditioning systems, and some of them weren’t even answering as if they would forever use the air that they breathed through their eyes and inhaled through their nose. The hot weather was getting people into such modes that my beautiful country surrounded on three sides by water was as if it was put into an inflatable swimming pool and people with all their families had taken the road. Trains and plains were full of my fellow citizens with their straw hats who were looking for a water to put their feet into. Moreover, 5-star hotel menu sweetness of the "Bayram of Sweets" (2) was causing one’s stomach to bloat as if s/he had eaten braised meat. (3)

There was nothing you could do for that heat. Trying to beat the nature was stupidity specific to humans and it was also 16 centigrade degree helplessness that wouldn’t go beyond turning down the AC. Such that, I had turned into a “Leaf Doner Kebab”(4) at the coolest place of the house and found myself packaging myself. My arms and hands stuck to the chair, the doors and windows wide open, I invited the wind with my head and butt, just not to let it come as an uninvited guest. The best thing to do at this heat was to go to a place where I could put my feet into water like my visionary fellow citizens. I tried to find a ticket by using the internet loaded onto my phone. I was moved to tears because of my well-organized fellow citizens. Everybody had already bought their tickets and packed to be an “extra” among the people waiting in long lines shown on main news programs. I started calling the bus firms at the bus terminal one by one since I thought it was more logical to use the most primitive communication technology when my internet search was not enough anymore. I was hoping that I would get a seat in the back seats over the wheels. Therefore, I kept looking, ignoring their trunk and driver’s assistant (host) seat offers and being proud of my relentless efforts. Finally, after being directed to a bus-firm that I had never heard of before, I got a ticket for a window seat.

Grabbing my swimming-suit, flip-flops, and toothbrush and packing my luggage in a jiffy, I set off for the bus terminal. My decision to postpone this scorching heat for a couple of days had created such a childlike excitement on my cells that my ebullient heart and my silly mouth wished me Happy Bayram in advance. I realized how bad it was when I arrived at the bus terminal; there were barricades made from buses and people were rushing as if they were medieval people running away from a plague. The bus, hissing, slowly pulled over and opened its doors with such an attitude that I happily had to wave my tickets like children at 23 April Children’s Day as if we were the ones who kept the bus waiting for two hours. Everybody was stressed and angry. Little children sleeping on a self-made cradle between two luggage didn’t compromise their sleeps and humanity just to spite their fathers who argued with the driver. I am always calm in such kinds of situations. Because the ones who argued and complained the most and said “What a drag! How could you keep us waiting for two hours?” were actually the ones who would take their shoes off and push their seat back fully and they were expecting a Freudian explanation for the current situation.

I walked through the aisle touching slightly as if the bus was my buddy and looked for my seat number 37. Seat 29… Seat 30… And right after seat 35 which I passed quickly, I saw my seat which would belong to me for the next nine hours.

“Excuse me! That’s my seat,” I said.

He moved over to his seat 36 without even considering to say “Pardon me” or to answer me with another loanword in Turkish. He was like he was fortifying his place with his butt, without moving her legs and without giving me some space to pass. As if jumping over a creek with my trouser-legs rolled up, I jumped over him and fell on my seat. I guess this was what you called a “Seat Love”. The old man sitting on seat 36 was way over being middle aged. He was somewhere in between being very old and middle aged. His face had the maturity and grumpiness of his old age and those deep and meaningful lines specific to men at those ages were formed inside his eyes as well and seemed like he stored everything he lived through somewhere inside his eyes.

The bus was about to become full and passenger’s seat arguments had given place to water demands. The host’s looks to the people who asked for some water gave some hints about the degree of his hospitality during our travel. The bus abnormally took off defying the rules of physics and we took the road. The old man whom I tried keep my elbow off him was staring at only one point. The meaning and silence in his eyes were like a lullaby for something that he tried to put to sleep inside. I wanted to talk to him. If only he said something about his life experience that his age brought, that would satisfy my curiosity.

