designs and stories

                                        by katie vitale

 
 

We are en route to the city via havoc Havac.  The man at the information desk tries to sell me a taxi to Taxim Square:  “160 L: a special deal” he says… then tries to sell me a shuttle bus “60L a fast ride” he says...  But I know he squeals through his grinding teeth at night.  I pay 9L for a comfortable bus with no stops to Taxim Square.  Well one stop: to let off the unknowing seat drone who just realized their androgynous black bag wasn’t theirs... 


Enter chaos.  Yes every city has people.  Yes thousands of people in every city wander the streets with different motives guiding their feet. But this is no ordinary city. Yes. Yes.yes! i.dont.know.what.to.think. All sense of body is gone-my darting eyes cant take it all in.  Layers upon layers of information. Seems like a visual oxi-moron to see so much at one time.  Feet flying, clarinet calling, tissue selling, monster prowling, flower giving, hat throwing, soccer ball aiming, dog guarding, gun batoning, sweater tailoring, turtle crossing, rebar playing, shoe shining, coffee grind drinking, window polishing, laugh piercing, tram jumping, eastwardly praying, focus finding.. my destination….




Cats prowling the streets-in every corner they can fit.  They are awake.  Moving like small predators capable of death, destruction and possibly eating alive this unknowing loiterer.  I can see it stalk him.  It knows. 


Car parked on the tramlines.  Wait for its driver until we can move again. We get impatient. Our conductor makes sounds by pulling a rope. The bell on this one car train could be from a dollhouse.  Five feet away the sound is muffled by a light breeze.  Gratefully this is comforting to my spared ears, which still suffer trauma from the airplane cabin. Or perhaps the bells silent voice is just clogged in my ears. But anyway, I’ve always had limited hearing after any journey with my head in the clouds.  I am anxious to get on our way so I play small games to distract myself: I fixate on my numbed hearing. I hold my nose and blow as hard as I can.  I can hear big things happening in my head and think it’s helped.  Then as I release everything starts to spin. Dizzy swirled consciousness.  I loose my balance but I’m addicted.  This is now a habit. Standing is difficult and walking is impossible as I turn upside down on the verge of fainting.  This nostalgia for death is comforting. 




Not sure why but there are no trashcans: just some magnetic field which attracts the trash to the ground.  However, the piles of remains tend to build up in certain places.  Flower pots, street signs, the empty cap which lost its head... but somehow the flowerpots are emptied, street signs cleared, whole complexes of temporary memories-vanish.  This all happens right around dusk..when the Turtles come out..  Soft plastic shells strapped to hunched dark cloaks.  With each collection their volume grows exponentially.  But it is all, of course, when you aren’t looking. Their silhouette can only be seen carted down steep slopes or up cobble stone mountains. Their feet must have good traction. These hunched men glide down steep avenues with destinations unknown. 


I meet friends.  I hope they are mine, I crave their spirits.  I proceed with small talk, but luckily we start to eat each other’s words.  Breathing fantasies and shared desires.  They are mine.  And I give myself to them as well. I feel alive with these people.  Like I can say anything do anything be anything and it doesn’t matter.  I feel young, I feel desired.  I am truly happy again for the first time since I can't remember…a feeling that I had completely forgotten, but somehow hadn’t noticed disappear.




We quickly drop off our bags.  I’m in a room with seven girls and one mosque.  An appropriate alarm clock. And leave. Or come.  Just start walking.  We have a general direction with a kinda destination.  But none of it really matters.  We want to get this city inside our bodies.  Digest its meat, spit out the bones and bathe in its energy.  We are up and we go down.  Towards the Golden Horn swarmed by seagulls chanting through watery currents.  There is never a direct path.  Winding and twisting past aggressive cars and tough faces.  We dance through obstacles and frequently loose sight of the bobbing heads of comrades. David offers me his arm.   We become tactile. Now our eyes only need to focus on making sense of the strange logic around us.  We follow masses under the bridge.  Eerie bright green walls showcasing murder weapons and dark faces somehow remind me of a fast food chain.  A toasted M16 hold the ketchup and a side of bullets. Seems natural. 


