Cities always remain closed to their secrets, they do not give themselves up except to those who struggle to search for them, like the greatest hidden secret, which only reveals itself to those who seek it, as the city is a wide door that many entered, the most prominent of whom was Ahmed Abdel Muti Hijazi in his famous book “City Without heart”; Where he received the shock of material modernity.
Did the poet Gerges Shukri pass this civilizational shock when he went through the same experience of Hegazy?! Perhaps his experience was harsher, as he comes from closed societies, which do not give themselves to the residents easily, let alone the transients, and the poet himself is transient, even if he is a resident, and this doubles his alienation, to turn into a permanent residence.
This book, entitled “All Cities Are Dreams,” represents new and great experiences that Gerges Shoukry gained from traveling to Europe, invited as a poet or theater critic, to discover that life in Europe is poetry, and that is why he dealt with these cities in the spirit of the poet.
He is subjected to a shock of another kind: “I will remain astonished by the audience of poetry, or say the shock that still lingers in me; And that is through the audience’s relationship with poetry, which pays for the attendance ticket, and wears the most beautiful thing that he has, to listen, despite the cold weather, despite the snow.” It includes life inside the halls with poetic evenings, and this is another paradox related to the publication of this book by Afaq Publishing and Distribution House, at this time when everyone is calling for what is known as social distancing.
The book, “its deep structure depends on the movement in a rare historical moment, whose motto is social distancing, a moment when the world closed its doors for the first time; Suddenly the feet stopped moving, a rare historical moment, in which all the arts of watching were disrupted.
Its main plot is based around trips and travel, moving between cities, and mixing with large numbers of people, in different places, and depends for its infrastructure on the social and cultural rapprochement that occurred between the poet and others.
The writer relives those trips and travels to the enchanted cities, which seem to come out of the cover of the book “One Thousand and One Nights” with their places, stones and people. Movement, from here, cities seem dreams, lived in reality before, and live them again on paper.
In Switzerland, he searches among the faces for Dürrenmatt and Max Frisch in the Odeon Café, in the Netherlands he searches for a vagrant Spinoza in the streets, and in Amsterdam he imagined that he would see Van Gogh’s paintings in the fields among the peasants, and in the streets of German cities he watched philosophers and thinkers, jogging in the streets, fleeing from The noise of cars, and in Berlin he lived a whole day, between a house, a theater, and Berthold Brecht’s cemetery, and toured Goethe’s house.