Ali Baba

This chair where I spend the day

was still a young tree,

and these rocks beneath my feet

were underneath the mountain

when you came this way.

The shadow that protects me from the sun

had not yet found its form

when you were born.

When you built this house of stones,

I was a curious lad and watched you.

And I learned as I followed along.

Although I never learned your song.

When you made wine

you always shared it with me,

After a glass or two you’d say,

“Ali, this will be yours one day.”

I remember how you broke and carried

the stones that formed these walls you painted white.

And window bars you forged from damask steel and painted blue

as I would do,

were I you.

Then Brother Time came by and made his presence,

And Sister Changes also strolled our way,

Nothing stays, not even what our wishing rearranges,

Or even if we pray and pray.

And you were taken far, so far away.

Time always flies away…

And I grow old a little more each day,

And now I live inside my recollections,

sitting in the shadows, watching passers by.

Before my eyes I see only reflections

of the sun against a wall that was so white.

The grapes have dried and so has my intention

of ever sharing with you homemade wine.

“Goodbye Ali, goodbye young man, do prosper.”

You waved and then a cloud covered my eyes,

To block my sight from all those who formed clusters

waving with their strong arms goodbye.

I think of you picking the grapes you treasured…

But now I sit alone,

only my walking cane beside me,

My shadow’s disappeared and

I feel the bitter sadness that surrounds me but I’ve never conjured tears,

You know, I never cry,

I don’t know why…


In the Aegean section of Turkey, after WWI and the Turkish war of Independence, the population was exchanged. The Greeks were sent to the Greek islands and the Turks who lived in Greece were sent to Turkey. Both populations were uprooted and many friends never saw each other again.

From My Blood-Red Orange: “What do you see?”

We both sit on the sand, the sea before us.
What do you see?
I see my life as it extends before me...
What do you see?
I see the flowing rays of the sun
and the brightness of the blue,
I see myself arriving to my dreams,
and you?
You sit placidly by.
Your eyes perhaps caress the crystal shadows of the sky.
Your voice is screaming through your silence
and your thoughts betray you,
you turn into your apathy,
and although physically near,
you're very far from me,
And I'm not sure if you, well,
if you can see me?