February 21, 2014

Thoughts about wealth and poverty.

Walking from Tarlabaşi to Beyoğlu.

Hand-made rough-wood table, buildings rotting from the roofs down.

There was an incredible beauty here at one time, now the places are falling down, eaten by water, time and neglect. There is a big push by the Powers here to gentrify the area, it is so close to the tourist area, they are already catering to the well-to-do by remodeling the buildings at the edge of Beyoğlu.

An erasing of the people who have been living here,the gypsies, musicians, leftists..

The Western concepts of development running unleashed. It is ugly. I can see why so many people who care for Turkey hate the west with its ‘know it all’ ‘money is everything’ philosophies. The west is truly a conquering, imperialist force that will bulldoze everything in its path for profit. If you think I exaggerate, just look in your own neighborhoods, think of the cute little house, park, centenarian building that was erased from existence for the sake of money without regards for its cultural or community value.

And while you complain about the price of gas to run your car, here heating alone is a luxury.


I am staying at Meron’s home. He is as he is always… generous, whimsical and loving. The white walls in the room are soothing. The calm of the home feels like warm water running over my body. The sounds of Tarlabaşi flow around: children, cats, music, women talking, the sad song of Aygaz, and a Mozart’s piece rendered electronically rises and falls at unpredictable intervals.

Deep breath. I am amazed at the amount of pressure I have put on myself lately. It’s astounding really. I need to learn to not flog myself that hard.


Horse running… Fight or flight. Panic. It is dark, the grassy field hides treacherous holes that could break a foot or a bone in an instant.

The smell of sweat, nostrils open wide, the snapping sound of the hooves hitting the ground. The burn of acid as the muscles fire up. Fear. Wide open eyes showing too much white, tense neck holding the head too high. Any logic obliterated by the thick flow of the tar of fear covering all in a dirty, unstoppable spill.


I write. The heater is chattering loudly, shaking the heavy metal doors. Later today I’ve been invited to come and eat fish at Neverland. “Come around 6 or 7.” Outside a collection of tourists from all over the world take poses in front of an endless stream of cameras with the tower as background. Where do all the photos end up? All the devices, 35 mm cameras, digital cameras, phone cameras, ipad cameras, one group of head-scarved women right next to an obviously Western family freeze smiles, hide an embarrassing wide hip for posterity. “Click”. The waiters circulate, arms behind their backs, motorcycles parked in a neat line await their riders.


It’s late night, deep night on Tarlabasi boulevard, where the transsexuals, the prostitutes, the drug dealers commune. On the right, there is vomit on the pavement. A dirty cat looks up, all his sense and nerves on, ready to run. All sorts of stores, holes in the walls are open for business, food, drinks. The cheap hotels ready to swallow in the men and women and everything in-between. I had been walking with my head down and my hood on, not looking at eyes, feeling the stares. My booted steps confidently taking myself out of this tense bit of street. Down the stairwell to Ömer Hayyam, my head is filled with misunderstanding, denial and questions. As I turn to the right a man stares at me. I made eye contact. I should not make eye contact. That is when the phone buzzed in my hand deep in my pockets.

“…I feel that by calling I fixed something…”

You did.

But I also need to fix things… What is it that makes me so blind at times. What is it that just makes me a blind, deaf, lost being?

“Can you come back?”
“Yes, but you’ll have to meet me half-way, this street is not the best.”

I circled back. Up the stairs, back up on Tarlabaşi, the vomit now to my left.

His eyes are looking back at me. How to tell him what I actually think without losing myself. I feel undeserving, I always feel undeserving.


“Jesus is my savior…”

Her lips tremble. Her eyes are red. She is so worried. I could have never guessed what she was now telling me. As much as we think we know, we usually cannot fathom what one really thinks or feels. We must listen. Gently open the door on the darkness and let the warm light embrace all.

“I had put you on a marble pedestal…”

Yes, and I personally took a sledgehammer to that pedestal last week. But now I am at peace. My bare feet rest on the brown earth.

There are so many paths…

No. Not paths. Calling it a path assumes that a line, however faint, has actually been drawn. That a line can be followed just by looking. In the water of life, no lines can be drawn. And looking with the eyes usually gets us lost. There are many ways to find one’s direction, one’s truth. What matters in the end is the intentions in your heart.

We talk.

“There is only one way…”

How can there possibly only be one path? How could one thing fit all? Muhammad, Jesus, LR Hubbard, the Great Spirit, Buddha? I read this quote a while back:

“To declare yourself “insert religion” is to make a declaration of war.

I agree. Why? Because by doing so, you have separated, individuated yourself from your brother. You have decided on a difference between you and the others. Made a right and a wrong.

But I digress… the beautiful thing here is that peace was made.


I thought of California. I thought of my bike. I thought of Crystal, Forrest, Steve and Sunny, Asbjorn and Lynn… I wondered what my place could be there. if there still was a place… I longed for the California sweetness as my body is sick and my mind so worn out.

“What do I really want? …

But it suddenly hit me at high velocity: “What is it that I really want?” is the wrong question to pose.

I cannot possibly know! It has to come from an higher inner source, not from me… because usually what I know is a poor twisted reflection of my limited human perceptions.

I put my fears in your hands. I give you my worries. I free myself of the weight and arrogance of knowing.

May all be new, unknown, pure, un-judged so that I can see and hear the answers flow to me.



One Response to “Bits.”

  1. mvancouver Says:

    Je crois que l’on augmente les chances d’une réponse adéquate si on sait ce qu’on veut. Sinon toutes les réponses se pointent et comment choisir alors. Il n’est pas nécessaire de savoir ce qu’on veut pour le long terme, ça je le laisse au hazard qui est supposé faire bien les choses. Mais au moins pour le court terme pour diminuer beaucoup de stress. Tu veux aller en Crête, tu ne veux plus avoir froid, tu veux vivre à un endroit où tu sens en sécurité par exemple. Voyons voir ce que ça t’amènera.

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