Wishing him to have a nice trip, I tried to start the conversation. He nodded his head with an expression which I couldn’t quite figure out whether it was a smile or something else and said “you, too” with a voice tone indicating that he didn’t want to talk. The most important thing our mothers taught us was to respect and not to disturb people. They also told us not to talk to strangers or not to eat anything that they gave us. The old man didn’t have anything to give me though. Whenever one looked far away or looked at the same point without blinking, I used to think that that person was talking to someone whom nobody could see.

I said “You can take the window seat, if you’d like”, thinking that this would give him some privacy. During long travels, like children who dreamed under a quilt, leaning your head against the window could turn your travel into an epic journey. I wondered the heroes of the old man’s fairy tale. He told me that it wasn’t necessary. He became my point of interest despite the heat and the ticket which I had a very hard time to find. The old man’s attitude which seemed like he left the world behind was as if he turned his seat into a coffin rest and he was riding to his heaven by this bus and rescuing us as well while going there. The anger on his face and his memories like a hidden treasure were as old as the steppe that we were riding through. Since the old man broke all the communication channels, I firmly leaned my head against the window. You could install another seat between the old man and my mass volume. The heat inside had already created a Mexican border between the old man and me. Our host who was cockier than our driver finally came after I pressed the call button for 15 times.

“Wow! It is so hot here, brother!” He touched the AC’s blowers with his hands, turned on and off the switches, ran between the driver and me, and then finally told me that “Brother, your air conditioner is broken, that’s why it is blowing hot air” in a tone that I was familiar with. Meanwhile, the old man kept looking at the same point. In exasperation, I said “I understand” and covered the AC’s blower with a plastic bag. I admired my creativity for my spontaneous curses that I told to myself. I guess the most interesting part of the journey was the old man’s silence about this situation without turning this into a national matter like most people do. Sometimes the best travel friend was the one who kept quiet and didn’t snore while sleeping. I accepted reality and tried to sleep by taking the old man’s silence as a lullaby. I guess the swishing sound of the plastic bag covering the AC was in harmony with the hot air filling my lungs, so I fell asleep. I could feel the saliva coming from my mouth. My timing was very good, like a child who sniffed his snot back just before it rolled into his mouth. My head was tapping the window and the pictures in my mind were designing a big place for me even though my eyes were able to grasp where I was. I was designing a game in my mind. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to put up with a nine-hour journey under a broken AC blowing hot air. I turned the window that I leaned my head against into a screen and I started going back in my mind like the cars passing by on the opposite lane. I went to the opposite lane and passed through cars and trucks as if I was rushing to somewhere. As I sped up, my arms and hands got heavier with tiredness unexpected for my age. When I saw my face reflected on the window of a car, I realized that I got old. But I had showed favor to myself because I looked good for my age. I slowed down and kept walking. As the road became desolate and the traffic volume decreased, I examined my face and checked my looks, hands, and my lines. When I saw the young looks of other vehicles’ owners, I made sure that I greeted them with a smile appropriate for my age. As I walked, I saw the ones my loved ones. I guess, seeing them, even if it was in a dream, affected me so much that I failed to slurp my saliva back before it dripped. I wanted to greet my beloveds but they all seemed very young. I walked towards the girl at the end of the road who was staring at me. She was smiling so beautifully that the barren earth was turning green immediately. I was equipping my dream with a technology that even Hollywood’s technology would envy. Combining my old eyes and my young heart, I looked at her peacefully. I didn’t open my mouth since I was afraid that everything would disperse into small balloons if I said anything. I knew that I had to go. We were smiling so beautifully in a picture that was fuzzy even in my dream that, raising my hand in the air as if I was telling her that I would become young and find her again, I smiled her again. Someone rushing among the cars just like me drew my attention. As I approached, I felt like he was looking for me. I recognized him from his eyes. The old man’s body got younger and came to face my old body.

