Quite possibly well and truly
Away from the World
That Child Never Amounted to Much

Author: Safiye Can
Translator: Marilya Veteto Reese


Quite possibly well and truly

Maybe home is a Kurt Cobain line
an Attila Ilhan verse
a thousand year old yearning, the hair gone grey
the scent of rain atop the pasture
a view from the window, black and white
foliage on a rutted path one autumn day
or Uncle Cemil with his woolen cap, when he laughs.

Maybe home is the shooting star
over Llorett de Mar
that one millisecond or the Republic of Adygeja
is the municipal library of Offenbach
that houses Ernst Buchholz inside
or the key to the door of a house, handed
to someone in exile

Maybe home is something dead-serious
with a moustache
or a barefoot-run bit of bridge over water
the fragility of the poppy blossom
of our childhood
a callithrix jacchus, a marmoset
or a Hello-Kitty-balloon
hiding away in cotton candy

Maybe home is a nomad in Tuareg garb
racing here and there
or a Mickey Mouse shirt and laced-up shoes
at the Baltic
and hair twisted into a braid
is a shattered glass you step on
that unexpected pang in the vicinity of your chest

Maybe home is falling into your own bed
after nights of partying, jeans and sneakers still on
and stopping short and stopping short.
Is a couple dancing to the beat of a tango forgetting themselves
the sight of two white-brown horses
aometimes Terminal B of the Frankfurt Airport
or just simply Fouzia’s voice.

Maybe home is the root of eightor a coiled trunk-like thing topped with cinnamon
is a chameleon adapting itself.
Maybe though it’s Frau Grün
on the ground floor, who rants about everything



How much should you give up shed how many grams of your soul change yourself how often when exactly to get where on whose whim Integration (a poem in the shape of a question mark)


Away from the World

If only I could hide myself away
from the world
behind your back
only sometimes peeking
in order to see, just to see
a little
whether way off there flowers bloom too

If I only could smile at a person
and thus take away all his woes
and then again could protect the animal
from the person
the most fragile insect, the most massive elephant.

If only I could hide myself away
from the world
with a handstand, just like that
closing my eyes and knowing
for a moment, just knowing:
out there is no war, nowhere
no person kills another person
no person kills an animal
absolutely nothing is being killed
not authorized not condoned
and there is no avarice.
And could laugh aloud
since everything else is absurd
would be so incredibly ab-solute-ly ab-surd

If only I could hide myself away
from the world
in a cloud perhaps
just peek out sometimes
to look down, just to look
a little
if down there children built sandcastles too
if bees flew, seals swam

If only I could hide myself away
from the world
behind your back
nevermore ruptured by reality
the reality would rupture
from all of the love of ours.


That Child Never Amounted to Much

But do not tell
my uncle please
that I became a poet
he’ll only start to cry again.



From:  Safiye Can, Kinder der verlorenen Gesellschaft (Children of a Lost Society), Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen, 2017.