Got the passport. Yeah, it took a short week for the photos, information, documents to go to Canada then come back in the form of a small blue book that will allow me to have an identity and travel around.

When you open it, under a bold CANADA title is written:
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada requests, in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, all those whom it may concertn to allow the bearer to pass freely, without delay or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.

I felt transported to a medieval time… you know, a forrest, bandits, enemies but this scroll would allow me safe passage… Countries, borders, rules…

My Canadian passport affords me the possibility to go pretty much everywhere in the world. Another born lets say, in the Middle East, does not have this possibility. Doors are closed to him. We don’t choose where we are born… the unfairness of it all. The lottery of life.

So I got passport, flight, baglama and I will go to Greece in a few days.

As I was walking to the metro this morning to go to the consulate, I went by a man stirring his tea, the sound of the spoon clinking on the glass. I felt a pang of emotion. Turkey. It does feel strange to leave. This place has become home in so many ways… and with these elections, it feels like anything could happen. There is a slight thought that I may not be able to come back… Since I left America I had a feeling that if I left Turkey I could not come back… There are no logical reasons for that.

It will be good to move, travel, maybe I am getting too comfortably ensconced in my little neighborhood, my little habits.

Oh and as I walked this morning, there was a gypsy family that had fallen asleep at the foot of a Garanti Bank bank machines spot. Lying on them was a ukulele… the same color ukulele as this girl… still don’t know her name… I first met her at one of my Karakedi performances, she was sitting right at the stage and emanating this fabulous energy… then we had met her on the street and walked along Istiklal one night… so there I saw the ukulele… laid on top of the blanket under which this family is sleeping… did she make a gift? Did they meet her?

DSC06516

“Be a lamp or a lifeboat or a ladder, help someone’s soul heal, walk out of your house like a sheperd” Rumi

This was a quote left by one of my friends on my Facebook page. This girl is like that, she shares her light with everyone, she truly is a light for the world. I need to continue shining myself…

What else? Not much. I am thinking of getting new shoes… my boots are inappropriate (translate to painful) for long walks, which I plan to have, and my Converse have holes in them now… wow… buying something… I’ll also treat my instruments to new strings… they both have strings that are 3,4 months old and that have been played extensively… luxury… but it will be quite a treat… so for Monday’s show at Karakedi I’ll have a sparkling sounding guitar…

OK, that is about it for today… hugs and love all around

night shift

March 26, 2014

It is 6:49 AM. I am on the tail end of the night shift. I just ran to the bakkal to get bread as someone asked for breakfast and we were out of bread. A French girl had gotten up early and wanted breakfast, so I obliged as the “breakfast girl” doesn’t come in before 8 AM.

Outside, the sun has been up for a while. The colors are gorgeous outside.

Inside I’ve been playing Arvo Part for the last 2 hours… how amazing… I had forgotten about Arvo Part.

Yesterday I finished the painting in room 12… talk about taking a long time. I had wanted to do this room in a week… It took over a month. Not of work but just of time. I varnished it and it came to life beautifully. I felt so rewarded. I’ve also been painting bits of walls and parts of Chillout. Orange, red and yellow. Yes. I came back. Last Thursday. I had dropped by, I had been thinking about coming back, I had been asked by everyone: “when are you coming back?” and on impulse I asked Pelin if there was a need for me. She said yes, so here I am.

the city's colors all came to life... I was soooo smiling when I varnished it

the city’s colors all came to life… I was soooo smiling when I varnished it

the rooms are small, so it is hard  to get good photos and yes, with the varnish now we get shine...

the rooms are small, so it is hard to get good photos and yes, with the varnish now we get shine…

my little guy playing...

my little guy playing…

It has been really good. Peaceful. It feels good to be useful. So this is why I ended up doing a night shift.

I have been thinking about Greece. About going to Crete and do this baglama workshop. I am going to learn so much. 7 days of learning. 3 sessions a day. I would like to go to the South coast after the workshop. I would like to walk. I saw photos of Crete and I was in wonder. After? Well, not sure. I want to come back but it feels that I have to get my life organized somewhat differently… or just… organized.

