EXPLORER

EXPLORER

It is not confounding nor a coincidence that letters and words set off on a journey to such an article when exploring is mentioned… No wonder being an explorer also calls for poetry. 

Explorer. Some words are like water; as soon as you start pronouncing them, they flow. Just like the way how some people resemble water are… Those words are babbled, fallen, or sent off depending on their states, influences or greatness. Some people flow as water does. Actually, the word selection should have been everyone and every living thing instead of some people. Having a flow is a necessity of life. Leaves flow to trees; mountains flow to the sky; animals flow to the abyss, so do the secrets of the universe. Where does the childhood flow to? To birds, to wings, to running around freely… Where we flow to is where we look, what we see, and for what we long… What we explore… 

A quote by Can Yücel, the Father Can of our poetry, still tears my heart out: “Show me around a bit before I die!” The wish of the great poet was a beautiful childish desire, a necessity of life and breathing. Now, he has been exploring in Datça, the heart of the Mediterranean, in the sky of blue… 

It is not confounding nor a coincidence that letters and words set off on a journey to such an article when exploring is mentioned… No wonder being an explorer also calls for poetry. Just as one of those explorers, Cemal Süreya, says, “Breakfast must have something to do with happiness,” being an explorer must have something to do with poetry and poet, and it does have something to do with them which is beyond relevance. That is what I say but I am captivated by feeling, which is similar to Hasan Ali Topbaş’ quote that he had Haraptarlı Nafi said in Bin Hüzünlü Haz (A Joy with Thousand Sorrows, a book written by Hasan Ali Topbaş): “What is life, son, I don’t know the answer if you ask, and I do know the answer if you don’t!” I realized that I did not know about the thing, which is beyond relevance between the poet and the explorer. As I mentioned, it is only a feeling…

When someone mentions exploring, I first recall Atilla İlhan, his poems, and then his narration in Abbas Yolcu (Abbas the Passenger), which makes you feel such an euphoria that you cannot sit still. It is not that I have forgotten; I recall it to enjoy it more. I keep these for later with the hope of opening a silly subject or a subject about a roamer. By the way, I just wanted to mention that there was a Sufi poet called Sersem Baba (Silly Father).   

Metin Altıok is my explorer. He is the first poet that I came face to face and eye to eye after Gülten Akın. I first showed him around in my pocket later within me. His lines were the first to whisper to my soul that poets were explorers. I had my wings first with his poems towards feeling my oats. Gezgin (Explorer) (Dost Publications, 1976) is his first book and it is the book that I have showed around; it is the book that has taken me to places since I was 20. We were exploring with Explorer at those days in Ankara; however, another poet’s lines, Cemal Süreya’s lines that smelled of Ankara, were also accompanying us. Oh God! Such a happiness… “I smell like cinnamon and you smell like linden/ We walk on the streets of Ankara.” The feeling of these lines is same as the lines imply. I guess Metin Altıok, as an explorer who had explored the same streets, greets Cemal Süreya with similar lines: “Your mouth used to smell like cinnamon/ And mine like cloves./ Our breaths/ Used to dissolve in each others/ We both are alone now/ I smell like cloves/ You smell like cinnamon/ Lonesome, outcast.”  

Then I read other explorer books; I explored; however, I couldn’t find an Explorer in any… As if the poet had written that book just to stray me away from my course. Well, maybe, poetry is to making us find the right course. Who knows! The book begins by saying, “The look of an explorer on his face;/ With his instrument and backpack,/ As if someone who is waiting/ In front of a small coffee shop at the bus terminal./ The moon touched his shoulders one night./ Ever since in his eyes,/ There is this image of a bus window, zooming past,” and ends with, “When you become a burden to you/ Protect you from you,” warning the explorer.

Then they burned Brother Metin.

Stood there and watched.