October 20, 2018
by Mona Abu Rayyan, Jordan
I can’t seem to write about the dance. It’s so strange. Because it’s all whirling in my head, the words. I can’t put them down in any particular order. The letters whirl like a calligraphic-dervish in my head. In Arabic. From right to left. Whirling, whirling, and whirling. Over and over and over. It makes me dizzy. So I switch to English. And they whirl again. From left to right.
I guess it’s a different form of chaos. Maybe I am chaos.
Then again, maybe tomorrow it will come. And they will flow. In circles and circles and circles until they find their way into a stream to dance on my screen.
I can’t write on paper anymore. Isn’t that strange? My hand doesn’t write fast enough on paper. Pencils and pens like ski poles, dragging my words. On the screen, I whip the words. I type so fast, almost as fast as I think them. For another moment, I thank the Creator that I was born during this time. I don’t know what I would have done without my keyboard.
The whirling all started with a poem. That spoke of a generous window. And clothes, hanging, waiting patiently in a closet to be worn. I always felt the love of inanimate objects that hold us so quietly. So kindly. Without wanting. Inanimate. With no strings. Sturdy. Like my father. A rock. The strength, the steadiness, the symbol moves me. It stops me in my tracks with its beauty.
I see him whirling. In a Sufi gown. Beautiful in his whirl. Hands outstretched, eyes like an eagle. Piercing through my tears into the black hole that holds my soul.
There is a string of lights in there, she says – from out there. Somewhere in my left eye. I shift to the right. She says, Oh my God. They’re still there. Then she laughs, giggling, gurgling, tearing in laughter. Her blue eyes sparkling like the child in her and the owl beyond. She laughs because the lights are not from out there but actually in there somewhere between a kneeling Buddha and a black jaguar, silent in stealth, and powerful, she says. She sees him through his eye in my eye. And laughs and laughs and laughs. It is just too strange, she says. I laugh too as the owl in her eye stretches into a long thin line tugged by the opening of his huge, round eyes. Blinking.
He talks about a Nepalese ball. An eagle soaring across skies and mountains. Majestic. Green. Blue. Big. Beautiful. He soars over a shimmering lake to land beyond deep, into the forest, into the black wolf that runs and runs and runs. Soaring over the land. He says, I smelt it. I saw it. I felt it. I know forever why they love to run this way. Through the forest. Onto the tree, fallen, dead, but also tilted from the earth, pointing to the sky.
Become the sky, another dervish says.
He climbs up the fallen tree. All the way to the end, where it pierces the light. Like a lion, the wolf looks out over his kingdom of fallen trees and breathes in the scent of the dew of an ancient earth watered by the tears of a goddess. He looks back from his creation in darkness to the searing light, white. He wrangles the light to the ground. Not today. You will not enter my kingdom today.
Today, I will dance in darkness, where the universe sparkles and shimmers and whirls and dwells.