On the bridge with fishing poles reeling in minnows.  The worms bigger than the catch.  But there is so much desire to gain these monsters from the water I counted at least a million men at guard: trying not to hook each other.




Back on land and not a second of silence.  So much is happening I find it hard to focus.  So I close my eyes-go back to the cabin and the fireplace-and reappear in the world around me.  I am sitting. I am inside the boat dock.  I watch two women.  One is sorting though her change purse and finds some coin seemingly undesirable.  She chucks it towards the water but it doesn’t want to go.  It ricochets off the railing and bounces back inside.  It’s angry and scared and starts rolling in circles.  But this is no ordinary frustrated coin.  It cries for attention: its circles are about half a meter in diameter but it parades itself under the crack in the door-outside on the deck, back inside towards the woman, deck, woman, out and in 5 times.  I need him.  I still don’t understand how he fit under the door, rolling spinning full of life.  But gravity eventually pulls him down.  Turned to stone from the Turtles eyes.  But I’m still silently watching. I wonder if he would keep spinning if I didn’t look.  I realize now my relationship to the city has collapsed and reformed.  Instead of seeing the whole world as an object in my visual perspective, it has re-manifested itself into a single being: has been born again in this small 100 lire cent coin. I pick him up, put him in my pocket and leave.


I find a PVC laminator cart.  He showcases key chains, passports and drivers licenses.  I decide to freeze my coin in this moment.  Take the air away from his small lungs and keep him stuffed in my wallet like an beloved pet.  I hand the PVC man my fraction of a cent and after a few awkward glances and sign language gestures my friend was sealed in plastic. Not sure why but I feel I can rest easy now.




Nighttime calls for drinking and music.  “Sorry kids no live music tonight-wait for the weekend” our not so knowingly hostel concierge tells us.  But we have yet to feel disappointment.  We are on the hunt for the sounds of this city: this country blown, hit and strummed through distant memory held fingers and lips.  It starts to lightly rain but I find I like the glossy look mirrored in the surrounding stone.  However, when it starts to rain a bit harder- enough for collected moisture on my glasses to pixelate the surrounding world-we know its time for our destination to manifest itself.  I spoke too soon.  Dimly lit small café poured traditional Turkish melodies to alternative faces.  We very willingly join their family for drinks.  We are all quite pleased with ourselves for finding this place, even though I realized later it was not our doing.  It was something I felt earlier in the day, something I couldn’t place that night, but I understood upon reflection of our trip.  We had a guide.  An entity placed in the world and only needing someone to stop hearing and just listen.  S.t.o.p.t.h.i.n.k.i.n.g. The rhythm of the world had found a note in us and it echoed through our existence, our experiences.


The music in this fine room was a heavy drug.  Mixed with a few Ephus beers and we were high.  Our nerves vibrated with rhythm.  My hair stood swaying on end with small pulses of blood.  I can feel again.  Something is alive.  Smiles and laughs and spirits flutter around the room until our bodies can’t resist anymore and we try to catch them.  Tables are pushed to the side and the whole room is moving.  Friendly eyes coax us with their hips and shoulders.  One man stands out.  He is not so big not so tall but beautiful dreadlocks held back like tightly knit leggings for a candle.  He pulls me to dance. I graciously let him lead in an attempt for my body to move like his. Your dance is like a wild paradise bird.  Fanning and spreading your wings…you have control over every muscle in your body.  Everyone around is watching and I feel a bit like a child.  I stop caring and just start moving.  Something is growing in this room.  Some mystical laugh, you hear out of the corner of your eye but when you turn your head there is nothing there. But it is there.  It is here now.  We all know it.  This wild call keeps us out until exhaustion causes the ledged to break down.  My cocktail comrade tries to lure me to his apartment but I will not follow.  I have other motives with other bodies.  I leave with my crew.  Ringing in my ears confirms the rush.  Fuzzy all over. My nerves now naked in the cold air. 




