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.