IOWA Magazine | 08-14-2023

Non-Euclidian Space is Dangerous

3 minute read
An International Writing Program alumnus from Turkey shares a poem inspired by a sculpture at the Stanley Museum of Art and his own Iowa love story, which is featured in the museum's new book, In a Time of Witness.
Two Lines Oblique PHOTO: JUSTIN TORNER/UI OFFICE OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION

Translated by Aron Aji, director of translation programs at Iowa
Inspired by George Rickeyís Two Lines Oblique sculpture at the UI Stanley Museum of Art (pictured above).


two oblique lines
(even in euclidian space)
if only drawn long enough
can meet at one point

just days ago
Iowa was a point on the world map
now we are at Prairie Lights
when Iím smug about the author you mention
I get interrupted
friends, you yell,
letís get some beer

on the way back to the hotel
at the tip of my tongue
a Bukowski verse
underlined

*

growing slowly underground
two seeds
can touch each other
only on the face of the earth

on the way back from the farm
you had held my hand in the car

your hand
a creeper vine

*

in the darkness of space
two meteors advancing back to back
can see each other
only when they enter the atmosphere

we go to Dublin
others join too
you order two whiskeys

down my throat
a ball of fire

*

two trees touching each other
with the tips of their leaves
once cut down can only meet
while swimming down the river

itís raining
weíre in the middle of the street
I tuck your hair behind your ear

sawdust
drips from its ends

*

two waves advancing back to back
can only meet when the first reaches the shore
and slowly ebbs

in the stairwell
you turn
and kiss me

my mouth
full of sand

*

advancing back to back
two clouds
only after hitting the cold air
can intermix in the soil
you lie next to me
naked

on my back
instead of sweat
droplets of mud

*

apple slices turning brown
dry out and only then
can interfuse their smells

I didnít sleep next to you
went back to my room at the Graduate
in the blind of the night

my regret
clammy
liquid
delicious

*

turritopsis dohrnii
two jellyfish who mated in their first lives
must wait to change into polyp sponge
to find each other again

you werenít speaking to me
we had returned to our earlier lives
as if we could

after rehearsal
we share my umbrella
your eyes
translucent

*

oozing down the tree bark
two resin drops
can only meet when
hardened in a fossil layer

as if we pledged we go straight into Bread Garden
you eat from my hand
the last watermelon slice

in the corner of your lips
gleaming
an amber stone

if the male and the female storks
cannot feed all their babies
they push one down with their beaks
and only at winterís end
can they look each other in the face

I wasnít ready for anything beyond an adventure
you left on the trip you had already planned
with someone else
we didnít speak
just as unlike as our voices
were our silences

when we reconnect en route to New Orleans
you sat next to me
teach me a few words, you said
to allay your fear of flying
tabii ki, her zaman, mutlaka
comparable, dependable
words hard as eggshells

*

if only back to back
they strike the same point
two lightning bolts can find each other

out of the shower
you ask, will you come with me

I wrap my arms around your neck and smell
the burnt smell

*

after two oblique lines
meet at one point
they keep to their own trajectory
in euclidian space

we are in 319
you sit in the space between the beds
clothes, blankets, plastic bags
snuggling next to you I say
maybe Iíll move to Riga

time will tell, you say,
and hold my hand tightly
as if something
that should not be dropped
or even seen is hidden
between our palms


POETRY FROM IN A TIME OF WITNESS. USED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA STANLEY MUSEUM OF ART.

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Efe Duyan PHOTO: DAVID KONEČN› Efe Duyan

David Conrads

Literary Greats Find Inspiration at UI Stanley Museum of Art

Dozens of Iowaís most celebrated writers delve into the museumís collection for the new book, In a Time of Witness.



Efe Duyan PHOTO: DAVID KONEČN› Efe Duyan

David Conrads

Literary Greats Find Inspiration at UI Stanley Museum of Art

Dozens of Iowaís most celebrated writers delve into the museumís collection for the new book, In a Time of Witness.


Join our email list
Get the latest news and information for alumni, fans, and friends of the University of Iowa.
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