We get some food but I can’t eat.  Instead I drink water with a fish in a tank.  I’m not sure why but I’m picturing its heart, its organs, on my fingers, glossy like the streets.  I name it Katie and then I am also in the tank.  Suction bubble breaths and spitting pebbles. 


I am not sure who is the love affair of this story. A brother a sister a lover and a joker. They all took a piece of my heart.  But my dear Alex, you conquered the seas for many nights and I humbly tired to pierce your heart.  It worked for a city for a moment.  A head and a half taller than me I stand on my tippy toes to touch your lips.  Those French eyes and striped shirt. We are an open secret.  We will not be more, but we will also not be less.  Neither triumph nor disappointment.  A known moment for the moment in the moment and not a moment after.  But this city coaxes our desires.


We sit together for dinner the next day.  Agate, David, Franz and I.  Our quest for a hole-in-the-wall proved fatal and we settled on the Turkish eatery close to our hostel.  Somehow appropriate cave setting with the Turtles flying down the hill next to us.  There is a song barely playing on the radio.  So barely is it unidentifiable to everyone at the table-except David.  It’s a curious problem determining the gender. But my mind gets distracted and wanders quickly. I look up to a light switch. It’s in the middle of the wall leading to nowhere; no thinking, just pressing.  At that exact moment our guide touched my hand with want. This switch held our desires and with the flick of the button the music got louder.  It is the song. Our fifth guest was quiet-jumping over closed eyelids until he landed on my fingertip and squished magic into the wall. Trying our luck again we request is turns off.  But our want is too exposed and nothing happens. I wonder what you look like…




I think we’ve known each other for a long time David.  Or at least we were the same person in another life.  I’m sure if I think hard enough I can remember your birthday.  What a day.  Through the Grand Bazaar in a bubble protecting your naked flesh.  I can’t help but feel completed with your company.  Its like your sentence is mine.  This sentence is yours.  I can’t get you out of me.  I meet lots of people now.  Changing seasons and open doors.  But I always spin back to you.  Afraid I put too much into the well.  Change leaking down the walls and overflowing the top. Birds flutter in my rib cage recalling our time together.  Sometimes there are even some bumps in my skin.  Why is this so difficult. Lately I say things I don’t feel.  Fake things to myself and especially others.  Convince my desires with vacant promises of love. But then I drop.  Fall through a broken floorboard and don’t accept the boys hand to help me out.  I will do it on my own.  No more melodies no more birds.  My feet are waterlogged.  We’ve been had. 


We sat on the balcony overlooking the city.  A delirious day slowed by waiting.  Induced sleep.  Quieted the city.  Dear poppies coaxed our bodies under sheets.  But I had another whisper.  This time from the welding spark on a distant rooftop.  We will leap on roofs tonight.  Leave this desperate angst with its hoarding needs.  Out again.  To the water.  1.30 L and we have escaped to a watery raft.  Boat horn sounds departure.  But there are two boats….a tickle on the back of my neck.  A faster heart rate contrived from the unknown destination ahead.  S.t.o.p.t.h.i.n.k.i.n.g. Our feet move and we go right are right for no other reason than just because. 




Under the bridge and the horn blows to the fishermen to reel in their lines.  One is too slow and as we pass through our water tunnel the hook glides past our heads and catches on the back of the boat: violently snapping the line.  Glad my ears are still in tact.  We explore the ship.  Men come around aggressively selling tea and wafers.  Outside chambers silently filled.  Inside chambers brightly lit.  Captain’s quarters with tinted olive glass.  Red velvet and wind sealed.  I want to be a spider and drop from the sky, infest these quarters with my other eight-legged friends. We are cheerfully approaching the bow when our drivers decide its another good time to sound the horn.  Of course I stand right in front of the blaster.  Right ear ready.  Feels like the fishing hook finally got me.  Pierced all the way to my brain and my head attempts to recover with a load buzzing.  I picture a bell in my scull that still vibrates long after the sound is gone.  But you can feel its echo.  I wish the ride would never end.  We arrive in Asia.  Traveled from one continent to another in mere minutes.  We sniff the fishy air but need to get back to Europe.  Other adventures writing blank pages. 


