Paul-Newell Reaves’
ATLAS: vol. 2 Istanbul, TK

 

 

Koch University
Vowel Harmony
Snowy Busride
Whirling Dervish Girl-Walking
Big Dog
Neverfound Alley
Lesson Learned in Kurdish Eyes of Stone
Kabalchi Bookstore
unlucky Cat’s Lucky Day
Rug Buying at Mavlana, the full treatment

 

 

Sea is easiest to find when invisible.  When mist obscures all, the heaviest fog wells over the sea; so anywhere with shore, densest cloud always points to sea.

The gray-red stone steps of the Law School building have quite a view.  Near hills green with trees; far hills black and gray; and then, massive space, empty of all but cloud and sea.

 

 

In Turkish is the concept of vowel harmony.  Yippee!  Let me see if I might convey anyway what this mean beams to me abstractly.  Longaway faraway.  Hey!  Not to be, not to be…. Not Too Be)8′,< boohooyoudude’et’Et’ette’ettes:

 

 

Today, the Beshictash-Tashir dolmuch bus is the bigger one.  Still not much more than a van, it has stability on the road melt.

The Istanbulees are cold and show it hard; but the silence for the first few stops is neither.  By the time we reach downtown sky scrapings, strangers who sat down separately engage in conversations like ancient friends.  Turks are trusting with their money, and pass it hand to hand, up to the driver, who reminds, but does not worry.

As the Bosporus draws into view, a quiet mounts the passengers.  Big boats, medium-sized boats, no giant boats, few dinghies; a church, a clam-shell-pink building with columns.  Sariyer’s main street thrives but does not bustle.  Baldunyasi in Turkish means honey-world.

 

 

The security guards won’t let you walk this way down to the sea walk, so you stay in a scarce green park for now.  You pace around and through, and see two girls, one tall, slightly buxom with those sleepy Middle-Eastern brown eyes.

You pass them by slowly and continue on to make friends with a homeless and Kurdish woman who encourages you to sit on a plastic bag, so as not to wet yourself in the damp.  Though all you want is to be alone and sit in silence, you let her make eye contact with you, because you know she will value it.  She draws on depths of memory to find words in English even she didn’t know she knew.  But, you’ve had enough of this scene and, as you head toward the sea, you are lucky enough to pass those girls again.

Your wander is aimless and forgetful, but within twenty minutes, those same girls pass by again.  You smile big and circle one finger in the air, “whirling dervish walking, eh?”  They are headed for the sea, so you let the small one see which way you’re heading and start to hurry.  As soon as their backs are turned, you slow to a crawl.  They now expect to see you around the next block, and when they do not, will become intrigued and start looking for you.

You stop in a cafe or two, and when enough time has passed, head for the sea walk.  You find an inlet cafe to wait.  And it takes forever, lucky that food warmer casts plenty of heat.  Finally, they pass, from the direction they would have originally, had you rushed to meet them.  Perhaps they passed up into the neighborhood, perhaps passing those very cafes you had just frequented.

You exhale a long sensuous breath they can feel on their faces.

They’ll be back, maybe in an hour, maybe tonight.  May as well wait.  On and on.  Suddenly, trouble rears it’s gorgeous head; look at her.  This changes the game, for this is no girl, yet a woman.  She catches the movement of your head and her long, trim legs slow.  Glad you dressed so snappily in the maroon sweater with tips of dark blue shirt collar sticking out laterally.  She pauses just beyond the cafe inlet, but you both can see one another through the glass of the food warmer.  You crane your neck to catch her attention.  After a moment of consideration, she drops her arms to sway by her sides and walks back past the cafe inlet.

You silently catch your breath and instantaneously decide to play your favorite shy game.  So you avoid eye contact staring at the floor, until she is half way past, then pick up your head to stare avidly, ferociously, longing.  Oh, how cute, she looks terribly hurt, you not looking at her for so long.  She is astonishing, she must be used to all the looks.  That locks it, with the beautiful ones, to give them something new.

 

 

He’s― definitely a Man― big, gnarly, dirty shades of gray.  Goain thut wuy, doag?

