It almost looked like that after three weeks I finally gonna get out of Ankara (however comfortable it was), but on the road to the station I heard some whining mournful sobs coming from the rear wheel and when I examined their origin, I found that I’m not going anywhere. My rear rack had cracked and due to the fact that Turkey might be the last country before China where I can actually get such a thing as a rear rack, I had to put up with another week of waiting, which unfortunately means that my disease is getting worse. From what I’ve observed, it seems that I am condemned to trample across the world forever, ’cause as soon as I stop, within two weeks I again, in convulsions, look at a toilet full of blood. Having my Iranian visa already glued in my passport, I am fully determined not to give up and from Tehran on, I will push it so hard, that my dismal blood will no longer have the courage to even show up. But now, let’s get back to my journey…
Another sleepy day of January Ankara’s eternity has silently drowned in a crimson haze of trembling, weakened winter Sun, in front of thousands of dull eyes of apathetic minarets, proudly disregarding the horrors of an upcoming night full of dog shit and broken bottles. And with that day, sinking into the depths of my memory I descend hand in hand, from the heights of icy, slippery walls of Ankara fortress, solid fifty meters of high steep escarpment, into a smouldering rubble of old houses, whose sad decrepit wooden walls had once looked down on themselves in the gloss of Mustafa Kemal’s hair – one wrong step and thy soundless fall will introduce you to the Creator – if this castle was in Europe, there would be an entrance fee, cameras would be confiscated and the old, majestic, stubbornly arrogant reddish stones couldn’t be seen behind the flood of safety railing, rules, East Asian tourists and information boards that think that you’re not capable of taking care of your own fragile body – but not here, here you have the freedom to shoot what you want with your camera and climb wherever you can in this frost and strong wind, the freedom to slip and to look death in the eyes yourself, not taking any excuses.
There’s just a little grubby seraphic girl with invisible angel wings and sad eyes that’ll join you on your way up and talks about suffering of these walls so that at the end she would eventually stretch her frozen dirty little hand and get a few liras for a roulette with oval of frozen Lune. Then she joins the other miserable goblins of this place, I’ve seen about ten children, the eldest one could be around sixteen, pulling wood from dilapidated houses below the fort, crawling into the holes in the walls and lighting a fire then, quietly and passively staring into the flame of hope, which like an icebreaker pierces through the dark towards the morning, which is perhaps even sadder than the evening in its nakedness, leaving the surrounding walls blackened with soot as countless epitaphs of those tragic January nights.
And the darkness is here already, scurrying through the slush of dirty streets and boulevards in its dark cloak, zigzagging between stinking blue-white-stripped rattling minibuses and honking impatient taxis, street vendors shout in the lights of intersections, trying to sell the last pieces of hardened cold simit; under balconies of pedestrian zones, there are hobos wrapped in millions of scarves, stretching their grubby cardboards onto the pavement and abandoned mothers tightly pressing small shaking nodules to theirs chests, from which sometimes a small sock peeks out or a hoping curious eye that still didn’t get to know the suffering of the world.
Suddenly there is the Kızılay intersection wide open in front of you, gleaming, ads-draped beating heart of the city, with its hundreds of buses and millions of neons, McDonald’s and Burger Kings and kebab places – I watch this mad performance from a terrace on Atatürk’s boulevard – the play of electromagnetic waves and blurry red rear lights in the sound of klaxon blues – six floors below me, even lower than the all-encompassing wide asphalt is, there is another crazy anthill with two subway lines – the dark alleys of despair are forgotten here in the glow of lustrous hair, high heels and fashion boutiques – forgetting the dark memories, forgetting the sharp contrasts I can very well be in Milan, Prague or Berlin now (most probably in Berlin): polished turnstiles and smart cards, shining ATMs, big TVs and new Mercedeses… but that’s why Ankara’s Ankara – for its two faces, for the appearance of a modern European businessman, in nicely fitting suit but barefoot, stumbling on those bare feet in the sewers of suburbs in the lights of kitschy flashing red banners advertising everything from gasoline prices through barbershops to the AA batteries.
