Dec 26, 2012

Think of the woman selling pineapples

I rarely go back to read my journals. I have a whole stack of them in my room at my parents' house but they all get shoved around from one shelf to another, piled up on each other or spread out and wedged among other books here and there. I have been writing stuff down ever since I knew how to write, and -surprise surprise- most of this stuff is about myself and how I experience the world.

Most of the stuff I write is also boring, even to my self-centered self, and it begins serving no purpose almost immediately after being put down on paper. 

As of late however, after having recently embarked upon life as an adult (and by that I mean the stage where I am finally out of a hormone haze and fully the captain of my own ship, and all the decision-making and consequence-bearing that that entails), I have realised that the frequency with which the important phases of my life occur has increased, and with it, the frequency with which I go back to my adult journals.

I went through incredibly important phases in my life when I went to Borneo, both times, in 2010 and 2011.  As such, some of the things that I wrote during these phases affect me even a year or two after writing them. I have been going back to my Borneo journals from time to time and some of my realisations help me through the most difficult and important time in my life yet.

Such as this excerpt, whose gentleness and comforting words that aimed to help me get through a difficult situation then seep through to the present moment and soothe me, like a honey lozenge that has stayed in my pocket for a year but still does its job. Today was a case of my past self comforting my present self, an interesting realisation in itself.

Σάββατο 09/07/11 
Be positive. Why all moody all of a sudden, isn't this what you worked so hard for and what you wanted all this time? Why stab yourself in the heart? Why all this self hatred all of a sudden? You are a good person, who has not deliberately harmed anyone and you deserve to be happy and proud of yourself for who you are. Recognise the strength of others without jealousy.

Do not think of the bleeding tree stumps or the burnt earth. Do not think of the polluted river and the open sewers. See past the rubbish and the bureaucracy and the greediness and into peoples' hearts. 

Think of the woman selling pineapples and her cinnamon complexion. Her glasses tied around her head with string. Her daughter and granddaughter sitting among the pineapples laughing.

Think of the market with the roots and spices spilling out of their boxes. The fish in the basket still alive, begging for the river.

The sweet smell of rotten bananas.

The teeth of the laughing men- their smiling eyes. The woman looking from behind the carriage with her blue blouse and sarong- her red painted lips and her stillness, as she looks out on all the bustling movement.

Think of the kids in the street that are too small for their bikes.

The way they run to shake hands with the strangers, and bring them to their foreheads. And how they stand on the blue roofs of the white houses with turquoise panels and orange interiors.

The tailor's apprentices -boys working on sewing machines. 

The insects and animals. 

Dec 18, 2012


I'm walking down the street,
gathering my stray thoughts.

The pack of dogs is not following me tonight.
They are lying in the church under the candlelit dome and sleeping.

I think: How beautiful this road that leads me home.
The balconies,
the windows and the doors,
the fragrant smells of food that penetrate the mud brick walls
and find me on these lonely streets.

I try to peer through windows and curtains
to feel my neighbours' lives.

In arrogance of love I question their reality
and think: have these people ever really lived.

I think of you
and like a little tea candle I flicker and I shiver
and I melt into a puddle of human flesh,
with a beating heart still pounding on the dirty, cobbled pavement.

I pick myself up from the ground and hurry home before the
neighbours glance out their low windows
and see my sorry state.

The evening light is drowned in yellow
from the street lamps

and I walk through gold to reach my house.

Nov 17, 2012

Just in Time

The bearer of the Pearl - III

A whisper:

Pearl, I'm here.
Give up your velvet mantles
and deny your silky past.

Wake up you sleepy pearl
I'm here to take you.

You've grown lethargic, dull and cynical,
and all you do is yawn and sink in supple cushions.
Shuffling around in restless gluttony, you bruise your oyster bearer.

Cmon, get up, uproot yourself and dare to
float into the depths with me.

Bearer might suffer and might die,
but it is my turn now,
and failure's not an option.

I gave the rusty knife away
but I have nails
and I will sink them into flesh to rip you out.

Don't worry - I'll wipe away the blood
and put my arms around you.

I'll kiss your opaque and inhale your glow.

I'll comfort you. We'll swim off in the darkness
and infuse the sea with light. 

I look into your sphere
and see myself, Pearl. 

Know I vow the truth now.

Come on. Wake up. Let's go. 

Nov 14, 2012

The bearer of the pearl - II

I've tied myself to the blood-carved boat
and dive into the dark
to get my Pearl.

The bubbles they engulf me,
closing up behind me the earthly world.
I sink in Blue
and melt into Black.

I'm brave and happy,
and I've forgotten the scent of
freshly rained-on pines
and crackling wood.

Gravity and bipedalism foregone,
this multidimensional space I find myself in
does not overwhelm me. I'm free.

The sea is now my home,
and I will swim in it
until my lungs burst
and my heart gets broken.

Twinkling plankton laugh at me,
I'm nobler than all of you,
get lost!
-a woman made of brains and heart,
you wouldn't know.

And oh you fish!
you form your endless circles
in the millions -
you think you can escape the squawking seagull's strike?
You cowards, 
look beyond your spiral act.

Medusas and three-hearted monsters,
transluscent you,
you cannot reach my solid core.
My heart is one but it beats strong
and it will shatter you into pieces:
what once was you
will be a crater
of my soul's explosion.

All of you floating wanderers of darkness
make way,
for I am looking for my Pearl.

I've come to take him.

Nov 13, 2012


Six months I have waited to see you.
For six months you have been chewing on my brain
and injecting my neurons with your name.

