Sepideh Rahaa (b.1981, Amol) is a multidisciplinary artist, researcher and educator based in Helsinki. Through her practice, she actively investigates and questions prevailing power structures, social norms and conventions while focusing on womanhood, storytelling and everyday resistance. Currently she is pursuing her doctoral studies in Contemporary Art at Aalto University. Her practice and research interests are representations in contemporary art, silenced histories, decolonisation, Intersectional feminist politics and post-migration matters.

Ceyda Berk-Söderblom (b.1976, Izmir) is a Helsinki-based independent art manager, curator, festival programmer and entrepreneur specialising in change management; and has 20 years of background experience in the arts. Ceyda grew up in a cosmopolitan family and has always been fascinated by complex and fluid social identities. Originally trained as a journalist, she also studied communication, critical thinking, business administration, arts management, and leadership in arts. In 2015 she founded MiklagårdArts, an innovative platform, facilitator and connector for promoting transnational collaborations between Finland and the dynamic art scenes around the world.

First, let us frankly confess that when we received an invitation from NO NIIN, we were in the middle of a cool-down process. Like an athlete who clears lactate and other waste from their muscles once a race is over. Cooling down can be highly beneficial after a gruelling marathon and increase a person’s recovery time, whose only focus has been to breathlessly maximize their performance.

The invitation, of course, was tempting since we had been offered a space to freely reflect after the very comprehensive advocacy work that we had done at the Globe Art Point (G.A.P). So, we started from the point that had brought us together at G.A.P. It was not only our dedicated concern for equity, inclusion, and social justice in the arts and culture, but also a familiar feeling of two creative human beings who want to connect, share, and understand the world they inhabit. This opportunity gave us another space to reflect on our friendship, which has been cultivated in the soil of empathy and compassion through confrontations, disputes, debates, agreements, and lots of disagreements, but mainly an ability to see and care for one another. So, we talked, laughed, and thought about what to write, how to write, and even if we should write to reflect at all.

For this digital space given to us, we opened a Pandora’s Box to reveal why today some of us are still excluded from the so-called ‘winner’s table’. We decided to have a conversation to reflect on the Finnish chapters of our lives, our dreams, and achievements, but we also talked about simple things that could unveil sophistication hidden in simplicity if one wishes to see it. We borrowed a few questions from The Proust Questionnaire, attributed to French novelist Marcel Proust, rephrased some of them, and played with the thought of being ‘free’ and keeping the essence of the belief that lies behind the questionnaire: "in answering these questions, an individual reveals their true nature."

What is your current state of mind? What is your motto?

I should confess that in Finland the freedom vital to professional actualisation has never been there on an equal level compared to many; however, being banished from creative work has been very devastating.

Sepideh: Peaceful. When I think about the current state, I do not wish for any (art)worker to be sacrificed for the change to come. In addition to that, refusing to sacrifice one’s dignity, existence and imagination.

Ceyda: I’m rereading a lot of stuff nowadays. While missing my own library and poetry books in my native language, the books that I picked have led me somehow to* Antigone (the main character in Sophocles’ tragedy)*, who, even though it was forbidden, decides to defy the law and give her brother a burial as she believes that every person deserves a respectful burial. Antigone’s choices are influenced by her core values and morals, which are more important than anything, throughout the play. Thanks to books by Luce Irigaray, In the Beginning, She Was; and Tragedy, the Greeks, and Us by Simon Critchley, I’m reading more and more about Antigone, an extensively discussed and criticized character. I’m a fond re-reader, and I like to turn to my favourite books again and again when I’m processing things—books that continue to surprise me or teach me something new every single time.

Well, as for my motto, if I really am the protagonist of my life, maybe I should quote from Antigone: "But leave me to my own absurdity, leave me to suffer this- dreadful thing." The fight against the Covid-19 and restrictions imposed due to extreme pandemic conditions has become a real challenge for all of us. I have felt cut off from my loved ones and estranged from places that I had tried hard to familiarize myself within. On a professional level, I felt that I was not free in choosing what I wanted to do or am capable of doing – for some time, I was trapped. I should confess that in Finland the freedom vital to professional actualisation has never been there on an equal level compared to many; however, being banished from creative work has been very devastating. The situation made me feel angry and powerless: but I know how to channel such feelings into a productive, action-driven position where the change starts.

