i can reflect light as well as anyone

Mehmet Erte

this is an improvised poem, today is october sixteenth two thousand and six, one must
start somewhere, i'm here, i'm at the tip of something, everything grows
from its tips, i'm at the growing tip of something, i was going to tell you, i wanted
to tell you, with words, using empty words is easier
than moving your limbs about loosely, but you'd
rather watch, it's better than listening, read these lines slowly, you won't find me
on the next page, nor for that matter on previous pages, in my hideout
i found solace in the belief that i was being sought, if i survived
i did so by imagining the turmoil i'd cause when i reappeared, yes,
there is something foolish about this, but i fled from you,
i carried the pride of fleeing from you during all those fleeting years,
the waiting room of a government office, a long
dining table, a cocktail party at a hotel lobby, the thought that
we might run into each other at these places scared me to death, i'm now
at the only place i dare venture, i myself prepared the stage
where i can afford to be seen, i stripped off my mask for this game see, where
are you, a thousand people are watching me apparently, that's great, i only ever cared
about your eyes, for many years i feared you'd catch me in one of those queues
holding my petition, i couldn't let you see me knocking on that door with
my wrapping paper in hand, but i've torn up my petition now, and slammed the door,
where are you, if only i could find you, find in your eyes the
fatigue of words that have never encountered me, it's clear you won't
forgive me for all those years i ran away from you, still wouldn't you care to
make an appearance for me, don't make me say gone once gone forever, one can
settle on a course and set out on that path from anywhere really, see what's left behind
from anywhere if only one's got a sense of direction, i'm here, because
what i needed was a total failure, there is no 'reason' beyond my control,
all reasons are in my chest, but alas the shirt i have on
has no buttons so i can't bare my chest, if i were to tear it
off, and stand naked, they'd call me mad, they'd say what he
took off and flung to the ground was a madman's gown anyway see, the key is simply
to venture into the light, once i do that i can reflect light
as well as anyone, to reflect light is to find words before
your eyes, yet i've never confronted those eyes, there's never been any distance
between us that would let you see me, never have i overcome any hurdles, nor known any distances, to stir is to exhaust a hope through movement before
your eyes, i stood still between the lines, one must
end somewhere, today is october sixteenth two thousand and six, this is an improvised

translated from the Turkish by Buğra Giritlioğlu