Hajj to Konya

I embarked on a solitary two week journey to Turkey last September. Istanbul was bustling, thriving, but not what I was looking for – I could not find peace even in the walls of the Hagia Sophia. My journey ended in the Central Anatolia, in the mountains of Cappadocia in Kayseri.

And in between, comfortably cushioned, I sought refuge for two days in Konya.

I wept next to Shams’ enshrine, without quite knowing why.

Shams-i Tabrīzī’s Shrine

Warm wine and baby dumplings

The hills they smiled at me

Did you see?

I could have sworn they smiled at me.

Tolstoy, I wish I knew a Levin in real life

To have intellectual talks with

But when I met intellectual men,

Philosophizing war, glorifying war,

Cigarettes dangling from their fingers

Eyes glazing over at the theories of warfare,

I despised them

And they me-

I had too much personality, and I didn’t like war.

Weeping next to Shams’ tombstone,

و الضحى blurred before my eyes

I couldn’t see the words anymore –

و الليل اذا سجى

But he wasn’t there,

Rumi told me so

He said,

“When we are dead; seek not our tombs in the earth, find us in the hearts of men.”

I don’t understand what you say,

I just know I must try.

– A.T.

Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī’s Shrine

“I used to read

The myths of love

Now I have become

the mythical lover”