I think my toes are trouble.  They are always hiding something I can tell.  They can easily go unnoticed.  But I have my eye on them now.  Especially that little one.  Hiding underneath the others.  It tells me its cold but I know why it’s really hiding.  Because it knows about the fingers.  The lips.  The thoughts.  It knows all about me…bitter about always being pushed inside socks, tucked away in shoes.  They ripped open the soles of my boots.  First one, then the other.  I tried to tape them shut.  Tried to contain their growing revolution.  Tick talking boots being commanded by the men on the edge of my foot.  The furtherst thing away from my brain, they calculate when I'm not paying attention.  Wonder what would happen if the two ends of my body really did battle one day.  Needing the middle to choose sides. Heart pumping in two directions sending out tiny red warriors with white rescue aids.  




All out to see Berain.  Seductress from the beating floor last night.  Meet at the Joker.  Up the main street, mosque on left, take that street.  Find it.  We conquered all but the last part.  This place is.not.there.  But again, we aren’t worried.  Text our woman and all decide to go somewhere meantime to wait for her responce.  Always scan the rooftops.  Bars live here.  And we hunt one.  Through the door and into the labyrinth of hallways and staircases and doors.  We hike the stairs and choose an entrance slightly rattling from speakers.  Hm, there’s berain. Turns out we happened upon the place we were supposed to supposedly not find. The Joker found us.  Dance the night away again but this time something is different in my motives for kicking feet.  I can smell jealousy with a hint of aggression. David tells me he thinks this city is bringing out a spirit in us.  But it’s the city it’s not us..He is following the blonds with breasts and I loose compassion for everything around me.  I just keep thinking how I need to disturb my environment.  I need to distort it. I need to release this growing anxiety. I move every loose thing I find.  Bottle on beaker, secret code typed into ATM, large concrete rock-where did this come from? from curbside to doorstep.  Found a recently poured foundation with exposed rebar.  I start playing my instrument.  Both hands take hold of the tubed steel, lean back on my weight, and release.  They fly around in circles chiming charming wind and sometimes disorienting themselves into each other. 


Noodles tapping on the window with small flops.  Hardly remember getting up these mornings.  Cold showers and rushing feet.  But sometimes I make it to our continental breakfast.  One cold hardboiled egg, jam, bread, and yesterdays uneaten olives, scraped off the plates and reserved to our delight.


Our tourist day to visit all of the sites with the masses of cows.  But of course it’s worth it.  Agate and I wander through Hagia Sophia, our second wonder on this trip.  Walking by thick columns you can feel the cold radiating off of them.  We fantasize about everyone but us being gone.  All of the chandeliers illuminating the soft glow of candlelight.   Perhaps a costume party.  Or a good ‘ol ghost hunt. I’d like to hear the sound of a load laugh in this grand space.  Scaffolding a mile high supporting the dome.  Picturing the layers of history on, around, and inside this entire building.  Even the stone railing has been heavily worn down by the ever-impressed hand. 




We go to the Blue Mosque.  Beautiful but eerie.  Tourism digging is beak into the tacky carpet.  We can’t stay here too long but my glasses break postponing our exit.. My vision impaired ever since a clumsy thrust and a footprint on my lens last night.  They explode again in the Mosque.  I’m trying to fix them while attempting a pseudo sophisticated discussion through my brain haze.  I’ve been completely gone these past few days.  I’m awake and sleeping through thoughts.  I think its consciousness. I must sound like I’m crazy.  I probably look so as well. Hair cloaked masking dreaded locks and shredding clothes. I work at my lens and somehow pop it back into vulnerability. Agate in arm and we go.  Franz and Alex close behind. But David isn’t here.  We wait for him outside.  Go to all the entrances and get increasingly paranoid.  Fireflies swarming past my head and beetles crawling up my skirt.  One deep breath and I realize we will see him at the Grand Bazaar.  He is probably there with some of the others. This is another magical mystery tour of treasure hunting friends.  And we go and we wander and we play tag running through crowded passageways, and we laugh but we wait.  At least I wait for you.  Sun setting and gates closing.  No you.  T.i.m.e.


