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TRAM AND ACROPOLIS

le soleil me brule et me rend lumineux

through the monotonous rain
the mud
the ashen atmosphere
the trams pass
and through the deserted marketplace
• deadened by the rain –
they proceed towards
the
terminals

my thought
filled with emotion
follows them lovingly until
they reach
there where the fields begin
where the fields are drowned by the rain
at the terminals

what sorrow it would have been – my God –
what sorrow
if my heart was not consoled
by the hope of marble
and the prospect of a bright sunray
which shall give new life
to the splendid ruins

exactly like
a red flower
amid green leaves

POLYXENI

Howling vampires and ironbound breezes brought me yesterday, around midnight, at the meridian of the sun of justice, the messages of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Isidore Ducasse, and Panayis Koutalianos. * My sorrow proved immense! Up to that moment I had believed in the prophetic visions of lathe operators, had waited for the oracles of frenzied riders, and had looked to the metaphysical interventions of statues. The idea of my corpse becalmed me. My only joy was her braids of hair. Devoutly I would bend and kiss her fingertips. Still a child, at sundown I ran like crazy to steal before dark the forgotten scarecrows in the fields. And yet I lost her, right out of my hands, Iʼd say, as though she had been nothing but a hallucination, nothing but a very ordinary hammer. In her place only a mirror was found. And when I leaned to look in the mirror, I saw two small stones: one was called Polyxeni, and the other Polyxeni, too.

*A famous Greek prize fighter and wrestler in the late 19th century.

OSIRIS

Late last night in the upper quarters of the town, wild and bloodthirsty Albanians, seven in number, murdered ruthlessly in his own bed the cynocephalus lover of the forgotten Hippolyte. The hideous criminals entered the room of the atrocious crime without anyone noticing them. After having sung to the accompaniment of a flute two unknown – at least to me – hymns to the hoopoes, they placed very carefully under a glass containing a thin solution of glue in a small quantity of nitroglycerin, a piece of paper. This paper was of the cheapest vellum, on which were written the words: “Golden column.” After this the assassins left the room unperturbed. The cynocephalus lover – let us call him that because his name, Isidore, is unknown to us – came out of the tragic room much later. He wore a grey raincoat and spectacles.

(CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE IN TRANSLATION (Canada), No. 2, Fall 1968.
PLATFORM (UK), 5, 1972.)

THE SHIP OF THE WOODS

I know that
if I had
a suit of clothes
• a dress-coat –
the colour of light green
with large dark red flowers

if in the place of
the invisible
aeolian harp which serves me
as a head
I had a bar
of green soap
placed so that one of its sides
fitted
gently
between my shoulders

if it were possible
to replace
the sacred shrouds
of my voice
with the love
that a metaphysical musical maiden
has
for black umbrellas

then perhaps
only then
would I be able to relate
the fading dreams
of joy
that I saw once
• when a child –
while looking
devoutly
in the round
eyes
of birds

(CHELSEA (USA), No. 33, September 1974.)

ELEONORA

for hands she hath non, nor
eyes, nor feet, nor golden
Treasure of hair.

(front view)

her hair is like cardboard
and like a fish
her two eyes are
like a dove
her mouth
is like civil war
(in Spain)
her neck is a red
horse
her hands
are
like the voice
of dense
woods
her two breasts are
like my own paintings
her belly is
the romance
of Velthandros and Hrisandza*
the story
of Tobias
the fable
of
the ass
the wolf and the fox
her sex
is
sharp whistles
in the lull
of noon
her thighs are
the last
flashes
of the modest joys
of road rollers
her two knees
are Agamemnon
her two adored
small
feet
are the green
tele-
phone with the red
eyes

(back view)

her hair
is
an oil lamp
still burning
in the morning
her shoulders
are
the hammer
of my
desires
her back
is the
eyeglasses
of the sea
the plough
of deceptive
ideograms
it whistles
mournfully
on her waist
her buttocks
are
fish glue
her calves
are
like
thunderbolts
her small heels
brighten
the
evil
morning
dreams

and finally
she is
a woman
half
seahorse
and half
necklace
perhaps she is
even
part pine tree
and part
lift

*The hero and heroine of a Byzantine narrative poem.

