My poetry is neither the chronicle of my sufferings nor the chronicle of my loves as many seem to believe. It does not contain the description of my marital status nor that of my accomplishments. It does not record my joys or my passions with the precision of a timeclock. It does not dwell in my sadness. Sadness is the place where I dwell when I write the word sea and I cannot understand its meaning the way Elytis understood it. I was not born in Hellada. I can use that as an excuse for my poetic inadequacies.
My poetry is that which comes from the realm of the unfulfilled. It is the echo of the waves that you can guess but cannot see because they are not born yet. It is the voice of the blood that dries on the feet of the prophets. It is the dream of my cheeks that you will never touch. My poetry is the body of a Sunday that forgot to put walnuts and cinnamon in its baklava. It is the promise of tomorrow.
Three years ago I bought a silver icon at an auction. The icon belonged to the M. family. They used to be one of the most preeminent families on the island of Crete. Hellada was tattooed in my non-Hellenistic soul by the will of my parents, not by mine. You cannot stage a coup against your own baptism when you are four months old.
I was in love in Hellada. So much for “Let’s fall in love in Spain.” Every time the church bells tolled, he, the one who loved me, used to bring me daffodils. One daffodil for each bell toll. When the church bells stopped tolling I had so many daffodils that I could not carry them anymore. I had to let them fall on the ground.
I ran and I took the first ship out of Piraeus.
Until this day he – the one who loves me – still waits for the girl that will keep his daffodils and marry him.
Of course, he does. There is always the promise of tomorrow. There is always my poetry and there is always one more night of passion.
I am grateful to Mushtaq Bala – the Editor-In-Chief of KASHMIR PEN – for inviting me to publish my work in his newspaper.
Purple roots cover all trails that go to the foothills. Veins that the earth pushed to the surface. I smell lavender. Your words grow in the breeze like a dough under the whispers of the moon. For three thousand years, sung by the poets of this land, the naked shoulder of the mountain reigned in stillness. The sky made itself invisible into a wooden box where my grandmother kept her rings: memories of loves that now fit in a small chamber. The sea and the afternoon’s breaths eclipse the taste of your colors. The blue that slipped between the same branches of the old poplar tree stares me in the eyes. Clouds ossify the fight of the earth against the earth. Between my palms the body of a thin yellow candle. I remember walking on a street where children were hungry and had no shoes. I took my shoes off and wiped my tears with the back of palms. Under my eyes the skin became red and rough. I wrote I love you on your left cheek. I threw all the silver coins I had onto the dust of the street. They were meant for the dead. Let them help the living. I remember your hand caressing the silk of my dress. I purge all memories except one that belongs to the future. You and I chanting to the incarnation of love under a tree on the island where I was born. The island where it is always spring and the earth that does not fight against the earth. Did I tell you I was born on an island?
Fight was published together with If Only … Autumn in the 19, 2020 November edition of KASHMIR PEN.
Thank you to Kevin Watt for including my poem Moonlight Love in his new anthology Words of Power.
Here is my poem:
Bones, blood, flesh trapped in a brilliant moonlight. The sand of the shore carried faraway by translucent tongues of water. Around me the mint grows taller than the trees; lassitude turning from gold to red. Eyes become the locus where the desert and the sea meet. Imprinted on my body the number twelve; the twelve horses of the sun-chariot. He, the seller of time, looks at me. His voice penetrates the membranes of my cells. One hour of impossible love for two dimes. I, who can foresee the future, buy. The hour wraps around my hips like a passion vine around a tree. For a second you, the lover of the visible world, hesitate. Streets inundated by the sweet smell of citrus. Arms hugging a void. You cannot eat that citrus and you cannot touch me. Moonlight love, remind me, why did I buy you?
Motto I get drunk on love, charity, and passion. These are my professions.
I walk into the three days we spent together.
On the first day, a nude silence wraps around my lips. Shortly after I can hear the noise of wine poured into glasses. The hour to get drunk on love has come. I touch your skin and another you is born. Birds invade the sky. A banquet of candles floods the streets. A white thread ties my blood vessels at the exact moment when a religious procession walks by.
On the second day, drunk on charity, my sights descend upon the earth. The dirty hands of the woman… Please continue reading WP here
Thank you to Flavio Almerighi for the beautiful Italian translation of my poem The Ides of October. Grazie di core, Flavio.
I paid for all the happiness that was bestowed upon us by the Ides of October. I used to feel the presence of the child all around me. A woman said I should pick a piece of slough cast by a snake and wear it against my skin. I did it. Flushed as a young peach every sunset became a resurrection. Roses wrapped around my waist and later in June the child was born.
A new October sets our pictures on the Spanish chest. Emotions animate your cheeks. Every night above the trees the moon nurses the stars. When I see cocoons of the larvae, I think silk as soft as the hair of the child. When I say I love you, I think death as the harbinger of birth. Your lips tremble and your voice flattens. I know you love me. With nude fingers the Ides of October betroth us again.
[Ides as the 15th day in March, May, July, and October according to the Roman calendar]
Ho pagato per tutta la felicità che ci è stata concessa dalle Idi di ottobre. Sentivo la presenza del bambino tutto intorno a me. Una donna ha detto che avrei dovuto scegliere un pezzo di melma lanciato da un serpente e indossarlo sulla pelle. L’ho fatto. Arrossata come una giovane pesca, ogni tramonto diventava una risurrezione. Le rose si avvolsero intorno alla mia vita e più tardi a giugno nacque il bambino.
Un nuovo ottobre pone le nostre foto sul petto spagnolo. Le emozioni animano le tue guance. Ogni notte sopra gli alberi la luna nutre le stelle. Quando vedo i bozzoli delle larve, penso che la seta sia morbida come i capelli del bambino. Quando dico che ti amo, penso che la morte sia il presagio della nascita. Le tue labbra tremano e la tua voce si appiattisce. Io so che mi ami. Con le dita nude le Idi di ottobre ci fidanzano di nuovo.
[Idi come il 15 ° giorno di marzo, maggio, luglio e ottobre secondo il calendario romano]