Cemal Sureya – Now Sweetheart

Antalya: 7 °F
Chicago: 65  °F
San Francisco: 55 °F
Orumiye: 74 °F
Tehran: 86 °F
Marrakesh: 94 °F
Hammam Sousse: 75 °F
Washington D.C: 75 °F
Okinawa: 77  °F



Cemal Sureya
Now Sweetheart

Now sweetheart, I am thinking of you in a big city 
A dim blue pen in my hand, two packs of cigarettes in my pocket 
Our life is like a movie playing in front of my eyes 
Our going out freely, drinking water together, kissing 
I cry, whenever I remember how we laughed together. 
Flowers, flowers, I watered the flowers this morning 
That rose just doesn’t smile when you are not here 
That flower you put in water by the window to get it grow roots 
It is completely in grief these days 
A dense and strong daylight is hitting the window 
The plates are cheerless on the table 
The hallway is deserted 
The towels are alone in the shower 
Don’t even ask the kitchen – untidy and dirty 
The sponge is right there, the breadbox is empty 
The ventilator is breathless 
The rugs are dusty 
My clothes are in the wardrobe, and here and there 
Memo’s toy box is in deep sleep 
The blue night lamp has no ambition 
The door says open me, close me 
The curtains are like snakes changing skin 
The radio? It is silent 
The stool is afraid of the chairs 
The small room is dark and deserted 
Everything is waiting for you, for your return 
For you to come in 
For the touch of your hands 
For the touch of your eyes 
And everything is repeating 
How much I love you


As I wrote you this after reading that poem, couple of eggs were boiling in the water, windows were welcoming the sun and the calming spring breeze, my cat was making the couch purr, the flowers I bought from my flower guy on Sunday, were dancing with the vase. As all this happened Bruce Springsteen was singing the “Human Touch” it goes like:


“Share a little of that Human Touch

Feel a little of that Human Touch

Give me a little of that Human Touch in you”


And as all that happened I thought about Cemal Sureya, the way he loved the words and his lover(s), the simplicity in his words that contained a wide spectrum of beauty within them. I thought about how nice it would have been to sit on a balcony in Antalya, sip on some tea, smoke a cigarette, and write you poems. Just like he did at some point in his life. In the evening we would have gone to take a walk to a corner store to get some fresh feta, olives, a honey dew melon, and a bottle of Raki to feast at the shore of Mediterranean. Salty sea air would have touched our faces, the moisture would have soften skin, and the sun would have drew one more kiss from your lips before setting.

I’d wear some loose shirt made out of the Turkish cotton, roll my sleeves up, and pour us two drinks, and smoke some more tobacco, and recite you some Cemal Sureya. (Think of it,what were you wearing then?). We would have talked of the loneliness of our hearts, business of the local fruit seller, the butcher’s wife, taste of the breakfast we had this morning, your desire to crush berries with your foot to make black berry liquor, you’ll watch me marvel at words, and look me in the eyes when I talk of my concerns about where to call home. I’ll teach you a few lines in Turkish and read you some more Sureya in Turkish. We’d say Aw to the old couple holding hands, and watch the beautiful young fisherman pull their boats full of fresh fish to the shore, and gaze at the salt shimmering on their sun tanned skinned. We’d wonder who’s is shinning more; the fish, the sea, the young boys? We know the answer, the shinning is in our eyes, we’ll drink one more, I watch you eat your melon with a loud sound as the juice drips from your fingers. We’d watch the sun pull the silk sheets of Mediterranean on at the horizon, and go to sleep.

As our heads get warm with booze, and jaws looser, we’d thank our liver for turning this fermented grape liquor into good times, we’d thank our lungs for for soaking the oxygen from the fresh Mediterranean breeze into source of living, and our hearts, oh our hearts – we’ll thank them for pumping the blood through the mountains and valleys of our body, so that we can live, love, laugh, so that we can say things like “oh air so delicious you can kiss it” or “I love you” or “Look I am not perfect, but I am offering you all I have” or “Poetry lives in my ears”. We’ll thank our hearts and all this blood flowing through this flesh so that we can share a little bit of that human touch!

Don’t get me wrong. Oh to be here is wonderful too, in these big cities, were you are in it, where I have learned how to dream dreams like this, for dreaming is wonderful – and no matter where I am, the windows still welcome the air, and light pours like honey when I stand beneath on oak tree on a sunny day, and I can pop the words in my mouth as I read them, and suck their juice until they get me drunk.

Now I’ll get up, eat my eggs, drink my cup of hot water, honey, and lime juice. Now, I’ll repeat the song one more time and put on my clothes. Now I start my day, but I won’t stop thinking of you, even behind the infinite computer made curtains of numbers and names and demand.  Whoever you are, wherever you may be, if it feels right, if it is ok with you, smile with me, look at someone and smile at them, and allow me to think of you.

Washington D.C.
June 6th, 2017

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