Sonnet: Dolmuş Rides #103-5
by John Kendall Hawkins
#103: Riding Words That Don't Matter
When my little pukes were saucy I made
them memorize words that didn't matter,
like Conestoga. Thought of getting laid
after school, hailed a dolmuş, mad hatter
on his way to Taksim's red light district,
revolution in my loins. Golden Horn.
Fishmongers wailed from the Galata Bridge.
balik-ekmek, a salt sea quease airborne.
"Meet me at the Basilica Cistern,"
she texted. Our tongues swam, lunged and pestled;
Medusa watched us bang, like a Western,
Schubert's "Trout" quartet piped in. We wrestled.
Time was up; she returned to the Red Light.
I prepped: new vocab kept me up all night.
#104: The Ride as Moveable Feast
Well, you can be forgiven, if you feel
like David Niven, a pauper's limo
as your ride. Hash soar. Smell of some bimbo,
car gypsy-driven, someone's hand an eel,
in/out/in, wide ass blocking your view of,
and the muezzin's call, the mixed olio,
the drive way too fast. I hear 'Mazel tov'??
and God help the tall guy with polio.
If someone ever farted as they departed,
someone would blame Kurds, but I'm from the West,
bigger fish are carted, fried, and de-hearted --
we've no time for turds, and less for the rest.
All those times getting stuffed in a grape leaf,
Constant contiguity, no relief.
#105: The Dolmuş Empire Has Fallen
How sad to read of the Dolmuş demise:
all those classic American cars are gone,
and won't be coming back. Exceptional lies
had to be told about their safety. Gone
the feeling of democracy inside,
the accidental squeeze that triggered. Gone
the multiple backseats and amazing ride.
Strangers really -- here now, and then just gone.
When she got off her shift at the Red Light,
we went out for a bite, she wore leather.
We were sentimental, never uptight,
we took a dolmuş home, tussled in feather.
Such sweet Bağdat caddesi rides, stuffed
with the worn-out memories I once loved.
(Article changed on Mar 20, 2021 at 2:04 AM EDT)