My residency permit will expire in June. I need to look at all this. I was told a couple nights ago that the rules will be changing, something about needing a Turkish bank account which I hear may be difficult to get for a foreigner. This could change things dramatically.

After much pondering, it seems that I don’t think it is time to leave Turkey yet. I only started with my baglama teacher in January, I’ve been learning tons… but there is much more to learn still. Another thing that has been floating in my mind is that I may be at a point where I am ready to start writing new music… that means I need space and time… and some kind of money or living arrangements that will allow me to dedicate myself to the work.

I’ve been writing poems… yeah, it had started in California, when I was last in San Dimas, I wrote a series of poems and the way they came had kind of surprised me. Then more came in June. I am still figuring out how to welcome them, it is a different kind of muse than writing songs or just writing. A thread showing itself and asks to be caught… they are playful things and I oblige.

There are 6 days before my flight to Crete, that is if I get my passport in time… yeah, my passport expires in June, I was planning to get it renewed soon, then I had the thought: “how much time do I need on this document in order to cross the border and go to Greece? After looking into it, I learned it’s three months. So I am short. I went to the Canadian Consulate and was told first it took 20 days to get a new passport, then 10 days, then really, 7. that was last Friday. Technically it can happen. But as I was warned, if things are delayed one way or another, I might not get it in time for my flight on the second of April… I’ll know what happens on the first, next Tuesday. Thankfully I got flight insurance when I bought my ticket, so I can move things around if need be.

Phew. 8:59 now. I’m very tired but I feel good. Mornings are really beautiful around here, it is still quiet in terms of tourists but the locals are busy living life in this metropolis. Delivery trucks all over Istiklal, while it is open for car traffic.

I will head back, climb the stairs to the 6th floor and sleep most of the day. Too bad as it looks like it will be a gorgeous day… Tonight, I am hoping to catch a concert at the Mekan. Over and out. All my love.

This morning’s thought

March 22, 2014

We have horses
we have names and titles
We are little potentates flying on lonely planets
at vertiginous speed through the universe.
We wonder where the servants have all gone
while we pound our fists
on the empty banquet table

We have wants
we have urges and needs
We are little potentates in cold castles perched on high cliffs
heads held too high to be able to see anything
We ask: why me?! Why me?!
while we stamp our feet imperiously
on the hard gray concrete we poured

If I can only look in your eyes
then I will see

If I can only silence fear
then I will see

If I can only love,
give all
open
then I will see

that all is
as it should be
Beautiful
Poetic
Perfect.

B26

Give up

March 21, 2014

GIVE UP

Swirls,
of all colors
Spellbinding
Ah…
you abandon yourself.
In these sparkling waters

You dance unrestrained.
Until currents come to trip you
from under
unseen
unheard
unexpected

This life
a distortion
perceived through the prism, kaleidoscope
of the idea that you `know`

But to think you know
Is to start to fall, to lose.
because the judgments made
are like the cage that caught the wind:
empty.

For all its wonders
For all its promises
This life is a trick of one’s imagination
A house of mirrors.
This life is all illusion

Give up.
Give up.
Give up.

Give up all pretense
Walk unhindered
freed
Cross to the other side
of this madness

And find the arms
the chest and the warmth
of your home
of your father

Leave this world to erase
in the early morning light
As nightmares do
when the eyes finally open

a99

another night

March 19, 2014

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a90

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b03

a75

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b02

b03

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b14

36 hours

March 17, 2014

b01

Out in the night, drifting
Between hope and inexorability
clinging then abandoning
Fighting then surrendering

The French man approached
Eying me, then trying his luck
by ways of provocation.

