on memory and cities: from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

And Polo said: “Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice.”

“When I ask about other cities, I want to hear about them. And about Venice, when I ask you about Venice.”

“To distinguish the other cities’ qualities, I must speak of a first city that remains implicit. For me it is Venice.”

“You should then begin each tale of your travels from the departure, describing Venice as it is, all of it, not omitting anything you remember of it.”

The lake’s surface was barely wrinkled; the copper reflection of the ancient palace of the Sung was shattered into sparkling glints like floating leaves.

“Memory’s images, once they are fixed in words, are erased,” Polo said. “Perhaps I am afraid of losing Venice all at once, if I speak of it. Or perhaps, speaking of other cities, I have already lost it, little by little.”

translated by William Weaver

A City and He Himself by Güven Turan

To dream of the sea
Even when looking at the sea
This is what he has long been doing
And imagining he is in a city
With trams along its streets
On yellow cut-stone edifices
Darkening iron balconies
The sound of pigeons
Pigeon droppings on the windows
But these are dreams
Neither opposite him nor

translated by Suat Karantay