For six months the continents have slowly been drawn to each other
with invisible magnets
and now I am ready to step from mine to yours,
like from one bank of a flowing stream to another.

Yeah, so my life is filled with sadness.

It's like I've peeled Life's layers away
to reveal the core. 

And at her heart, what do i see?

Death and Love.

I hold each concept with each hand
and try to balance on my tightrope.

For six months you have been peeling my own layers
and you've placed a mirror in my path.
I've seen the doubts, and dealt with them.
i've seen the disbelief, and dealt with it.
I've seen the insecurity, and dealt with it.
I've seen the fears, and dealt with them.

And then I saw the strength, and drew from it.
I saw support, and drew from it.
I saw the love, and I have cracked my own cocoon.

And now, I'm ready to emerge and fly to you
and lie next to you,
just two uncaged spirits
enjoying their earthly form while there's still time.


Look how lives change from one day to another.

From summer love to winter cancer
we have slowly been eating life's little ice cream
while it's been rapidly melting away.

I want to write
but my brain has gone to sleep.

I walk around with my heart on my eyes.

I open my mouth to speak but only spiralling bats fly out
and away
with that fluttering silent murmurur.

My love for you is untainted but tinged with
an underlying sadness,
like the soggy base of an otherwise perfect cake.

Nowadays, the dreamy thought of you intersperses
my dark thoughts,
like a shining ray piercing
through stormy clouds.

But soon, it struggles and flickers and shies
behind the greys
when the storm collects its horrible troops again.

For days I sit in my room while it closes in:
I push the walls apart.

In the darkness, I balance on a tightrope
with clumsy feet,
between life and joy and hope
and a plunge into despair.

I push the rug apart and reveal the water.

I take a dive in this ocean of pain
and fish out my emotions.
I draw them out and up to the light
and look at their glistening scales.
I see them struggling for air
and for water.

I hang some to cut up and eat and assimilate later.
I throw some back to grow a bit more.

Look how they change from one day to another.

Sep 23, 2012

I promise I try but I'm stuck

You’re wondering when I’m going to write my next poem.
Believe me I’ve written down hundreds of words in the past few weeks.
But none of them fulfils me.

None breaks free from my brain space into pixels onto screen with a

None has me running starstruck wearing peacock feathers in my eyes through the jasmine-sprinkled streets.

None comforts me.

None lights up like fireflies in the darkness of my room.

None sits on my eyelids to recount a dream.

I stare at the walls but I can’t see a word as beautiful as my fluttering insides.

Hey boy, none makes my heart uproot itself from arteries and veins and jump up to my throat

Like your name does.

Aug 22, 2012

AUG 22, 2012

They say you can't find beauty anymore these days.
It's there, it's there, it's there. In unexpected places!

The neighbours are discussing what to cook for lunch:
"Oh kori, I don't know, was gonna make the porkchops
and some pasta on the side. And you?
I'm making lentils, kori mou, you know, with rice,
the way Antonis likes them."

The bowl of water left out for the street cats.

The thought of being thought of.

The unexpected facebook post that quietly stuns you:

"...we saw no Cranes today but a
few thousand White Storks were thermalling upwards from behind the masts. 
Some came back down again, some sat on top of the aerial masts, one sat on horizontal wires,
they all took flight again. 
They moved towards the sea but circled back again and were
over Ammohostos at around 1.30 pm."

Then they were gone.

Aug 14, 2012

Distracted by glowsticks, still watching stars

I don't care about the jasmine on the balcony,
or the melon on the table
or the meteors falling.

Although I know the reason for the state I'm in
lies deep within their very own existence,
I still don't care.

Feeling united with the world by the realisation of the continuous thread that runs between each and every single living thing on this here planet and beyond, well...
it just makes me lonely.

I try to break these mortal lines confining me to stretchmarks and acne
and come find you
so we can play high up in the stratosphere,
but the laws of physics are boring,
and I wish someone would break them down.

But in this place they all conform:
to lines, to shapes, to colours, to gravity.

I've never met so many people
scared of Love before.

Though I have roots,
sometimes I feel like a levitating wanderer.
My earth is in my head,
my roots are in my head.
This physical space does nothing for me.
Aesthetics gets raped daily.
I blow a bubble and bundle up in it.
For me the world is sunshine, lollipops and you.
The rest is for the rest to figure out.

I know it's wrong but I can't help it.
I can't help not caring about the words
that crawl out from ugly mouths with rotten teeth.
I don't care about the thoughts
that spurt out of ugly brains with broken wires.

I don't care who they think I am or what I stand for.
Walking among these deathbound people I'm transparent.
(You know, I think you fit all words for Love
in Greek!) 

See, I care about the poems and the moments
and the feeling that I get from crafting a world
where you and I are walking holding hands like giddy schoolkids.

I know I'm careless and naive as evening breeze
and living a life of simple thoughts
but this is what my life is like just now,
at least I'm honest.

And kind of free.

At the next falling Perseid
I'll close my eyes and let its green tail
linger and trail across my eyelids.
My wish, an afterglow:
For us to keep on being.

Aug 3, 2012


hoopoe hopping on a summer's day;
here we are, striped black and white
and flashing crowns of facebook flirts
and future days.

you might not know what these words mean
but it's okay. i don't know either.

brain works in mysterious ways
and the universe just knows the way things go:
as long as we are truthful,
the stars are looking down in smiles.


Ever since meeting you
my life is drenched in coffee.
Replacing caffeine for touch
and cups for cuddles.

I run around this town with bloodshot eyes
looking for signal.