When and where were you happiest?

When I think about my life in Finland, I haven’t been able to feel this way. Sometimes the simplest matters such as making a deposit at a bank or visiting a doctor are stretched or become so complicated that everything else in life and work are directly affected, and restlessness comes after. The art scene and the existing dynamics and relations have not been any better.

Ceyda: I have always had difficulties recalling my early childhood memories, where I believe most of us are in the process of becoming and building the cornerstone of our identities. I was a willful and stubborn child. From time to time, those scattered pieces of memories flash before my eyes and remind me of those early days of resistance. I love those moments that my mind randomly picks; they make me happy no matter what’s going on in my life right now.

Sepideh: Happiness is a complex matter, and for me, that state requires multiple factors to be synchronically in place. As I recall three years ago when I visited my family, simply being with my sister and mother made me present in time and place, mentally and physically. This being together has always made me utterly happy. That is when I did not need anything additional to be joyful or content. When I think about my life in Finland, I haven’t been able to feel this way. Sometimes the simplest matters such as making a deposit at a bank or visiting a doctor are stretched or become so complicated that everything else in life and work are directly affected, and restlessness comes after. The art scene and the existing dynamics and relations have not been any better.

Based on your advocacy work in Finland, what do you find the most problematic?

Sepideh: Hamid Dabashi in his book Can Non-Europeans Think? provokes the reader with this question and intervenes by posing another one: Can Europeans Read? He asks the European thinkers (and us as readers): how is it that we speak your language and yet you don’t understand us? This is one of the biggest challenges in the Finnish art scene, together with the colonial mentality of who to listen to and who to ignore, whose thoughts and knowledge matter and whose do not.

I have been lately thinking about the boldest choice of my life, which was to move to Finland; How I spent ten years of my thirties in this country, how I worked and lived, and how I have been treated as a professional. I remember vividly why and how I chose to be here. Somewhere in between life and work, a friend introduced me to Finland and I searched for information about it. I wanted to experience what it meant to live in a country that claimed to have more than 80% gender equality in its living and working environments. That was a fascinating statement. But is that true? And if there is such a statistic in real life, why don’t we (the immigrant people of color) experience it?

The first time I visited the Finnish embassy in Tehran in 2010, it was remarkable. I was there to attend the visa interview. When I simply replied to the person behind the thick protective glass that I wanted to visit Finland as a tourist, their first reaction was loud laughter. The person in charge looked at me and said, “What do you think? Do I need to remind you that you are an Iranian citizen!?”. In their opinion, touristic status did not belong to an Iranian person. Unsurprisingly, shortly after that, I received a negative decision. However, this encounter did not change my mind about reapplying. I thought about one thing, to change my life, and nothing else mattered. That mocking tone of the interviewer at the Finnish embassy in response to my genuine reasons for visiting Finland did not deter me from achieving my goal. However, that tone still keeps popping up in my day-to-day life in Finland.

In Finland, when people talk about the East and particularly about the so-called ‘Middle East’, my immediate question is to whom are we middle? We, the South West Asians surely are in the middle of many matters, geographically but, we are not middle to anyone particularly not to Europeans as they named us!

I wanted to change my life and kept telling myself that balatar-az-siyahi-rangi-nist, a motto in Farsi which translates to ‘nothing can be worse than this’ and therefore one must do their best. Back home, at work I was in my late-twenties in a decision making position at the university for years. I was head of the program and had a respectful reputation among colleagues and students. The power of decision making and being independent was not enough, I wanted to explore more. Yet during my life journey in Finland, I have had so many struggles professionally and otherwise more than what I could imagine.

In Finland, when people talk about the East and particularly about the so-called ‘Middle East’, my immediate question is to whom are we middle? We, the South West Asians surely are in the middle of many matters, geographically but, we are not middle to anyone particularly not to Europeans as they named us! Over the years at university or in society at large (mostly in the capital area), I haven’t experienced that Finland is any better place than my home country particularly in gender-based discrimination at the workplace. Based on my experiences in both societies, in fact, Finland has failed to prove itself to be a promised land. It holds the world’s flagship for gender equality yet acts otherwise. What makes Finland harder for me personally is these continuous pretentious claims as well as the lack of supportive structure. If one dares to voice the problematic matters in an institution for instance, the consequences of the complaint hit the person worse than it would hit the institution. And instead, sources of problems are dismissed that the existing obstacles are not the individuals’ problems but the art scene’s structural barriers. As a result, one can often find themselves lonely and subject to all sorts of microaggressions and hostile treatment coming from every corner of the field.

