Thursday, January 22, 2015

dear egypt



I know what it's like to arrive to you. To step off the plane and into a pour of people, the double click-smack-thud of passport stamped. La shukran dismounting tongue as person after person offers to carry my bags or take me home. I know what it's like to search and then see J's face in the crowd of people waiting outside. The traffic on the bridge and double parked streets of Zamalek. The noise of being there is an old friend.


photo by JG

I love the ballet of walking around. Terrain uneven with busted bits, air conditioner drips and cat shit--you've got to pay attention. You learn to walk in the street. I wonder if I'll ever be fearless of that--years of bike commuting in the city makes me extra twitchy around cars, I think. A proximity so close that only shadow separates us. I love passing the giant church as night falls and a wedding ends. Egyptians standing around dressed to the nines out front, lighting cigarettes. The hotel bar on the corner where everyone greets you with "Habibi!" and patrons chain-smoke while futbol plays on the televisions. Car horns in varying tones bleating on all through the night. Call to prayer pulls me out onto the balcony, and I'll stand there inspired near delirium beneath a sky full of harmonies.





Lovely Egypt, I am often intimidated by your history. I feel like I should bring you something when I arrive, besides myself. Is that enough? I come with my own past, my own complicated layers. My own ruins and legends and truths. Perhaps our individual depths will bring out my best. I still know so little about you, and our paths crossing is bound to get intimate--I fully expect you to leave an imprint. Certain streets will own memory(some I dare say already do). Egypt, my habibi, it will be wonderful to add you to my list of many homes.




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