THE MYSTICAL POET

hommage a ravel

the shadow of the lake
spread throughout the room
and under every chair
and beneath the table even
and behind the books
and in the dark looks
of the plaster models
could be heard whisper-like
the tune of
the dead poetʼs
mystical orchestra
and it was then that the woman
I long awaited
appeared completely naked
clad in white
in the moonlight
her hair loose
long green grass in her eyes
which swayed gently
like the promises
that were never given
in cities distant and unknown
and in empty
derelict
factories

and I too thought of disappearing
like the dead poet
in her long
hair
with certain flowers
that open at
night
and
close
in the day
with certain dried fish
which they hung
on a string
high up
in the coal shed

and thus get
far away
from the tumult
and the noise
of the shooting range
far away
through the broken
windows
and live
forever
on the ceiling
but having
always
in my eyes
the mystical tunes
of
the poetʼs
dead orchestra

SINDBAD THE SAILOR

tu autem eras interior intimo meo et superior
summo meo

SAINT AUGUSTINE, Confessions III, VI, ii

my soul is often
an alley in Mykonos
as dusk begins to fall
and the women take
to placing down amorously
on the street
in monotonous geometrical
patterns
blue glass
• blue tumblers
blue carafes
blue desires
violins
flowers
pebbles
all
made of blue glass –
away from the sun
on the ground
on the road
where the sun passed
and will not
• as it happens –
ever pass again

this is precicely
the time
when I place
my hand gently
on the base of my skull
and with a sudden jerk thrust it
• deep down –
into my head
and take out
my brain
and calmly squeeze
the grey
matter
through
my fingers

and when all
the fluids
pour
• soundless –
on the ground
only a little flower remains
• and lives –
in my palm
which I yearned for
since childhood
and which fondles my brow
with its white
hands
which speaks to me affectionately
and tells
me
about the dreams
that whistle at night
so gently
so compassionately
• like fingers
like tears –
among the ruins
of Palmyra
and in the
dead palaces
of Babylon

which tells me moreover
about the life
that I am living
quietly
uneventfully
inside the large
empty house
• made entirely of blue glass –
there where
only birds
live
all by myself
motionless
inside the electric
wires
of HER belly

and though a storm rages about me
and angry
waves
cover
the decks
of my desolate
ship
I climb
barefooted
on the highest
mast
and hold tightly
in my hands
a tumbler
made of blue glass

• these hands
my brow
not seared
by lightning
and the eagles –

and in this
tumbler
of blue glass
where I have placed
both my hands
the liquids
that dripped
from
my fingers
the little
white
flower
and a long
long
piece of glass
blue
or rose
• I canʼt remember –
is
simply
where SHE is
…………………………..

and the voices
disturb
the nights
as voices
as a harsh
monody
of wailing women
to the accompaniment
• of course –
of a piano
a violin
and even
a flute

VULTURE AND GUARD

hommage a apollinaire

mykonos
mycenae
mycosis
three
words
but
only
two
wings

like asbestos
like a womanʼs
palm
that shines
in
the night
like a flesh-eating
violin

and perhaps
• even –
like the glass
trepans
inside the
delicate
minds
of
poets

(CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE IN TRANSLATION (Canada), No. 14, Fall/Winter 72/73.)

THE PIANOS OF SILENCE

the sperm
of the werewolves
wears out
the horizonʼs
helms
throws
fiery flutes
into
the bloodstained dresses
hanging
on the dense foliage
of the trees
drowns ravens
in the mirrors
seeks
the justice
and compassion
of
the children

I
• however –
place red flowers
in her hair
I stand
stark naked
in
purple
gardens
I lose myself
inside
dark caves
that hide
in their bowels
sewing machines
and yellow
fishes
that speak
like flowers

and maybe
it is I who have now become
that werewolf
of lightning
the one they call
• when it gets dark –
“the man-parenthesis”
among the bellows
of machinations
the
shrouds
of the march
in the
nighttime
when
a bird
dies
like a sulphur candle

thus they fall
• drop by drop –
on the temples
of the desperate
pianos
the disappointed
couples
and
a heavy cloud
of long
blond hair
• with dark eyes –
flies soundlessly
inside
oblong basements
where only
harbours
and eagles
thrive

and silence
is fire
a stairway
placed
carefully
on the lips
and a white
horse
which is
a tree
by the seaside
and a red
horse
like
a flag

and I pedal away
across the waters
• tirelessly –
on my lyrical
bicycle
wearing the helmet
of love

and when I reach
the final
stair
of this
dark
stairway
and open
the door
into the room
only then do I realize
that the room
was
• is –
a large
garden
full of music
and paintings

