July 18, 2024
Aya Sofya, 6th century

I am made of raw edges
in this city of
bedlam, and chaos,
havoc and wonder,
a place of incomparable power
that once was Byzantium,
then Constantinople,
now Istanbul, a city
I have dreamed so many times.

I am here to see a dervish,
whirling in the ecstatic trance
that leads to Allah,
and to sip rich, ochre colored
tea from apples. To skitter
through bazaars
so full of color that my
eyes must strain to see.

To walk where Takas nose
the docks beneath the bridge
that spans the Bosphorous,
famed waterway, seething
between two cultures,
Europe and Asia, west and east,
a modern world
and one so ancient
that old bearded men in robes
still occupy their days
on public benches,
writing letters for others
with fountain pens,
for pay.

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