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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/19/21

3 Sonnets: Dolmuş Rides #103-5

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Inside a dolmus, half empty.
Inside a dolmus, half empty.
(Image by John Hawkins)
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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)


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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Australia. His poetry, commentary, and reviews have appeared in publications in Oceania, Europe and the USA, such as Cordite, Morning Star, Hanging (more...)

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