Ceyda: The Finnish chapter of my professional life has opened up possibilities and provided unique lived experiences that shaped my advocacy work. I started by posing simple questions, and those basic questions made the invisible visible. I believe in the transformative power of art and, therefore, have always been interested in conservative practices in the art scene. One can easily see the traces of such conservatism that promotes traditional social institutions in the context of art and culture as a sign of establishment and, in some cases, of civilisation. If I look at the politics of art with patriarchy in view, at the heart of reality, there are at least two things doing something to each other: art and power. I’m intrigued by the conjecture that shows the intertwined relationship between art and power. This is how I see it all in the bigger picture.

In the Finnish case, I find it very problematic when obstacles and barriers many of us face are diminished to an individual ‘victim’ case or to statistical data, or -in the worst case- to a position of object for endless research. Our lived struggles and experiences stand as proof of the limitations of this non-responsive system. They have been mostly utilised in proving the discriminatory dynamics of the structure. I don’t deny the necessity of validating lived experience through study, but what is the point of all those studies if none of the proven facts triggers any action? It feels like a vicious cycle. Without confronting our own role in maintaining that discriminative structure, producing more and more data is only useful in replacing the actual "action" that we all are yearning for. On the other hand, some part of the art and culture sector is in complete denial. If I reflect on our work at G.A.P, I can easily think of the time we spent and most likely still have to invest to convince such deniers, rather than using the same energy and potential to make the future ecosystem of the Finnish arts and culture sector much more equitable for everyone.

The crisis was quite rough on the arts and culture. There is another harsh reality: the arts and culture scene has very quickly turned its back on discussions of inclusivity. I wished that while the pandemic left many art-makers without equitable means to go on, there would be a strong will to dismantle the unjust establishment of the art scene.

Like many of my colleagues, Covid-19 and the cultural lockdown restrictions have had a severe impact on my professional and private life. The crisis was quite rough on the arts and culture. There is another harsh reality: the arts and culture scene has very quickly turned its back on discussions of inclusivity. I wished that while the pandemic left many art-makers without equitable means to go on, there would be a strong will to dismantle the unjust establishment of the art scene. But we know that topics of diversity, inclusion, and equity are not easy to contemplate and are even uncomfortable to talk about. So, in this case, when we look in the mirror, we should not be afraid of the conservative image reflecting back. I mostly dislike this paradox.

After five years of solid work experience in Finland as an independent arts professional who also dedicated four years to non-profit work centred on public advocacy for radical inclusion in the arts and culture sector, I’m still dreaming of a real change. The very crucial competencies associated with diversity and inclusion for gatekeepers and the cultural management elite of the Finnish arts sector should be considered with the seriousness they deserve. Last summer, I sat down and wrote my master’s thesis about this topic.

On a personal level, it is more complicated. After having worked for more than two decades in this sector, having earned my living as an independent person since my 19s, being forced to become economically dependent, especially in Finland, the heaven of gender equality, is a dilemma for me. 45% of women with foreign backgrounds are unemployed in this country. The Avaus-Opening study by Cupore has proven to show more or less the same picture of the Finnish arts and culture scene. Highly educated and competent foreign-born women, especially those coming from non-EU countries, are unemployed. This is a shame!

If you could change one thing about it, what would it be?

Ceyda: I believe in leading by example. I would replace a couple of key gatekeeper positions that have influential power in the governance of the Finnish art scene. Well, we both know that actions speak louder than words. And add some means for healthy professional competitiveness instead of a jealousy-driven approach.

