Walking Istanbul

By Julene Tripp Weaver


This city between my legs,           rises up

into my hips

                                                jagged spurs pierce my heart



                                             Each step a danger zone

                                             Each sidewalk a wave to navigate

Cobblestones in a jumble

                                               such                                sharp-drops


This city deep in my body

                                                               on alert


The next foot step                        my sudden death

This city                                            seven hills

breathing monster                       to surf


The waves windy over the Golden Horn

each bridge                     on high alert

                                              back-to-back traffic

On Friday nothing closes

in this riot of a city


You might meet a protest

rows of Polis cars                ready on Istiklal

                                                     people push on

                                                      tired       energized

                                                      too wired to stop


Until prayer time

five times a day                   such

resonance magnified

                                                    holy echoes five times a day

stir the internal call

                                                                      to a nearby Mosque


                                                 songs that

bring you inside

                                                to your own holy place

                                                to the only quiet


This city

a cradle                                                              on the edge

of a windy cliff                                               a lullaby

in a storm                                                         far from peace


every rock precarious for a tumble


The dogs in the street fight the cats

growl at them                                      from under cars

hunger in their eyes                         people hand them food


but slim to feed                                    the empty numerous


of so much wild


The young ones                                    the artists

grow up                                                    like the dogs

                                                                     on these streets


Outcasts                                                      with little compensation

the old women                                    with their children beg


                                                                     it is a place

one must                                                 fend for oneself




Julene Tripp Weaver is a psychotherapist and writer in Seattle, WA; she worked in AIDS services for over 21 years. Her three poetry books are: truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS, (Finishing Line Press, 2017), No Father Can Save Her (Plain View Press, 2011), and a chapbook, Case Walking: An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues (Finishing Line Press, 2007). She is widely published in journals and anthologies. Her poems can be found online at: Anti-Heroin Chic, Riverbabble, River & South Review, The Seattle Review of Books, HIV Here & Now, Writing in a Woman's Voice, and a creative nonfiction piece is published by Yellow Chair PressIn The Words of Women International 2016 Anthology. You can find more of her writing at www.julenetrippweaver.com.