(Towards the book “Suitcase” by Erol Tufan, published by PNV Publications, Skopje, 2022)
The tenth day of the last month of the year is full of the symbolism of the number ten. From a spiritual point of view, it relates to the Latin philosophy “Panta rei” which literally translates as “everything flows, everything changes” and calls us not to be afraid of change. It is considered an angelic number, a powerful combination of the numbers one and zero, which are opposed in their depths and meanings. One is the symbol of all beginnings, even the beginning of the world, and zero stands for infinity and matter.
Well, on that tenth day, at the end of the year, the point where ends, beginnings, and meanings come together, on that very day, at the door of my virtual world, it seemed like an ordinary email, but actually like some mysterious message from the Universe, “Suitcase” arrived with the author’s signature of Erol Tufan.
“Suitcase” – a symbol of departure, arrival, journeys… which brought me lyrics from the White Sea, lyrics conceived and born between two continents, lyrics that warned me that the song is the bridge that connects the human with the spiritual, that it is never the answer to the questions related to human’s pursuit of the material and the physical, “But if you look for signs by the road/that you have taken, behold then/the suitcase may be full of/powerful signs – question marks placed/at the end of your questions/and I, who bear this suitcase for years/I can help you/face yourself/like a mirror that lies not/Nor hides truths…”
“Suitcase”, which marked the beginning of an extraordinary literary journey and the creation of a poetry collection of the same name, where as much as the poet will face himself, I will also face myself, reflected in his verses, reflected in that “a mirror that lies not/Nor hides truths,” and yet reveals to us all the layers of our personality, arranged and packed in their own order, adapted to the needs of our inner suitcase. Because each of us is a suitcase for itself, where we carefully store things that should remain closed, invisible to others, but still available to take with us at any moment and to take out as needed.
So, we can keep “Wind in the Suitcase”, which will remind us of a distant love that once flourished, but now only catches the forgotten sighs like a dreamy apparition, like catching “the wind over the mountain by the Vardar”. Or “Country in the suitcase”, which will bear the weight of the father’s gaze that slowly fades in the half-dark chamber. The weight of his last bequest, wherever you go to take the lump of your birth soil with you and plant your beloved flowers to remember the fragrance of your father’s spirit.
And we can store “Sun in the suitcase”. For me, it arrived on a cold, dark, winter day, a month, and two days into the journey, as people suffocated in the gray and cold of a pandemic that had been around for too long. That suitcase arrived from the blueness of the east, to remind me that when we are faced with an illness that sows uncertainty and death, we learn how powerless we are before the inevitable transience of life, how uncertain we are in the moment of our existence because we never know how long it lasts. We go through our lives as random travelers who very often do not know the purpose of their journey. We are carrying luggage, a heavy load, because we have taken something from all the stations we have stopped at before. And we should not and must not forget that the most important thing we must take on our journey is the “Sun in the suitcase”, about which a mysterious messenger constantly warns us and says: “Take the sun out of the suitcase / and let it roam freely / from morning to night/Let it warm other frozen souls.” Because according to the philosophy and theology of the Persian poet Mevlana Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, “If one candle lights another, it will lose none of its flames”, and our light is the one that illuminates the worlds. Our “sun in a suitcase”, our spiritual light reflects the purity of our spirit, the willingness to recognize that, in all our human imperfection, we are part of a divine universal energy whose core is love.
“Sun in the suitcase” returned to Istanbul, where it came from, but in the following days, it brought me “Silence”, “Woman”, “In a Blink and Free”… Small, reflective collages of a restless spirit who he has known the depths of silence, who knows that the silence knows how to say much more while hiding and being silent between words, and yet, he longs to be able to paint her and place her in his inner suitcase. A confessional lyric of a poet and dreamer for whom love is Spirit and Soul, hidden in the ideal of the imagined woman, and she, the woman, is never a physical form or only an object of physical lust, but always signifies freedom…
When are we truly free? – I think as I layer the contents of this bookcase. According to Jung, freedom is defined by a person’s ability to become in their life what they are, and the ultimate goal should be their individuation. According to Tufan’s “In a Blink and Free”, a person should discard all pathos and statuses, habits, constraints, and restraints and become “flowing and transparent/like water in a mountain river”, to be able to go somewhere far from everyday life based on self-deception and to shout loudly: “and to sail away somewhere who-knows-where / where no one will look for me / nor will I need a lie / Only yellow sun / Blue-green water / Blue and dark blue sky / Brown earth and lots of greenery / to whip a cold, colorless wind…/And endlessly white FREEDOM like/ a touchable ideal or a fairy to deceive…”
It’s hard to carry our suitcase and reach for freedom at the same time. It is even more difficult for a poet to do so, for he stands in the middle of the stage of this world, somewhere between heaven and earth, aware that as long as his verses echo in the ether, he is the link between the human and the divine, as, according to Aristotle, “Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history, because poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.” But when the festival stage will remain empty, as in “Poetic Postcard”, then “The suitcase closes/the poet leaves…/The maids collect/ the books in bags and/ clear the air/ of ‘dangerous’ words”, and he, the poet, continues to hunt his Muses, aware that “Unheard poems will yet be painted/ with new silences between… two recitations.”