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Book 23: Ch Ch CHANGES


-Boukoleon from across the highway – 2008—–Several times, the government has announced a grand cleanup of the Boukoleon..

All they need do is pick up the trash, post a guard and light it at night. And they’ll do more, which will change it forever, and I’ll still have my drawings. And so will you.


-Storm over Marmara—–Drawn on the fly from my bedroom window. That’s a wave crashing all the way up above the highway, and the Boukoleon Palace Ruin.


-Asleep in the grass: so soundly that he didn’t move much even though I worked next to him for 4 hours, drawing the Sergius & Bacchus WC.


-Sergius & Bacchus WC on a mild May day – [6th-century Greek writing on posts] – Happy drawing with laughter all around—–This blackened alcove is the top of a portal that once rose imposingly at the edge of the Marmara Sea. 1500 years later, the harbor has been filled in, and the area is a park. The portal now leads to nowhere, as the Orient Express Railway demolished all but this scrim. Trash fills the declivity, and someone had spray-painted “WC” on the lintel.

This led to the chapel of Ss Sergius & Bacchus, built by Justinian in 519, before his rise to power. Suspected of sedition, he had been sentenced to death. That night the Emperor had a dream in which Sergius & Bacchus, patron saints of soldiers and gay marriage, proclaimed Justinian’s innocence, and he was pardoned. In gratitude, he built this chapel to the saints next to the 4th-century monastery. Later in 527, as Emperor, he built the Church of Ss Sergius & Bacchus, now Küçük Ayasofya Mosque. The foundation of the monastery is thought to be under the Medrese at the mosque, just across the railroad.

The Sergius & Bacchus WC in situ
Top of the old portal


-1st Lt Seann Kim – 1-2 Infantry – 172nd Bridge—–I met Lieutenant Kim at the US Consulate Passport Division. His had been stolen on leave, and mine was being renewed. He was on his second tour in Iraq.


-Historical Museum in the House of Dimitar Georgiadi, Plovdiv Old Town – [Cyrillic writing] – Fierce young men with moustaches & cold steel  – “haidouks” from the Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) – Rifle lovingly inlaid with turquoise beads & mother-of-pearl & silver – fawn felt & an orange & yellow sash – ivory sword hilt w/stones coarsely inlaid in silver – Heavily ornamented thick felt – no buttons: handmade frogs & braid, leather shoes & belts – A red sash & a beautiful gun—–Freezing in Plovdiv on a visa run: I trudged up the hill with my breath fogging the way to pound on the door of the tall fabulous old wooden house that houses the museum. A group of women were cosily ensconced in a back room with a space heater, drinking coffee. They showed me upstairs to this wonderful exhibit, and I drew it for my brother, a military historian.



-Ah, Plovdiv, with its glorious whole trees – Cold day in Plovdiv with Marilyn – 12 Feb 2009—–One thing about being from Los Angeles: you’re never far from home. All this Bulgarian cigarette company did was change the spelling of “Marilyn” to “Merilyn” and use her face. This was drawn out the window of my favorite cafe, several happy hours drawing every brick and twig.


-Dusty crystal, dark & cold, with halos – But worth the sit—–Back in Plovdiv again for my visa renewal. All over the town are those fabulous Byzantine-type churches, held intact all those years behind the Iron Curtain, now full of people every Sunday. It’s so interesting to me to see Christian Orthodox churches that are still churches, after all these years in Istanbul where they’ve mostly been converted to mosques, or desanctified into museums.

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