Friday night, Istanbul

there’s an Irish band
possibly The Waterboys
on the sound system
at a bar
named after
a city in Ireland
though no smiling
Irish eyes
at the tables
around me
this being Turkey
no Irish whiskey
in bottles
here
though I am
pacified
which is more
than I should
expect
but pleased
to accept
so very far
yet quite near
home

Because by Nazım Hikmet

Leonard Durso

They’ll go to the moon
. . . . . . .and beyond,
to places even telescopes can’t see.
But when will no one go hungry
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .on earth
. . . . . . .or fear others
. . . . . . .or push them around,
. . . . . . .shun them
. . . . . . .or steal their hope?
Because I responded to this question
. . . . . . . . . .I’m called a Communist.

translated by Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk

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at home, more or less

Leonard Durso

Noirmy cat looks up
as he hears a cat crying in the night
he looks at me with wide eyes
and no, I say
this is not New York
and you do not hear another you
we are aliens here, I say
this is Istanbul
and Turkish cats are crying
for food, for shelter
but you are safe
there is food in your bowl
water, treats
no hunger here for a stray New Yorker
and life goes on
in relative peace
climb back on the bed
and sleep, little friend
sleep
you are more or less
at home

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from Each Note by Rumi

Leonard Durso

God picks up the reed-flute world and blows.
Each note is a need coming through one of us,
a passion, a longing-pain.
Remember the lips
where the wind-breath originated,
and let your note be clear.
Don’t try to end it.
Be your note.
I’ll show you how it’s enough.

Go up on the roof at night
in this city of the soul.
Let everyone climb on their roofs
and sing their notes.

Sing loud!

translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

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