Drowning in daydreams
I'm losing touch.
The thought of you has pushed me to the edge
of reason
and i'm hanging out in dirty seaside towns
drinking vodka and cranberry juice so sweet
my tummy's frowning up at me
with age-long wisdom and the grumps.

To imagine what you'd taste like.

as of late, the drunken dawn just slaps me in
the face with brutal reprehension, as I reach out for the instant coffee tin
in desperation.

The drive to work is full of
bodies, lips, tongues and skin
as I elaborately embroider
this illusion of proximity.

Existence floating in intangible realms
of cybercoordinates
I only eat and sleep and work because I have to.

I'd rather spend this waking life
just thinking of your words,
the curves and colours of each letter
lying there shaking on my screen.

I spill my coffee and overlaugh in conversations.

I stay up playing pool.

Inventing gods I worship them;
I knot my body into a prayer rope
and loop it through your outstretched arm.

I live but do not truly love
as I am out of focus.
Not fully devoting myself to each and every moment here,
I am a heathen of my own religion.

People around me are inquiring about my switched-off brain.

I say: he's here, but you can't see him
and you can't feel the pain that spans 6200 miles
and fills my heart with salt,
like the Atlantic Ocean. 

And people stare with apprehension
pointing to the broken glass at my feet.

I say: he makes me wanna chew this broken glass
and that's how much i want to know his smell
and run my hands down his arms. 

They walk away in silence shaking heads.
I stand here with my cut-up bleeding tongue
wriggling on the floor.

I pick it up and put it in my pocket.

I know you'll laugh when I forward you the photo
later while we text away.

Jul 23, 2012

Amy this is for you

Was going to write a post about how much I wish you were here to make more music but i'm too happy to be sad so there. I love you all be you dead or alive!

Jul 16, 2012

400 °C

I'm sitting at the kitchen table
feeling my skin turn into crust.

Today, I am smouldering charcoal.

Surprised at the sight of simmering skin
that fights to escape
the skirt, the bra, the sandal
I run my hands down the
sides of my body,
wiping away the sweat.

Scooping my hair up with my palms,
I attach it with a

I touch my neck.

Now, it feels like summer.

It is midday, and the scorching streets are deserted.
People, like lizards, are hiding.
It's dead quiet. Only the last brave cicadas are still breathless
for love.

I hear the sweat beads being born like honeydew,
trickling bedrowsed down my bare back.
Opening little mouths for air,
they struggle to fly and
to the floor, steaming.

I put some Lana on
cause she knows how I'm burning.
I stare at her lips on my laptop screen
and reach for the fridge.

Ice cubes tinkering in glass
I pour out some rose cordial.

I don't wanna answer my phone
or see anyone.
Don't wanna go to the beach.
Just want to sit on this chair and
wait for something to change, smoking one after another.

Please, throw me some water and kill this unborn flame
or feed me with oxygen till I burst into fire!

This inbetween is addictively unbearable.

I dip my fingers in the rose drink:
I fish out an ice-cube,
let it run down my shoulder, seething.

I can almost hear it whistle with liquid pain.

Jul 9, 2012

Jul 3, 2012

The bearer of the knife - I

I wrote you a poem

and then I lost it, I must've thrown it away.

This is what it is like to have your thoughts invaded by the bearer of the knife.

It went something like this:

You say I gave you back your knife. A rusty blade, a wooden handle.
How can you be surprised?

I could get married to your sadness.

I'd curl up naked and live in your eyes. Forever more.

I'd cut myself to share your pain.

I'd give up light and lurk in shadows, just like you.

I'd give up words. A dowry of silence. 


My bearer of the knife,

we: united by fears, exchanging blades. 

Jul 2, 2012

The bearer of the pearl - I

I go to sleep and wake up with only one thought: of the pearl at the bottom of the ocean.
Wild and beautiful
buried in the soft flesh of its bearer, sleeping.
Waiting to be dislodged from its molluscan womb
and brought to the surface.

Jun 24, 2012

Fish and piano chords

I am in love with you
because you are sane.

Not in the conventional and boring sort of way,
the way of serious young men
who are walking along the straight line that will take them to their forgetful death
comfortably but surely.

I'm talking about the sanity
that springs from years of self-reflection
and the ultimate conviction to be happy.

The kind of sanity that brings down mountains
but uprises volcanoes.

The one that lets you use words
that connect your planets to mine,
and makes you interesting and easy going
and effortlessly loveable and cool.

Ah - you are not afraid of life
nor people,
nor the strings that tie them together.
Believe me, you are a breath of fresh air in this stale country I find myself in.
I wish to love you with all my heart.


With your happiness and mine,
we could make a world of oranges and lemons
of shallow blue seas
and quiet miracles.

We could reinstate the magic of nightime explorations
through gardens
with mushrooms and tree-frogs
and nightflower-dreaming cacti.

I have played your form in my mind a million times
and moulded and re-moulded you into a million different shapes
but your essence remains the same,
like a lavender drop on a sleepless pillow
or an amber-encased butterfly.

I wish so much for you to be not only true but real,
and many a drunken night I have tried to breathe life unto this idea of you
like I breathe life unto my thoughts and turn them into poems.


But the street cats just look sideways at me disdainfully
and the streets just tie themselves into knots
so that I'm lost into the night.

And I slip and dip my ballerinas into dirty puddles
reminding me that I'm still too big for my pretty shoes
and too big for this place I find myself in.


Still, when I am down and crying,
the trees lean over and they whisper:

There's love for you still.

And the muddy stones look up and cry:

There's love for you!

And the bats swoop by clicking:

There's love, there's love.


