Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Some Good News, at Last

 





Some Good News, at Last

 

We are planting trees in your street tomorrow.

There will be a tree with your name on it.

Your own private oxygen factory.

You can come and talk to your tree

whenever you want

and watch it grow.

One day

(long after you are gone)

they might put a bench there,

so that people can sit down in the shade

and rest.




NaPoWriMo Day 13



Monday, April 12, 2021

Aristomache

 






Aristomache


Aristomache of Erythrae was a poet.

She lived 24 centuries ago.

None of her poems have survived.

Elsewhen, there were wars.




GloPoWriMo Day 12




Sunday, April 11, 2021

You Really Should Have Visited

 







You Really Should Have Visited


I didn’t turn into a pile of rubble overnight. It takes years of neglect to reach this state. There is pain involved. At first, a slight itching under the skin, tiny wrinkles on the ceiling. And still this could have been fixed. A whiff of mold that only I could feel. Then there was that mysterious pain in my belly. Still nothing visible. Then the tiles started falling out every time there was a storm. You complained, but you never fixed anything. There were more cracks and this time they hurt. You cut that cherry tree that was protecting my entrance. You claimed it was sick and you were doing it to for my own good. You exposed me to the winds. My doors and windows became unhinged. Draft got in and I was forever cold. Then you no longer pretended that you cared. Once you stopped visiting, it was only a matter of time.


I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond, but we only managed to go there yesterday. The grass was indeed quite tall. We had to cut through the weeds to find the drive. Imagine thorns and acacia trees everywhere. Acacias smell sweet, but if you let them, they take over. You should have visited. Or you could have told me to come earlier, you know I would do anything for you. So, we found the drive, we cut through the weeds and we somehow managed to get in. The floods did a lot of damage. We found some new trees, I am not sure what they are yet. The grass was very tall in the garden and it took us a while to cut through it. The house… I am afraid it has tumbled downhill. You know it was only a matter of time before those old walls gave in. Well, nothing lasts for ever, I suppose. I hope my letter finds you in good health. Please let me know if there is anything else you would like me to do.




Saturday, April 10, 2021

So Many Broken Things

 






So Many Broken Things



So many broken things.

This woman's voice is like cracked glass.

I never throw anything away, that's why.

Everything can be a memory.

This song makes me think of my grandmother.

Sea shells, a tiny key.

Never heard of this singer before.

"There is no pain any more".

Voice like torn silk.

Too many sleepless nights.

A 20-drahma note, some Italian lira, in coins.

I never knew I had those.

They say she is the mother of Gypsy soul. 

Family photos.

My grandfather never came back from the war.

He spent the rest of his life in exile.

Some letters, a comb.

Birthday cards.

If she could kiss his lips one more time.

Some jewellery.

The flowers I wore in my hair on our wedding day.

She is living in a dream now.

A wine cork.

My grandfather died in the street,

among strangers.

He was 55.

She never saw him again.

A button, why did I keep it?

I am 54 now.

Shiva and Ganesh.

"When you die tomorrow", she says.

This is where she has changed the text. 

Zen stories and pressed flowers.

It should be "When I die tomorrow."

I need to throw these broken things away.

The violin is crying.

No pain. Except her wounded heart.

She has changed the text

and now it is my grandmother's story.

When you die tomorrow, I wish I could kiss your lips one more time.

So many broken things.

Or maybe we are all inside

this woman's dream

and there is no pain

any more.










Friday, April 9, 2021

A mountain fairy, before she goes to sleep

 






A mountain fairy, before she goes to sleep


Must get up early, to wash my hair. It takes forever to dry. Luckily, I have forever. That joke is stale. Must get my beauty sleep for that party tomorrow. I love dancing by the lake. Hope no mortals try to join, hate all that bloodshed. I had too much wine with Marko and his horse last night. Should have stopped after the second barrel. Then those children got lost, so I had to play their nanny. I don’t know why parents don’t pay attention. And then they say I am the one stealing their children. That little girl would have drowned if it wasn’t for me. They were after me with nets and spears that time. Lucky I have wings, so I escaped. Didn’t want to waste arrows on those fools and the child needs her parents. Must remember to knock that city down again tomorrow. Cutting trees to build their stupid towers! Who do they think they are? Glad I taught those hunters a lesson, too. No one touches bear-cubs on my watch. Their faces when the mother appeared! And when I zoomed in from behind a cloud! Marko made me a new quiver for my arrows. He has a violent temper and that horse drinks too much. Still, we get along and the wine is always good. Need to look for some herbs for that nice woman at the end of the village. To help her sleep. Also for that old lady, an ointment for her swollen feet. She always leaves me honey and walnuts. Rada’s labour is coming in three days, don’t forget. Twins. Must fix Rada’s roof, too. Can’t let the babies live in those conditions. Maybe I should build her a new house? The old lady will need help with housework. Ok, what else? Must warn mortals not to sing during our party tomorrow. Some of my friends have zero tolerance to singing out of tune.



GloPoWriMo Day 9  


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Aunt-Vera from the Third Floor

 






Aunt-Vera from the Third Floor


The earthquake changed everything.

I can still hear the rumble.

As if the earth was choking on something.

I never felt safe after that.

My bag was always packed.

I had clean underwear inside

and all my diplomas.

Crackers and water and

a warm blanket.

People don’t know how to pack for emergency,

They keep all their money inside, then

act surprised when they get robbed.

It is different here.

The only thing I really valued was

my life.

Now the fear is gone.

Here I am part of it all.

This is a noisy place.

The rumble can get very loud.

The Earth is alive. She fidgets.

