Hacivad and Khadijah channel Orhan Veli Kanik…on navigating deep-seated difference


The American half:

It is a deep-blue afternoon,
the air still in the late summer heat
that is not oppressive.
Finding the spot on the porch
with the second-most hot sunlight,
My copper-colored dog has taken
the most sunny spot.
I stare out into the blue through the hemlock tree,
thinking about right and wrong.
I know I am right. I was raised this way,
He can't see it my way!

The Turkish half:

It is a deep-blue afternoon,
the air still in the late summer heat
that is not oppressive.
Finding the coolest spot in the house
with the most breeze,
My copper colored-dog is walking in between
this cool place and the hot one outside.
I stare out into the blue through the grey-screened window,
thinking about right and wrong.
I know I am right.
I was raised this way.
She can't see it my way!

The shadow puppet troupe:

Hacivad sighs and brushes the coleus leaves out of his way
as he exits the flower pot.
What is a shadow puppet doing in a flower pot anyway,
that wax paper is not impervious to water.
Maybe this couple needs water, cool or hot.
Maybe that will help, to show the middle way.
What is the argument of the day?
Flavor of the month? Doesn't matter.
It is always the same ending.
You must, just must, respect what or how the other person feels!
This leads to greater knowing.
They don't want to hear me yet.
Too steamed up from the pressure cooker
of marriage and transplantation.
No matter what one is in a transplanted place.



Khadijah appears
from inside the water urn
on the table and emerges,
unscathed, dry as a bone...
...carrying a swirl of water
that forms itself into a
crystal ball of sorts,
minus any detritus.
Looking into the ball - she
beckons Hacivad to come over
her way for a chat.

"This is the answer you must
give them...help them to stumble
across this poem - it is from
the future when
our Ottoman sultans are but a memory
in the history books - can you imagine that?"

Considering the wavering words of the
futuristic poem carefully,
stroking his beard the whole time,
Hacivad concurs and turns towards the window sill,
where as usual, the rest of the troupe is resting as if
on an Ottoman divan.  Communicating telepathically,
the troupe begins the descent to the floor,
and the trek up to the study.
Working together,
they march out into the hall,
up the deep walnut-colored stairs,
and into the mango-colored study.
Gradually creating a cheerleader-friendly
tower of their own-bodies,
Hacivad ascends to the top shelf
- locates the tome of Turkish poetry in translation,
and with a few pushes and shoves, pulls and grunts,
hurls it to the floor...three of the puppet ladies commence
turning the pages until they find the right poem,
the rest of the team fans Hacivad and company,
who by now are sweating with the heat of their labor...

They conveniently leave the following page open...
and she will find it later, after leaving the porch and
hurumphing up to her study to ignore her beloved.
It appears to be about class conflict.
It appears to be about cats!
It appears...to link to a different thing than is written here.
It appears to be about me.
It is about just the basic fact of being different,
being wired different.
Something about it, this poem from an oddly fallen book,
will make sense to her, and it is time to make the peace yet again.

TAIL SONG

We can´t come together, our ways are different
You´re a butcher´s cat, I´m an alley cat
Your food comes in a tin bowl
Mine is in the lion´s mouth
You dream of love, I of a bone

But your way isn´t easy either, brother
It´s no easy job
To lick the man´s hand every damn day

Orhan Veli KanikTranslated by Bernard Lewis (1982)
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This entry was posted in Cross-cultural learning moments, Visits from the Karagöz puppets and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Hacivad and Khadijah channel Orhan Veli Kanik…on navigating deep-seated difference

  1. Alan says:

    Hmmmm! Touching nerves, again.
    You’ve set me thinking . .

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