And then I bury my tired head into my palms
and let my brain explode into laughter.

Tears streaming, I wish to love you with all my heart.

Jun 6, 2012


Look what I found. I love these songs, they're powerful. I don't really listen to much rap/hip-hop but this is good stuff!!

And how the fuck did they make a beat out of this? It's like the same thing over and over but it's so smooth...

Just love the flow in this one..

I can't stop listening to this guy

yes yes yes

uhh...oh my god...

And well this is just a classic.

May 31, 2012

Running water

I am tired of chasing after shadows,
and this hopeless feeling is turning me desperate.
To think I once was one!
Hiding under a heavy purple cloak
I would make excuses for myself
and my inabilities.
Disappearing like a fine transparent fabric
that courts with the darkness and the light,
I would make excuses for myself
and my inabilities.

To think I am now pathetically saddened by the silence
when for so long I dwelled in it.
My previous self would have laughed in scorn
should she have seen my current state.

Get up, girl, and get rid of all these needs. 

People are like running water.
They give life and then they leave you thirsty. 
They play with the colours and the pebbles,
they carry away the leaves that fall in their currents
and then they run dry in the hard times. 

Can you blame them? "No I can't".
Can you judge them? "No I can't".
What can you do? 

"I can love their white skins in the morning when they wake."

And what can you do?

"I can wait till death percolates through their every pore
and pervades their everyday.

And then what?

"Then I will see them grow wings, and they will turn to me for love."

And what will you do?

"I will open my arms to share a hearbeat
and cook some coffee on the stove"

And what will you say?

"I'll say: Follow me to the waterfall, I have told the forest about you."

And what will they say?

"They'll say: Let's hide behind its sheltering torrents and build a house in the mighty rocks".

And you? You'll go? You not afraid to trust the shadows? Don't you know their wings are made of darkness too?
And don't you know that flesh and blood loves but itself? And don't you know that people are but running water that dries up in the hard times? 

And don't you know that waterfalls will turn bitter, and forests will go rusty and die?

And can't you see that rocks will crumble and love will wither?

And don't you know we all live in a hole called self? Deep and dark and clogged with crap.

And then I ask myself: what choice do I have? Think about it. I am sitting among the first leaves, among the fresh soil, I can't just give up on what I started. What choice do I have? Every way I see is the end and I need the water. Many a time I wish to call out a big loud "FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU ALL". But that would be too easy, and too big a battle lost.

And I'd be back to making excuses for myself and my inabilities.

May 29, 2012


I'm speaking loud and clear.
can anyone hear me?

Or are you all busy catering to your neuroses
and your fears?

I know you feel lonely - I can hear you from behind the walls.
All that scratching and shuffling,
no reason to deny it.
We all live in a hole called self.

The nightflowers are here. Did you see them?
Did you feel the season changing?
Did you see all the old men and women coming out of their houses for a walk
accompanied by their Philippino ladies?

They're not afraid of the cold these days.

They're not afraid of death these days.

They're scared of the empty room
that awaits them in the morning
and echoes goodnight (goodnight) before they go to bed.

So you think you're any different?
Not susceptible to the human condition? Young and immortal, with time to spare feeling sorry for yourself and holding a chainsaw against your brain?

What have you done about your lonelinnes, huh?

Did you try to love yourself a little more?

You don't want to go around carrying a stranger inside of you. You will one day
have to die holding their hand.

Man, don't take it from me- I haven't figured out how to spell my name yet.
But listen to the colours- don't you want to go to bed with a rainbow round your head?

I've met blue, and red, and green, and pink and all them crazies
and they said to me: you make the most of it young lady cause black is unforgiving.

And so I try to fall for something every day, to keep things in perspective.

A song, a colour, a coffee-ring mark, a potted plant.
A road. Someone's house. Someone's problems. Someone and their problems.
A cat, a dog. The sky. The sky at night. The clouds. My dusty keyboard.
My stupid stretch marks. Intelligence. The people at work.
The people at home. A glass of water. Food. The drive to work.

The smell of frying onions!

No, I'm not ready for that cosmic cloud yet!

I've still to tame the elephant that will take me to the water-well,
I've still to admire my self and worship my non-self.
I've still to accept space and its spiralling darkness
and project my thoughts on its planets.

I've still to convince the daisies to open up their petals for me, and bathe me in their evening gold.

I've still to learn to keep my mouth shut
and my synapses open.

Sometimes I feel my head split open and my brains flow freely on the table. I've still to bolt my skull.

Argh, can anyone hear the purples bubbling up and frothing?

I've still to stop looking at my fingernails and give myself to the light.
One of these days I will wear my flaming magnesium and marry the sun.

I will shed the fickle lovers and embrace the earth's rocks.

Afterall, we all deserve those iridescent mountains that were born of lava,
cool and smooth and eternal.

That beautiful scorching sand is but an illusion, forming ever-shifting sand dunes,
bringing deserts. It hides all sorts of burning scorpions and snakes.

It breeds loneliness. Gently decline the deserts and head for the forests. Perhaps in time they too will seek the water and spring up life.

Ah yes, in this darkened box I have planted my trees- I am calling to you from among the first leaves, from among the fresh soil. Can anyone hear me?

If you want, I can lend you some seeds.

May 21, 2012

Letter from afar

Γράφω σου που μακριά.
Εδώ, το σπίτι μας, μια κουκκίδα στο χάρτη.
Ο κόσμος μας, μια κουκκίδα στο χάρτη.
Εδώ, τα προβλήματα μας αναπνέουν,
πιάννουν τόπο, λύνουνται.

