The Great In / Büyük An

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This is the fourth post in the series, Succession II: Queering the Environment, a fourteen-part series in which contributors explore topics related to unruliness, care, and pleasure. Succession II centers queer people, non-humans, systems, and ideas and explores their impact within the fields of environmental history, environmental humanities, and queer ecology.

The following poem is inspired by Cyprus/Kıbrıs/Κύπρος, an island in the Mediterranean sea. Cyprus is associated with heaven for its beautiful natural spaces and its mythological importance as being the birthplace of Aphrodite. Historically Cyprus has been sought after as a strategic base because of its geopolitical position. Throughout history; Venetian, Lusignan, Ottoman, British, and other empires have aimed to control the island.1 Despite the diverse communities living on Cyprus, the island is divided into two, with communities living separately. The island’s capital for both sides is Nicosia, the last divided capital in the world.2 In the middle of Nicosia, there is a historical building called The Great Inn/Büyük Han.3 This building has been used as a guest house, prison, and other purposes and is now a tourist destination where local individuals sell hand crafts. There is a large tree in the centre of its concrete courtyard and the Inn itself is is located in the centre of the island. This poetic work seeks to provide a meditation of the biopolitics of Cyprus from a queer ecological perspective. Bodies, whether non-human or human animals, as well as the tree in the middle of the Inn, explore the blurry line between living and death as well as what lies beyond the human or animal realms, or animacies.4 Instead of using a dualistic perspective to portray the society’s primary aspects, this poem depicts them as a whole, acknowledging that they were once individual bodies that have now become part of a larger whole. The bodies here are unruly. The form of this piece hopes to convey embodiment of wild and queer existence.  The Büyük Han’s walls and doors are covered with depictions of bodies, a representation that could reference History of Sexuality in theory, and the contested land in Cyprus in a more material way.5 Even if at first bodies seem to be regulated, they end up becoming more chaotic and wilder by opening a door that leads directly into the wilderness.

They awake on the concrete floor 

The floor of the Büyük An / the Great In

Moving like an organism.

Contagious and expanding 

Complex in their differences 

Alike, not unlike.

Moving parts, moving bodies, moving

They are both moving from one point to the other

But also, they move their parts while moving

Some bodies dismantle the organism 

Some bodies are eaten back by the organism

Some bodies dismantle from the organism 

Some bodies join back

They are naked!

Naked as one can be 

in the middle of the concrete

There is mud covering their bodies 

Mud that doesn’t belong to the concrete

Mud that comes from river washed, soil.

Bodies move, bodies touch, bodies catch

Bodies come to limits at Büyük An / the Great In

Limits are supposed to be the doors of others!

Others that were bodies once

Others open the doors 

Others are disgusted by those who awake on the concrete floor 

the floor of the Büyük An / the Great In

Others are men and women

Others are families with kids

Others are armies

Others are police 

Others are teachers

Others are nuns, priests, hodjas and scientists

Map of Nicosia in Cyprus, created in 1597 by the Venetian Giacomo (Jacomo) Franco (1550-1620) for his book Viaggio da Venetia a Constantinopoli per Mare.

Others are frightened

Others open the doors

Doors that bodies

cannot enter.

Bodies are observed

Bodies are repelled

Bodies don’t matter!

The light shattered

In the middle of the Büyük An / The Great In 

There is a lighthouse

A lighthouse in the house that observes others

Others are regulated by the house

House that is called the panopticon

In the middle of the island

Islands are the epicentre of houses

Houses are the epicentre of mundus

Others are regulated

Islands are religated

Bodies are not!

Light turns around

Light brings darkness

The darkness that bodies can escape

Bodies don’t

Bodies do

Bodies leave!

They are fugitive bodies

Limits… bodies… don’t obey

Bodies leave the door

The door is the others

that bodies leave.

Büyük Han / The Great Inn, Cyprus. Photo Credit.


1. via

2. via


4. Chen, M. Y. (2012). Animacies. In Animacies. Duke University Press.

5. Foucault, M. (1990). The history of sexuality: An introduction, volume I. Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage95.

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Erman (They/Them/Theirs) studied Environmental Engineering bachelor in Anadolu University (Turkey), and returned to Cyprus (2013) and studied MSc. Sustainable Energy Systems at Frederick University. After their first master's, they did their second master's in Atmospheric Sciences at The Cyprus Institute. Currently, they are PhD student at the University of Cyprus on Gender Studies. Their main interest is Queer Ecology. Besides their academic carrier, they worked as project coordinator in LGBTI+ related areas and currently they are working as an LGBTI+ Rights Programme Coordinator on Human Rights Platform. Erman defends the intersectionality of the struggle in areas such as veganism, anti-militarism, anti-racism, feminism, ecology and queer activism.

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