The Friday Pazar in Gorna Oryahovitsa
Coffee imbibed, strong and black.
Old men sit and talk and cough and hack
Beneath a fig tree even older.
Tobacco smoked, even stronger
To blunt the edge
Of the strong rakia
Rolled around the blackened teeth
To blunt the edge
Of the women’s tongues
In mouths bitter and dry
From years of toil and asking why.
But all around them people haggle
At tables where the raggle taggle
Gypsies sell their wares and bedraggled
Mules and dogs and kids all straggle.
Medals from some forgotten war.
Balkan meatballs fried or raw.
More choices here than in any store.
Special price sir! Good deals galore!
Old cameras lying in a heap
Where homeless cats will creep or sleep.
Fattened chickens going cheap.
Their babies going cheep, cheep, cheep!
There’s nothing that you can’t buy here.
Books and records reduced to clear.
The finest broken chandeliers.
Rich treasures from those bygone years.
Kitsch and fleeces, bits and pieces.
Frilly frocks from aunts for nieces.
My cardiovascular system ceases
As kebabs are served from where the grease is
Full bodied, sweet and well matured
Flowing freely from flesh that's skewered.
‘Very tasty’, I’m assured.
But to save my heart I find I’m lured
By a girl with juicy water melons,
A Santa hat with a little bell on,
Spare parts for an AK-47
And a plastic statue of Vladimir Lenin.
A pile of antique mobile phones.
An ashtray ‘Greetings sent from Rome’.
Hristo Botev's famous poems.
A vinyl armchair bleeding foam.
Boots once worn by an unknown Tsar.
Tourist tat brought from afar.
No suq or market’s more bizarre
Than the Gorna Oryahovitsa Friday Pazar.
Image: Created myself at Gorna Oryahovitsa railway station, having omitted to take photographs of the Friday Pazar in Gorna Oryahovitsa.