مهر

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there is dowry due to a city that I have always endeared. one that has always been about reunion, when all other travel felt like expatriation. a city that teleports me intellectually into the pages of victorious history flipped after the present of colonized memories of they who never loved the reunion of her beloveds.

a city with mists of air that carry me all the way to her beloveds in Damascus, Cairo and Jaffa – long before they abandoned her.
“did they abandon you?” every time I ask her if they abandoned her, or if they were abandoned from her – she sighs. & whines, “what does the reason for separation do to the pain of separation? that is if there was indeed any of it. distance for lovers is only means to make meaning of the reunion’s embrace – to be as enchanting as the very first time. Or to create longing & yearning until the time is due to relive new beginnings. but, Yousr, do you not know that some beloveds never left anyways – & never stopped loving? the geographical borders are still permeable to love – & prevent no reunion. there stands no power before love, except for love itself. & each emperor is to choose who they fall in love with, & each ruler is to bow before whom they endear as their beloved.”

I realized that Damascus & Cairo chose to love other than you. I am not sure if I should call it “love”. It brought everything to their territories other than beauty. & so did all of Arabia. They were stripped from their essence: they swayed to the temporary physical & abandoned the eternal spiritual. & have they not known that the dowry of love is one’s soul? An endowment of life, and an investment of time – that which cannot be returned. but it is indeed the most beautiful of investments, and the most profitable of deals. Have any of your beloveds paid due their dowry? Have they all paid their dues: their souls? Have the rulers of Damascus remembered that love? Or those in Cairo beseeched after timeless victory? Have they all not abandoned Jaffa? & have Costantonipole not fallen before those who wake up to draw borders? & only sleep after all the minds of Arabia are conquered . . .

lands are not colonized, O Istanbul. but only the minds of those who dwell in those lands are colonized.

but that does not change anything. A diamond on a collar or on the ground is still as expensive. because that love exists, despite the borders, the rifles & the different names of your beloveds. love exists because of them and despite of them. there shall remain a dowry due to that city of Ottoman demeanour, Arabian tales carried in the breeze swaying from Damascus, and writings of Egyptian lovers who dwell in the oddments of the empire.

Like me.

for I hold the dowry due to that city which witnesses the meeting of the East & the West. A city of refuge for the refugees – of love. Not the love of the city shall it be, nor the love of an empire that once was – not for any names or any people in any space & time. But for that which was carried in the souls & hearts that manifested in the reunions of beloveds. for the love of the richness in congregations, & the love of He whom they congregated before.

for I am no territory of empire. nor am I land due a border’s extension. I am a soul seeking refuge in the pages of your history – to re-love, to redraw and to rewrite. I hold so much more to be lived and written.

& so much to reminisce: the names, the tales, & the geographical features that tell stories of other lovers who wrote words like these every time you embraced them in refuge. And after all that has passed and all that has been, you continue to embrace those who seek your refuge. For whom love does not bring back in victory, are brought back on their knees – in the perfect position to pray!

I know that these tales will change no history: no past & no present. For words do not change the geography. But words can change us, and we can change the geography. Words can move souls, and redirect them to where they are due: to you.

There is a dowry from the lands of Arabia due to this city. & in Arabic, a city is linguistically female & metaphorically beautiful & sacred by the virtue of Medina. A city is a beautiful woman that moves hearts, & sounds like music with stories she recites from the endless pages of history carried in the wrinkles of her features.

A city is light, like a woman’s glowing eyes reflecting light from the moon. & just as the writers of Arabia saw women’s beauty in the moon – this city is like the moon – in its light, in its beauty, & its distance from me.

*an excerpt from May 2017*
Picture taken in August 2013 – Nikon D40.

— in Istanbul, Turkey.

Song Pairing: https://soundcloud.com/ensembleibnarabi/leila

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