Born 1973 in Turkey, Ece Temelkuran is one of Turkey’s best-known journalists and political commentators, writing regularly for the Turkish newspaper Habertürk. Her investigative journalism books broach subjects that are highly controversial in Turkey, such as Kurdish and Armenian issues, the women’s movement, and political prisoners.
She has published widely and won numerous awards for her work, including the Pen for Peace Award and Turkish Journalist of the Year. Also she was a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
As a writer she published ten books and two of her books; Deep Mountain, Across the Turkish-Armenian Divide and Book of the Edge have been also published in English.
Please visit Ece’s website: www.ecetemelkuran.com
I fell into the sea, into the crowds of creatures
The water’s noise compressed me on all sides
My animal-shaped virtues retired to their haven
Their sounds subsided, their shapes blurred
The swordfish’s blemish was veiled, it melded with the sea
The silver powder in my mouth scattered in the waves
The “I” remained animal-less, self-less in the crowds
It swelled, ceaselessly swelled in the water
If someone saw me now
They’d say, “How you’ve grown!”
But what has swollen in my animal-less, speech-less, self-less flesh
Like all who’ve fallen into the sea, who’ve passed through middle time…
But growing was always a technical thing:
The animals’ voices and swordfish’s blemish
Were always in their proper place: inside me
I saw what was not me, the “them” in the water
Were “they”, by any chance, like me?
Did they also believe…
That every finger has a different personality; that if you stare too long at the red complexity of a fig you’ll never return; that in order to avoid getting your palate cut by bread’s hard crust you must surrender to the chunk and roll it around twice in your saliva; that if you turn back for no reason while walking on the street it will invariably attract the attention of someone uncanny; that if you smoke in windy weather while eating an apple the taste of travelling long distances will reach your tongue; that the word “parlamento” evokes the image of playing cards scattered across the table and that one mustn’t say this; that the word “cibinlik” leaves a sweet, cool sound in the ear that makes you want to smile and if you say the word too much it’ll make you burst into embarrassing laughter; that kissing the palest, innermost part of one’s arm before sleeping endengers sweet dreams; that mustn’t tell secrets to children who claim that if you place your hands between your thighs when sleeping, bad things will happen to your mother?
Were “they”, by any chance, just like me?
Or did others have entirely different thoughts?
Fingering everthing in the water
Getting poisoned, scratched, cut, and certainly rejoicing
I went, I saw, I passed, I knew with the palms of my hands
I swelled, swelled, swelled in the seawater
Engraving the names of a thousand and one blurred creatures in my mind
Always believing their thoughts were like mine
Therefore, frequently becoming speechless, naturally,
And when enough time passed
Getting used to being alone and unequaled, like everyone else
I swelled, swelled, swelled in the seawater…
If someone saw,
They’d surely say, “How you’ve grown!”
When my flesh had sufficiently swelled
I reached the city gates
© translation: Deniz Perin
Published with the permission of Ece Temelkuran