We start walking and somehow decide to visit another Mosque.  This time one off the map. We enter cautiously after first being confused for pillaging rapists from the looks we were getting.  But then open doors and smiles from our two guides.  One is being obnoxiously loud in the room while people were praying.  I feel embarrassed for us because of him.  But they seem to be running this deal so we stay quite passive.  We learn, through lots of broken English, that this is the first Mosque in Istanbul.  We hold our breaths, afraid that someone ancient might hear our rebellion.  They dress up Alex.  Full gear and parade him around the room laughing at will.  He brings us to a type of office.  Poorly decorated and badly painted and wants us to sit down. We aren’t so impressed and gesture our eyes towards the door.  He picks us up and moves us out. Persuading us to visit their friends Turkish delight shop.  We are amused that even a Mosque will try to solicit you.  But we follow, awaiting our next grin.  Turns out its actually the best deserts we’ve had our whole time in Turkey, and we are experts by now.  Our guide laughs because he thinks my name is Kitty.  Agate laughs and I laugh at her laughing and we get on a laughing kick even though there is really nothing funny happening.  Our guide looks at his watch and abruptly excuses himself from our company.  We leave a few minutes later and attempt to pay, but he swiped the bill.  Took care of us.  We leave and as soon as we open the door we realize why he left so quickly.  It is exactly 7:02 pm and he is the caller for this Mosque.  We stop in our tracks and are serenaded by his voice 20 meters away.  Our own private performance.  But this is also a special place in the city.  There were at least 4 other callers in the area, echoing each others' spreading vocal chords…along with a policeman chanting something on his loudspeaker to the drunk hanging off a statue. 




We get back to the hostel and find David sitting reading by himself looking quite happy to see us but quite disappointed in his day being lost. The desolation in his eyes remind me of my failing boots. My shoes are really bad by this point.  Really.  I’ve already quickly gone through the small roll of masking tape I found on the ground.  Now it’s serious.  I need duct tape.  David and I go to the store.  On the way he tells me he didn’t mean what he said last night.  About our fantastical relationship only existing because of the location. He talked about how he misplaced the spirit we had during his lone day.  He thinks it’s in me.  But I can’t accept the credit. Our connection is true: we are real to each other again. Even though I missed you last night and today I am happy that you’re back now.  I reach in my pocket and re-find my compassion: in a red satin bag.  The sexy bodies from last night are a footnote.  The stars get a bit brighter.


We head to the super market in search of closure to my feet.  We turn the corner and make one step toward the door when the key locks.  We freeze.  Our bodies and minds needing a split second to figure out how to slip into unconsciousness and squeeze through the door.  But it’s easier to knock.  They unlock the door again and let us in.  I need duct tape but no tape exists here.  Only about five strange turnstiles and lots of diapers suction tubed inside fluorescent lights.  Oh well.  We leave again through the guarded door. I need a lighter.  A few Turkish bodegas in the neighborhood and I approach one.  I buy one lighter and one roll of duct tape. Yes. Of course this small kiosk would carry bondage for my sole.  David taped me up.  I feel more secure.  My sense of smell has improved.


This is a shopping culture.  Every street lined with exploding façades.  Strange beading and bedding shops with pink fluffy boas cushioning love nests.  Headscarves have become quite the fashion accessory.  But I wonder about the age-old question as this Muslim woman reaches for her twinkling phone.. Does the cell phone go under or over the polyester hair guard to reach the inner ear?