“How are you?” I wasn’t surprised to hear him talk first. I told him “Come on, let’s sit on the other side of the road.” We walked slowly. He was yielding me and respecting my age. I immediately built a bank to sit on the side of the road by using the oldies of my subconscious. I wanted to talk first as soon as we sat because I felt like there were a lot to talk.

“What would you like to be if you were born again?” I asked. It was something unexpected from me. Erecting my old body, I don’t know why, I curiously waited for his answer. The owner of the seat 36 looked far away and said “I want to be myself again to be able to see my loved ones.” Just like terminating the most beautiful sentences, the most logical conversations, the most beautiful scenes in Yesilcam (5) movies by directing the viewfinder towards clouds, the host was directing his own movie by pushing my shoulder with his arm extruding through his blue short-sleeve shirt.

“Brother! Would you like to eat a muffin?”

“Thanks brother.” It was very unnerving to come back to starchy real life with a muffin just when I got the most meaningful things at the secret corners of my sleep. While the host was giving me the muffin, I caught the old man’s eyes. He was smiling and looking at me with a fresh look from his youth in his eyes. Sparkling rivers were flowing in me. The host with blue short-sleeve shirt whom I never ran into in my dream gave the old man his tea and shamelessly grinned at me and said:

“Brother, let me offer you some water. You kept talking to yourself. Probably, you got very thirsty.”

While the bus cruises, the old man and I ate our muffins with a smile on our face.

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(1) Trabzon bread is a flavorful sourdough bread baked in a wood-fired stone oven. It has a long shelf life and does not mold easily.

(2) 3-day festival after Ramadan; Eid ul-Fitr

(3) Braised meat is usually braised lamb meat cubes cooked during the Festival of Sacrifice (Eid Al Adha).

(4) A thin-sliced lamb meat that was cooked on a vertical rotisserie.

 

(5) Yesilcam refers to the Turkish film industry (like Bollywood, Hollywood, etc.)

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3

AS A SMILE (EAUFC)
When the phone jangled, bedbugs was eating my heart out, my hands and arms were tingling, and a ‘2d nail’ was fastening my neck and body together as if I was made of a couple of planks.

