Planet Rodong

Monday, December 19, 2005

Istanbulu Dinliyorum Gozlerim Kapali

Ortakoy was just an old fishing village by the Bosphorus some 50 years ago but with the fast expanding Istanbul, all the fishermen have left and now only the exotic old buldings and clobber stone narrow streets remain a favorite for artists and photographers like Paul Moss. There`s a beautiful old 18th century Ottoman mosque in rokoko style architenture standing witness to the changes and also the many pigeons in the area. Through the years Ortakoy have transformed into a sort of cultural centre frequented by artists, students, lovers, pigeons and photographers. You can see many interesting characters here, intellectual faces, poet face, musician and usually they are truly what they look like. Among them was me because for them I was the interesting one. On Saturdays there would be a flea market open selling various things from antiques, beads, braids, small small cute things girls love, Indian incense stick, old photos, drawings, sea shells and foodstuffs. On Sundays it`s rather quiet with some cafes open and old men fishing at the abandoned dock area. It was on such a beautiful Sunday I got to know Recep Amca a dear old friend who showed me Ortakoy from the ears of it`s resident.
I just had breakfast at one of the cafes with my best friend Yuksel an army captain I knew when he was still a cadet officer. We were sitting by the dock like children with our legs hanging and throwing small pieces of bread into the Bosphorus. Suddenly an old man sitting about 15 feet snorted angrily to us. " If you are going to feed the fishes with bread, then i`m an idiot expecting them to eat my plastic bait".
I was faster than Yuksel in coming up with an answer and immediately replied " Sorry but we are actually feeding the sea gulls".
" Seagulls have sharp vision but not sharp enough to see those breads from a mile away. You might as well say you are feeding the small fishes to lure the big fish here."
So that`s how we got to know Recep Amca a retired teacher who lives in Besiktas not far from Ortakoy. He would be there every Saturday and Sunday morning with his small fishing set and a book and in the afternoon he would be selling books at a small corner lot. He write poems and love telling about how much more beautiful Ortakoy was but what he love most was telling about his experience in the army serving as a airborne commando during the Cyprus war and the daily life in Turkey during the military rule. We became very close friends and through him I came to know some of the interesting characters of Ortakoy.
There was Hakan a spikey haired rocker who runs a rock bar club who talks about music with Yuksel, Kemal Abi sells doner kebab and talks about his village in Adana, Ayse and her friends were theatre students at the prestigious Mimar Sinan fine art University and sells those small small things but talks about ideologies, poet Cemal and his wife Ebru who refused to believe that Malay DNA do not have a poetry band and so tried hard to make me at least acknowledge the existance of difference in understanding clearly and understanding beautifully, Sinan a naive village boy working as a waiter at the cafe we frequent who often got a scolding from Recep Amca for staring at girls and many more.
Ortakoy is a small fishing village almost under the Bosphorus bridge and visible to those who have taken the Bosphorus cruise. From the ferry you`ll see the pigeons, the fishing rods, the small boats docked, the huge Acacia tree in the middle of the square and some cafes. From here, I hear the fishes and pigeons I used to feed, the narrow streets, the public toilet, the street vendors up to the main road behind the old buildings. I can smell the salty air, a slight sourish scent of yougurt and once a while a distant smell of fish grill. I can hear the sea gulls, the leaves from the Acacia tree, the ferry and ships sailing the Bosphorus the clatter from the Backgammon board and the small tulip shaped tea glasses.

"Istanbulu dinliyorum gozlerim kapali. "
That`s what Orhan Veli said in his poem.

I am listening to Istanbul with eyes closed
First a light breeze blows
Leaves on the trees
Quiver gently
Far away, far away
The incessant bells of the water sellers
I am listening to Istanbul with eyes closed

I am listening to Istanbul with eyes closed
As the birds fly by:
In flocks, crying aloud from above
The nets are being hauled in
A woman's feet touch the water:
I am listening to Istanbul with eyes closed

I am listening to Istanbul with eyes closed
The bazaar is cool:
Mahmutpasa is bustling:
Courtyards full of pigeons
The sound of hammering from docks.
Smells of sweat on the sweet summer breeze:
I am listening to Istanbul with eyes closed

I am listening to Istanbul with eyes closed
Still intoxicated with past revelry
A house on the sea with shadowy boathouses
In the murmuring of a relenting southwesternly
I am listening to Istanbul with eyes closed

I am listening to Istanbul with eyes closed
A pretty girl walks along the pavement:
Curses, songs, ribaldries
Something falls from her hand:
It must be a rose:
I am listening to Istanbul with eyes closed


  • Beautiful.
    Your writing reminds me of Orhan Parmuk's writing.. have you read any of his books? I read the murder mystery one... eh apa ke nama buku tu again?
    Malay DNA I think ada over-expression of inducers of the poetry gene, causing the P gene to be permanently switched on. Although now the art is somewhat lost in modern Malay songs, you can still catch wafts of the poetry gene; the male mendayu-dayu begging of the female to pleeeaaase oh pleeeaasseee not leave him... (such slavish begging makes us females wanna leave pronto).
    Any pics of Ortokoy, the village under the bridge?

