Deniz From Istanbul

I am curious
to talk to Deniz
a puppeteer from Istanbul
I will show him
a Beijing Opera
court lady and general
Deniz acts and plays
gölge kuklası
he travels with a luggage
full of shadows of leather

Ara Güler is dead
a day after we're back
he was the eye of istanbul
I don't know how to react
except I know
he never got to see
the postcards I left him
Ara could have loved
Yau Leung's photographs
both were pursuing, collecting
the 60s and 70s era
pictorial to social documentary
Frank, Evans, Parks and Dorothea
Cartier-Bresson and Riboud
Ara was part of
the best Magnum years
Yau could have loved
Ara Güler's work
and could have featured them
as a colleague
as a photo publisher
he died nineteen years ago

Maybe we can show Deniz
Mak the rod puppet master
a fervent troupe leader
a life-long performer
when gong and drum
beat mercilessly
loud at their peak
kings and demons
ministers and warriors
enter stage, exit stage
battle scenes so exquisite

Glove, strings, rod and shadow
from north, central, south of China
we would follow Mak
chasing puppets and puppeteers
it's popular entertainment
for gods and civilians
in Toronto
we follow Ronnie Burkett
the magical one-man theatre
he made and gave
his forty-some puppets
each perfect
tailored-made
shoes in leather

Deniz Karalar
we gave him
postcards of the bygone years
he gave us a puppet character
made with thick camel skin
it took him
a hundred and sixty-eight hours
this Albanian man
wears aladdin shoes
strapped to the waist he holds a dagger
blackest of the blacks
man from the sea
that's you Deniz Karalar
you make children happy
from a YouTube video
I see and hear them
roar
with laughter

Published on Nov 12, 2018