Even though my palms were getting sweaty, my fingertips, slapping on my neck, were turning my body into a carpenter’s shop as if they were rehearsing the gestures of a prelude to lying before telling a lie. Although I knew what I was getting myself into soon, I wasn’t able to get away from it. While that made me want to love Pinocchio more and more, I was cussing a blue streak at its master. He should have found a solution for its nose. I was thinking about the real life equivalence of lying, not its fairy tale angle. I was thinking about it so much that I picked up the phone after the twelfth unanswered ring, finally ending its melody which turned my body into a carpenter’s shop. My old friend on the other end of the line, who was still my friend and would continue to be my friend in a predicate that would be used in the future, was Hakan. I was listening to Hakan and there were long silences during my listening because I knew by heart what he was going to tell. One can understand an aged friendship from the silences during a talk and never know when, like old jackets, its stitches are going to come apart. I knew what I was getting into and I was rehearsing to myself the lie that I was going to tell him without even getting tired of hearing over and over again the things that I already knew. My brain was turning into a theater stage and my left lobe was becoming a talentless actor. I was very bad at this role. Hakan was in love with Asli who was a very good friend of mine. Hakan and I were very close friends and, as I said before, I had already known this story’s beginning and end. Hakan was going to make a move tonight, as if he wanted to play a season finale of a confession which he wasn’t able to make. Asli was going away; I was not sure whether it was because she would rather not to be a second-person singular of an overdue confession or because Hakan’s amorous stares couldn’t stage a romantic shadow-show on her retina. Asli was going away and she would say “I am going away to study”, finding a label for her action of going. Talking my head off, Hakan asked “Bro, isn’t there a school here?” His voice was causing a second-degree hearing loss in my middle-ear as if it was piercing through my incus and stapes. Like all lovers, he loved his country’s schools. Waiting for his anger to subside, I was saying “Hmmmm” in a tone which was used for people in love. In Hakan’s cardiac rhythm, “hmmmm” was the most epic word of the world. “Bro! Let’s have a dinner tonight; you, I, and Asli.” Hakan was asking questions whose answers I already knew. Remembering Pinocchio’s master, I was saying “Ok” without my nose evoking anything sexual. Hakan was telling me that he was going to confess his love, that he was going to warn me to go and take a piss by kicking my leg while we were eating, and that he would finish this by the time he heard the sound of flush. While my phone’s battery was about to die, I was still saying “hm”; this time I was saying it with single “m” and I was comparing myself with those bullocks in a sacrifice market. I wish I had a mirror and could have seen my stares on this threesome share.  I was thinking about the time and the venue of our dinner and even our geographic positions to each other at the table. After a bunch of green colored texting and check marks showing that the message had been read, I was handling everything in a manner that topped even the best organizers. Our round table that consisted of a friend, a lover, and me was ready for everything. I wasn’t talking. Hakan was keeping quiet with his mouth and talking with his heart in a manner that suited people who suffered the pangs of love. Asli, like a tourist guide, was telling us about the details of the city to which she would move. Hakan had his eyes on his steak, like tourists’ eyes which were trying to find someone from their country since they couldn’t speak a foreign language. Clock was ticking, our conversation was getting deeper, and Hakan was getting quieter as if he was there just to have a dinner. I was kicking his foot. Asli was getting more conversable. While she was telling us what she would do there, her plans, and -like children in front of a castle that told history of Urartians in eight languages- museums which she would go, - during her mentioning about two squares and three exhibitions -, she was also telling us that there was someone in her life. Her mood as a result of feeling something was being promoted to being a woman from being a tourism agency. I was still saying “Hmmm” while Hakan who probably didn’t understand Asli’s last sentence was getting a big fatty meat piece that he cut with his knife into his mouth. I liked saying “hmmm”. I was stealing a glance at Hakan as if I was rereading a scenario that I read before. Everything was getting quiet. Whole mankind had stopped talking and the sound of cutleries had turned into the sound of Hakan’s cardiac rhythm. Being tired of carrying the things coming from the places that I knew to a point that I was not familiar with, I was also stuffing the steak into my mouth and saying “Hmmm” again. Was I telling this to the steak or to our situation? “Hmmm” was becoming the story of our life and this night. Asli was telling the man with whom she fell in love and how he made her feel better. She was breathing upon Hakan’s bronchus how he would come abroad with her. We were memorizing the man’s face. While we were eating our dessert, we could go and kill the man with having a taste of hot turnip in our mouth. Hakan’s face had started looking weird because of his heart’s indigestion rather than eating fast, or rather, his facial expression was looking like great saints or thanking looks of poor peasants who saw Hizir (peace be upon him). After the waiter brought the check, Hakan was slapping our hands and quickly paying the bill in a manner of craziness that suited people who suffered pangs of love. Thinking that he undertook all the sufferings of the mankind, he was having multi-zero empathy with the waitress and with everything. It was as if the word “quiescence" was living on the table at that moment. Hakan’s face was becoming my concern and, using my visual memory, I was renewing the scenario that I had read before. While our last teas were being served, Hakan was smiling the tea with a look that showed he cared for the tea and was looking at Asli, thinking that the clinking sound of his stirring the sugar was his heartbeat. I didn’t need to know the end of the scenario. As I looked at Hakan’s face, I was realizing that this was the most innocent state of a man… As a smile on his face.

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2

 

Talking Heads - by Engin Akyürek (EAUFC)


"People say you have to travel to see the world. Sometimes I think that if you just stay in one place and keep your eyes open, you're going to see just about all that you can handle.” – Auggie Wren (Harvey Keitel) from a movie “Smoke” directed by Wayne Wang and written by Paul Auster.