    By Blogger kenakelayan, at 1:34 AM  

  • Poignantly written! You wrote from your heart. That's the beauty. You loved the place and still do. That's why you could still recall in explicit detail. You wrote as though you could hear, smell and visualize the place.

    I could almost imagine how beautifully serene Ortakoy looked like (I remember a scene from that drama you acted..when the guy was on the ferry on the straits)

    Allah swt has blessed you by givig this exquisite portion of your life to savor. Losing part of your dreams, you've gained much more in abundance.

    Besides Ortakay, i know you've lots more to share like your hiking trip to the mountains amongst the Kurdish tribes etc. Their strange believes and practices, traditions.

    You can either write a travelogue or even a memoir of some sort. You only need to improve on your punctuations (hehhe, I know you were writing in a rush)

    Btw, pardon my ignorance, so what is the manifestation of not having a poetry band on our DNA??
    And Kenakelayan, do we malays have or not this P gene? If not why the over-expression?

    Orhan Parmuk, I read his "My Name is Read'....loved the intricacies interlaced in the story-line...rather tedious reading I would say but loved it all the same. It's a translation, so it would probably had made a better reading in Turkish.

    Once again, well-written Boogey! look forward for more!

    p.s. if ever you decide to write about your experience there, Kenakelayan can help edit and I can give ideas (hehe) and we all can help to market

    By Blogger dr in the house, at 4:28 AM  

  • I found a company that pays $10 - $50/hr for shopping the classifieds!

    Work At Home $10 - $50/hr Easy part/full time work, no boss, no commute, no set hours, paid every 12 days..

    I'm making over $500 a day with this company and will be happy to help you do the same.

    Hurry postions are filling fast!

    By Anonymous Better Universe, at 4:52 AM  

  • excellent,well done!

    reading ur writing makes me undertand more of ur talent, writing to photography. As we see paul moss who is only good in criticising than doing what he criticise.
    i think u should write about turkey from an asean view point, a person who had lived there for about 15 years. Turkey is just like a second home to u with turkish language as ur third language and not forgetting indon ur fourth.

    y not get mitra to sponsor us to visit turkey one and we will help u with ur book, interviews, researches, taking pictures etc.

    good luck!

    By Blogger Ikelah, at 7:34 AM  

  • Yes! I second iKelah's motion strongly, heheh.

    If I am correct, iKelah has requested sevreal sponsored Haji trips (in exchange he will do mutawif work) and now to Turkey ( in exchange for this book research thingy).

    Plz start writing and save all your work. Don't ignore the tiniest bit of fact. It helps to enhance the whole thing! Once it has reached considerable amount, compile and we all help to edit etc.

    By Blogger dr in the house, at 3:55 PM  

  • Kenakelayan - Orhan Pamuk is a famous writer but unfortunately I`ve never read any of his books but I`ve read books of Resat Nuri Guntekin. My favourite is Calikusu (ChaliKushu)translated "Sparrow" about a naughty girl from a wealthy family who ran away from home and became a volunteer teacher moving from place to place during the struggle for independence. There`s also another favourite but I can`t remember the author. The novel is "Kucuk Mehmet"
    translated "Little Mehmet"
    DITH-Thanks for the encouraging praises. I can`t write often unless someone sponsor a phone line and streamyx at home.
    Ikelah- Beautiful idea on the sponsorship. We go all together, I tell the stories, DITH writes, Kenakelayan edit, you take the photos, Pang5 takes care of the kids. Hahahaha!

    By Blogger Boogey, at 6:01 PM  

  • You dont need internet nor streamyx to write a book. You just need your PC and your grey matter! Ish....

    By Blogger dr in the house, at 9:29 PM  

  • My Grey matter works better with streamyx and phone line at home lah.

    By Blogger Boogey, at 10:02 PM  

  • Beautifully written. I feel so small in front of your family members of good and talented writers - honest!!
    Am indeed looking forward to reading more entries from you.

    By Anonymous pycnogenol, at 12:22 AM  

  • DITH and iKelah
    Malays definitely have the P (poetry) gene. It is an inducible gene whose expression is controlled by the product of the J (jiwang) gene which is permanently switched on.
    I love the collaborative idea... will be happy to do my part as long as I get to go to Turkey!!! Yay hay hay!
    Yep that is the novel I read. But I didn't find it long-winded at all, just about right. Maybe I was in an introspective mood when I read it.

    Thanx for the suggestions... will look up those books when next I am in reading mode! Right now am in writing/experiment mode! Even the memasak mode is taking a back seat now!

    By Blogger kenakelayan, at 12:31 AM  

  • Pycno,
    Thanks. I have some stories to tell but I`m too lazy to write it down. So tiring to korek the English words from deep inside the grey matter and the grey matter also doesn`t have streamyx or even a phone line.
    I`ll write some more from time to time.

    By Blogger Boogey, at 8:03 PM  

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