The Istanbul Subway

I’m on the train, I didn’t bring my book,
Human Landscapes From My Country.
I’ve been thinking of writing an empty book
200 pages without words…
If I read a book as she does to the left of me,
I wouldn’t see that a man is crossing his legs,
the right one over the left one.
He has a grey cap, black shoes,
maybe his name is Ahmet.
I wouldn’t see Ahmet if I read a book. 
While someone is sitting next to me with a newspaper
The train slips out of the station.

Everybody is gentle.
No one pushed each other when they entered the train,
because there are plenty sits for everyone…
We are in Yeni Sahra:
A person stands up to get off, but two people’s spaces appear,
because of men spreading.
No one gets on the train which is good.
A bald-headed man  with the glasses reads a book,
he wears sneakers.
Everyone seems thinking of something.
The train approaches Koz Yatagi,
And I’m drunk.

A woman with black hair is getting out,
one more woman joins her.
Three men get on the train,
the majority of men increases, I hate it.
I see neither children nor babies.
There is a woman with hijab listening to music
as does the guy in front of me.
We come to Bostanci;
a few people get off the train, just one person gets on.
The most beautiful woman in the train wipes her nose,
it’s human nature. 

In the train, there is a billboard, “If an orphan smiles the world smiles.”
I ask the people on the train, “Is that true?” They just stare at me blankly.
I ask mothers because they are compassionate,
“Is that true, mom, if an orphan smiles the world smiles?”
They ignore me.

Kucuk Yali;
I ask the person with the mustache who gets on the train,
what the mustache means; it could be fashion or sensitivity.
“Hey dude, really? If they smile, does the word smile?”
He gives me a look, and says, “No Turkish.” 

We approach Maltepe,
I ask the other question on the billboard:
“We are enough to change the world.”
I take off a woman’s headphone and ask,“Are we enough…”
”Get the fuck out of here. Freak!” She yells at me.
Many people get on, no one gets off at Maltepe.

The next station is Nursing Home.
I ask the station because it may show mercy;
“If they smile, the worlds smiles?” “Are we enough?”
The Nursing House with a white jacket: “I don’t know.”
I say to the conductor, “Please, let’s keep going.”
“Yes, Sir!”
It’s wasn’t an order, I say, but he repeats “Yes Sir!”
Nursing Home stays behind us.

Gul Suyu.
Three people get off, and no one joins us,
We are becoming fewer in number.

“If an orphan smiles, the world doesn’t smile,” someone says.
Who was that, I ask.
No one responds.
“When they smile, the world doesn’t smile.” 
We are approaching that sound.
We enter Esenkent.
I ask, “It was you?” 
Esenkent politely asks, “Pardon me?” 
I look at the conductor, he shakes his head, “Yes Sir!”
We pass Esenkent.

Next one is at Hospital-Courthouse.
What a joke!
Isn’t hospital the end of life, in my country,
and the courthouse is the end of justice?
I ask the station, “Who said that when they smile the world doesn’t smile?”
The courthouse knocks on the table, and declares, 
“The world doesn’t smile, when an orphan smiles,” and concludes, “The case is closed!”
“It does smile,” the hospital whispers.
As a person is getting off, I ask him:
“Excuse me, if an orphan smiles, does the world smile?”
He replies, “It’s not my business.”

The next station is Soganlik,
after that, Kartal will be the last one,
But, I won’t see it. 

May 2014

Author: Yasin Ertas

Posts created 28

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