Old poet at the Writers’ Union, Sultanahmet – July 2004——Juanita from Spain told me of this place which had fallen out of a Somerset Maugham story. Sitting there at a wicker table was this fine gentleman, shrunk in his tropical white suit. He opened a battered valise and showed me years of faded clippings about himself, a Turkish poet of note. I think of him often. I wish I had put his name on the drawing.
Kader Çetin, the girl with the amazing face – Tawny hair & no idea how unusually beautiful she is – Standing up drawing in the friendly jostling crowd – Everyone admiring and the music just jubilant – Guys in the trees watching a concert in front of Ayasofya——Those were the days!
IS THIS YOU?
This portrait was loose among the sketchbooks. I don’t know who he is but I really like his face. If this is you, please let me know so I can put your name on it.
OFFICER ISMAIL & ATATURK
Ismail Ovence – A trip to the airport to renew my visa – Alas they could not do it – Bleak days drawing in my lonely aerie – but I have my Ygor!
BUS TO SOFIA
Millions of sunflowers! Overnight Visa Renewal Blitz to BULGARIA – Nice country! – This dark-walled city is familiar to me like so much of Europe – past life or a collective American war memory – Where have I been? Los Angeles, USA Southwest & Northwest, South, East, Mexico, Hawaii, France, Spain, Germany, England, Turkey, Finland, Greece- Now Bulgaria –
Lots of tumbledown tile roofs here just inside the border, and foul old Eastern Blok housing – Passed a yard with a house so old, saw two little girls from 200 years ago playing in the yard when the house was new – “I am Greek from Athens – I live here 22 years” -At first just a round bulge of trees, then resolved into a grove, and a house in there! – Foaming oceans of Queen Anne’s Lace – Stork! Storks’ nest! Amazingly, this is a theme -Church shape – To take commissions – compromising the integrity of the project and having to rip pages out of the books—–This last written on a glued-in repair.
God, I’m so broke– but scared up a commission so I could go renew my visa…Now the bus to Bularia has broken down and I languish in the sun and body odor in Nowhereville, Turkey – Enough abuse! – There are millions of sunflowers out here – Bulgaria – Turkey We have been at the border for about 2 hours. Maybe 3. Waiting at the last stop with opened suitcases (sigh.) But bad scene is over for me. – Wandering around Sofia – A horrifying logo on the side of a bus But why? Church – spider – AHA! It’s about silk: spiders spin… On the bus – smorgasbord of hair & covered. Some bright magenta hair and the aged platinum classic above! – Spent last night at a tiny old hotel right out of the ’30s, and old then!
ALPHABET ART LESSON
The ruin opposite Çetinkaya (Great Palace) An art lesson: woman & her little girl staying at Kybele – they were going around the world by alphabet.
“I” meant “Iceland,” or “Istanbul.” They were getting over a really terrible loss, a divorce or death, and this was how they were doing it. They’d been to Athens, Boston, Calais…
ŞEFIKA MAKING BREAD
Şefika from Turkmenistan. Her hands were a blur. At my friend Burak’s family restaurant on the Hippodrome.