Vor

Through the summer months in Yeşilköy
we used to play basketball ceaselessly,
my cousin Michel and I, Agop, Ara and Aret
in the grounds of the old Greek school.

“Vor to you,” Michel and I would respond
when the three met us with a hearty “Vor,”
and we’d all five fall about in wild laughter.
We knew: it meant “arse” in Armenian.

Agop’s family had a huge green garden
(large enough for three later buildings):
we’d pick figs off the trees at one end,
and kick a ball around at the other.

Then Aret and Agop left for America.
I for London. We have no news of Ara.

Only Michel remains still in Istanbul.
From five to one in twenty short years.

A city where no one says vor any more
cannot be Istanbul, cannot be my town.
It cannot be where I became what I am.
I ache for what it once was, I dream of it,
I sing of it.

The Armenian Weekly
Dec. 27, 2008

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Roni Margulies

Roni Margulies was born in Istanbul in 1955. Paternal grandparents, Joseph and Fanny Margulies, moved to Turkey in 1925 from Poland. Maternal grandparents, Moiz and Hilda Danon, are Sephardic Jews from Izmir. Has published seven volumes of poetry, a childhood memoir, a long essay on the Jewish community of Istanbul, and two books of collected literary and political essays and journalism. Margulies won the prestigious Yunus Nadi Poetry Award in 2002 with his book of poems, Saat Fark (Time Difference). Has published selected translations of the poetry of Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin and Yehuda Amichai in Turkish, as well as Hughes’ Birthday Letters.Margulies has contributed regularly to numerous publications of the left and has translated Tony Cliff ’s State Capitalism in Russia into Turkish. He was editor of the ‘Guidebooks for the Anti-capitalist Movement’ published by Metis Publishers, and was editor of the features page of the daily Birgun in 2006–2007.
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  • Vor - February 22, 2009

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