Crimea Story / Girls / Five Istanbul Vignettes - Carl Boon

Crimea Story / Girls / Five Istanbul Vignettes - Carl Boon

Crimea Story

That it was March 

meant last year’s Madeira

would be copper and potent.

So I sat in the place

where Vladimir had died. 

They said he choked,

fallen, and went still

in the chair to which his wife

had chained him.

He liked vodka and girls,

I learned, and used to swim

in the Black Sea naked

at dawn. But the grapes

were his, and they’d gathered

sun in his absence.


You’ll find yourself tipsy,

dancing with a woman 

who can’t pronounce your name.

Your 9 West strappy black

platforms will have made your heels

raw, and the bar lights,

the Molson sign in the corner, 

won’t hide your myopia

nor your need to be loved.

The bartender sighs,

thinking of his mother,

the basement work bench 

where his father’s heart 

stopped the first time. The blonde boy

near the bathroom 

checks you out, a sigh,

wondering why he isn’t her,

the girl whose name lingers

on your mouth like Scotch,

pretty, determined, and wry.

Why do we go out

against the night

without swords, without ways

home—thinking love could be

stilled? Why must her hair

stick in that meaningful way

to her forehead? This girl

who feels you as one

of a thousand rhythms, a sea-gull

landing on a crowded shore.

Five Istanbul Vignettes


The leaves fall twice 


from the walnut tree

behind the Birlik Apartment.

The second's coded language,

the first a toddler crying.



Ali boards the ferryboat

for Eminönü 

every winter morning.

One sees his briefcase.

One hears teenagers

shuffling in the dark.


Given the chance to choose

between olives or apricots

for breakfast 

on the Bosphorus,

I'd watch the ships 

bound for Sierra Leone.



A twist of stones and rain,

your voice on the phone 

from Chicago saying 

here the stones and rain 

are different, and why 

didn't you call the ship mine?


I was in love with a girl

who pretended at love,

who wore an orange 

barrette and lied 

about the wind.

She was the wind.


About the Author

Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 Eylül University.

His poems appear in dozens of magazines, most recently The Maine Review and The Hawaii Review.

A 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee, Boon is currently editing a volume on the sublime in American cultural studies.