“travel blog”?

I am in Istanbul. I have been here for two weeks (tomorrow). A lot of things have happened. I will make a list, and hopefully make more posts like this one in the future.

1. I flew here from Chicago (to Amsterdam, to Paris, to Istanbul). 

2. I got to my three-bedroom apartment-style dorm room with my two roommates.

3. We walked around Ortaköy (where we are staying) a lot.

4. We went on some excursions with our professor and learned about Greek antiquity.

5. I got blackout drunk on the second Thursday night (during first week) and stuff happened with my roommates?

6. We went to Gallipoli, Çanakkale, Troy, Assos, and Alexandria-Troa over the first weekend. My roommate refused to sleep in the same hotel room as me. I cried a lot and feared being kicked out.

7. Lots of crying.

8. We got back to Ortaköy and I stayed in a double for one night. I was then, after a LOT of drama, moved to a single.

9. I went out after class today to buy some groceries and take some pictures. It went swimmingly.

10. I bought my plane tickets and booked my hostel stay for my trip to Athens May 10-19.

11. I took a lot of pictures of myself on Photo Booth.

12. I wrote this post.


More to come???

a poem I wrote in high school

A room full of olive-skinned, olive-eyed

objects, women bowing to a wall of mirrors beyond which bow their husbands

I am seven, picking toenail polish in the corner

pulling up threads of carpet, one for each of the bruises that kept you home today

I am angry that you got to stay behind

angry at the woman breastfeeding nearby, her paisley hijab stained with baby spit and tears

I scan the floor for loose change since Baba could not open his fist

but these women have nothing, they’ve dropped nothing

A man warbles prayer from a speaker in the ceiling and I stand,

look for myself n the mirror, join the tired salute to Mecca

waiting to get home and sit while Baba makes me count bismillah, sacred math

thirty four ‘Allahu akbar’

my quivering voice barely audible against the sound of Allah willing a man to

drag you, eight months pregnant, down the hallway by your hair

thirty three ‘al-hamdu lilah’

my little sister helpless in the womb of a rag doll

each blow to the back adding a curl to her unborn head

thirty three ‘subhan Allah’

I remember you spent one morning fixing your hijab with pins and brooches

to hide the brace around your neck


A poem dug from the ashes of old passion

The sound of wind hissing through wire mesh, straining to bring to your ear

“maybe you should step outside”

it has only recently been warm enough but I am colder than ever

all the dead cells I’ve shed into your carpet beg to be swept up and given proper burial

but they are forgotten and they rest among yours, ours, theirs, strangers’

Every so often perhaps an ant mistakes my little deaths for something of worth and

lugs them away to a secret hideout: one to which I’ve never been,

one to which I’ll never be

a perfect little ant city nestled in your floor, in your walls, and

the rent must be high but I’d pay it

if only to hear the sound of your toes cracking as your feet hit the floor in the morning

Pulling down

The cage with the finches would have grazed our heads, had we been taller. The scientist — I think she must be a scientist — claps both hands in the air in slow motion, slow enough to wrap around the heaving breast of a sad-looking fledgling, half-bald and shivering. Even now it pecks relentlessly at itself, removing feathers with its beak.

I reach a rubbery hand under my hair net, feeling the cold nothing where my hair once was and sliding up to where it is, still. The snapping and buzzing of wings drum around us, full-feathered and warning us that they’d be better off alone. Their down falls in soft circles like cottonwood fuzz, hovering in whirlpools above the shit-speckled floor.

The sad bird writhes in the scientist’s hands, turning its neck impossibly to reach the petals budding on its back. When my attention whirls around and lands back on my head, I realize my own feathers have been joining the flurried mix that chokes the cage. The scientist doesn’t seem to notice; she is wrapping a small white ring around her captive’s ashen ankle.

I run a gloved finger over my naked scalp and pull my hand away, muttering something about being very excited to work with the finches. I know I will not get the job, that I will leave the cage and take off these gloves and never return. I will go home to my own cotton- and newspaper- and shit-lined cube among cubes and stretch impossibly to reach what I cannot. And the fledgling shaking in the scientist’s hands will die before it has completely undressed itself, but I will not.

To be Medusa’s neighbor

A karma moving so fast it swings around and misses, hurtles toward

the next available victim who’s done something or other to deserve it

I guess

happy it’s not me, glancing guardedly through peripherals

afraid to look my Medusa in the eye, mixing metaphors and

hoping you still understand: I never meant to deserve this

but I do

and the shadows of her snakes dance on the ground under my eyes

your skin turns gray, toes to forehead crumbling and cracking

loose chalk dust floating to your shoulders

while I’m busy peering over mine

For fear of growing old

I try to find them every day, soft skin on silver glass

microscopic workers already rigging scaffolding to prepare for deconstruction

to jackhammer deep trenches in my eye-corners

spill hot tar in my pores

cinch the supple skin from nose to lip, make me a ventriloquist’s wrinkled pawn

to draw congested highways in blue

covering my legs in a map of somewhere I never planned to visit

let alone be stranded in