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This poem is taken from PN Review 128, Volume 25 Number 6, July - August 1999.

The Anatolikon John Ash

They said: 'Why do you want to go to that place? There is nothing to see.'
And I said: 'But I like its name. It means "opium" and "fortress".
It has something to do with the colours blue and red...' So,
In a dusty square with a flower garden and a nearly extinct fountain
I took a bus which passed through many bus stations
(In one of which I examined displays of very ugly meershaum pipes)
And Andrew came with me to keep a photographic record
Of everything that was to be seen and not seen along the way.
In Afyon I admired the baroque frames of the restaurant mirrors,
The dazzling aprons of the waiters, and the colours of the houses. A rat
Ran up the steps from the garden, then paused as if uncertain what to do.
We met two young salesmen from Usak who sang for us on the summit
Of the fortress rock, which was black but patterned with brilliant lichens.
We were sad to discover that all the kilims had been stolen from the mosque.
We went south through fields of roses, their perfume smothering the valleys,
Rising up in gusts towards peaks like broken knives. The heat
...


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