Our last night. We decide to eat.  Everyone is going to a crowded fish restaurant but David and I instead wander.  We talk.  Infamous legends we don’t want to let go of.  We buy our favorite Bazooka Vodka.  Last time we indulged we found ourselves next to the Temple of Artemis at midnight, drunk and hiding behind columns so the machine-armed guards wont see us.  I still have the scratches and holes in my stockings from falling into that prickle bush. The one that ate me alive for a few seconds before I was heroically pulled back into pseudo safety.  David and I now find ourselves with plastic cups sitting on milk crates outside a soda and cigarettes shop.  All around us things are happening and somehow this scenery mess starts to feel normal.  I want to freeze time.  I want to find that spot on your schoulder.  But we’re late.  Time again to move, to meet the others.


Butterflies in my stomach.  Poor thing.  So much weight we give to our gut.  It has a lot of burden on its quivering shoulders.  Has to deal with all of the struggle from the mind.  This time I blame you liver.  You are harboring the frustration today.  Hope you can handle the job. Ill send some alcohol to kick you in shape, get you ready for the big game.


We start to drink heavily.  We start to dance heavily.  We wander these streets like they own us. Hopping roof bars and dancing in dark corners of the universe.  We move as a pack.  I somehow snuck in the whole bottle of Bazooka and it sunk into us. But our pack starts dropping.  David is sick. Agate is tired by 3 am and they need to leave. We will awaken them when we get back.  It’s raining again.  Cold rain but the alcohol is our jacket.  I pull Alex into corners and behind billboards to have my way with his lips.  We can’t hide our smiles inside our mouths.  This night is still young.  We arrive back at the hostel.  Sun peaking out of the nostril of the city.  Giggles and we move to David’s room to awaken his elbows.  I get some rain protection. Alex and I move to the fire escape.  I don’t know what came over me then.  But I think it was the sneaky spirits fault.  This time he was hiding in my umbrella.  Telling me things in this isolated sound booth. I jumped off the fire escape…onto the roof of the neighboring mosque.




My feet carried me then.  Over the dome around the minaret, jumping to the small edge of a neighboring building.  Alex was behind the whole time.  Playing mother but seduced by comrade.  We kiss in the hard rain.  We crouch in the edge of the building using our umbrella isolation to failingly repel the diagonal rain.  We are completely soaked and get as close to each other as possible to retain heat.  I don’t want them to leave.  I can’t bear it.  But luckily I’m too exhausted, too intoxicated, too cold, and too exhilarated to let my mind wander too much into tomorrow, or rather this morning… somehow David and Alex change places.  Now I’m here with you.  And you are dry and I can hear you breathing against the softer rain.   I close my eyes to let me remember your scent.  I am much calmer now and think I could sleep on a bed of rocks with a blanket of nails and be happy as long as you will all be there when I wake up. 


And I do wake up.  In a hurried frenzy because everyone is packing to leave.  I vaguely remember a finally hot shower and the allure of 3 story high bunk bed.  But this wasn’t how it was supposed to be.  I wasn’t supposed to sleep this morning.  I am a bullet to get dressed and am almost done when David enters.  He said I was gone in a world far away and they were unable to tear me away from my pillow.  How they went to the Grand Bazaar one last time but found it closed on a Sunday.  Strange eerie emptiness.  Life packed up and locked away.  Dead streets with mere glimpses into windows on second stories showcasing naked manikins.


I miss you David. Last night I was quite tempted to write you “the infamous one liner” but I stopped my impulse in its steps.  None of these others can compare.  I’m looking for you in laughs and small talk; all the wrong places because you aren’t t.h.e.r.e.  Hard to get over something that hardly existed but had enough time to become permanently part of you, of me.  Wonder if it’s better or worse to keep you in my head, in my heart.  80s hair and electric flute pumping through electrical sockets.   There will be a time and place.




