I gave them my identity, they gave me khaki clothes. They called me “soldier” like they called the others, told me to be useful to my country, told me to serve. But I can not even help myself. I do not have a face anymore. Does not matter who. My past is nebulous in my memory. Like they have pruned it while they were shaving my hair. I am lost in history just like my feet in the giant boots are. Like they have erased me from my mind. And filled me with straw. I became their servant.
Everytime I ask myself why, I begin to ruminate, and when I do that, I can not come back. The emptiness in my eyes is wider than endless plains. As far as I march, as much as my path gets longer. These strangers that I see everyday have become my family. I have become a man who smiles their faces and has fun with them. Erstwhile, my arms were holding my lover, and now I have a rifle. I lean back to it . Sometimes I even talk with it. Even the idea of seeing a woman makes me feel dizzy, it is such a remote possibility that makes my eyes blear. Really, when was the last time that I cried?
Fortunately there are nights.. If I do not have a shift and I reach to my bed, I sit on top of the world. When I close my eyes under the quilt, there I find home, tropic islands, my lover's breast, my childhood.. Whatever I desire. But who cares about what I desire when I am thankful that there is gravity in this planet? Everything that I used to care seems meaningless anymore. It seems that I had worn myself out for nothing. But here, I do not need to think. Wake up. Get dressed. Order arms. March. Left. Right. Left. Right. Walk. Walk. Run. Stop. Turn right. Turn left. Look forward. Order arms. Aim. Fire. Look how I got used to everything. I; the man who even can not say bo to a goose, who holds pencil, says word; I have become a man who fires, who is speechless.
I calm down when the cold numbs my brain. I do not see when the white blears my eyes. I can stand when I do not see. Is there anything to see anyway? The cold bed skeletons? Gray corridors, dark mornings? Our discoloring faces, cracking hands, collous feet? I wish there were the only parts toughening.
I am like getting collous little by little, from my feet to my chest: with every night shift, every notch on the wall, every order I take; with every single day erased from my past, every emotion cell that I lose.. As the collous layer gets wider, my rank gets higher.
They are talking about discharge. But is it possible to turn back?
Text by Ilgın Deniz Akseoğlu
Book design by Aylin Önel, Istanbul, 2011
128 pages, 11.2cm x 18cm, Offset print