All Quiet on the First Day of Spring

March 19, 2017 § Leave a comment

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This weekend spring has already taken a break and it’s rainy, windy and cold. But that was all very different a week ago and so, on that Sunday, I took a long evening walk to enjoy the sweet light and the very first bits and buds of the upcoming spring.

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On the other side of this old wall is the river.

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Only meters away from the spot I was taking the photos on that first beautiful spring evening of the year, a corpse was found in the early Monday morning hours. It lied or was washed ashore at one of the river’s banks. A man. No more was to read about him that first day. I couln’t stop thinking of all those people I took photos of, most of them from afar, walking at the bank or sitting on the benches: lovers, mothers with kids, and quite a few loners staring at the sunset, some with a bottle in the hand, others, maybe, with a weight in their heart. How did that poor man die? Was he a ghost in one of my photos?

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I don’t know if the man on the bench in the photo above was the dead man found in the river. All I know is that when I got on that wall and walked by this man, I looked at his plastic bags full of bottles and his bottle full of alcohol, I looked at his muddy shoes and dirty beard and thought of the kind of photos I could but won’t take. Then a few steps beyond the benches for the river walkers, I came across an artwork—just opposite a church—an abstract kind of bench out of a single tree-trunk with the inscription: “wir sitzen wie in unserem Grabe” that could be translated: “we sit as if in our graves” *. In thought I did make the connection between the people I had seen sitting on the benches and the artwork’s inscription. Then I went on and went to the movies.

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When I read about the corpse in the river the next day, my first thought was this man, but there was nothing mentioned in the article about the dead man’s age or causes of his death.  

A day later the result of the autopsy was published in the local newspaper. No movie-like murder, but just a fifty-seven-year old man who fell into the river after a heart attack and being firmly drunk.

It might as well have been my ghost man.

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*   I first posted this story on my Instagram feed and one of the local photographers reminded me that “those wooden blocks are made of trees from the western front. There are also some original bullets inside that once hit the trees. The quotes are from the book “Im Westen nichts neues”.  That’s “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque, a book based on his World War I experiences. A personal story that connects me to this book was that it was the very first book my grandfather gave me as a present. I was something like only 12  in Greece back then, I’m not sure. He, a veteran of World War II, had always thought that it was the best book that had ever been written about the brutality of the front.

Two Short Storm Poems

February 27, 2017 § Leave a comment

The sky is moving away.

 

Awoken by the dying storm that rocked me into sleep

I hear the sighs of trees now left in peace.

Notes and secrets lie open on our street

The fallen dustbin has lost the game in the tenth round.

Hearts still pump our blood in the storm’s rhythm

One could go out and offer the rain a warm skin to touch.

But of course we stay inside, undercover, under the covers.

And wait. Wait for the storm to die.

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After a storm

 

After a storm, the world like a photograph:

a frozen smile, a hand in the air, not waving anymore.

Goodbyes are movement but the wind is gone.

To walk into the room of no words

to read the walls of the sighs

to eat the glacier’s tongue

just not to sleep

just not to speak.

Delight

January 31, 2017 § Leave a comment

On the way back home he bought her sweet delights. They were so sweet her tongue would stick at the back of her teeth. His tongue would come to rescue.

Playlist here.

On Grief

January 22, 2017 § Leave a comment

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Grief is not a fleeting feeling. It likes settling down properly, it claims space and time and waits for all the deadlines to expire. But then it goes away, the dark veil shifts on a summer evening and it’s as if it had never been there. Another grief will come, and another, and another. And in between, the summer evenings on the coastal roads.

First published on Instagram.

First Poem of a Year For No Reason At All

January 3, 2017 § 2 Comments

How does the first poem of a year feel?
A bit of a duty of course,
For a poet must have something to say on important dates
And sharps her nails, even when full.

But first how to overcome the sense of uselessness
All has been said before, even better,
By others, or by oneself too, especially
After a glass of wine and a few broken hearts.

Then one looks around: The winter; many deaths
One looks back: The summer; many deaths
Now taking pictures of love imagined in the future
Now talking to humans imagined in the future.

Where is humanity’s heart to
Stab it with needles, like a voodoo doll,
Goal reversed: to heal not to hurt.
One heart after the other. The smallest first.

John Berger

January 3, 2017 § Leave a comment

(5 November 1926 – 2 January 2017)

Out of a Dream

December 16, 2016 § Leave a comment

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How I wish that my dreams would let you go. You don’t deserve this freedom—so often you denied me—to walk in and out my kitchen, to change faces and sexes, to cook and eat in it, tell people you love me you never told you loved me, hold my hand and swim in moonlights, and all this children’s stuff. So inappropriate for someone who spat on time’s wheel. After all I am gone now and this is only your dream.

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