They leave.  This is actual.  My eyes start leaking.  Body numbed, I get some squeezed juice and sit in the sun.  No conception of time or thinking.  I’m trying to reprogram my body and mind.  Store my love and not let it weigh me down these next few days I have alone.  Try to recognize every sound around me, and think about it all as a composition.  I go back to the hostel and they need me to change rooms. They put me in the boy’s old room.  Quickly converted for the next dream jumper.  I take your bed David.  I am comforted that I found you again.  Staring at the small twig holding the cosmos of the universe.  I put it in the remains of one of the tea glasses you bought last night for our liquid endeavors.  But only one is here.  The other is lost somewhere in the city.  Gone.  I am kicking myself for comparing my desperation to this lone glass.  I have no reason to be sad. This has been too amazing and I should keep my head high.  Get outside in the sun.  Sketchbook and pen is all I need today. 


Even the duct tape no longer contains my shoes.  They just squeak and flap and draw attention from eyes all around me.  I can’t go on like this.  I wander through shoe shop after shoe shop.  They are all ugly and overpriced.  I finally find a pair I like and am willing to be ripped off in the process.  Ask for my size and all I get is a blank paused stare.  They don’t make woman’s shoes in 40.  Ok my feet are rather large but come on…I’ve never had a problem getting shoes before.  In fact I’m usually quite lucky because the best styles haven’t already been eaten up by the 37 cm.  I don’t care anymore, I look at men’s shoes and they look at my failed shoes and at me in the men’s department and I can feel their strange eyes all over me.  I find one barely appetizing.  But decide one last peek at the spiral staircase with random boxes.  Follow them up the stairs and there in the graveyard piles of shoes I find some in my size. They aren’t liars, just impotent at their jobs. There are 2 pairs of acceptable sandals.  They are both actually a tiny bit big but I know my feet will hate me for the premeditated blisters.  But they deserve some punishment for destroying my last pair anyway.  So I get them. And liberatingly throw out my boots in the trashcan.  I watched them make a thud in the bottom.


And keep walking.  Down past the fishing boat equipment shops and not a woman in sight.  I am not afraid or shy.  I stop when I want I go in where I want I stare where I want I talk when I want.  Liberation.  I am watching quite an interesting show.  Never really thought about how you make a loop on a 5 cm thick twisted steel wire rope.  But I can see the man at it now.  He has a rod that fits between the weaves and weaved again strands.  He then takes the end of one of the 1cm threads and turns the rod, allowing a gap for the strand to pass into.  He turns the rod again and repeats this process until the end of the rope is tightly bound and thickens.




Waiting for another ferry.  This time up the Golden Horn to the last stop.  A continental breakfast dine-er told me to check out.  A cemetery.  I wait and watched the hurried travelers going through turnstiles. They all have a small button key that allows them entry.  There is a constant noise from their pass that consists of transforming beat beeps.  Strange alien sounds.  I am afraid to close my eyes and wake up in outer space.  Drying eyes without blinks. 