Εδώ, το τέλος του κόσμου το ορίζει μόνο η θάλασσα
και η ατμόσφαιρα και όχι ο νούς μας.

Εδώ οι μέρες δεν σκοτώνονται πετώντας
στον αυτοκινητόδρομο με 200 χιλιόμετρα την ώρα
αλλά κυλάνε νωχελικά, σαν πελώωωωριες ρόδες ποδηλάτου,
διακτινίζονται σε παράλληλα σύμπαντα και εσύ διαλέγεις
τι θέλεις και παίρνεις, σαν απο μενού λιχουδιών
απο νουτέλλα.

Εδώ, γίνεσαι τρισδιάστατος, ξεκολλάς απ'τον τοίχο,
παίρνεις ανάσα ξαφνικά φουσκώνεις τη ψυχή σου,
κοιτάς κάτω και βλέπεις το βάθος σου,
ρίχνεις σελίνι και κάνεις ευχές.

Εδώ, ο κόσμος είναι πολύχρωμος,
τολμά να γεμίζει το μυαλό του φεγγαροκλωστές
που ενώνουν πλανήτες σκέψεων, ποιήματα.
Τολμούν να κατεβάζουν τα όνειρα
απ' τους ιστούς και τα βάθρα
και να πίνουν τσάι μέντας μαζί τους,

Τα άδεια τσόφλια ανθρώπων είναι πολύ μακριά μου εδώ.

Εδώ, το χιόνι κάνει τους
φόβους αγγέλους που τους
ζυμώνεις στη φούχτα και τους ρίχνεις
Εδώ ο χειμώνας λυγίζει τα δέντρα
έτσι που να φτάνεις τα κλαδιά τους, τ'αρπάζεις
κι εκτινάσσεσαι στα σύννεφα.

Αλήθεια, έχω ξεχάσει σχεδόν
το χρώμα του δρόμου και των
τσακισμένων πεζοδρομίων.

Εδώ, τις προσευχές μου τις λένε οι θαμνοψάλτες,
τoυς έρωτές μου οι πανέμορφοι αγριόκουρκοι του βορρά,
το θυμό μου φωνάζουν οι γλάροι.

Εδώ δεν υπάρχουν τηλεοράσεις απείρων ιντζών, πουρούδες και κανάλια. Δεν υπάρχουν
μεγάφωνα κι ενισχυτές. Ο ήχος ακουμπά τη φαντασία μόνο κι εκτοξεύεται. Απόψεις,
σκέψεις κ' αισθήσεις μεταφέρονται σε ψίθυρους.
Ο άνεμος φαντάσματα μας φέρνει τις ειδήσεις.

Εδώ οι άνθρωποι μουσκομυρίζουν πεύκα, μαγιά και ουίσκυ
πάντα τους μεθυσμένοι, με αόρατα βιολιά στα χέρια,
και κάποτε τα πρόσωπά τους θα ζαρώνουν προς τα πάνω.

Εδώ, οι λύπες μου πάνε και έρχονται σαν αγριόχηνες
που σταματούν απλά στο δρόμο για τόπους πιο ζεστούς
σαν το δικό μας.
Τούτες στέλνω σου να τες προσέχεις εσύ,
να τες ταίζεις, να τες φροντίζεις,
να έρχονται να με βρίσκουν
βυζαγμένες, χορτασμένες, και γεμάτες δάκρυα
για να θυμούμαι για λίγο, κάθε τόσο.

Γιατί εδώ κοιμούμαι και ξυπνώ με φιλιά,
φωτοχρώματα φύλλων φθινοπωρινών σε άσπρα μάγουλα
καθώς πέφτουν ανάμεσα απ'τα δέντρα.

* Paintings by Henry Kondracki

May 18, 2012

I can't think of a title, it's Friday.

Even though I am constantly being reminded that I live in a country of cave-dwelling Neanderthals (no offense to the species, but they did hit an evolutionary dead-end), I also keep meeting people that give me hope and strength to keep on doing what I love. You all know who you are, because you’re standing in the sunshine and you’re staring at the sun with your eyes wide open. I can see your tears of happiness and I too try painfully to keep mine open. 

This country needs its "pioneering" children. I am looking forward to the day when this society realises it loves its kids who have “strayed” slightly off the beaten (Cypriot) track and finally recognises them on the basis of merit and not “meson”. I can't wait till being different is a good thing, being clever but good is a good thing, being honest is a good thing, being innovative is a good thing, but until our society wakes up to these things we will live in the shadows of our caves…

My relationship with Cyprus is a love-hate relationship, as I imagine it is for most of us. It seems that everything that has to do with my life here is falling into one extreme or another: Love or Hate, Black or White, This-Type-of-Relationship or No Relationship at all, Despair or Hope, Fitting In or Not Fitting in-  I could go on and on listing opposites to describe my time here.

After going abroad to study, removing myself from this reality, I realised how unnecessary it is to live like this and how difficult it is to go back to it. 

A good friend told me once that the relationship we have with Cyprus is like the relationship we have with ourselves. I think that statement is correct, but it is a troubling one. I try so hard to abolish the Hate from the relationship with myself, and I always try to look at things from many angles, as hard as that can be, and not settle for the extremes. I want to be open, free and honest with myself and others but striving for that is harder in a society that views those qualities disdainfully. On the other hand, if I don't manage to be on good terms with myself and my life here, how is this place ever going to change for the better?

Why can’t our life here have options like: Colours, a Relationship-That Makes-Me Happy- For-What- It-Is, Happiness, Acceptance- instead of the things above? 

