Poem Untied, Efendiler Gazeli

Haydar Ergülen
Derick Mattern (trans)

2014 Gulf Coast Prize in Translation Honorable Mention

Poem Untied       

            come loose these bonds
            be my brother and love me

thin as flowing water so thin
let my neck so thin slide from the rope 

long as a length of water lasts the history of ropes
as for today let the sentence lift from your black neck  

the leash has snapped the fugitives are on the loose
pursued by hunters with ninety-nine prayer ropes 

you’re nothing special—for everyone there’s enough of this rope
let the rope burn my neck it’s just a walk in the rain  

hey porter I found a rope—is it yours?
no sir I’ve hired mine out to death 

the layabouts and outlaws those unbound by the rope
lavish life on them good sir with your kiss-worthy words 

rope ropes ropeless—what the hell kind of poem is this?
if only your neck would never grow long enough for the rope

don’t untie the rope son it’ll be cut tomorrow
instead of the sacrifice please papa let’s slit the rope

Efendim Ghazal 

when the caique arrived your eyes were the ocean
your servant efendim fell in  

when fire rises to the tongue your words were the rain
your servant efendim was the ash 

when the secret lies in the open your lies linger
efendim on your servant’s tongue 

when troubles were partaged out your bed was a wreck
your servant efendim was the wreckage

when the path of love strayed your garden was devastated
your servant efendim was torn asunder  

even when the light was quenched your star was brilliant
efendim your servant saw it  

a servant comes into his own once the master has gone
if only efendim if only 

you thought your servant would never fall in love 
ah but efendim he did