I get off the ferry.  Tinted world through my sunglasses.  I meet the Berliners staying in my hostel rushing to jump on the ferry I just got off of.  Its impossible not to meet people multiple times on opposite ends of this city.  Circuit board slides.  I see the looming cemetery taking up the northeast-facing mountain.  A funicular leading to the top. Here is me and there is my destination.   Too easy.  I start walking on streets away from the attraction towards the adventure.  Buy some hand knit booties for nothing. A bit quieter than the rest of Istanbul but feels like there's life living happening.  I see a shoe shiner and decide to get my new leather sandals polished.  The man gets a grin on his face with my atypical request.  He gives me plastic sandals to wear waiting meantime.  There are other shopkeepers on the doors of their footsteps.  They smile with me and a little boy whispers secrets and an older brother teases this boy about his obvious curiosity crush on me.  Another shope keeper comes round with tea.  Hands one first to me then to all the others in the area and I sink in happiness.  Toes polished and the man did a great job.  I am all sorts of spruced up now and I hand back the glass, say my thank you's, gesture smiles towards the others and keep on no route.  I start walking up a gradual incline; I recognize I am slowly climbing the other side of the cemetery mountain.  Street façades covered in cable dishes.  My neck always rotating my head.  I see there is a beautiful grass patch on a steeper part of the hill with wild chickens.  I turn right and hike up the stairs to explore.  There is a small temporarily unused playground with its own funicular climbing up the landscape.  The only differences between the two sides of the mountain are the scale of things.  This funicular was ad-hoc, made from a basket and string running from an open window to the top of the slide.  I’m not alone for long.  Two small boys run up to my assistance.  They want to bring me to the top.  I willingly follow them engaging in very small talk with small feet on tiny dirt paths climbing through the trees.  But their English is better than some of the other adults I’ve talked to.  I’m quite impressed with them and this wonderful journey they are leading me on.  We arrive euphorically at the top.  Small streets with bright doors and lots of laundry. Cascading landscapes with more cable dishes growing like mold over buildings.  We walk a bit more and we are again with tourists.  On a mountain ledge overlooking crazy land.  I’m happy I bought that candy earlier.  The boys hands grew to contain their treats.  Bright eyes and we go our separate ways. 


I am alone on a boat to the black sea.  Not quite sure how I got here.  Something about a Pegasus Airline Steward and his last flight.  First bus ride to return his uniform.  He quit the high life and starts an office job next week.  Anxious about the 9-5.  Confused about staying in one location.  But will finally be relieved-hopefully- of reoccurring nightmares about missing flights.  Found a few extra minutes before the boat ride starts.  I have big eyes continuously reregistering information.  There is a rocking boat with a fishy fry business.  The cooks’ legs are like some strange accordion, changing height and knee angle according to the ever shifting and 3 dimensionally morphing boat.  One cook is on his lunch break.  He makes eye contact with me.  Motions to the sandwich he’s eating.  I politely shake my head in a “no thanks”.  But then I remember there’s no way I am allowed to miss any opportunity.  So he asks again and I nod ok.  He hops up.  Throws a hot fishcake off the grill and on a bun decorated it with onions and strategically times his jump off the boat and onto a still surface.  I go greet him through the iron gate.  He hands me the sandwich, rejects my money and goes back starboard side.  I resume my post on my boat and we dine together across the rocking water.  It’s a for serious half fish with just onion but I realize I’m hungry so it’s enjoyable.  This is a quite pleasant feeling.  Like I conquered something.  Like the realization that I can move through air.  I am aware I can manipulate my life.  I can change.  My habits are a state of mind.  Then the fish starts talking to me and I can’t eat him anymore.


 

It started with a flirt.  A call.  A desire.  My life to date was proved more exciting on paper than the reality of my growling loneliness.  I moved away from it all.  The comfort, the routine, the warmth of your shoulder.  This place is cold. Dark.  Only the soft murmur of bubbling water and radiators talk to me in my sleep.  Sure I met you and you, but never felt like we. Empty color.

I step off the plane in Istanbul.  Turkish voices talking in my direction.  I am a foreigner in a city that takes me for their own.  My Italian and Lebanese roots breeding Turkish Delight.  I test my luck.  Passport control and the line for tourists seem too long to bear.  However, the Turks flood through an open gate guarded by a twenty something boy asking only a glance for entrance into his land.  I follow the natives and try to put on a natural face.

Something I wished I had tried in a mirror, but then decided it didn’t matter.  Just simplify thinking:::I am in a cabin in the woods…listening to the sound of a cracking fire…wonder about that small gap between the fire and the wood…diiissstrrrrracccccttttiiiiion. When I snapped back into consciousness I was already at the exit.  I decided this trance could be home.  I have a few hours before others arrive.  To the streets.  My eyes can’t take the sun.  Short breaths of light.  Berlin has made an owl out of me.  Hunting in the dark. I don’t know what to expect.