BRUXIST*

 

When your body was athirst

to know where it belonged

you should have come to me.

Before you knew me you knew

that on your body I’d find

others’ touches.

How could you believe

that your infidelity

would not affect me?

You didn’t know where I was

you’ll say

didn’t even know if I existed.

It doesn’t matter.

Before you knew me you knew

that on your body I’d find

others’ touches

if I exist

if every night

I chatter in my dreams

that hungered I love you

on my stolen side.

 

*Bruxism: The unconscious gritting or grinding of teeth in situations of stress

or during sleep.

*

 

BRAIDS OF FINGERS

 

There’s no way you can reach me

by stretching your arm

circularly.

Extend your hand back

for our fingers to clinch

where our habits

and petty egotism

can’t see with what yearning

we touch each other.

 

*

 

 

RELAPSE

 

Come dawn I slap my window.

The sun takes heart

and timidly enters the room

coyly it touches my desk

the floor, the mattress

but when unexpectedly it reaches

your nightgown

it yields and the light withdraws

and once more I need you in the dark.

 

*

PARADISE NOW

 

Do you know how many Gods fit in knowledge?

Take hold of thunder bare-handed.

Are you afraid?

An electric current will run through you

and this jolt

will turn the blood into wine

for your life to get drunk on death.

*

 

I INVOKE CEMETERIES

 

I take off shirt

and trousers.

I continue with underwear

and socks.

I strip off with zest;

I want to get out of here

I want my throat

to loosen breathing.

I mash the crucifix on my chest

I bang my head

on my signature

I forget name and surname

forget my mother

forget people I love

and my God

I do away

with all my prayers.

I go out bare-souled in the street.

On the world’s ID cards

I prefix blood, flesh and bones.

To the living foe

I invoke cemeteries.

 

*

TORTURERS

 

Torturers, kick me

in the face

stick in my urethra

burning wires

stub out on my back

your thirst and cigarettes

but

don’t for a moment think

that you are hearing blows

piercing and burning.

It’s me you are hearing, torturers.

It’s me writhing with pain.

 

*

 

NUMBER 049 BUS TO PIRAEUS

 

The time Asians

are pressing against the railing

for a free meal

I get on No. 049 bus

to Piraeus

reflecting on how certain countries

dump their offspring

on other countries

as though some homelands

are unneeded.

I consider my thoughts

luxurious

as the immigrants’ stench and hunger

penetrate the Athenian

air and intermix with

the pollution

as if the universe hovers

thanks to disgust.

Utterly ridiculous comparisons go through

my mind

the time human-legged pigs

crowd in rooms of decisions

full of ptomaine, neckties and pricy

bracelets.

“Bloody beasts,” I say between my teeth

and clutch the wallet

in my pocket fearing.

 

*

CATHETERS

 

One can read catheters

on the faces of certain nurses.

Catheters wrapped round the necks

of patients at death’s door

and pillows pressed

on their faces.

Such an unbearable hate

not even a dustman has felt

for the garbage he collects.

 

*

FALLING WATER

 

It’s raining.  Millions of raindrops are falling

on the roof embracing by degrees

the house.  My worries undress

take a bath naked

in the water’s gloss.

The fan heater strikes my legs

warmly

and down my back goes

a shiver condensing at the waist.

Winter is the season

for blankets.  Our bodies

exchange warmth

snug in the intimacy

of our breathing.

The soap in the bathroom smells sweet

to bring us close.

In the neighbouring streets roam

a cello

and an old barrel organ.

The universe is orchestrated for us

lightning increases our music

to a crescendo.

Clouds have brought a strong feeling.

 

*

NOT I NEVER

 

Not I never

not

I

never.

 

As if by verbalizing

denials are sustained in the future.

 

*

PARENTHOOD IS A BURDEN

 

Father remembered exactly

where he holidayed

in the summer of 1954

which taverna he preferred

in the winter of 1961

what thought gnawed him

in the autumn of 1978.

Then I was born.

In vain do I ask him about 1983

1990 and 1994.

Father stopped recording them

from the time he became a father

as a parent he neither learned nor enjoyed

anything

songs, scenery, scents, tastes

everything

ran through him.

Father forgot the lot.

Parenthood is a burden.

 

*

THE SAGES GOT TOGETHER

 

The world’s sages

got

together

and we held

our breath.

Our troubles are over

we said

the world’s sages

as one

won’t be long providing answers

to major problems

they won’t delay finding

ways of rescuing us

of allowing us to survive and

be redeemed.

All the world’s sages

got

together to be

photographed.

 

*

A STABBING PAIN IN MY ARM

 

A stabbing pain is gnawing my arm today.

I must have slept on it.

 

Damn it that I should

have slept on my arm.

There’s nothing you can do about this pain.

I go to pick up a bag

I hurt

to write

I hurt

even lying down and perfectly

still

I hurt.

 

Don’t get me wrong.

It’s not that I don’t know what’s to blame.

In the past I’d break my arm

in a thousand places of sleep

carpus, metacarpus, radius, ulna

smithereens

and never did it occur to me

to complain.

 

However

now that gravity is heavier

now that the atmosphere is frozen

in my spinal column ice too

is deepening down to the farthest

backbone of luck

 

I can’t even bear my cuticles.

 

*

 

GREEK GOD

 

A few pennies are left in my pocket.

No woman desires me.

All my friends have vanished

and those who haven’t, betrayed me.

I had no children

nor was I worthy of having any.

The earth reversed its magnetic

field

and lost its atmosphere.

The sun fell on it

and destroyed it.

Men’s bones

have not

mouldered away

they hover as Gulag and Auschwitz

monuments in space.

My mother spat at me and died.

The water was poisoned by

billions of years of a stagnant

deposit in the earth’s bowels.

