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It's 2 AM in Turkey’s prime tourist area. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque and Hagia Sophia, usually hounded by locals and foreigners alike, are quiet, resplendent. Stray dogs chase the occasional taxi on the street, music is heard bumbling out of closed museum speakers, and coffee shop owners are wary of the young poet walking into their shop, looking for some respite from the cold. Fresh off a flight from Bucharest, Romania boots coated in dirt, E.R. Pulgar returns to the "Ballads For Dion" series as a nighthawk in Istanbul.

This poem is the result of a 7-hour layover, a devilish jet-lag, several bumpy Uber rides through the Turkish cobblestones, and the greatest cliché of them all: the stranger discovering a foreign land and being seduced.

nights smell like
Turkish coffee grinds,
obelisk dust and violin-stained air.

Empty plazas
and red-tapestried cafés,
3AD streets

patrolled by stray dogs
protecting blue spires
and a kingdom by the sea.

The seagulls sing praise
even on nights this cold,
and to travelers with 10 lira

just trying to get home,
they sound like calls
from the highest Blue heaven.


02:56 | 05.03.2016
Istanbul, Turkey

E.R. Pulgar

E.R. Pulgar's writing encompasses sex, mysticism, and its context in modern love. 


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