 

 

Down a recently lost, never found alleyway, a circular, rainbow sign faces a big street.  One way dead ends, looking lived in; other only appears dead inside.  Empty.  This big street has no personal spaces, cause strangers like you, they walk past you close.  Head down.

The lost way at the end features intimidating, black, iron in an open cube.  Get out the rain, write here.  A man in black and blue, bareheaded, emerges with a thunk… bang.  Proffering french cigarettes to him, he spends five minutes of his day chatting with a stranger lurking in his shady alleyway.  Thrilled, I stumble back to the big street.

Hold on, hold on, NO.  That’s the instantly recognizable American landmark I’d never patronize, yet had memorized temporarily?  I thought I was blocks away, I was lost.  While all the while completely found!

 

 

Kind shivers: statue: (reading; texts): ―>? <― ? <― ―> ?; injustice (; ?) what (no be) the true reading of inequality (: ?); knowing bea (no verb) = verbiage (“=” ? ; “;” ?)! : : : Kurd the boys salute: sublingual communication (;) close in statue’ eyes, small bowl: peering, hard: disappointment: trying harder: disappointment: START: (reading): COLDSHIVERsshivershivers (then?)::;

seeing in stone eyes, requiring reflections of self. (.) (.) Huh?―

 

 

Lost in Beshictash, I stumble upon an expansive bookstore.  What will I find inside?  I may only wonder.

On the ground floor of Kabalchi, crowded with DVDs, spiral notebooks, toy pens look like giant feather quills.

Up one floor, the space opens to high bookshelves along the walls, shoulder height  in the middle, the light softer.  Tom Sawyer in Turkish in the children’s section, Robinson Crusoe.  Paul Klee in the art section, sits sideways on the shelf, not only the binding showing, but the whole cover.  A coffee-shop sips away in one corner.

The third floor, even roomier, has fewer customers.  A long, though low, bookcase―filled with English has a full quarter of its shelves great Western Classics.  Shakespeare has a full shelf, and another half which it shares with Milton.  Proust― early translation Remembrance of Things Past― sits sideways, full cover on display.  But poetry has but most of one meager shelf, Tennyson, Wordsworth, other dead, white men.

On the tip of this line of cases, a thin case with five shelves features contemporary Turkish authors in translation.  I buy Agaoglu, Oktay Rifat, and Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak.  The clerk who speaks any English also recommends Yasar Kemal and Nshsakligil, but these 19th century authors this store does not stock.

Dare you discover the an-toilet at this fistful of bookstore?

 

 

“Pssst.”  Girl looks up with glint, but I don’t glint.  cat has long hair, all black, not too dirty― must be young.  “Tsssst.  Tsssst.  Sshhhh.”

cat looks up.  Fear, unknown, expectation of hate scent.

“Ssssssst,” soft.  Eyes dilate, surprise.  I snap my fingers, kindly.  cat slinks away, happy.  I imperatively snap, cat hides in run.

I toss a few precious gifts.

I cannot see, but it scents an unknown emotion: kinshipping.  cat streaks cautiously around view.  It sniffs my gifts, so its excitement has not till close.

Scent is emotion in cats.  It is repulsed by my precious gifts― salty, vinegery.  But could not run away if broomsticked.  I stare at her slow submission to unbearable joy.  unlucky, Cat.  Whut dou u nauw pouzess, ah?

 

 

Mevlana shop sells many things, jewels, furniture, knick-knacks, carpets.

Hospitality: sit down, what would you like to drink?

May I smoke a cigar?―

We’ll get you an ash tray.

Once I am comfortable with my coffee they begin to display rugs upon rugs upon rugs.  The first they let fall to the floor, holding the ends to display the colors.  The second they unfurl with more flair: a swift reveling and a flourishing twist to land the rug on the floor with perfection.

I do not know it yet, but this is the kernel for me― I mean rug.

Burgundy rugs, some with yellow, some with blue, one very old pink rug-― more than eight!

The more rugs they unfold, the more I like the new ones better.  Eventually, they tell me to see them from the other side of the light.  On the far side of the room, I realize my favorite rugs are those on the the now far side.

I tell them which I want, and they offer me another Turkish coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

more ATLAS

 

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