Sepideh: National art collections are directly related to heritage and (art) history in making. Its impact on the present, past, and future is something significant to be considered. When I think about all my visits to the exhibitions of the existing Finnish national art collection, it catches my attention that there are not any artworks made by women artists with non-European origins or backgrounds who work in Finland (last year a few pieces were acquired by Kiasma). However, in the same collection, there are many works made by several non-European men. As art workers in Finland, we must ask ourselves: in a country which prides itself on the high value of ‘gender equality’ (which is mostly focused on the binary of men and women leaving the rest out) particularly and actively including Finnish women as leaders, why there is such a huge gap regarding the work contributions of women with non-European backgrounds? Where are the contributions made by these women artists reflected in the trajectory of Finnish contemporary art history, whether in the collections or otherwise? Is it that they do not exist? Does this exclusive narrative signal that POC and ethnically diverse women have not contributed to the Finnish art scene at all? Or is it that their committed work and contributions are not included? One who closely observes the art scene could claim that women of color and those of diverse ethnic backgrounds are actively contributing, yet not being included, but instead pushed to the periphery of almost non-existing. Why have multiple current reports by the current Finnish government concluded that a significant number of women with non-European backgrounds (from which many of them are highly educated) are at the bottom of the unemployment pit? One could argue that in a country with a reputation for women’s leadership, deliberately or not, we women of ‘other heritages and origins’ have been made invisible. Our knowledge and years of work contributions are doomed to go unrecorded, almost non-existent in the making of Finnish art history. We are the ‘others’ who the white Finnish feminists and other ‘benevolent intellectuals’ write articles about, advocating for our rights only ‘as victims’. If I want to change anything, it is this sickening narrative of victimhood and purposeful neglect, not only of women artists and cultural workers, but of everyone else who is being treated the same. Eurocentrism is at the core which must be changed.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your advocacy work?

Sepideh: Not to remain silent is the best of my achievements. To be outspoken generates a condition in which dialogue may happen and that enables the change. I made a commitment to myself and those who, in one way or another, are in similar conditions, to not keep silent, and no matter what, to enable change even in the smallest way. It is the ability to respond while echoing the already existing voices repeatedly. And repetition is surely the key factor in advocacy work, which I learned over the time. Although I don’t deny it can be exhausting.

Since joining the Third Space (2015-), I’ve devoted a portion of my time to advocacy in the art scene. A year later, I joined the newly established Globe Art Point as a board member, and together with my colleagues, I worked hard to make some meaningful changes. The very advocacy work to which I dedicated four years of my life also changed my perception of the realities in which we function as makers in this art scene. During these years, I was able to implement what I learned earlier, how to bring theory into practice. By that, I mean feminist practices and the importance of representation within and outside of institutional work.

My work at G.A.P coincided with the start of my doctoral studies at Aalto, centering my artistic research on concepts such as intersectional feminism, migratory knowledges, and decolonial contemporary art practices. This particular parallel work enabled me to have a holistic understanding and approach both at G.A.P and in my own research. On the board, after years of working together, we found grounds for having difficult conversations in the most fruitful manner. For instance, I actively engaged in conversations and went deeper into matters of representation as well as understanding certain terminologies in relation to advocacy work which were directly related to the structural barriers such as whiteness and Eurocentrism. Whiteness is a social construct that is inextricably linked to issues of difference and power structure. In Finland, only in the past few years have we actively heard about it. For most of us on the board, it has become evident that centering personal lived experience is one of the best tools for doing advocacy work. Sharing those experiences helped us first in mapping the barriers and second in sharing them with the gatekeepers and colleagues in the field. Addressing those artistic difficulties or barriers has been a very powerful tool in navigating and tackling the problems. Following that up, it would emphasize that no change can be made without us, therefore we must be active makers in those processes. Organising workshops, sharing knowledge and engaging in difficult conversations have been my achievements to feel satisfied about. Disseminating practical information was a goal which together with my colleagues we intensively achieved and also influenced the art scene at large. I held the first ‘Grant Clinic’ at G.A.P to share my knowledge on how to make a successful grant application. This was to beat the structural barrier for immigrants like myself who are not familiar with the hidden rules of application making. It is delightful to witness several colleagues successfully receive grants years after year. Furthermore, it is joyful to see that good practice has been implemented by institutions and similar organisations as a norm.

