November 30, 2015

Yeah, that used to be a big topic on this blog… photos, then I got my camera stolen and I pretty much stopped taking pictures. Over a month ago I got a message from Karen, she lives in the house I used to rent in Richmond BC. She happened to get mail that was mine and it was money from royalties. I was in dire need of shoes, pants and a hoodie, my essentials, so I decided to buy these things on Ebay, I got the Levi’s jeans for 40 dollars a pair instead of over a hundred and they last me a few years of very hard wear. Then it came to my mind and first I thought… no … it’s luxury… I can’t justify it… and I pretty much gave up on taking photos (at first I felt like I had lost a limb) then I decided to just go for it. I found the model that followed the one I had, nothing fancy but good. A little Sony.

3 days ago I received the stuff. The hoodie came the wrong color, the shoes were a tiny bit too big (but I put extra insoles in them so they’re OK. The jeans are great but I put on some weight since I started working at the school so I can’t wear them now… (all the sugar I’ve been eating imagining that I am getting energy and combating stress with that… yeah I know..) But in the end, the camera, is the thing that made my heart jump…

Tonight after work, at around 8 PM I headed out from the school and got off the bus in Eyup. Tremulously, I started to take photos..

From Eyup, images from around the mosque and cemetary, remnants of city walls with a long, long history, Balat, the painting was a work from a foreign painter who put faces of local old men on buildings around the city, across the metro bridge. The moon said hi to me.. it was really, really great.














The Miner

November 26, 2015

The Miner

His face opened like a late blue evening sky when the moon and the sun share the sky-space.

I am a miner with a tiny light on my forehead and grit on my face.
Pouncing on the stone, deeper and deeper yet in search of gold, I forget the surface.
Only when the hunger grips my stomach, and makes my muscles tremble,
I then remember to come back up

It was a long day, my hands are black and weighing my back, the painfully shriveled flag of my hopes.
In the deep shaft, an elevator rises towards the outside crust of the earth.
Yellow, tiny in a cage of white tin, the canary comes with me.
I try to remember the eyes, the mouth, the way he nods; a bit of a chin nudge towards the world.
My memory like my breathing, is slightly rough, I need water and I need love.

The cables grind and whimper, the metal sheets of the cabin rattle as we inch slowly up.
We all stand up still, silent, the workers and the bird, weary, numb of mind as we climb.
We were all jubilant when we got hired, a job! survival! hopes of paying debts,filling the fridge and doing the right thing.
Over days and months, the jubilation waned, then, was forgotten. Duty and blind habit keeps us all in this loop.

Then, at long last, the air, the sky.
A breath, another deeper, slower one.
Sounds of low voices and steps in rubber boots,
on the mud, it had rained.
We’re out.

His face opened like a late blue evening where the moon and the sun share the sky-space.

He was there waiting for me.
I shake my torpor, the blood pumps life in my body. My frown, evicted along with my enervation
How can I ever forget?
How can I ever confuse the noise with the music?
Confuse the power to chose with the refusal to see?
Each instant holds all the potentialities.
A kiss on the forehead. Peace. Love.


Cinnamon, teaching, Rumi

November 13, 2015

Cinnamon, ginger, water. Cinnamon is different here, kind of like the olives, no comparison with what’s to be found in the North American supermarkets. I got sticks. You just put them, many of them, in hot water. Wait a little, then: wow. Today I first heated up the ginger in the water then poured that mix over the sticks. Wow. My room smells of cinnamon. I should check the benefits of cinnamon.

Then helva, this paste made from sesame seeds. Sweet. Again, nothing compares. This comes from Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir, :Since 1777″ the bag says… 1777 that’s a long time ago, it was before the Republic, before the two world wars, before the Napoleonic wars… and they give the stuff in biodegradable bags…

The day was incredible, we’ve been blessed lately with warm, sunny weather. T-shirt weather actually. The gold light over the walls of the Galata neighborhood. That light gives me life and hope. The down side of this weather is that mosquitoes are back… They kept me up until 6 AM last night. I was about to lose my mind. I’ve got bites on my neck, scalp, fingers…

Ah you want to know about the job. Well… I was like Perrette, the girl with the milk jar… making plans about all the things she was going to do with the money from selling the milk at the market, then the pot fell and the milk was spilt. I was just focusing on the money I thought was coming into my hot little hands and I didn’t think much farther than my nose. Payday was Tuesday and when I saw the total on my envelope, my heart sank… I only got paid for two weeks, I was expecting 3. My dreams of getting a new bed to relieve my incredibly sore back and being able to have a restful night of sleep evaporated. I got just enough to pay rent, buy the bus fare for the month and a little bit left over to survive for the next 4 weeks. I felt despair. It has been such a struggle, I expected relief and it didn’t come. I hate jobs. I hate that stuff, the pressure you are put under to make someone else a bunch of money while they don’t care what you have to go through just to show up. When you do show up you are put into the grinder like a side of beef and you should still smile and say thank you. I have been coming to the school for interviews, for training sessions for observation sessions then I started to work since late September, it’s a long, long time to have to work without any income. I must pay for bus, eat, you know that sort of stuff. So it was like reaching out for relief and getting the door slammed in your face.

