by Korkut Onaran 


A deep sea creature
and a priest walk into a bar.

In a poem. In a high
mountain town at a landlocked state,
in a historic bar.

The priest drinks red wine
and talks about a crucifixion that happened
two thousand years ago.

The deep sea creature drinks a hurricane
and talks about the future
of beach towns.

Both love their solitude; they are
not in the habit of listening
to each other.

The bartender asks:
where is the narrator? Both the priest
and the deep sea creature turn

and look at me – but I am not there.
They are not satisfied. Look, I didn’t
invite you, you just showed up in the poem.

Still, they are not satisfied.
You don’t need a narrator to do what you do.
The deep sea creature replies:

Next thing you know
you’ll talk about the avalanche
that is about to hit this bar.

He has a point.


pieces of sky;
deep blue, light,

      segments of clouds;
light blue, white

a soft breeze;
vibrant, agile, fresh,

      and the strength of all
that is fragile in spring

a cat’s whisker measuring
the space between

      the next moment
and the eternity

and a scent’s whisper
touching a memory

      of a few gazes
and a few kisses

a smile at the edge
of a mouth where lips meet

      and the mouth tells us all that
we breed where the legs meet

they all land
on the notebook and enter the poem

      as I just observe
and let them be.


there was a stream
of memories in the bedroom
and my dream was soaked in it

the distance between
today’s faces and the faces of my past
has disappeared

and between here and there
there remained no time, just silence.
Within that deep silence

that I heard before
in an underwater cave,
I hear

heartbeats – I’m alive.
The heartbeats get louder
and I open my eyes – I’m awake

and cold
as if I have fewer;
I do have fewer – it must be

the shingles shot I had
in the morning!
I have ­a headache too.


The sliver moon
speaks to me of ancient lips
and I feel kissed.

I dwell
in my mind’s flower
who receives me unconditionally

and the night deepens in my next hour
as I enter the innermost room
of the poem.


(or an ode to me sitting here
at this sidewalk table at this coffee house
and reporting this to you)

Three trees
on the sidewalk

      dressed in white flowers
that are bursting, as I watch, 
out of their buds

      in such determination


young legs and bare toes
in delicate sandals, and exposed
belly buttons

accompany the flowers

      in flooding this
warm afternoon

            with sex.

About the Author:

Korkut Onaran’s The Book of Colors has received the first prize in Cervena Barva Press 2007 Chapbook Contest. His poem House has received the second prize in 2006 Baltimore Review Poetry Competition. His first book of poetry The Trident Poems has been published by World Enough Writers in February 2018. His poetry has been published in journals such as Penumbra, Rhino, Colere, White Pelican Review, Crucible, City Works Literary Journal, Water –Stone, Review, Atlanta Review, Bayou, Common Ground Review, and Baltimore Review.