Ceyda: I acknowledge my courage to take a clear political stand on the issues that made me very uncomfortable. Before settling in Helsinki, I worked for an established, non-profit foundation, one of my country’s most prominent arts institutions, for 14 years; and had a long track record in lobbying & advocacy on EU and national-level systems, strategic management, and stakeholders’ relationship. I was a festival programmer of two flagship festivals of my country (one is on the board of the European Festivals Association) and initiated many international projects, including successfully setting up a traditional music instruments museum in my birth town. So it was straightforward for me to develop an advocacy strategy for G.A.P; to identify stakeholders and do targeted lobbying with my colleagues. I arrived in Finland at the end of 2015 after a very intense career. It took a year for me to realise that I, at the age of 40 as a senior arts professional, had ended up in a situation for which I was not prepared. But, there is also inborn resistance in me. These helped me not to accept the explanation of "this is how it is in Finland". I believe, within positions of power, everyone has a choice to not make things as expected. I knew my own stubbornness, so instead of myself, I decided to change the conditions of the art scene in Finland. It was a conscious choice.

This is why I joined G.A.P. I served there from 2017 onwards as part of its first board, and with my colleagues we made the organisation what it is today. As its chairperson (between 2019 and 2021), I had a better chance to implement my knowledge, with the support of my dear colleagues, to shift the organisation’s direction towards advocacy. We developed a code of ethics and anti-harassment policy and supported the board as a purpose-driven organ. I put a specific focus on the labor market dynamics of the arts scene; and made first contacts with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment as well as the University of the Arts Helsinki. My family is Swedish-speaking, this encouraged me to engage in lobbying with the Swedish Cultural Foundation. We wanted all publicly funded arts and cultural institutions to be held accountable. I initiated an impact report of G.A.P, proposed it to the board and the report accordingly was prepared by Demos Helsinki. Our aim was to get insight into how the organisation measures up against our stated goals and to show that external evaluation is healthy for arts organisations. We also secured finances of G.A.P for upcoming years and enabled new funders. I want to acknowledge that all was possible due to the team work and devotion of the core team. We showed that dedicated individuals, unpaid ones, have the power to stimulate change.

Advocating for inclusion is not a predetermined task for immigrants as it is thought in Finland, it is a professional work. In 2020, I worked as an expert in the Working Group for Cultural Policy, Immigrants and Promotion of Cultural Diversity, preparing the Art, Culture and Diverse Finland report. I was the only non-Finnish speaking member of the working group and attended meetings with an interpreter. I worked in thematic sub-groups: On working opportunities of foreign background professionals in arts and culture, and chaired another one: On reforming cultural policy and cultural funding to increase equality and promote diversity. It was not an easy task; I have read more than 300 hundred pages of Finnish documents through online translation to understand how the system works. Although each member of the working group truly included me by overcoming the language barrier during our work, I still felt like there’s a weight on my shoulders that I’ll never get rid of. In that setting, as a non-Finnish speaking member, I became a tangible reflection of the language barrier of the sector. This was very overwhelming - more stressful than engaging with hot debates around delicate topics during the meetings or having felt the urge to appeal to the State Secretary to the Minister of Culture with a demanding letter.

I learned a lot. I’m a curious person and like to engage in complex systems with a critical eye. I believe that a cause-driven organization must continually grow with fresh blood and evolve. I didn’t want to become one of those forever-chairpersons. Therefore, I decided not to stand for a second term as chair and allow new perspectives to step forward. The organization is now standing on more solid ground with an extensive capacity to develop. After this marathon of advocacy, I’m a proud member of G.A.P and happy to see the cultivation of its capacity.

Anyway, to make a long story short:I dream; I believe in my own dreams, and I fiercely go for my dream without letting myself be disturbed by small thinking and dream-killers (laughters)!

What is your idea of a perfect art scene?

Ceyda: A perfect art scene that is aware of its own imperfection, inequalities, and power constructs within it. I don’t have any illusions about equality as long as human beings and underlying social, political, and economic issues are concerned. Usually, we have no problem condemning discrimination and inequality done to people abroad, yet too many of us ignore the oppression on our doorstep. I’m a bit reluctant to imagine an environment without patriarchy and prejudice any time soon as those ghost dynamics are always in action whether we admit it or not. Maybe a more critical act would be to think about how to alter the entire system rather than trying to fix certain corners, like perceptive make-up.

Sepideh: A perfect art scene would be an equitable place where everyone would be able to first exist with respect and dignity, and second, be acknowledged without certain limits. In a relatively perfect art scene all sorts of practices would have an audience and there would be a true interest for them in the sector. The certain race, origin and ethnicity of the makers wouldn’t be the only privileged factor in arts institutions’ selections. As we see in Finland, there is an excessive focus on a certain Finnishness that is equivalent to whiteness; the art scene is dedicated to Finnish white artists and other Western artmakers and at best to a few non-European men as artists.

