THE WOMAN IN THE PARK
They are standing close to each other in the dark,
near to where the old fashioned roses are, and dusk
is beginning to settle over their relationship.
Someone, perhaps it was the gardener,
has gone over the grass with a scythe and the scent
of fresh cut grass hangs in the air, the grass
slowly going yellow. She is wildly wiping
the tears from her eyes, holding, in one hand, something
gone limp. Of course what she is holding is some part of herself –
some part of how she sees herself. His hands
are in his pockets, he paces back and forth,
moving between her and the other woman waiting, breathless,
on the verandah. The more she reaches for him, the more self
assured he becomes. I want to reach over and whisper
to this woman: Let him go! Let him go! You cannot force
a body to stay. I want to tell this woman, and the woman
in the hazy distance, both women that I have been,
that in the meantime life goes on. In the meantime
the clean blue air forces itself under the door at dusk
and crawls up and over the window at dawn.
Birds are, again, heading south, and the apple tree, in the orchard,
has showered white blossoms, which will harden
and darken into fruit. Was it only last night that I watched,
amazed, as my two black cats, began, again, to sniff
each other? I want to tell this woman, now alone, head bent,
that the heart that is broken can be mended:
when it heals, it yields a field of purple-blue flowers.
HASAN TALKING TO HIMSELF
You think only of your cock.
Your father is sick at home; your mother is worried.
And again you are out with the American.
At least this room is better than the others.
This girl, the one naked on the bed, the one who looks
like some lush exotic flower on the crumpled white sheets,
she asks too many questions.
Your cock cannot stand the questions.
You are sorry you told her you are a Kurd.
Now she wants to know what it all means, being Kurdish.
Not even you have an answer to this question.
You tell her time and time again: you were born in Istanbul,
first and foremost you are a Turk.
Still her many questions.
She wants to know if she can meet your parents?
She wants to know if you can marry her?
She collapses into tears when you answer truthfully.
There is still so much she does not know –
This girl who took herself half way across the world –
even as she knows war is trembling in the not-too-distant future.
This time, really, you are done.
Until the next time, she says from the bed, until the next time.
SNAPSHOTS FROM ISTANBUL
There are, of course, veiled women here,
but not as many as I thought,
and they are not the only ones.
The place is bigger than I thought,
packed more tightly than I thought,
much bigger, I think, than Manhattan.
Mornings I wake to the call of prayer,
women shaking out dust cloths from windows,
busying for the day.
Taksim Square is just like the Village
in New York; same stores, same music,
people, like ants, always about.
Yellow taksis are everywhere,
will take you anywhere, and like taksi drivers
everywhere: they overcharge.
Large open-air markets called bazaars,
fruits fresh, fish and vegetables:
All one could want.
And the same woman walking
behind the same man,
asking the same idiotic questions.