- In honour of Rachel Corrie (Olympia 1979 - Rafah 2003) -

She draws, she writes, she dances, she sings.
Art beats her under her ribs
But what about the emptiness in her arms?

Gnarled mouths she gives words to suck,
Limp shoulders a pillow of speech.
Where she leaves, chins are dried, backs straightened.

* * *

She lands in a city of golden domes. Outside
The air-cooled halls, the world slams open
Like a girl's book. Brown skins. Smouldering roads.
Jerusalem breaths with a sunbather's lungs.

Two languages, one jagged, the other round,
Drawn by Dead Sea wave,
And above: the stars of a moonless night.

Rachel's trembling hands are cut
Off from the officers' view
By blonde hair and tight bluejeans.

The day finds succour in a short list:
Get used to the camera, buy lifelines,
Call mama.

Next to bus timetables gun barrels stand to attention.
At Gaza, Highway 4 glides into the slot of an iron card reader.

* * *

Rafah – the name of the city gives off the aroma of eastern baths
It grates in backlight along the evening. Rafah – cracks – rattles.

Outside her tent, a firefly steals into the night,
Whirling smoke behind it – cracks – rattles.
In the balmy darkness a bullet opens
A water tank – through night goggles emerald
Green lemonade spouts from a concrete carton.
A fountain of squandered warmth – cracks – rattles.
Floors rest on broken legs, in inner courtyards
White plastic chairs by winters weathered.
Children kick the courage out of a withering ball.

Dressing-up games, help with homework, Rachel's
Is a cheering presence.
Through the open doors a family tells its story.

The stories are wounded
The land callused.

Together they are muezzins on the rooftops
Crying for ground that surges and has to remain
Wreckage on a sea of sand.

Rachel reflects: we are all kids
Kids angling for her name: six characters
Kids like us with rags of painted cloth and borrowed voices
Kids in the armour of the D9s.

She writes against the wind: mama
I have no words.
The mirror I live in
Makes me afraid.

* * *

Armoured scarabs, tanks and D9s,
Slide blindly through Gaza,
Their mandibles of steel carefully cleaned.

They roll Rachel out of bed, she sinks through brown rugs
Through the ground, falls into the sandy dust
Of Utah's cliffs, rusting under a leaking sun,
The cliff edges crumble and Rachel falls deeper
Floating through layers of soil with voices
Around her: you cannot die Rachel, you cannot

The earth rocks perfidious
As a children's cradle. Rachel can dream of
The scarabs' droning. If I fall, mama,
Then rather onto the rug next to my bed.
If you write to me, papa, then write to a girl
Surfing on the silvery beach of a Hollywood film.

The dawn climbs coldly over Rafah
Just like the first sunrays on death row.
Rachel stirs the dust of the greenhouses in her tea
The air outside stinks of rotting fruit.

* * *

On the morning which will know no night,
Rachel unbuttons her field of vision.
She shakes spring air down her back.

The droning returns,
Pierces her temples like thorns.

The scarabs eat everything bare.
The earth tilts before their sliding mandibles
Straight up.
Roofs break like the skulls
Of marble-white dolls, eyes void,
Cheeks shrivelled.

Hope is heaped on her.
There is upheaval in the ground.

A boy with a beard hands Rachel
A voice and a fluorescent hide
For shelter.

Rachel's words are caught in a bubble of chewing gum.
Somewhere she hears someone sing
Love is a battlefield.

Rising earth in steel
Mandibles makes her stagger.
Her walls collapse
Plaster rips open
Rafters split
Breath is filled with earth.

Rachel's body makes an imprint on the land
Veronica's veil is a shroud of sand.


(translation of 'Rachel', from We zijn er nog allemaal)


El regreso

Tal vez no vamos a ninguna parte
devoran nuestros pasos el camino de vuelta
al tener hambre de dirección y propósito.

El sol se pone en el resplandor de la mañana.
Que la linealidad es la medida de las cosas
Debe haber sido un malentendido.

Por supuesto, hay algunas dudas
cuando la carne rasga en el parto
o un gorrión se cae del techo.

Sin embargo, el barco sube de vuelto en el astillero
el pollito se arrastra en su concha y mientras
hablamos la lengua se desintegra en sonidos.

Antes de dejar limpiamos los paredes
de cueva, quitamos la ropa y con esa
adjuntamos grandes animales.

Algo se suelta de la tierra, se accelera
lejos de nosotros para cargar las nubes.
Nos deslizamos torpes en el agua.

Después del largo viaje todo vuelve junto
los desechos aspirados por el espacio reduciendo,
una nube de escombros, desapareciendo, en un punto.


(traducción de 'De terugkeer', We zijn er nog allemaal)



Kara göl

Izlerin sona erdiği keçilerle
birbirinden ayiran yerdedir havuz.

Sular derine inmeden fisildar ateş
arasindan çimler gönülsüzce uzanir.

Poyraz savunmasiz ovalarda kabirleri
Havada engin bir mezarda huzur ve
ferah içinde yatarlar.

Gölde küle çalan süt renkli bulutlardan
ikinci bir kabir bize bakabilsinler diye
mezar taşi şeffaf bir kabir.

Güne kurtlarin kokusuyla gurup
üzerimize yağarlar.

(çevirmen: Nevin Soysal - translation into Turkish of 'Zwarte vijver' from We zijn er nog allemaal)