• a room
full of sheets
thrown in
the garden –

sheets
some flapping in the breeze
like flags
and like
windowpanes
others
thrown down
like mirrors
and others
mouthing
indecipherable words
like chimneys
and others
spread over
beds
like comets
some looked like
jugs
some like
elephant trunks
and others
clothed
with dew
and tragic cries
beautiful nude
women

in such a way
that I must
• it could be a matter of urgency –
liken
the entire
matter
to a magnifying glass
that when
you put it
to your eye
you see
a deep
well
and way
down
a
b i r d

ON THE MOUNTAINS OF MYOUPOLIS*

I

the
road that leads to
love
is strewn
with catʼs-eyes
in the dark
and the silence
that spreads everywhere
like a net of joy

the road that leads to
love
is nocturnal

it rises upwards
and reaches
there where
the blue
of cobalt
and even the yellow
• of cadmium –
are no longer the colours
with which
I paint
my canvases
but the shrill
sound
of a harp
a cinyra
and
the sistrums
of escape

sistrums
of escape
silence
earth

II

the crazy virgins
became one
in the forest
with the trees
• so many virgins
and so many trees –
the moment
heavy rain
began to fall

their wombs were
pure
• chaste –
as much after
as before
the storm

as much after
as before
copulation

and yet
after the clouds dispersed
and the sun
shone again
I was always
a prisoner
in the dark
parlour
with the red velvets
and the pungent
lingering odour
of mould
and
sensuality

(from the window
I could see endless terraces
• with marble balustrades –
which extended all the way down
to the sea)

and I was a l o n e
with only another
• but a perfect stranger to me –
person
bent over the dead keys
of the piano
of silence
in the darkness

my face
was eaten away
like a leperʼs
• there was nothing left of it –
by remorse
and the bitterness
of love

and yet
this strange
person
every now and again
at regular intervals
got up from his corner
and tortured me pitilessly
– from dawn
to dusk –
writing without a stop
on my brow
with a long
red-hot iron
these words
• like a horrid symbol –

“father-mother”

“man-woman”

III

I adorn my
forehead with
fish and umbrellas

I place in
my hair
voices
of fire

my hands
become
the rusty
anchors of
shipwrecks

and as
solitude
and the night
• gradually –
spread on the shore
I see them fading away
• upon the sea
at the far end of the horizon –
the last lights
o f
l o s s

*An ancient Greek city on the slopes of Mount Kithairon.

THE MACHINATION OF SHIPWRECKS

I donʼt know what goes on at night, or in the day, for that matter, on the tall rugged mountains. But I do know about the mysterious and eerie ghosts that live alone on the desolate hilltops. I can tell you much about their habits and that they never leave the spots – on summital ground always – they have chosen as their permanent abode. How a passerby can make them out, can see them, from near or from afar, day and night, now fluttering like war banners, now assuming odd shapes, preferably in the form of four wooden planks with a roof made of dry pine branches, similar to shanties Albanian shepherds raise like the sound of a flute. Then again they sail in uncharted, distant seas, aboard old tankers under the Greek Catholic flag always, in memory, of course, of the god Pan. Thus, there is a simple, natural, logical, and perhaps even psychoanalytical reason why they also leave the lights on at night in the factories, and why they leave out in the fields huge piles of garbage and tins. All for the great god Pan. The electric lights, however, are completely useless, and only now and then, and this at long intervals, are they used to illuminate windswept beaches, abandoned wooden shacks, seaweed and fossilized bones of antediluvian monsters, as well as marble busts of emperors and poets.