The conversations around the table, the swapping between the saliva and the stomach acid, and the damage on the idle percentage of my brain caused by the creaky sound of the wooden chair under my butt, as if it was creating a soft tissue trauma, were the proxy show of an atmosphere created by the weather. The rainy weather’s attempt to wet entire humankind, as if it was rolling itself from the ridge, was like squirming of a little child who needed to pee. That’s why streets were full of people and it was as if curbstones were walking on the people. Luckily, I had found a table and sat. And I had sat in such a way that my attitude was like a great commander who wanted to declare his own independence and my body was expansionist enough not to want any feudal systems inside and my hands and arms were threatening enough to colonize other continents. A chair that a waiter would suddenly put in front of the places that I would go with my eyes open could make me a distant relative of a sweaty elbow which was tired of waiting. Meanwhile, I can’t still catch the waiters’ eye.

I am in a place full of people and when there is a lot of people, one wants to be something else. What do I want? Looking everything from above, rising like a seagull in the steep of a tea, I want to go to my dream place. Actually, I want to be a seagull; like the eyes of a seagull searching for something, I want to play the fairy tales that I love the most, landing on different distant lands with a fairy tale hero attitude and inhaling the smell of the places where I land. Do I want a lot? It seems that, sitting at the table, one’s desire to drink a cup of tea is one’s most innocent state. When I look up, I don’t like this black backdrop casting shadows upon my eyelids. While looking at the people, the weather, and especially, the seagulls that I am jealous of, I want to discover new continents which nobody knows and I want their name to be mentioned with seagulls, and, arrogantly, with mine. Seeing is like the most primitive device compare to my dreams and feelings. The symphony composed by the tables, people who don’t listen to each other, hands mating with their phones, bodies that make their eyes make love with their smartphones as if they are receiving world’s most important news, and heads which wipe off the most primitive human behaviors with a theory that I cannot explain. 

Human nature; when one sit at the table, and furthermore, isn’t able to catch a waiter’s eye, one wants to say something for everything; especially for the things spoken at the next table. Yet, I would just drink my tea at the table which I fortified with my mind’s walls. Even though the things spoken at the next table didn’t have any correspondence in my sensor’s system for a while, my existence defeated by the frailty of being a human, was trying to be a part of the reality, as if it was detached from the hairs of a white seagull, and the sentences spoken between the tables. When one draws one’s own borders, one audaciously wants to look around; and I am not still able to catch the waiter’s eye. It seemed like he, constantly turning his back as if I caught his eyes I would have him written the obscenest words on the “adisyon” [Translator’s note: adisyon means `check` and it comes from the French word “addition”], which I thought it was written as it was read, wanted to greet me with his back. The people who got together around the table had so many things to talk that I wondered how much sentence I would get in the judgments and the eyes of these people if I would do something crazy and, sputtering on the air with my breath, wanted everybody to open their eyes and go to places whose names they didn’t know. Like seagulls looking for their sea, everybody could look at the sky and the seagull that belonged to them.

While thinking all these, I didn’t know the angle between the hour and minute hand and I had already given hope up on the waiter. Our not being able to catch each other’s eye had turned into a tragedy that needed to be told. Could I create a strong tea in the looks of the waiter who ran away from me with his eyes if I waved my arms and hands?

... and, it seems that my waving arms and hands apparently got his attention, he looks at me, as if he has been looking at me for years... 

By waving the little paper in his hand, plain and clear, he says: “Yes”. I look at him as if I reproach his being so clear and plain with my eyes and also by licking the spit piled up on the corner of my lips. I say “Tea” without breaking up the serious atmosphere created by the waiter. 

Before I was able to tell him about the relationship that we had during the time frame when we couldn’t catch each other’s eyes, he, averting his gaze and folding the paper in his hand as if he is mimicking the gestures of important people, says “We ran out of tea” and leaves.

Thinking whether I should postpone my dream of living a literary moment within me keeping my eyes open, I wrote on a white paper with characters stuck between my tongue and lips: “I guess it was very easy to drink tea and be jealous of the seagulls... The hardest part was to be a human...”