What makes you hopeful considering everything in your work and life? Where would you most like to live?

Sepideh: Making art, reading poetry, connecting with like-minded people, including artists and intellectuals, makes me hopeful. In a professional context, I would live somewhere between imagination and reality, free of narrow-minded judgments. The ‘where’ in this context is not about a physical place, but rather a thinking place and intellectual encounters in the process of artmaking.

Ceyda: Maya Angelou perfectly describes that place. She says, “the ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Home for me is a space where physical location, social practices, and mental and emotional well-being intersect. I would rather prefer living at that intersection than being in a specific geographical place. As a Mediterranean person, I always feel the urge to be next to the sea and yet see the shadow of magnificent mountains.

Of course, I continually despair at my own incapacity as a human, but then I feel the warmth of hope which uninterruptedly feeds my inner compass. I do believe hope empowers, and bravery enables us. If I think about the place where I stand right now, being encircled by concerned souls and brave and capable minds gives me enormous hope. Knowing that there are some people out there makes me incredibly grateful, and encourages me to put myself into some uncomfortable work.

What is the quality you most like in a human?

Ceyda: A good sense of justice and commitment to fairness.

Sepideh: Empathy. In empathy, the world meets with meaning. The endeavour is to get to know one another beyond the boundaries, to become fluent in ‘each other’s history’ and to build grounds for our common future.

What is your greatest fear?

Sepideh: My biggest fears are not having a choice, losing my imagination, and not being able to work as an artist. For me to survive is to work. In Finland, to escape many things, I chose to work and focused on learning how to balance activism and artistic work and how to set distinguishable boundaries between the two. That complexity has been translated into being a workaholic ‘with pleasure’. I can hardly maintain my day-to-day working hours being shorter than 10 hours.

Ceyda: To lose my dignity as a human.

Oh, Sepideh, let’s don’t talk about fears, let’s do something we both like to do.

Sepideh: Yeah let’s do that, it is more fun! As we are missing our families, friends and the places where we come from let’s recite poetry.

Ceyda: I will recite “Pespaye Kedinin Asaletini Anlatan Satırlar Burada Başlamaktadır – Lines About The Nobility of a Chav Cat Start Here” by Didem Madak

Sepideh: I will recite “Window – پنجره“ by Forough Farrokhzad.

PESPAYE KEDİNİN ASALETİNİ ANLATAN SATIRLAR BURADA BAŞLAMAKTADIR

                    “istanbul’un orta yeri sinema 
                    garipliğim, mahzunluğum duyurmayın anama”

Pazardan alınmiş esma marka terlikleri ile
Çatlak topuklarını sergileyen kadınlara da…
Şiir ithaf etmeye karar verdim böylece
Karasineklerin hücumuna uğrayan bir şiir hayal ettim.
Başım döndü.
Sanki yanımdan bir tinerci geçiyordu
Ve kimse dudaklarımı bana uçuklamıyordu. 
Yoktu üstüme yapışmış bir karabasan
İtmek gerekmiyordu, git demek ve terlemek
Kana niye köpürüyorsun diye sormak geçmişti
Eşiğe niye düştüm diye…
Başım döndü
Sanki yanımdan bir balici geçiyordu.
Kanım soğuyarak baktım dünyaya
Pek tanınmayan bir artistin bulamaca fotoğrafı gibi
Kim bu, kim bu
Nereden hatırlıyorum.
Zeyna kraterinden içeri bakan Tekir’e kaptırmıştı
Keyfi yerindeydi.
İtlerden ben korktum
Pisliğimi ben gömdüm.
Bugün sinek avlıyordum.
Yazmak istediklerimin etrafında gezindim.
Bugün hayata bir zararım dokunsun istiyordum.

