Two Poems by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Some Passerines

This morning some passerines are singing like crazy in the back pasture and promising much more than the day can deliver. I like crows. Less hopefulness. Hopeless crows. Their cawl makes sense, responds to carrion or a stranger. The songbirds’ wild abandon just makes me tired. What, I ask? Can’t you see what’s going on? Can’t you hear the howl down the corridor? Haven’t you been watching the Walking Dead? Haven’t you seen us walking? Foolish songbirds, overhead, dipping and spinning, larking another morning into night in this eerie space between one declared war and another.


29 July, 2011/ 15 July, 2016

The café Döner is closed as the sun
comes up over the nameless grocery
next door. The grocer sits outside
on a stool for his günaydın and gossip.

We buy coffee and figs and engage
the morning news. The chief of the Turkish
armed forces, Işık Koşaner, resigned
today along with the general officers
of the army, navy and air force.

“It has become impossible for me to continue…
because I am unable to protect the rights …
of my personnel,” Koşaner said.
“Do not be stupid,” the grocer whisper-shouts

into a cell phone. “Listen to me,”
his voice drops, “they were all gone in a night.”

The taste of yoghurt returns to me,
with olives, with figs. The sour-
sweet of it, eaten under

a ceiling full of upside-down
lamps. So many lamps, such ample
stained glass. I lost my way staring

up at them. The call to prayer,
the brook-sound of the street,
of Turkic, the yelp of the rug seller,

the cats, the gilt, the arabesque—
the clichés of the city I must mourn
today in streets full of broken glass

and burned trucks and bloodstains.
Now we must all be called to pray.




Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in the Arkansas Ozarks. She would like it on the record that she did not vote for her state’s Senators. See more about her and her work at