 

 

 

Zeki Abi - by Engin Akyürek
.
We know some people for long years, they’ve become a part of our childhood like a lavender scent diffused into pillows and quilts of the house we visit. Even though we don’t kiss their hands [translator’s note: Turkish people kiss elder person’s hands to show their respect] or see them, those people are always with us and childhood is a very precious thing, like a heaven that we all want to go back.

Zeki Abi. I prefer to say “abi (elder brother)” because some people are natural-born elder brothers with their voice, looks, compassion. I can’t associate any other epithet for being older brother. The moment I met Zeki Abi, I felt like I saw my relative whom I exchanged Bayram greetings. It was my first job. I had no idea what I was going to do and I had felt my heartbeat in my stomach. Later, my first greeting and handshake with Zeki Abi had eased my excitement, like a good Bayram greeting. He had understood my excitement and my enthusiasm and he did such a good thing by understanding me because nice elder brothers, especially natural-born ones, always do nice things. Afterwards, as if he was not the person whom the entire nation watched, he looked at me with sincerity in his eyes, a kind of sincerity that we all expect from each other these days. We had played father and son together and I know that we loved each other. I felt that he loved me, too. Even though playing with an actor who was a master in his job had put you in a mood that you felt like everything was a test, Zeki Abi looked at me with his smiling eyes and he hanged out with me as if he was another student of the class, but more like an elder brother. When we talked about acting, he had kept his silence as if he was implying that he had been doing this for years. He had taught us a humanity lesson, saying in between his sentences with his smiling eyes “I had never my eyes on acting... I used to give the good roles to Metin...”At those moments, I wanted to go back to my childhood and share my marbles, which I hid, with my friends. The more Zeki Abi had talked, the more everywhere smelled like lavender, like we were staying in the guest room of his bosom. Saying “Metin Akpinar was the most important actors of this country,” he had also reminded us that there were more precious things in this life than being an actor

Goodbye Zeki Abi.
Engin Akyurek.

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1

 

Becoming a dream, I followed my dreams.

My deep and diligent sleep finishes its shift in the bed and, like a watchman, is relieved from its duty by the fleas

accompanying me with their hats and whistles. The fleas with their whistles and rowdy walks on my body were covering the most obscene parts of my sleep at the most private parts of my dalmatian briefs. While my dream is disappearing in black and white areas of my Dalmatian briefs, fairies and brunette girls with rosy cheeks whom I wouldn’t come across even in fables are also vanishing without even looking at my face. I thought “Damn you fleas,” but everything has already scattered and vanished like a cloud of dust.

What’s going to happen now when I open my eyes? How am I going to write this dream’s ending? Should I just make it up? Writing is to make things up anyway, isn’t it? I guess I can finish this dream as I completed all the stories that I wrote before. Why do I always write my dreams and hide behind my dreams that walk freely in my sleeps like a little child? Why can’t I take this country’s distresses and troubles and pains reflected on its people’s face away and why don’t these damn dreams leave me alone?

Where have all my dreams that I saw every night gone? Maybe, they are hiding somewhere in my room and I am not aware of it. I eat my heart out like a monster: “Oh man, how did this dream end?” In my dreams, am I a pervert who rapes anyone and therefore, I don’t remember how my dreams end? Maybe I am a Don Juan without a brief and all girls get into a catfight over getting into my dreams. Whatever! I have to figure out how these dreams end; therefore, I never want the night to come and I want to put the “sleep” word onto a coffin rest and bury it as soon as possible. Then, I will probably take a shower and get rid of those fleas with hats and whistles.

I saw many civilizations, fought many wars, and talked to many kings in my dreams. If I could only write them and remember their endings; this book that I wrote would be a best seller. For example, I played a backgammon with Socrates for a soda once; I told him “Let’s play for Fruko” [popular soda brand in Turkey] by looking at him surprisingly. But, I don’t remember who had won the game; I guess the fleas didn’t let me. Even though our backgammon game brought a philosophical harmony to my sleep’s itchy and flea-ridden moments, the way how Socrates rolled the dices was describing the rationalism as if he was showing off and was making (backgammon) blocks like his rationalism as if he was building an Ancient Greek city; I guess Socrates won the soda and I probably said to his face “Socrates, you cogged the dice; you’d better keep teaching people your innate knowledge.” Maybe, Socrates had gotten mad at me after I told these and cursed me by caressing his beard that I saw in a philosophy book.

