As published in Volume 10 NO 2, June 2013
I am divided,
split into three pieces;
past, present, future
- I was too young for a past,
the future was abundant
and therefore insignificant –
I am divided in three,
I become time.
It came while I slept,
on a September night
that still smelled of summer.
It came in furtively through the bathroom window
and tip toeing
it slid into my bed;
but I knew nothing of it that night,
all I saw were the wrinkles left by its body on the bed sheets.
My pillow absorbed its scent,
its footprints left behind on the dusty parquet floor
and it left a glass of water on my bedside table.
And at last I changed the sheets.
My wet stained sheets.
And I washed them
to remove your scent.
Translated by Irena Joannides
As published in Volume 9, NO 2, June 2012
We are all capable of everything.
Yes, even I.
I had lost track of her.
In incomprehensible pages
and in closets without mothballs.
And when I found her years later,
almost hidden in the deep,
I immediately recognized her.
SOAP BUBBLES IN CAMDEN
Sunday in Camden Town.
Afternoon beers at a nameless pub.
I step out for a cigarette.
Under the lit signs,
with hundreds of people around me –
I am alone,
but not lonely.
A man fills the dark sky with soap bubbles
and next door Axl Rose wonders;
“Where do we go now?”
I have the same question too,
but I am not afraid of the answer;
perhaps because this question has no answer.
With the exception of today.
Tomorrow is “another country,” *
enclosed inside a soap bubble.
The only place and time that exists
is today, here –
in Camden Town.
the soap bubbles,
the afternoon beers,
the banned cigarettes,
the unfulfilled desires,
the new “wants”
and the already answered “whys”.
* From the title of the book by Soti Triantafillou,
Tomorrow, Another Country, Polis Publications, 1997.
In the quest for happiness
I find before me
forbidding yellow ribbons
and signs about the “right moment”;
I find before me
the failed love affairs of my twenties
mistakes of my twenty-fives,
the guilt that stayed,
all that I have struggled to forget;
I find an inscription
“What you seek is not here”,
so I change direction again
and I walk
to the unknown;
I am out of breath,
but I pass the hills
I climb the mountains
I swim the rivers
and battle the torrents,
I hold shears in my right hand
a life preserver in my left
and in my mind I write
that which I did not have the strength
- (the) truth-
YOU LEFT, AND I AM GRATEFUL
When you left,
I wanted to stay here
nailed to the floor,
to vanish in my tears
and drown in your lies.
I wanted to enfold myself in the curtains;
to shatter your records to pieces
and use your letters as tinder
to set the house on fire
to burn your entire life.
I locked the door
and secured the windows well
not to feel the air you used to breathe
or have it pollute my oxygen.
But I realized that
I cannot live without light -
I looked at the sky again
and it is indeed blue.
You left, and I am grateful.
I just want you to take care of my dog
that still licks my palm in my dreams.
CURIOSITY, A HUMAN WEAKNESS
Every time I travel
images and memories of places I have loved
The bus stop for the 49 and the 40,
the pedestrian road,
the chessboard at the square
the Tuesday market,
the twists of the coastal road
and the millions of lights
in the dirty waters of the port.
A mediocre city, common.
It seems that I miss nothing,
other than the lights on the damp horizon at night perhaps
and the strolls at the first bit of cold.
But I wonder
if I will feel that lump in my throat
and that murkiness in the eyes,
if I will remember the row of shops
and what time the next bus passes by.
if your memories
also return arbitrarily and with insolence,
what you will retain in the end;
because curiosity will always be
a human weakness.
I wish I had not made these mistakes.
But I have.
And I apologize.
Because one day this journey will end.
I think I may disintegrate;
one cold night
shut in the house
I think I might explode.
Perhaps my flames would then spill out of the windows,
perhaps my ashes would flood the room
- the color of the walls would finally change -
my letters would most probably shoot
violently up to the ceiling
and the smoke would pierce the sky –
one of these empty nights.
You think that it’s just a shower that will pass.
But when the sky crushed you,
remember the weather forecast
and the instinct you had pushed aside.
BEFORE I FALL SLEEP
I am seven years old, eight at most.
I am restless and cannot sleep.
Mother says that to sleep sweetly
you must think only of nice things.
in my mind spin
dolls, ice cream cones and summer holidays.
At fifteen I think of the boy I wish
would turn back to look at me
and wonder what the first kiss would feel like.
At eighteen the first cigarette,
at twenty one the drinking binge at “Ballistic”
and the casual encounter of the previous night
At twenty seven...
- what does it matter any more –
and now at thirty-something I stop slicing up time,
I open and close circles
and define them as I choose.
And so I now can close my eyes
and sleep peacefully.
Perhaps even freely.
Translated by Irena Joannides
From the collection ROUGH NOTES ON A LIFEVEST,
Armida Publications, 2012