I get out of the subway at Emek, penultimate station on the Ankaray line. The house where I live now is just a little bit up the hill, I was very, very lucky finding my host – Ömer, swarthy cropped short Kurd originally from Istanbul, lets me stay here for much longer than I originally planned, and not only that, I do not have to worry about food which miraculously appears in the fridge every time he comes home from the hospital (he’s a medical intern). To repay him somehow, I clean and cook at least – and it’s a feast, because Ömer does not recognize food (as he says) without proteins, hence we usually eat two kilos of chicken for the dinner and for the breakfast I scramble fifteen eggs. But we live not just for the food – we’re having long discussions about the world and God, and to my surprise, at the end I am the one who is trying to defend His existence – Ömer always consistently stops at the boundaries of his rationality but I want to go on – of course, I believe in noble sciences and the laws of physics, but aren’t there things in the world that we still fail to explain? The human mind simply needs answers and I try to explain that it’s better to have a possibility to lean onto something than to stop in front of the precipice of the unknown and wait for some new discovery to bridge it. Science has led us to the Big Bang, but where did that come from? And even if we found out, we’d run into another seemingly insurmountable obstacles of causality that are, because our cause-effect perception of time, impossible to break having no all-encompassing principle. And so, I do believe – not in God, that’s just a word – I don’t carry the cross of suffering and my way’s not lit by the inverted crescent – I believe in the endless inexplicability of divinely balanced constants of predetermination of the universe. And since every atom of my romantic heart had once gushed forth from the core of my ancient lucky star, I believe in myself and the power of my thoughts.
At eight o’clock in the evening, while getting a shower, I hear the last Allahu akbar through the ventilation shaft and during that five minutes of muezzin’s melancholic song I think about the deep roots of the religion of green color, spread through the entire Middle East: Islam cannot be compared with Christianity, at least not in the way some today’s Europeans are trying to do, babbling something about Christian Europe and its traditions. None of this, the belief and the church, is rooted in us so deeply, as deeply Allah is in hearts of those I saw at Friday prayers in the Kocatepe mosque. In a world where we don’t have to worry about survival and where there’s a plenty of everything, there’s no demand for a God-Savior – but that’s not the case here – I’ve seen people who truly Believe and often they’ve no other choice – it’s something the Catholic priests in their empty churches never’ve dreamed of – bursting-full mosque and its magnificent celestial carpets with hundreds of people, humbly touching their earlobes, reciting prayers in the belief that their lives can really be better – No, I’m not an advocate of churches and organized religion, but to see thousands of people kneel on the streets and in mosques in a mystical Friday afternoon, that’s something all those slipper-xenophobes can’t imagine – everything is clear at once, you know that any comparison limps here and that for all those desperate people who think about their lives in the shadows of their dank Turkish toilets before they lie down with wives they don’t love, Allah is as important as an another family member, he’s an integral part of their lives and he’s a hope that if not here, then at least on the other side, all might be better. In the light of recent events, I therefore can’t ignore the illusory blindness of those who wave the banner of the freedom of speech, sanctifying a truly shameful and vulgar insults of pure conviction of people for whom an insult of their God or the Prophet is something similarly outrageous as an insult of their mothers or sisters.
100 days and 100 nights
With today’s dawn, as Juliet saw the sunrise and Romeo drank his vial, I cracked the beautiful rounded jubilee of hundred days and a hundred nights on the road. I haven’t been moving on the map much lately, but my head is pounding and bursting with fireworks full of colorful ideas and beautiful words, ideals and untamed natural energy, I tried hard to tame for the whole month and write, write, like it should be the last thing I do in this world, my ultimate exhaustive confession, that center of gravity, that base, firmly knocked pin from which millions of words and dashes will evolve towards the heavenly ingenius novel that might be waiting somewhere for me so I can become the lonely writer in a mysterious hut on the seashore with a large supply of wine, cigarette smoke and a furious scratching of a pen – I’ve been feeding myself this cliché during the frosty nights when I screamed the truth about the world into the darkness of the night; but in my head I’ve really traveled a fair part of the way already – I feel I’ve aged five years and my guts wanna burst out like a clown on a spring, longing for this writing therapy: to say everything that has to be said, like pouring your heart out to your best buddy after five beers in your favourite smokey-murky pub.
