COMMENTARY Lelia Munteanu: The seventh heaven

Come with me to immerse ourselves in the East, Inshallah, to wrap ourselves in the cobbled brass sky of Anatolia, in the city with two names and two destinies, Iconium-Konya, where all the stories begin with the end. Where, since losing himself, Jalal Mawlana Al-Din Ar-Rumi does not stop dancing.

Come and teach me to walk barefoot on the Silk Road, come and wander through this city, to stop at the threshold of the shops, to catch the rhythm of the craftsmen who beat the gold of the cymbals.

The air is crumbly, you spread it with your lashes, blinking. It smells of hashish, that is, dry grass, clock dust. Somewhere near there is a book hospital. Listen to the consonants breathe by reading themselves, burying themselves in old manuscripts, covering themselves in vowels like a hijab.

Close your eyes, let me tell you, let me tell you, let me tell you, let me tell you, let me spin your mind and let me tell you:

The master stands with his forehead pressed against the setting sun on the Marakanda carpet. He then greets his disciples, who – in black cloaks, with black potcaps, like the beaks of the dying day – make three circles around him, imagining the three paths to Allah, science, revelation and fusion. The master sits on the carpet, the disciples forsake the black cloaks of this world, remaining in the righteous garments of the resurrection. The sama begins (the dance called “sky”). A whistle and a drum play the scroll of a monodic song, without beginning.

The dervishes turn slightly, then grow louder, spreading their hands like winged birds, trying to remember to fly. They twist like the planets around the Sun and around themselves, until the fourth detour, when the Master himself rises from the carpet and begins to spin.

Then you are dizzy looking at them, you are dizzy and you forget, you feel like a squirrel throwing you to the seventh heaven. When the Master stops and returns to his carpet and the dance is over, we each wake up with each other’s memories, as if the letters are tangled, changing what is written to one with what is written to the other. Why should I call you on the night before, when you’re in all her niches?

Let’s go back as long as we can, let’s go back to the time around, let’s run to the outskirts of the city, let’s go on the railway, jumping from cross to cross. Until the whistling of the train throws us into the grass and the bright windows of the Meram Express line up in front of our eyes, enough to hear voices and laughter and the crack of champagne corks and enjoy the passing world.

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