Yes, the end of my dream with Socrates was obvious but the curiosity that caused by my other dreams whose endings I can’t remember couldn’t help but kept wondering. In fact, my dreams were wandering between fear and wakefulness and trying my entire day to give it a life sentence. Should I have charged my brain during my sleep or should I have installed a hidden camera onto my sensors? At least, I could have watched what I did at night while having my breakfast and if there wasn’t anything too profane, I could have called my friends, while drinking our strong teas, like meddahs [public storytellers], they could have unsophisticatedly talked about their dreams that they couldn’t see.


If it goes on like this, I won’t be able to finish this book. Maybe, I should squeeze Socrates into the Middle Age period between the papers of the philosophy dictionary instead of writing about my backgammon game with him. This way, I can get even with him.

I guess, I’d better write a love story and make the leading man fall in love with the most beautiful girl of the neighborhood and not let his father, a bad man, give his daughter to him. Nah! This will probably be a very familiar story. I’d better tell you about my lover that I saw in my dream the other day. I don’t remember if my lover was beautiful or I kissed her; but, I kind of remember myself trembling like an aspen leaf and getting pricked by my bed’s springs and that she started the conversation.

“Hello”
“Hello”
“I love you”
“Come off it, you liar! We’ve just met. See, even your “hello” hasn’t taken its place in the past tense, yet.”
“It’s ok, this is just a dream.”
“Of course, it is a dream; otherwise, how could you tell me that you loved me?”
“If you want it that much, I can say it again. Here you go; I love you.”
“No, I don’t want it.”
“As you wish.”
“By the way, what’s your name?”
“Why do you care, I know your name.”
“So, you don’t want to tell me your name?”
“Just call me Dream Girl”
“Ok, I will call you Dream Girl.”
“You can kiss me if you want.”

At this part of my dream, like an idiot, I had gotten up, drunken water, gone to the bathroom, hit my head on the door thrice, and vanished under the warm parts of my quilt. I guess I had exchanged a romantic atmosphere with a urinal event and the sound of a running and flushing water. But I had continued.

“I can’t remember your face when I wake up; are you beautiful?”
“Is it important for you? Look at me carefully.”
“I am looking.”
“Am I not beautiful?”

My rolling under the cover as if I am exiling “romanticism” word and the search of my toe tips for a warmer place had ruined everything.

“Can’t we see each other in real life?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know anything!”
“I am about to wake up.”
“Would you come tomorrow, too?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then, let’s talk a little bit more.”
“Would you like to go for a pudding like a high-school lovers?”
“Where will we find an open patisserie at this hour of my sleep?”
“Come on, maybe, we can find one. And don’t forget that I am Dream Girl and you can go to the places of your subconscious.”

The sun had finally decided to rise and penetrated through the lacy parts of the curtain and Dream Girl had disappeared before my eyes like a cloud of dust.

“Dream Girl, where are you? Fudgenuts… She left again.”

As always, my sleep’s dreamy symphony had vanished in a dump well. I am very sorry that I couldn’t kiss my beloved whose face I can’t remember; but, I also wonder how I am going to write this love story. I keep thinking if this girl was beautiful. If I go out and search for her shadow on sidewalks or try to find her looks in the “fresh simit” looks of a simit seller, will I be able to find her? We may meet in the same bus and she may want to sit and, looking at old men’s faces, I may give her my seat. Nah! Becoming like a dream in my dream, maybe she lands down just next to me with her wings, who knows? As if I have nothing to do, I will keep thinking about this girl now until I fall asleep. Man, can this Dream Girl be an ugly, spinster, and gossip girl who wanders in people’s dreams and hits on everybody?

Maybe, I should ask my friends; “Did you go for a pudding last night?”

 

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