At any rate, some people here have created those options for themselves. I never thought that if I tried to sum up a week here in Cyprus with the first things that came to mind, the following words or sentences would come up: A Web of Life made of string/Wild raptors set free/Olive-Treehouse/Malaysian Coconut Curry/Fluffy Kestrels/Hotels for Insects/Hoopoe outside the window/Silkworms and mint tea. 

Staring into the light.

And one last thought: I pass by a school on my way to work. As of late, the kids have decided to start throwing tangerines or other fruit from trees in their courtyard, in the street. They throw the fruit and then they watch as cars pass by. I presume they then see if the fruits will be squashed or not? I guess this pisses people off because the road gets dirty and stained with squashed tangerines.

I admit I find it refreshing. We’ve become so accustomed to the sight of big ugly houses and tall fences and social norms and “acceptable behaviour in public”, that seeing this silly little game that’s been invented to kill boredom during break at school, is a welcome sight on my own boring and concrete-infected ride to work.

And here's a totally unrelated song by Sugar Pie Desanto for a sweet ending. She was friends with Etta James as a kid, and they recorded some duets together. 

May 10, 2012

Puzzles and bee-eaters

Oh boy. So many things I could tell you if you let me. If you ever let me- you look like a nice person but so troubled and lost. Do you love yourself? Or do you stare in disbelief as people around you fall to your feet?

I am not one of them - I am your equal - I am your sister and I can hold you in my arms for as long as I have to- but you seem so scared of the world and I get scared too and want to run away.

Your dark eyes trouble me- never before have I looked into dark eyes- I hope I don't get lost. I will not force you to speak to me or see me- I will be strong in the face of your endless moodswings and waverings- I am my own person, I make my own decisions based on my good judgement and not on the darkness of your eyes or the shape of your arms.

I can resist you, and be your friend, but only if you want to. I fear we have started off on the wrong foot, what with me letting you in. I felt your confusion, I felt your anger, and it hurt- I was even offended that you would want to prove something to me, but then I remembered you didn't know me and this is what it is like to let strangers in- I wanted you to hold me but I bore no illusions as to the nature of this pack.

Does anyone even see what is happening around us? Where else in the world could I be woken up from my sweet afternoon nap by the peculiar loud noise of tens of rainbow-coloured bee-eaters flying north over the purple mountains? I got out of bed and drew the curtains, letting the perfect spring breeze sweep the stray hairs off my puffy, pillow-wrinkled face. The warm colours of the near-setting sun, preparing to take his evening dive, the silhouette of the thin-beaked birds on the sky and the warmth of the afternoon gave me a fleeting feeling of the freedom of wilderness. Looking like a squinting cat that's being stroked under the chin, I breathed it all in, and lay back in bed thinking of nothing.

Boy, if people on this island ever really stopped for a moment and unglued themselves from their mirrors. I'm telling you they would stare at happiness right in the eyeballs.

The perfect recipe is:
- A couple of friends
- A bag full of apples, unwashed strawberries, canned crap and cans of instant coffee in an icebox
- A tent and
  a car.

My god you can travel to the edge of this piece of land, away from the claustrophobic town, and into the wonders of the last earth on Cyprus.

Ignore and resist the trash that gets washed ashore by the waves - don't let it spoil your moment with its man-made plastics and its unhappy plight. Focus on the turqoise water, the golden sand, the sand dunes, the butterflies, the colours- the blue Rollers, the myriads of green broken by purple thistles, the yellows, the coppers. Pretend you are a child of the moment for once without feeling guilty- when did we become so worried about the world and our place in it that we forgot to listen to our feet begging to be let out of our shoes and dug in the sand? When did we learn to draw lines around our bodies and declare ourselves free and floating in space?

Nah, put yourself back in the picture, you're nothing but another beautiful and curvy puzzle-piece. Let your hair down. Swim till your tongue gets pickled.

So many things I could tell you, if you only let me.

Apr 26, 2012

Sleepless: teenage scribbles

The nightflowers are dead
and anyone who thinks they know

Another slow awakening of this town
finds me chin in palm
on the windowsill.
It is quiet,
and the air smells of the fresh promise
that yawns in pink and pastel,
softening the jagged edges of the unhappy mountains,
but I am hopelessly thinking of you
I can see your face
there in the distant stray cloud,
you mean nothing to me!
but it lingers in my mind
like the smoke lingering above my head
refusing to dissolve,
refusing to believe its short-liveness,
now scorching its way through
down to my chest.

We have nothing in common
but our fear for what might come.

I pass the cigarette on to the next dyad of fingers
and pick up the pencil,
I scribble you down
then your name in the air -
I see no hope as I am scattered in the atmosphere.
Sometimes I hate you for it
but today I am serene,
with only myself to blame
for my feelings,
my tears,
my silent vaporisation.

I leave me here
melting down to the sill.

Apr 23, 2012

The stars they come down

I am not afraid of love. I recently found it is the answer to my existential problems and fears. You might say this is a long-known fact. Yes, I have grown up with nothing but love but seeing as I have just started to face death as a palpable realisation, I have also just started to face love as the real and palpable solution. These past few months I have had the interesting and scary experience of being woken up at night by the fear of nothingness. And I have tried to lull myself back to sleep with promises of success, accomplishment, riches and fame but nothing seemed to work better than the promise of love. We all fear it so much and some of us always have this image of growing old alone and lonely but we all know that the most important thing in our lives is this, even though it is washed out of our brains and our reality daily by all of society’s “more pressing" matters.