Dilini şaklatarak mikrofonu test etmeye uğraşan şarkıcıyı 
Çalışkan çocuk diye alkışlayan o kadına da
Bir şiir ithaf etmeye karar verdim.
Ki tırnakları da itfaiyeci kırmızısına boyalıydı. 
Tehlikeyi güzelleştiriyordu.
Su ve toprakla dolu kovalardan oluşan bir alfabesi vardı
O da yazabileceklerini yazdı.
Y A N G I N
G I N A
A N…
N A…
I N G A
Gitgide anlamsızlaşıyor ya da ağlıyordu.
Sınırlı alfabesi için de bit ithafa hakkı vardı.
Kadınlar pek kızgın baktılar ona
Erkekler gözlerini kaçırarak
Bay Keltoş’un gelmesini beklerken
Oturup şiir ithaf edilecekler listesi çıkardık Zeyna’yla 

Didem Madak (1970-2011, İzmir)


پنجره

یک پنجره برای دیدن
یک پنجره برای شنیدن
یک پنجره که مثل حلقهٔ چاهی
در انتهای خود به قلب زمین می‌رسد
و باز می‌شود بسوی وسعت این مهربانی مکرر آبی‌رنگ
یک پنجره که دست‌های کوچک تنهایی را
از بخشش شبانهٔ عطر ستاره‌های کریم
سرشار می‌کند.
و می‌شود از آنجا
خورشید را به غربت گل‌های شمعدانی مهمان کرد
یک پنجره برای من کافیست.
من از دیار عروسک‌ها می‌آیم
از زیر سایه‌های درختان کاغذی
در باغ یک کتاب مصور
از فصل‌های خشک تجربه‌های عقیم دوستی و عشق
در کوچه‌های خاکی معصومیت
از سال‌های رشد حروف پریده‌رنگ الفبا
در پشت میزهای مدرسهٔ مسلول
از لحظه‌ای که بچه‌ها توانستند
بر روی تخته حرف «سنگ» را بنویسند
و سارهای سراسیمه از درخت کهنسال پر زدند.
من از میان ریشه‌های گیاهان گوشتخوار می‌آیم
و مغز من هنوز
لبریز از صدای وحشت پروانه‌ایست که او را
در دفتری به سنجاقی
مصلوب کرده بودند.
وقتی که اعتماد من از ریسمان سست عدالت آویزان بود
و در تمام شهر
قلب چراغ‌های مرا تکه‌تکه می‌کردند.
وقتی که چشم‌های کودکانهٔ عشق مرا
با دستمال تیرهٔ قانون می‌بستند
و از شقیقه‌های مضطرب آرزوی من
فواره‌های خون به بیرون می‌پاشید
وقتی که زندگی من دیگر
چیزی نبود، هیچ چیز بجز تیک‌تاک ساعت دیواری
دریافتم، باید، باید، باید.
یک پنجره برای من کافیست
یک پنجره به لحظهٔ آگاهی و نگاه و سکوت
اکنون نهال گردو
آنقدر قد کشیده که دیوار را برای برگ‌های جوانش
معنی کند
از آینه بپرس
نام نجات‌دهنده‌ات را
آیا زمین که زیر پای تو می‌لرزد
تنهاتر از تو نیست؟
پیغمبران، رسالت ویرانی را
با خود به قرن ما آوردند
این انفجارهای پیاپی،
و ابرهای مسموم،
آیا طنین آیه‌های مقدس هستند؟
ای دوست، ای برادر، ای همخون
وقتی به ماه رسیدی
تاریخ قتل عام گل‌ها را بنویس.
همیشه خواب ها
از ارتفاع ساده‌لوحی خود پرت می‌شوند و می‌میرند
من شبدر چهارپری را می‌بویم
که روی گور مفاهیم کهنه روییده‌ست
آیا زنی که در کفن انتظار و عصمت خود خاک شد جوانی
من بود؟
آیا دوباره من از پله‌های کنجکاوی خود بالا خواهم‌رفت
تا به خدای خوب، که در پشت بام خانه قدم می‌زند سلام
بگویم؟
حس می‌کنم که وقت گذشته‌ست
حس می‌کنم که «لحظه» سهم من از برگ‌های تاریخ‌ست
حس می‌کنم که میز فاصلهٔ کاذبی‌ست در میان گیسوان
من و دست‌های این غریبهٔ غمگین
حرفی به من بزن
آیا کسی که مهربانی یک جسم زنده را به تو می‌بخشد
جز درک حس زنده‌بودن از تو چه می‌خواهد؟
حرفی به من بزن
من در پناه پنجره ام
با آفتاب رابطه دارم
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