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Dreams Are More Real Than Reality

I said “Come in,” Moero[1].
“Come in.”
The voice entered inside… like the night… with the night…
“Throughout thousands of years,” she said, “so many questions regarding the happenings in my city piled up inside of me.
This city İs an endless breath in which the human heart has been incessantly beating for four hundred thousand years…
It is beyond me why my compatriots flee from the memory of this endless breath.
Whereas, the memory is like a rose which enriches us with its multi-foil petals. If you forget the memory of the city you will turn into a single-leaved rose, into a rose that is alike anything but a rose, a rose that doesn’t even know that it is a rose…
Just as my current compatriots who don’t know who they are.
Only the thorns of that rose become fastened to your clothes, the thorns that hinder the journeys you wish to take!
This single-leaved rose detains you!
You become withheld!
When this city where we are born, live, and die is a multi-foil, fragrant and variegated rose; why do we insist on this single-petal, single-leaved blindness?
I remain buried within myself because of this insistence…
You know how in a poem our compatriot Agathias[2] said:e
‘There is a grave here, but no corpse inside.
There is a corpse here, hut no grave outside.
This corpse is buried within itself.’
Well, it is as if he was born in our future and that’s how he came to write those lines.
We remain buried within ourselves with all our life experiences.
Our life experience with my twin sister Venice remains buried within herself, too… She is forgotten.
Whereas, the waters had tied me to my twin sister Venice the way a mother’s umbilical cord ties her to her baby.
We loved each other deeply; we came to be so alike…
We lived so many loves, so many jealousies…
We fought many battles, we buried the hatchet plenty. Ours was a real relationship.
My twin sister Venice broke my heart in two in 1204… She took away all my beauty; she took it with the waters that tied us together.
She took away the horse monument in my hippodrome, my pillars, icons, and the horse sculptures atop my pillars…
Ours turned out to be a relationship tied and untied by waters. What a shame!
O’, every piece of me remains in another place.
I am dishevelled.
The answers are concealed in you, I suspect.
Help me… in memory of that poem I wrote to thank Cleonymus for the beautiful sculptures he bestowed to the pinewood gardens of Istanbul.
I want to go everywhere, I want to see everything.
I want to be seen everywhere I see.
I want to unite my scattered pieces.
I want to see my horse sculptures in my hippodrome once again…
I want to tie that which the waters untied with the waters once more.
Render me visible.”
“Don’t fret” I replied to Moero… “Don’t fret any longer.
I will sew a dress that will make you visible.
Which colour should your dress be, Moero?”
“Let it be a colour that bears the green of the land, the blue of both the waters and the sky, and the purple of our city.
Like the feathers of a peacock.
A dress made of silk.
Let it look like the dress of Saint Eudokia.
Hers is embroidered with emeralds, pearls and rubies.
My heart is broken; I want neither the emeralds nor the pearls.
Embroider my body with broken pieces of terra cotta.
A piece of terra cotta from every period of my city… Up until the pieces of terra cotta date to your time…”


We sat together, five women, and sewed Moero’s dress by hand.
With golden thread we sewed together Moero’s broken heart.
Sitting around the table, we embroidered the dress ceremoniously.
As Moero waited for that moment in which she would become visible she quietly watched us with patience.
Her dress was complete.
The moment she had been waiting for had arrived.
We could now set out on our journey.
She first wanted to go to our twin sister, Venice.
We went there.
She saw everything and each place she had missed.
She paused and viewed it all in quiet elation.
She caressed them gently and silently.
At times she lay down on the mosaic-fitted floors.
She had a souvenir photograph taken with all of them.
Then, together we returned to our city, Istanbul.
Our journey was like a feast, a peculiar ceremony.
Moero smilingly viewed the hubbub of the city and the surprise of those who saw her.
“I can see and be seen,” she said, “How wonderful!”
As she walked on the mosaic floors of her palace she suddenly stopped.
She looked down at the floor, at the deer grazing under the tree, at the surrounding vineyards and the images of vine leaves that still looked very fresh.

She recalled her poem:
“Full of the juice of Dionysus, thou rest est under the roof of Aphrodite’s golden chamber: no longer shall the vine, thy mother, cast her lovely branch around thee, and put forth above thy head her sweet leaves.”
Then she said, “I am no longer like the vine in my poem. I was able to cast my branch around and put the city above my head, my mother.”
You came and found me Moero.
I was born and I found you.
Now we have one last wish! May all that was untied by the waters be tied by the waters once more.


Istanbul/Venice/Istanbul. 1998/2006

[1] Moero, otherwise known as Moero of Byzantium, is the earliest known Istanbulite poetess. She lived in 300 BC.
[2] Agathias was a poet who lived in Istanbul in 6th century BC.
Translation: Hande Eagle


Wates that tie / Waters that untie
2009, Unicredit Art Gallery, Milan