By Gonca Özmen, Turkey (Published in Issue 15)
Elleriniz Vardı Barbar
Şuramda dudaklarınızı bıraktıydınız
Onca su zambağı
Onca taşlık yol
Onca siyah kuğu arasında
Bildim bir yokluktu yeryüzü
Onca çam ormanı
Onca yenik patika
Onca sahipsiz yeşil arasında
Gördüm ötesi var akşamın
Gövdenin gizli bir sesi
Şuramda bir ölünün yükü
Kirli bir çiçek bıraktıydınız
Tenimdeki çocuğun kederi için
Allahın taş damında sevişirdik
Islaktınız ve elleriniz vardı barbar
Photo by Mehmet Erte
Your Hands Were Barbaric
Just here you set your lips
Just here, your coolness,
So many water lilies
So many cobbled streets
Amid so many black swans
I knew the earth as absence
So many pine forests
So many broken paths
Amid so great an unpossessed green
I saw another side to evening
A secret voice of the body
Just here, the weight of the dead
You left a dirty flower
For the grief of a child on my skin
We made love on God’s stone roof
You were wet and your hands were barbaric
Translated by George Messo
GONCA ÖZMEN was born in Burdur (southern Turkey) in 1982. She was graduated from English Language and Literature Department of Istanbul University in 2004. She took her M. A. degree in 2008 and now she is a PH. D. student at the same department.
Her first poem was published in 1997 when she was fifteen years old. She was rewarded as ‘worth paying attention poet’ in Yaşar Nabi Nayır Youth Prizes in the same year. She was awarded with Ali Rıza Ertan Poetry Prize in 1999.
Her first poetry book Kuytumda (In My Nook) was published in 2000. This book was awarded with Orhan Murat Arıburnu Poetry Prize. She won Berna Moran Poetry Prize which is given by Istanbul University in 2003. She was also rewarded by one of her essays on a Turkish poet, Edip Cansever in 2005 Homeros Criticism Prizes. Her second book Belki Sessiz (Maybe Quiet) was published in February 2008.
She has been writing in several literature magazines since 1997. She is setting up a magazine of literary translation called Ç.N. (Çevirmenin Notu) with her friends.
Apart from Turkey, she participated in the international poetry readings in Heidelberg, Hamburg, Berlin, Paris and Slovenia. Her poems are translated into Spanish, French, English, German, Slovenian and Persian.
The Sea Within (Selected Poems, translated by George Messo) is published by Shearsman Books in February 2011.
She has been living in Istanbul since 2000.