I can’t remember where I read this (probably in Odysseus Elytis’s poetry) but somewhere it was written that being in love and making love was the absolute triumph over death. I do not wish to sound commonplace with this post but I thought this was an amazing thought.

I lock these arms around the broadness of this back. It is a deathly embrace.
Only moments before, life was spilling out of me. 
I held your hand and we were trekking up a velvet hill. 

When I make love I am Oum Kalthoum.

I am the wood pigeon that sits on the tallest branch despite the snow.

My fires cannot be contained. 

I fill the silence with soul.

I am the giant squid that delivers bites in a flashing red of suckers and marble beak 
*Swssshhh! Slassshh! *

I am the flowery coral that turns carnivorous at night.
Feathery petals into tentacles,
I reach out in the darkness to entangle and swallow.

I harvest light and weave my dreams in mercury threads. 

I hang my pearls, 
and run jasmine through strings and wear it round my neck.

My jasmine-chains they play the saz.

The stars they come down from behind the clouds and scrape you. 

I kiss you on the wrists.

I knead your veils before shredding them apart.

I pray to Astarte.

I speak to you in my tongue which has long forgotten its lovers and been forgotten by them.

I turn my lips into pilgrims and my eyes into mourners.

I smoulder endlessly

before bursting into flame. 

Mar 21, 2012

edin to cy 2010

glistening streets from the snow
like exploding stars when I am high
or pending meteorites spinning
when I am drunk
like that one time
on half a line of ketamine
and I thought the world wore a halo of colours
or my eyes became rainbow,
walking down the quiet streets
at 3am
the wind crinkling my skin
water seeping through and crackling in the soil
life bubbling with remorse
and regret
life longing to be lived right
but knowing that I'll grow up to be a bitter old woman
and lonely
born pessimistic, I will turn into that eventually
no matter how much I wish not to
I am preconditioned
and fate is dragging my feet round the corner
wanting so much for him to be standing there
in front of the door
that I actually expect to see him
and form him there
even when I see he's not
oh boy
am I in trouble
when my core is lying a 5 hours plane ride away
passed out on dry dirty tarmac
with cat piss
and the smell of night
and the taste of killer ouzo
and some honking pervert passer by
so I must be happy here
if only I would write my essays on time,
go to the gym,
eat well
and sleep
and love my boyfriend
like I should
instead of thinking of myself so much,
I could be happy here.

Mar 19, 2012


I thought I had gotten over the emo teenage phase for good when I left here 5 years ago, but it seems like this place brings out the grunge in everything. I can feel it calling from behind the concrete. I hadn't actually properly listened to grunge in years, yet it's all I've been listening to for the past few days.
Maybe this is why I have been malfunctioning lately. If I were new age I'd say I feel like my aura is polluted or I got a blocked chi or something.

This is one of my favourite albums of all time. It's just so beautiful.

Anyway, I wrote this poem once when I unwillingly fell out of love and suffered the consequences.

Things are finally starting to fall back into place.
I am becoming healthy enough to go out and 
about again
doing the things that make me unhealthy,
important decisions are being made,
projects are embarked upon,
things are ticked off lists
and lists are getting smaller.
My manic friends are calm for now
and waking up to see the shattered glasses
of their madness and
confronting dreams,
and the underwear is finally washed 
and hung to dry;
there's even coffee in the house,
begging to be brewed.

There's only one thing:
the Sahara is back.
It blew its grainy doubts this way,
it crept in the sheets
and bit my ankles and my thighs
as I lay under the dark blue sky
of the shesh,
each fabric fold holding a threat
of stars.

I have left my love to die.
Thirsty, dehydrated, hallucinating,
longing for rosewater
and caress.

To the sound of the lonely flute
wailing through the hollow wood,
I must walk the desert alone
and listen to my gods.

Now, I wish to willingly kill my love and give birth to a new one. So here's to looking ahead.

Feb 16, 2012

My Sweet Rosa

I got photos in my inbox this Valentine's. Beautiful photos, the best present I could have gotten. From different people, in different corners of the earth. I'm so lucky and I'm grateful for all the love, everyday.

If anyone is reading, sorry about the rubbish posts, but I will be back with better stories soon. My favourite season in the whole wide world is approaching, and I haven't enjoyed it properly in years. For once, I have no exams and I am in Cyprus where spring is at its most amazing.

One of these days, when the weather is sweet, I will take a day off and go out in the fields.

I watched this documentary yesterday. 

It was interesting, but mostly because the subject of the documentary is so wildly interesting. Rosa's powerful personality, fascinating story and mesmerising presence, even in her old age, makes you almost magically drawn to her without needing much effort from the director and his colleagues.

Some of the performances of the songs by contemporary musicians were interesting too. Perhaps the story-telling was a bit weak, and maybe the film didn't really explore the history and politics behind Rosa's life, music and songs, but all in all it was an enjoyable evening for me, and I was happy to hear her songs and see her on the screen.

Feb 12, 2012

Weekend blues

I hate weekends. Ever since I was a kid I've hated the thought of having to go through another boring weekend. Not that weekdays were ever better, cause I really hated school. But there was something utmostly depressing about the weekend, especially those Sundays where I had to face everything I hadn't done the week before as well as the impending Monday ahead of me.

Luckily now I cant wait for Monday cause I really enjoy going to work. But weekends remain the same, and I find it hard to get out of bed and out of my pyjamas to deal with them as I know I should.

Jan 23, 2012

Sing it, Nina!

A guaranteed cure for the blues. To be listened to until symptoms disappear.