I see the yellow Moon sink and the Earth rolling, again and again and every night I ask the heavens: ‘Why?,’ but I still didn’t get a satisfactory answer – and so I write and I live every day to the fullest, aiming for the eastern edge of the universe, right up there, beyond the reach of God or lovelorn spines of sick loves, I write and create my own individual cosy Universe, in which I am the hero of the Eastern night, tragical romantic stubbly poet, toughened by cold and heat, mud and rain, grains of desert sand and rugged mountain peaks, I rush on a dazzling fiery furrow, branding the earth, searching for an angel with female’s wings, my rose, my dark emerald, velvet thighs just for me – but sometimes I catch myself at the bottom of nothingness worse than the most distant idea – my soul is torn remembering the dreamy and impossible – how bitter-sweet the world tastes! – but perhaps it’s just not worth to worry anymore and peek through the curtains into the lives of lost loves – I convince myself that I’m just what I need – an encounter of Jing and Yang in January Ankara.
And then I have such a epiphanic all-redempting idea that hugs me back and includes me amongst the other souls, wandering this world: it’s not just me who is searching, we’re all this Void Generation, the generation of rapid, shallow music that doesn’t contain a message, because there’s nothing to fight against, we’re in a maze of possibilities and illusory freedom, with all its attractions, from which we cannot choose; We’re Void generation that has grown up in affluence of polished gold toilets, with no ideals, we forgot to fight, trying to conserve the today’s world, rejecting everything different, furiously waving banners with boastful empty slogans, writing shallow statuses to mean something in the world of ten-minute époques and instant sex, we have no real goals, just vague picture of decadence and a lot of time to be wasted and the dreams and the need to do something huge and be all “successful” and known, laid-back and frivolous, just caress and pamper your egoism, but for heaven’s sake please don’t expect us to stand up to the world’s suffering and the sweat of a man, don’t force us to actually create the reality – let someone another, apparently less successful, do that for all those fancy people.
In those hundred days and hundred night I’ve gone a long way to become a wise and wordily-wise, stubbly sage who doesn’t go far for a quotation – I gave up attempts at writing poetry – my journey IS the poetry – a poetry of scarred sore Dostoevsky’s heart in a deep dungeon of uncompromising world, where it sadly beats and caresses wings of angels and begs the diabolic world for love for which it breathes and gives the desperate haemoglobin what it so blatantly craves. I’m still so sad for the passionate serenades that aren’t played for the soul of my sweet señorita, but I’ve become wise enough to loosen that uncompromising convulsive grip I’ve been holding the world in, when it didn’t dance in a dress I wished it would have danced in and finally I know that it’s meant well with me and I was rather unconcerned even when I missed the Wednesday train to Iran because of the broken rear rack, left to be stuck in Ankara for another week (which I’ve used to explore Cappadocia, where I spent the whole afternoon trying to climb over rocks not to pay admission just to find out that the climbing itself gave me much more than the small, tourist saturated overpriced museum).
Everything is just as it should be and I’m not the one who plans the ways of her deep green eyes and angel hair, I’m just a poor supplicant believing in god from the machine, my deus ex machina, that set the universe so that what naturally belongs together is attracted to each other, but now I’m a diabolical neutron anyways, I’m the Higgs boson, that flies through the thoughts and the universe at breakneck speed and all that is left after it is just a small smudge in the history books, so turn the page and concentrate on the big, bombastic, majestic, colorful NOW, on the enthusiasm of the journey that can’t be scarred even with repeatedly sharpened spear of dozens of memories of Miss Catherine, those green eyes now pale in the blue of Isfahan’s mosques and that angel hair is lost in the midday heat of the Great Salt Desert, I see myself further, filling my sad soul like a lank wineskin with pictures of upcoming Silk Road’s oases, green diamond of Samarkand, seven-thousandy orgasms of Pamir and endless wasteland of Taklamakan desert, I see my restlessness at Tiananmen Square, where neither the jade Emperor can hold my wild legs hopping over the ephemeral surface of the earth, quite possibly south to the tropical jungles of Indonesia and Bali, where in the salty wind and despite all the prophecies I’d sail across the stubborn sea – the world is mine, I am the world and it might be a long time before I return. And what does it really mean, to return? Where to? This is The life, the one that my blind fate had in mind when wondering about my purpose. There is no return and there aren’t any homes but those we create for ourselves with kind words and warm kisses.