Sometimes she clears her throat or sighs.

Most of the time she stops herself

before things get messy.



GloPoWriMo Day 8


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Lessons in World-Building

 






Lessons in World-Building


The 

ground

beneath

is shifting.

Landmarks are sinking.

This world was built on quicksand and

dreams. It was so pretty, but not

real. Next time try to

use mortar

and brick

and 

stone.



GloPoWriMo Day 7 - a bell-curve fib


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Missing

 






Missing

"The constant dream of my life came to me"

Nikiforos Vrettakos


                                                                                       


There is a place where I go to hide.

A secret place,

sad and beautiful.

I leave my body behind, as a ruse.

I smile, my head nods.

I make little encouraging noises.

She knows how to listen, they say,

she really understands.

That’s when I can leave safely.

They never notice I am missing.

I have brought this trick to perfection.

My secret place is sad and beautiful.

The world around me shifts according to my mood.

I have torn it down a thousand times

and built something new on the ruins.

It is mine, but I don’t own or control it.

The place is always new

and old landmarks no longer work.

This is a dream

of someone who never learnt how not to dream.

Sometimes things get messy and out of control,

in which case

I can always pop back into my body which is still sitting and listening.

And no one will know I was away.



GloPoWriMo Day 6 



Monday, April 5, 2021

The Wine Barrel

 






The Wine Barrel 



Open your mind and listen.

What do you hear? 


Inside, a revolution is being plotted.


Inside, a miracle is being born.

Water is turning into wine, a magic potion is 


cooking silently.

Inside, sugar is transformed into something wonderous.


There is a silent party going on.


The guests are bubbly with excitement.

This is a speakeasy.


Only the secret password will get you in.

But even if you are not invited,


even if you just stand with your ear to the door,


and wait,

perhaps you will hear the change as it comes.




GloPoWriMo Day 5


Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Old Cinema

 




The Old Cinema


This was once a cinema.

Back when we still lived in packs

people would gather here

just to watch a  movie in the dark.

That thing over there was the projector.

See how comfortable these seats were.

Can you believe that you could eat popcorn while you watched?

This café was where we would go afterwards.

I don’t know why, but watching movies always made me hungry

and popcorn was never quite enough.

I can’t believe that we used to travel for an hour sometimes,

that we would cross that bridge over there

just to watch a movie 

with a bunch of strangers.

Children went to school in that building across the street.

See, this is where they played.

We have come a long way since then.

You can have all of these things at home.

You don’t need to travel or cross bridges any more.

And, of course, we all know

how dangerous it is to go out.

So, no, I don’t miss the old days.

I don’t feel safe among strangers any more.




GloPoWriMo Day 4 - inspired by this image


Saturday, April 3, 2021

The First Flight

 




Image by danny moore from Pixabay




The First Flight


 

See that bridge.

It is a good spot, like any other.

The river will catch you if your wings don’t open.

No one has seen this river, but have faith it’s there.

Maybe your wings are ready, maybe not.

You will never know unless you try.

We were not made to crawl on the ground.

There’s no other way to learn how to fly,

no other time, except right now.



GloPoWriMo Day 3


Friday, April 2, 2021

A Wrong Turn

 




Wrong Turn


I ran after a bus once. I might have been 12 years old. 

Turned out it was the wrong bus.

It drove me to a part of town I had never been to before.

On the side of the road there was a car

which had been through a nasty accident.

The driver must have taken a wrong turn.

I wrote my first poem when I came home that day.

It was about wrong turns and burning cars.

It was terrible and I set it on fire.

I swore never to write poetry again.

Then, one day, I had nothing to do.

I might have been 18 by then.

I turned on the TV and heard this poem.

It gave me wrong ideas

all over again.

So I sat down and wrote a poem of my own.

It was terrible, but I wrote two more.

The poem which inspired me had been written by someone

who’d taken a wrong turn one night and found himself in a dark forest.

No one knows what happened there, but he never came out alive.

Maybe it was the forest that Charles Simic writes about.

The one with greasy ropes and baby nooses.

The poem I heard on TV that day was read by an actor

I used to admire a lot back then.

I was only 18, after all.

I trusted people too easily.

The actor drove someone home not so long ago.

The car took a wrong turn and they found themselves in a lonely house.

Something bad happened there.

Or so they say.

Yesterday I turned on my TV again.

Apparently, there was a whole country once

which took a wrong turn and ended locked up in someone’s private safe

while outside monsters took over. 

There aren’t a lot of people I admire these days.

Charles Simic might be one of them.

And that poet who died long ago.

I have decided not to watch TV any more.

I will stay indoors for fear of taking a wrong turn.

The world is full of monsters and greasy ropes.

This poem has taken a few wrong turns as well.

If it is ever called upon to bear witness to these times,

I am not sure its testimony should be trusted.

Someone who gets lost this often

can lead everyone else astray.








Thursday, April 1, 2021

The face of that dream we have all had

 








The face of that dream we have all had


The blue base will lead you astray.

The serpent is your friend.

Every hour of the night

has its own horrors.

You will meet them all.

The eye of the flute and the earth-within-the-earth.

The brain-planet and yellow percussions.

Here the dead lie in fields of reeds while

pink flowers die in their bloom.

The pathway through the desert is a labyrinth.

Beware the pig-monster, it is not dead yet.

Does fire really taste like bubble-gum?

Gates, caverns and flames.

Fish-trumpets and a fist.

We are all at the mercy of the giant tree-god

and the demon who has lost his head.

The Devourer is his name,

his face

is the face of that dream we have all had.

You know the one I mean.




GloPoWriMo Day 1