Jan 21, 2012


It's been two long weeks...I think my brain has entered "Cyprus Mode" for good now, which means I need to stop and take a breath. And remember the deep forests and the waterfalls of the world.

At least I have recalled what Friday afternoons mean. I never thought the smell of the lazy Friday afternoons of my primary-school years would come back. But it hit me as soon as I got into the car to drive home yesterday- it was sunny and there were two kids riding their skateboards in my neighbourhood. And I had nothing to do for the rest of the day.

I went birdwatching today...I actually enjoyed it. Even though birds are kind of nervous creatures, time rolled by more slowly than usual.

Lately I've been running the notion that one suffers from a lack of perspectives in Cyprus. It's not like Edinburgh, where you have the different layers and levels in the city, which offer plenty of perspectives and continuous fresh points of view both literally and metaphorically. There's always a view of the city you haven't seen in the soft light of dawn or a corner whose shadows you haven't pondered upon at dusk. 
There's always room in your soul left for the wonders of possibility; that excitement that drives us on to live, love and create. Don't the cherry-blossomed Meadows look so much different on a sunny spring day than the frozen-over sparkling Meadows of a windy winter's day? Play around with the days of the week, the times of day, and the vantage point, and what you get is a whole load of thinking, and a generation of scientists and artists being born right there, in that little patch of grass, in that little part of the world.

Yeah, and for some reason, Cyprus always seemed so dry, even before I went to Edinburgh. Back then, though, I didn't know what was wrong with me, and felt like my brain was slowly being pickled in its stale juices, but afterwards I realised that I had a case of 'Perspective Deficiency'.

Afterall, there isn't such a big variety of creative people with different points of view to create such perspectives here. Most people tend to follow some mainstream trends, and if someone wants to express an opinion they do it by imposing themselves violently on the landscape, like the bullshit flag on the mountain with the tacky flashing lights that I am forced to look at every day from my window or on my way back from work or the annoying spray tags on walls everywhere in Lefkosia that self proclaimed "graffiti artists" call Art.

There's just too much visual and noise pollution that the people who are actually offering a true invitation for thought are drowned out by the bullcrap.

Anyway, as I have decided to adopt an optimistic outlook on life despite my genetic predispositions, I am determined to constantly keep searching for these people and those perspectives that will enable me to keep living a sane life here in Cyprus.

I think what I'm trying to say is I enjoyed birdwatching so much today cause it offered me some unexpected new and beautiful perspectives. I never realised Cypriot nature could be so wild. Driving down the road with the sea stretching out from almost under the wheels, a kestrel in the sky, flapping its wings crazily, hovering over a marsh. Such a beautiful image. And meanwhile, all around us traffic, houses, villas, development, planes taking off loudly, an airport.

That kestrel could just be my flag of hope.

Jan 3, 2012

Indonesia: The Tower

Diary entry from Sunday 17th July 11:

Woke up at 04:20 to go to the tower with Cynthia and Eric. My headtorch was very faint so I was really unsure of my steps in the forest- fell off the railway planks once: acquired a new bruise. Squelched in the mud for a bit to get to the tower- Cynthia was in front of me and fell into all these holes so I didn't have to.

Eric climbed the tower first, then Cynthia and I was last. In a moment, my heart started  beating very fast and I felt my arms and legs weak and wobbly. From the sudden adrenaline rush I realised I must be scared of heights and how high I had to climb on that slippery red ladder. 

The tower is 45 meters tall and there are several different levels with a small platform so I could take a breath at each level before climbing to the next one. Climbing was a bit tiring for the arms and as I was clenching my muscles out of fear on the way up they were very tense and painful by the time I got to the top. I had to sit on the top for a while, my trousers wet and muddy, my hands muddy from holding onto where the others had stepped before me. I took a breath and stood up: the forest stretching under my feet.

It was still dark and foggy and the tops of the trees were floating over a sea of mist.I don't think I can describe the view well enough with words. It was just so still and peaceful and calming and it was as if time had stopped and there we where in suspended animation, stuck between prehistory and the future, on this tower full of atmospheric carbon monitoring equipment looking at our distant past- staring into our dreams- the ones we had when we were 5 where we were flying above the treetops and we knew everything and then somehow woke up to be 20 and forgot all about them but still had a vague and strange feeling that our real life maybe hasn't started or that we had another life altogether and now we were someone else. 

The sun started to rise making the mist look more dense and impenetrable before dissolving, and the sounds started changing. 

We spotted two kelasi sitting on a tree far away: kings of the lost world.

Some malcoas flew by and sat on a tree, feeding.

The sound of a distant hornbill screeching.

Cynthia and I talked a lot, climbed down two levels to a different perspective and talked a bit more. I took pictures of the spider webs overlooking the forest and I kind of wished I was a spider or a spider's web on that tower overlooking the forest and jeweled with dew and riding the breeze till the end of my days.

Went down a level and sat with Eric for a while. We were now at canopy height and i felt truly immersed in the whole experience. I thought this might be what it feels like to be an orangutan looking out over the canopy from within the branches and foliage of a tree. Looking at the world not from above but from within helped my thoughts settle down to a less abstract form. Moving from the top to the middle of the tower marked a shift in conversation from an ideological and slightly spiritual one to a more pragmatic one about conservation and the current unsustainable economic system. 

We saw some birds, which I have to remember to ask Nick about. Headed home as it was getting late. 

Jan 2, 2012

Indonesia: Sweet Chicken with Pineapple

One of my closest friends in Indonesia was Lis. He is the camp cook and one of the nicest individuals I have ever met. We made a video with one of our favourite dishes by Lis. It's easy and delicious...Enjoy :)