The lesbian put her head on my shoulder
her hands ran down my body
“I’m wet” she said longingly

The musician came smiling happily
“I feel like I am 18” he said
And he danced some more

The friend looked at me squarely
“Lets go have a beer after we close” He said
with a warm smile

Between continents
Between letting go and hoping
Between illusions
I drift

The lassoed wild horse rears,
pulling with the energy of life itself
until he tears the rope that kept him
and blindly gallops away from the fear of pain
unaware of the barb wire at the end of the field

Now amidst the filth, broken glass and broken lives
the heart slightly drunk
between the brothels, the bars
the cheap eateries, cheap hotels
and the cheap thrills, I walk.
Dirty inbred cats look up in terror.
A man dressed as a woman
approaches with a heavy metal stick in his hand
angry, ready to hit,
his deep disembodied voice
uttering threats.

a66

The kite’s rope broke.
It still flutters on the winds,
for a few last pure moments of lift
pretending all is good
but knowing full well
that gravity is about to take it down
and mercilessly smash it into the hard ground
and break its wooden skeleton
into useless little bits,

The sun now up, on the other side of the night
across from the bar
a very young bespectacled Syrian refugee
sells mussels all night long
to the drunks down on Mis Sokak
what a school of life for this child

As we stand there chatting stupidly
I watch a hunting cat’s deathly stare
as he is about to pounce on a dove
but, for a micro second, he is distracted
and decides to focus on another prey
the bird innocently, dumbly ambling around.
Unaware of the frailty of his life

b14

There is a sea of men in black coats
A beer bottle crashes onto the stone cobbles,
splits, spreads its contents
Like a wounded body spilling blood.
No one cares.

Always pay attention
to the first words a man tells you.
In these words his truth is revealed

Always know
that your power of creation
will make you believe in anything
That this power
will make you overlook the truths
now given you

That power will make you yell out intrepidly
while you bask in this glow
of creative wonder and ecstasy
It will make you blind,
a burning torch
that sears your eyes shut
to what is right there to be seen.

Words of wisdom
so easy to write after the fact
But utterly useless at that very point
As all is now cold

To believe that the odds can be beaten,
That walls can be torn down.
How noble.

Oh yes, walls can be torn down,
wars can be fought
but the dust that is lifted in the struggle
blinds us, infiltrating everything
with poison

So, give up.
Accept the fate, recognize the gifts
Refuse to strike back and
Live
Some
More
Sleep a peaceful sleep
The Gods hold you dear

b05

a58

I saw ‘him’.

Yeah, him, the one I wrote about for the last time on June 06 2013… I had written about one of the most awkward phone call I ever made in my life, I had written about finally being released from the madness, sadness that had been holding me in a steel grip. I spoke of chains and ropes sliding off of me, finally setting me free, finally understanding that there was nothing there to start with. Who is this? He was my love, my everything for a year… Yes, some of you know exactly who I’m talking about.

I saw him on Istiklal.

My heart still beats a bit squarely as I sit and write this.

I was on walking from Galata Saray, heading towards Chillout…

Oh, the timing of things. The vectoriality, the impossible coincidentality… How can things such as this be accidents? What is required to make this timing so perfect is just beyond me. I mean, what is required for these two vectors to connect is mind boggling. The precision of the course adjustments are astounding. From my standpoint, the first factor was about my waking up exactly when I did… then it was about realizing on my way out that I had forgotten to take the garbage bag out, my hesitation, then my climb back upstairs to pick it up and put it in the bin outside. This sequence added somewhere around 45 seconds to a minute to my journey out.

Then it was the decision I made on the fly to quickly stop at the Starbucks patio,in order to steal the WIFI and see if I had messages…. then I also decided to check my email, this way adding the precious extra 6 minutes or so. Once I left Starbucks, oh, about ten steps later, thinking of Meron I stopped to send him a text message, that adding another 2 minutes or so.

If I had just walked straight, I would have missed the whole thing. If I had just looked at a store window, I would have missed the connection. If I had written the text message 2 minutes later, I would have missed seeing him. This is very acrobatic timing in action.

That is when I saw him… No, actually, at first I didn’t really see him, I “knew” him to be there on an unconscious yet powerful level of knowingness. I don’t know how this works in terms of energy waves and ESP capabilities, but something, some energy inexorably called my eyes in his direction, about, 50 feet away. The walk, his gait, unmistakable. The build of the body. But truly, the visual clues were superfluous, I “knew” him before the eyes and the brain interpreted any of the information received.

