If train goes through it, poetry does too. If poetry goes through it, article definitely does. Above all, what if a river goes through it, too. Then who knows what other things go through its heart; blue birds in its sky, cranes above it, lovers nearby!
I went through that city, too. So did my childhood. It did; I did with memories, dreams, desires. Some cities are like The Cities, Passed through at Night. There is a reason that this is the title of a poem book written by the poet Şavkar Altınel. You think that you passed through those cities; however, you are mistaken. What passes through those cities is your body, not your soul. It aches as the barren spot of a tooth does or it looks for the whole as your missing piece right at the moment when you realize the pain of existence. It infiltrates through your existence.
I was born in that city but I have never gotten enough of it; I could not. After traveling around so many places, the famous explorer Marco Polo had said, “Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice,” maybe you will laugh at me assuming that I compare Eskişehir with Venice; however, all cities I describe are Eskişehir.
I wrote so many times about Eskişehir and my childhood. The pride of the modern Turkey, the city that sustains the secular and democratic Turkey that was dreamed by the founder of our Republic, Gazi (the Veteran) Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Eskişehir was a complete substitute of the European cities in the 1960s, with its parks, gardens, movie theaters, clubs, liberal ambience, and a life in equality of women and men. I am talking about a city like those we see in nostalgic postcards. I lived in that city, I was a child in that city, I had my hair blowing in happiness, the emotions that I felt when I went towards Adalar from Köprübaşı through the Porsuk that runs through our city like love and poetry has never changed; I felt as if I was in Venice. The “Hayat” magazine that my father used to read had the pictures of Venice and its bridges.
Only in that state of my city? No. Later, I have seen and experienced various states of my city, it was dusty and tired as an abandoned town at times, even the River Porsuk was asleep, maybe it was on the outs with people, it was squeezed under a gray and hazy sky at times, as if it was forgotten that if it weren’t for the train whistles that passed through it, there would be no noise heard at all.
The city is like that, when you think that you left it, you realize that it has left you long ago. When you are in it, you take a look around, thinking that you will be spending soo many years in that city, you will be memorizing every corner, every face, nature of the seasons and rivers. One day, you leave. You may or may not worry about those left behind. However, you will always have a piece of that city in you. Maybe your home that you made fun of it, maybe your street that became a kid with you or played games with you, the girl you thought who winked at you or did she, did you lose the opportune moment or not…
I have been away for 40 years; however, we did not break up. My family, my childhood, my elementary and middle schools, my friends, my neighborhoods, my dead, my living, my trains, my rivers, my waters, my gardens, my awkwardness, my enthusiasm, my first loves, my clumsiness, my first verses, my sentences, my frailties, my joy, they are all there. Sugar Factory that is the pride of our Republic, Sümerbank Printed Fabric Factory, TCDD Cer Workshop, Locomotive Factory… And of course the spirit, youth, union of the city, our cherished and legend Es Es, Eskişehirspor, Amigo Orhan who comes to mind first when someone mentions mascot in Turkey. The best is yet to come: the university students who have made our city their home.
Hey passenger! Detrain immediately and walk slowly towards the beauties and mysteries of the city that I haven’t talked about! When you entrain again, you will realize that you are no longer the same person and you will not thank me because I wrote this article, but to yourself because you read it!