Off-Season (Flash 55)



Istanbul in our twenties, blonde
in the Blue Mosque, toes squishing
into piles of carpet smelling faintly
of toes faced
with overarching tiles, mosaics synced
in their mismatch, sprigs,
prayers, paisleys, but no eyes
except of the men
who watched us in and out
fighting about who would sell us
what we would not buy.

A belated 55 for Mama Zen and also a poem for the prompt and photo of Lolamouse of With Real Toads. The wonderful picture, among others, was taken by Lolamouse at a shop in Portland, Oregon, but the blue amulets look identical to ones my daughter bought in Turkey a few years back, so I am guessing these are also from there. One process note is that it is my understanding that Islam discourages (or even prohibits) the depiction of sentient beings, which means that mosques do not have iconography of people’s faces but tend to focus upon geometric shapes or flowers or calligraphy. The “Blue Mosque” is a popular name of the Sultanahmet (or Sultan Ahmed) Mosque in Istanbul.

This is also some consecutive poem–23rd?–for April, National Poetry Month.

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9 Comments on “Off-Season (Flash 55)”

  1. grapeling Says:

    ‘of toes faced’ – what a brilliant image, k ~

  2. brian miller Says:

    ha. quite the atmosphere you created….the slight smell of toes was an interesting touch…not one many might add…but its a cool layer….def full of memory…

  3. hedgewitch Says:

    This is incredibly lush for so few words, k. Really atmospheric, as bri says, and also a bit stark as well; after the allure of the different, the flash and color is absorbed, then we see what’s underneath, in this case the mismatch, the sprigs and bits, the never very savory motives and how the strange corset of religious beliefs which prohibits all but those rather compulsive feeling, intricate geometrics makes for a world that is foreign and, in keeping with my own response to those eyeballs-on-a-string, a bit sinister as well, in the way that the unknown can seem. Really well done, k.

  4. Mama Zen Says:

    This so good, k. Really vivid.

  5. janehewey Says:

    lovely condensation of images and scents here. I appreciate the tension created in your final 6 lines, a fine tug between what is real live, and what is a depiction. a very satisfying read.

  6. Karen S. Says:

    I like this! Great ending as it seems no one is ready to take of them! Ha! Ha!

  7. ayala Says:

    Lovely images. My in laws are from Istanbul. As a matter of fact today is 99 years from the Armenian genocide and we are sad about family members that died during those times in Turkey. Sorry I don’t mean to put a damper on your lovely poem…just wanted to share.

  8. This really creates the atmosphere of the place, especially with the inclusion of smell. Reminded me of my own visit (in my 20’s) to the beautiful mosque in Paris.

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