The job itself: It can be absolute hell and absolute goodness. I am not sure I’m really cut out for this. I’m not sure of anything. I resent this like I resented going to school. The “system” just wears me out on a psychological and spiritual level. I can’t explain. I feel trapped and I go from anger to despair. Logically yeah I know; it’s just a job. It starts, it ends, you get a pay cheque. But I do it’s a kind of true hell, and I look at it and I try to reason with myself and I go up and down and see that it’s no big deal but it is dread every morning that I head out there. I want to run away. The work itself: There are moments where I am petrified. Not knowing how to answer the questions, I speak, write English, but I am not an English teacher… I have the energy but am I truly giving these people what they are coming there for? I’m not sure. Could I not give a shit? That would make things simple… But, no I can’t not give a shit. I care and I want to run all at once.

This could all be summed up this way: this is temporary. Don’t worry so much. OK Ohmmmmm…. relax. hm.. OK.

Ideally I should find work that is walking distance from my home. Possibly, if I am to continue this type of work I should get some sort of teaching certificate and maybe another institution would give me a bit more support than this one. I definitely must continue my “continuing education”. I had just started web development classes when I started this job, I should muscle through my tiredness and study the knowledge, that sort of work would be much more in line with my temper. I must continue doing creative things or I’ll wither like a flower on the first frosted morning. It’s been challenging to do so as I’ve just been exhausted beyond my will to do anything.

I’m thankful for the Tuesday nights at Jurnal Rango. Last Tuesday I played with Alican and oh how good it was to have the guitar in my arms and to play. I’ll enjoy that as long as it will go on.

I’m immensely, endlessly thankful for the love I have in my life. I am really coming to the conclusion that the only thing that has any value, the only thing that matters in one’s life is love. Love, love, love.

Here’s a poem from Rumi. It stopped me in my tracks last week:


A spirit that lives in this world
and does not wear the shirt of love,
such an existence is a deep disgrace.

Be foolishly in love,
because love is all there is

There is no way into presence
except through a love exchange.

If someone asks, But what is love?
answer, Dissolving the will.

True freedom comes to those
who have escaped the questions
of freewill and fate

Love is an Emperor.
The two worlds play across him.
He barely notices their tumbling game.

Love and lover live in eternity.
Other desires are substitutes
for that way of being

How long do you lay embracing a corpse?
Love rather the soul, which cannot be held.

Anything born in spring dies in the fall,
but love is not seasonal

With wine pressed from grapes,
expect a hangover

But this love path has no expectations.
You are uneasy riding the body?
Dismount. Travel lighter.
Wings will be given.

Be clear like a mirror
reflecting nothing.

Be clean of pictures and the worry
that comes with images.

Gaze into what is not ashamed
or afraid of any truth.

Contain all human faces in your own
without any judgment of them.

Be pure emptiness.
What is inside of that? you ask.
Silence is all I can say.

Lovers have some secrets
that they keep.

OK… must end off here, it’s getting late and tomorrow AM it’s a 7:30 wake up call and a long, long day. Hopefully the mosquitoes will leave me be…


4 weeks later

November 6, 2015

Hello all of you, time fled as I ran from place to place to place. Last I wrote, I had just been hired, now I am on the eve of my 4th week on the job and it has almost too much to bear. I started with 9 classes per day in a row spaced with 10 minute breaks. Remember… I am not a teacher.. A day of serial greetings; Hello! How are you?! Followed by very intense next 43 minutes of figuring out what to do with the students following the 45 seconds spent with their main teachers before class. It felt, still feels like, a kind of performance marathon. How is it? Some classes were very rewarding, some, close to hellish… those are few I must say, but they take much energy when they happen.

I ride the bus there, Gaziosmanpasa, it takes anywhere between 20 minutes to over an hour depending on traffic, I’m starting to figure out when I can leave a half hour before class time and when I must leave at least an hour prior to class time. The busses are … well… not great, the drivers can be speed demons, going so fast at times, you must hang on for dear life as we slalom the curves, hills of the Istanbul roads and negotiate Istanbul traffic (salmon run like).

I am always anxious before heading to the school. Yeah, I’m stressing out. It seems I cannot quite recover from these new stresses, accumulated fatigue. I have been exhausted. I figure that in a month or so it will be much smoother. But for now it is challenging. The good thing out of this is that I should get my first pay cheque (supposed to anyways… but we are in Turkey so we never know until it lands in your hands) on the 10th and that will feel good as I have been scraping by for the last month with very little income.

Every day I had so many things I wanted to write about, many impressions, experiences and feelings but I didn’t and much of the thoughtfulness has vanished into vague memories. (Welcome to the rat race some would say)

What saved me financially and partially mentally over the last three weeks was that I was invited to play a new gig. The people at Atolye Kuledibi just stopped calling me to play without any explanations, but out of the blue, Jurnal Rango in Taksim asked me if I would do a reoccurring Tuesday night gig and I said yes. They are great people and there is a great atmosphere, somewhat reminiscent of the old Karakedi days and I have the great luck of having Alican Gercek play with me, it makes the process very enjoyable.

Upon getting my first pay cheque, I will buy myself a new bed. The one I have now is definitely finished, snowing its particles down on the floor continually, the cover in partial shreds and the thing itself is completely collapsed in the middle. I was getting massive back pains from sleeping on it, so much so that I’ve been sleeping in my couch lately. So next week I will have a new bed. Can’t wait, can’t wait!!! I can give them a first 100 lira payment then pay 50 a month without interest. That will be my big investment in rest and healing. I might also splurge on a wool blanket or a duvet and some heavy duty “winter” pajamas… my room is F*&^ freezing and the heating system does not work.

I have much more to say… but I must rest… get ready for my 20 hour in two days non-stop classes… Wish me luck but mostly peace.

Over and out!a02