I drank it all

and yet

from nowhere I produce

a glass of frappuccino

and ask my death

for a straw.

 

*

PILOT OFFICER LUCAS

 

“Have you ever been in love?”

I asked.

“You must be

a very romantic soul,”

answered

pilot officer Lucas

with a sympathizing smile

as if a dad

was first asked

by his son

what a plane was.

 

*

WE SHAN’T BE PUNISHED WITH BEAUTY AGAIN

 

There’s no need for us to worry anymore.

Fine words have been abolished long ago

since all poets have died

long ago.

No one shall reorder us

to be happy with a sun

and pebbles;

no one shall suggest

our pouring imagination

out of everydayness

for our soul to drink courage.

Poets who committed suicide

grew tired of figures of speech

thrusting horrendous reality

into their bodies:

love affairs without kisses

poems without readers

indecencies that never

will be sins.

 

*

THOSE CONTEMPTUOUS OF TEARS

 

To imagine that someone is moved

when yawning

is not shameful.

Honour to the romantics

who take tears seriously.

 

As regards those who keep on

yawning

what can I say?  They’ve seen through us.

Those contemptuous of tears make good.

 

*

HORROR FILMS

 

When the story reaches

a critical moment

a woman needs

a man

to fold her in his arms.

When the story reaches

a critical moment

a man needs

a woman

to fold in his arms.

When the story reaches a critical moment

the moment you are really scared

of dying alone or childless

never

you man or woman reconcile yourselves

to a warmth lesser

than that of a mother’s womb

and of childbirth.

For thousands of years now entire love

has been trying to enact it.

 

*

 

THE EARTH’S ROTATION

 

Trees remind me of people’s faces.

A little their leaves

a little their branches

knowing a little how to read

the nuances of the skin’s twitching

and

trees assume looks of perplexity

hate, caution, sorrow

but mainly

my God

mainly indifference.

Trees say the world has no brakes

and in summer as they kindle

near

our perspiring brows

they moisten hope with whatever the future brings

erasing it from the earth’s rotation.

Thus are born those we call atheists.

No one protects them

and no one loves them

who isn’t human or luck.

A photograph stills inside me.

If I don’t think of the world afresh

I’ll have to surrender to it.

 

*

RESURRECTED BY NECESSITY

 

He was obliged to be resurrected.

He stood anaemic on the stone

and said nothing more, knew nothing more to say

than love, love, love

but the Jews had no need

of miracles

of people around you when you are

in hospital, of women who

offer their breast when you are thirsty or

friends who fall down a precipice with you.

The Jews needed wonder-workers

to extinguish the sun’s light

in the sky

to take rabbits out of their pockets

and be resurrected after dying

amid blinding lights

on gold-trimmed chariots

angel-sung and wing-lead.

 

*

 

ECSTASY UP TO THE ALARM CLOCK

 

Air starts from the lung

it goes through the saxophone

becoming a note of dreams

and whirl of ecstasy.

And as we are getting wet

at a fountain

stepping on coins

of wishes

and as our moist kiss

irrigates paradise

that the dead might drink water again

the alarm clock goes off

for us to get up and go to work.

 

*

XERXES

 

My skin doesn’t breathe.

Presently it will die.

By and by nothing animate

shall define my insides

from the atmospheric air.

Once the skin decomposes

on me

my bowels will undergo

sublimation

in the crowd’s breathing.

Woe is him who catches sight of me

when I circulate freely, a smell,

in nostrils.

Removing his head

from the exhaust

he’ll have a clear view

of the heads’ boundless space

in the exhausts

rooted to the spot by the deafening

vrooming

of the invisible leader.

 

*

BLOODY BONES

 

I get up in the morning.

Millions of nightingales rub

coconut oil on my face

while singing, say it.

No, I must be mistaken.

The path I think of taking

is instantly strewn with lemon leaves;

termites strew it.

No, surely things can’t be

like this.

Vultures fly above the heads

of my enemies

thunder warns the rioters

lightning, termites, nightingales, coconuts

beseech, say it.

The sun has deserted

it hides in my mouth.

The planets shiver

and turn in the dark

around my tongue

for a taste, say it!

Tongue of earthquake victims and

cancer patients, tongue of

flood victims, of orphans

the poor, the maimed

what warmth and what light

can restore you?

What can I say that could rest

the bloody bones?

 

Â

*

LUNGS, LIVERS AND PANCREAS

 

When they tell you lung cancer

liver and pancreas metastases

you have all the time you need

to realize that

you’ll never go to the isle of Andros again

you’ll never hear Fotis Polymeris singing again

you won’t say no again

to your granny’s hairpins being disposed of.

With this refreshing sweetness on your lips

you close your eyes filled with hate

for the dependence of your home, your music

your unique personal history

of lungs, livers and pancreas.

 

*

 

COUNTDOWN

 

Government austerity measures

are inevitably imposed

as long as on this earth crooks,

usurers, bigheads and grabbers

are in control.

Now if some guy was found

to kill (having first tortured) the demon

then the majority of us could easily

go hungry without complaining

so that those few others

feed well.

However, we are all in a hurry to live

tick-tack tick-tack tick-tack.

 

*

 

DARWINIAN THEOLOGY

 

Having felt her struggling

entangled in the cobweb

the spider came out and bit

the bee

quickly wrapping her

in a silken shroud.

Once its innards

were moistened

it began sucking

greedily her juices

before leaving her, an empty carcass.

O God, I am watching you.

Here they call me a slanderer.

 

*

HEADSTONE IN PERSON

 

Here lies Dimitrios Mouzakis

who spent his life

beheading waves.

With his supernatural vision

he told us the truth:

above the sea’s body

for a moment protrudes

our life

and then is lost forever

in the water’s infinity.