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Teeming with Seagulls
    Broader than Bremen, the river
Roams in oily overalls along
    The nickel-cold quay, its white lips
Mumbling like the gray-haired old woman
    On the bank, the Bosporus in
Her tawny, Turkish face teeming with
   Seagulls, silver and a slit-eyed
January sun, low and “dirt cheap,”
   As an eager merchant calls to
Me, the river that both gives and takes,

   Broader than Bremen, this river
Rains down razor blades, which I hunt for
   So I can show my cheeks again
In the bazaars of Asia Minor,
   Among the flotsam and jetsam
From the West, wrapped in winter’s icy
   Blast: vases, some cracked and some whole,
With flowery motifs—a vase a frau
   In the bloom of life, filling up
With a bright breviary of dreams,

   Broader than Bremen, a river
In a washed-out aquarelle painted
   On a moldering sheet of warped
Plywood, Christless crosses hung beneath
   A display of leather jackets
With shields, daggers and three-dots tattoos,
   Rolled-up sleeves, pockets bulging with
False bravado and uplifting scenes,
   Breathlessly high stiletto heels,
Fallen angels, black with flames, flowing

   Broader than Bremen’s own river,
Down towards you, dear, for as you try on
   Shoe after shoe the heel juts out
Like your butt and outstretched leg, and yet
   Fails to fit your extravagant
Foot, now living high on Europe’s hog,
   Slipping out of one knee-high boot
And into another knee-high boot,
   Already marching towards a bed
Of bare feet, flight and aerial views,

   Broader than Bremen, whose river
Wraps its arms around us both and glides
   Towards a mouth, a harbor, going
To and fro and then in and out, with
   Salt on its pale lips, salt savored
As proof of your true worth and wisdom,
   Salt rinsed off a sinking mast, as
Smooth as tin, tired of our sweet partings,
   You the harbor, me the Bremer,
The sea between us a sea again,

   Broader than Bremen and river,
As naked as my wind-shaved cheeks, bathed
   In translucent sunlight that gleams
With the sheen of fish, we lie in bed
   Until the phone rings—a timely
Wake-up call—and the TV, tuned to
   Garmisch’s snow shows Ulrike’s
Eternal Abfahrt in slow motion,
   Over and over and over,
Ending each time in a ski-less hush:

   Broader than Bremen, her river
Of snow—death’s bed—a sheet flapping towards
   The heaven of a hotel room,
Light, and you, your electronic eye
   Breaking the neck of glassy death
In the mirror of your wedeling
   Body, observing the slalom
As you patter towards the shower, and
   Splash and drip in the refreshing
Waterfall of a recitation,

   Broader than Bremen, with river,
Sirens, seagulls and ducks, who adorn
   The water with their feathers as
You do when you dress up in your best,
   With Gypsy hoops in your ears, to
Hear the day’s cascade of words, while I,
   Declaiming from my heart and soul,
Racing from pillar to post—Schauburg,
   Burgwerd, Asia and Sujata—
Float above North Sea and Brunizem,

   Broader than Bremen, your river,
An image, a thought of a river,
   Of voices mingling with water
That breaks rocks, driving the basalt blocks
   Insane with its soft songs (weeping
Sometimes in slender volumes of light),
   Sujata, Sujata, the shoe
On one of Asia’s feet seems to be
   Too small for the West, which turns a
Cold shoulder on your gleaming bronze skin,

   Broader than Bremen, our river,
Yours and mine, the vein, the aorta
   Of this place, the heart throbbing in
The engine rooms of the freighters that
   Chug upstream against the current,
The waves on the bow the last sigh of
   A sailor’s concertina—cold,
Weak and wind-tossed—wheezing Turkish woe;
   It’s our own woe, you know, roaming
Through a Bremen broader than Bremen.