I am stupefied. How can this be? Is it real??? Can it be??? As my eyes neared his face he started to look in my direction. His head slowly moving towards me as if guided by precise radar system. He sensed the eyes on him I guess.

“Oh shit.” I thought. I questioned… Should I go towards him and talk? Or should I hide? There is a woman holding his arm. Dressed up pretty, a bit thick in the waist, a “real” girl wearing girly clothes, she is nothing like me. She is fairly tall but that could be heels, Turkish girls love heels. She has long brown hair. Probably not a good idea to approach them… Remembering his deep coldness on our last phone contact, I really don’t see what I could possibly say to him. It seems that making contact would only cause certain malaise.

This computation all but takes a few micro-instants and while this takes place, when his gaze is about to lock up on mine, I thankfully slid behind the bodies of people walking close by, I cut off all energy emissions from going in his direction, my heart suddenly pounding.

Thank God for not letting me be exposed there in the open for him to see me with nothing to hide behind. I wait a few seconds, my stomach is in a knot. Then after what I calculate is enough time for them to walk passed my position, I turn around to greedily stare at his back as much as I can. Just to make sure I am really seeing what I am seeing. Yes, same long stride, legs, body, hair, head shape… And as I stare he slowly starts, too casually, to turn his head in my direction and look back. The carefulness I’m sure, is because he does not want to alert his companion to what is going on, hence the nonchalant way. That nonchalance gave me time to hurry off, to vanish in the crowd. But I know he saw me. I am certain.

Relief fills me as I get off of Istiklal onto Balyoz Sokak. I stopped for a second, my heart is pounding and sitting in a bath of acidic milk. “Holy shit.” I said out loud as I stop, shocked.

I had, for a time wondered what would happen if I was to ever run into him again. That last phone call was a definite termination. It was finished. Over. Since he could barely muster up 5 words on the phone back then, I imagined that meeting him would likely be a thoroughly awkward if not a painful and pointless exercise.

I hurried to Chillout, I was initially heading there to use the internet connection… but Pelin, Selin, Roman and Husseyin are there and so we talk. I tell them about this unexpected sight. Suddenly I realize how rubbery my legs are. Oh these emotions how they can run you. I don’t really understand why it is so intense. But it is. When the door opens I look up nervously half way expecting him to show up. That is not rational…

“Drink this.” Pelin says as she pushes towards me a brown half full bottle of Tuborg. I never drink beer, but this one I drank . It was cold, smooth and dulled everything nicely and quickly.

There are anywhere between 18 and 20 million people at any time in Istanbul. Istiklal hosts a wall to wall assortment of thousands of pedestrians per hour. How can this possibly happen? It makes Turkey seem very small all in a sudden. How could we possibly run into each other on a busy Saturday night in Beyoglu?

“I feel this was fate.” Says Roman. Fate? I guess we do not know the purposes of the Gods, they are beyond our understanding. For myself I cannot see the purpose in this encounter. It is just awkward, it cannot mean anything. Does it mean anything to him? Well, that, I really cannot answer and really cannot care about.

a59

***

The last 36 hours have been almost too much. From the undeserved harshness of Friday night to the crazy happenings that followed it into the mad early morning streets among the transsexuals, the drunk, the horny and the hopeless, walking through filth and broken glass, all of us fakirs of the broken soul. When I finally make it home the call to prayer rises on what has now become Sunday morning, I cannot sleep. I float disconnected driven by the lack of sleep, the nerves, the fatigue, feeling broken and empty. I wish for some sort of peaceful womb right now, somewhere I could lay trustfully, somewhere where I could let it all go for a moment. Where all the emotions, all the hurts, all the deceptions, all the questions, where the tiredness, the aches, the stupidity and non-nonsensicality of our human emotions and reactions could recede back behind the veils.

I will meditate in the morning. I will give up. Give up this fight with ghosts. Look towards the light, towards the Placelessness. Away from the desires, the fears and the self-deceptions. Only God’s love can really fill my heart.