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29 May 2016

“The Anatolian Fertility Goddess“: a poem by Fiona Pitt-Kethley

Across the Golden Horn in Karakoy. . . 

By Fiona Pitt-Kethley

Across the Golden Horn in Karakoy,
a maze of ancient, crooked, cobbled streets
contains the brothels of old Istanbul.
A vendor at the bottom of the hill
sells macho-hot green chilli sandwiches.
A cudgel-wielding policeman guards the gate.

One year, dressed as a man, I went inside
(women and drunks are not allowed in there).
I mingled with the mass of customers,
in shirt, grey trousers, heavy walking boots.
A thick tweed jacket flattened out my breasts.
A khaki forage cap concealed my hair.

The night was young, the queues at doors were short.
Far down the street a crowd of men stood round
and watched a woman dancing in a house.
Her sixty, sixty, sixty figure poured inside
a flesh-tone, skin-tight, Lycra leotard,
quivered like milk-jelly on a shaken plate.

I’ve seen her type before in small museums –
primeval blobs of roughly sculpted stone –
the earliest form of goddess known to man.

Fiona Pitt-Kethley is a British poet, novelist and journalist living in Spain. Her Selected Poems was published in 2008 by Salt.

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This article appears in the 25 May 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The Brexit odd squad