THE CONCRETE OF HEROIC VIRGINS

they are being forgotten
the modest virgins
that fell
• ah so untimely –
fighting
heroically
across the barricades

but on the spot
where rolled their
lifeless heads
and trailed
their long hair
there
the poet likes
to withdraw
in proud
• and azure –
solitude

there
on that desolate
beach
is where they light at
night the
lanterns
that mislead
the seamen

there thinking
becomes
a burning wheel
rolling
on the horizon

there the islands are
that turn into shrouds
when the wind drives wild
the
leaves
of palm trees

there is centred
the entire port traffic
with piles of
dead seals
and
oil
wells

there also grow
the trees
that produce
the strange delicious fruit
offered to
the poet
for his
future
sorrows

PSYCHOANALYSIS OF PHANTASMS

… and have not charity, I am become
as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

As the ship of love enters the harbour at night she is greeted by the mysterious music of the wilderness. The surrounding waters fill with flowers of all kinds and of all colours, and a white row of naked women wait for us on the quay. All are ready, at our first sign, to wear immediately the red uniform of divers. Not, however, to descend into the depths of the sea, but only to come and wait for us, perhaps for many hours, tirelessly, affectionately, at the entrance of the underground railway. We, naturally, arrive unexpectedly, waving our large wings and shouting words incoherent and beautiful. Then the quietness of the country landscape suddenly becomes more salient, and so from the darkness, from the fields, black-clad men emerge, who are comets, and upright pianos with their white keys, which are stars. Flags flutter in the wind, at regular intervals machine guns resound and children sing. In our ears we hear the prophetic names of the women we might have loved. Also the name of a city: Sinope. I, however, do not fear death, because I love life.

(PLATFORM (UK), 5, 1972.
CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE IN TRANSLATION (Canada), No. 14,
Fall/Winter 72/73.)

AT LONG LAST THEY CROSSED THE WOODS

paper doves
flew in
the shaded palace
peristyle
and each wing beat
was also
the deep glance
of a girl
the fall of
a stone
in the sea
the
promise
of distant happiness

below
the thin spring dresses
• with the multicoloured flowers –
caressed by the wind
were worn by
manikins
with even the eyes made of wood
and hair
of clay

manikins
named
Maria
named
bottle
named
grease
named bicycle
named
spark

(CHELSEA (USA), No. 33, September 1974.)

HYDRA

he was denounced
as an extreme danger
to public
security
• to the peace
of law-abiding citizens –
the moment
grave
• or seemingly grave – priests
somewhat old
and rightly worthy or unworthy of respect
commemorated
the great fighters
of the battle of Salamis
as well as
citing the names of
Miaoulis, Kanaris, Tombazis, Lazaros Koundouriotis*
and Isidore Ducasse**

he was arrested
at dawn
trussed up
and carried shoulder high
like a corpse
like a slim
white woman
named Maria
who knit
a lace
of rare beauty
• a lace like my paintings –
in the shade of
the forest
the mountain
and the green
garden

they threw him
• the women told me –
in a greenhouse
with red flowers
with red velvet
curtains
at the windows
bourbons
and old but spotless
furniture
with a lamp
the glass of a lamp
since it was
• the women said –
saturday night
dawning on
Sunday

saturday night
Sunday morning

from the door
the sea was visible
• a patch of sea
all blue –
the stairs climbed high
and sorrowfully I named
my heart
at regular – or rather irregular – intervals
Hector
mute Hector

while Hecuba
• in this instance
was the long
the formidable shadow
of
my mind

*Miaoulis … Koundouriotis: Heroes of the Greek War of Independence.
**Comte de Lautreamont.

MORNING SONG

I asked
once why
it is that
the tragic
and modest virgin
named Poulheria
on the eve of
her marriage
washed the floors of her house
very carefully
and the next day
died?

since
she cleaned up and did the household chores
why did she not live
to enjoy
the long white lace fabrics
the white intricate frills
and the large
multicoloured
feathers
of matrimony?

why
did she place down
quietly
on the wooden floor
the large yellow butterfly
and the paper flowers
that were inside her head?
the stuffed
bird
that was inside the cage
of her
breast?

why?

because

• my father said perhaps –

because
the soldier must have
his cigarette
the small child
his cradle
and the poet
his
mushrooms

because the soldier
must have his
machination
the small child
his grave
the poet
his
rattle

because
the soldier
must have
his adz
the small child his
glance
and the poet
his
carpenterʼs plane

(MUNDUS ARTIUM (USA), Vol. V, No. 3, 1972.
PLATFORM (UK), 5, 1972.)