by Dennis Goza
Istanbul comes to me in the fog—
not the real fog, you may say, not the real
Istanbul, but a pastiche of Babylon and Oz
where vending machines confer fresh adjectives for diaries.

Upon the brume and spume drooping before my eyes
in the soft intervals between appointments and accidents
my brain cachets the domed and spired skyline
crisp as coffee, yet winnowy as a fakir
trailing his shroud in an alley before dawn.

The Istanbul that comes to me
in the Byzantine fog is not the city
in a snow globe, but the one on the postcard
she never promised nor intended to send
when she brought Istanbul to me briefly

that night when the world wrapped the fog
around itself rather than us, and nothing was real
but her hair drawing possibilities on our skin
the candle wringing history
out of amnesiac surfaces
the surf at a safe distance blowing kisses to the moon.

She surely peeled away the memory long ago—
stubbed the magic and ground it into earth
with the shards of Troy. She must see me, if at all,
as a Karagoz* capering behind a screen.

And it could not have been otherwise: ice cream
never unmelts itself. But how unfair
that I have unreal minarets finger-painted
on candlewax fog, and she has the real city—
perhaps too real—where perhaps she dreams
of exotic Tupelo or Des Moines.

* A character in Turkish shadow theatre

A multiple award-winning poet, playwright and songwriter,
has written more than a dozen plays for the San Francisco
International Fringe Festival, the theatre company he co-founded in
1992, and has composed the music for many of the productions. His
plays have also been produced at festivals in Chicago, San Diego,
Los Angeles and the Triangle in North Carolina. As a songwriter, he
has been featured on Comedy Radio 101 and The Dr. Demento
Show. His poetry has been published in Clockhouse Literary Journal,
and he has published a volume of poems, Tortoise Dances.