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Case Study I

The light is beginning to fade -

In the empty space
between waste and hope
the mind arranges its images.

Dividing distinguishing categorizing
with its sugary muscles alert
it sets out to see
insists on inventing – finally -
something new.

the dark old air of the city
is just beginning to turn red

a little naughty ray of sun
circles the horizon like past glory

(what exists is nothing but invisible flashes of fantasy)
the geometry of the nation
as a ray of morning light
through the twists and turns of time
:points of intensity:
:points of release:
upon the wound -



Case Study II

You wanted to remain free
pure perhaps

Shadows on the steep hill
The atmosphere calm like spilt milk
and the whining herd of the city
chewing the cud of nothingness

There is something
in this (not so pure) air
as old as mercy
the darkness of farewells
the sweetness of obscure verses
slowly taking on shape in our hands
in the empty space
slowly sculpted in our hands
reshaping the contours of History
restless as a child
- warm and alone
brimming with emotion -
in and out of History
(you can even touch it with your finger)
its tip slashing the blasphemous air
the shadows/the city
and then – suddenly - upon us
a gleam
its gleam – suddenly - upon us

this is your freedom
you are supposed to use it

Stand before dis/ enchantment
(these words are still full of meaning that I bite)
- beyond all nostalgia or resignation -
the true sirens
and the other ones
of the mind.
You are not alone.
Between you and the poem, dear Reader,
an incisive moment of pure light –

The red pulse in the muscle of the mind

The moment is here
The head bending down
(why did you give that promise?)
the gaze turned up
the feet stuck in the hot mud
without sinking.

Translated by Richard Pierce


The Poet

he's forced to look –


the poet rips up
the conditions his poetry
like thin worn-out skin.
Being almost touched
by the pitch of that penultimate A
(or rather, resisting it)
persuades him not to wait.
– he read once –
is nothing more than a succession
of armed and disarmed sounds
which a despairing,
doubting mind
might commit to.


he's forced to look
at the fresh syllable-grass swaying slightly
in the air, weaving a new skin –
fruit essences spill everywhere
blurring what the eye longs for
and while he still doesn't understand
whether something in the clean May air
is after him
he wants to tell you his story
about that meeting, he says,
how it rained
how your breath touched his hand intimately
how tenderly the rain
how that furious rain tenderly
its sharp wings
for how short a time
all (all?) that is violently contested
out of order
breaking the surface of the narrative
surprising the end of the story


the poet rips up
the conditions his poetry
like thin worn-out skin
he considers the vandalism which will follow
when this sentence ends
and –
there's a certain fatalism
in walking across this landscape
in just standing between the word, its myth
– he dances,
his heart in his hands
he dances –
what the music
on evenings like this
right now
keeps fresh
and uncaptured by language

(translated by Fiona Shaw and Socrates Kambouropoulos)


Erotikon 1
(after two lines by Corrado Calabro)

I feel your heavy breath on my back, yet I don't turn round.

There's a breeze.

The autumn sea's melting amber
dries up towards the south
and between the words
(words which once you recited from the horizon)
the memory of a grandeur :
– false –
stands watching you at night
in the morning its shadow welcomes you –
(you said)
way through: none:
no way through to a different intimacy
where what is, is
where the soul is effortlessly exposed to facts and things
a bride who offers her truth to her lover as a gift
visible: nothing
only a mechanism of instants:
ties together
what has been left
in the sluggish morning air
floating un-
between them

Oh, if only it could be heard
from the roots of the mind
(dizzy with the recent warmth of insomnia)
to that concrete point
where the concept of a tree becomes tree again
where the skinny grass grows suddenly at the power of your cry
to the point of origin
(darkness) (spread) (by time) (in vain)
everything gathered under the shadow
– the mind's small silly shadow –
without belief
without struggle
without confirmation –


The wind smoothes stone.
A butterfly weaves reflections.
The eye a wound that leaks.

the air is still clear:

selfish words are already restless in your hands
you write to prove that the soul is dead
that the epic of the sacred means nothing now
– almost like a poet –
you write without believing in names
dragging things down from their names
(her eyes still have the warmth of the garden)
(her adolescent breasts shake, pinch the blue)

Wind comes from somewhere far away
bringing tears to the trees
Time fills the room slowly –
why don't you believe me?

The moon scarcely balances on the world.
The word burns.
Watched by the unblinking eye.


(translated by Fiona Shaw and Socrates Kamboropoulos)




I did only Satyrs. I wanted to stop that sarcastic laughter
that made me go mad."

Yannoulis Halepas, 1878

I have every right to be alone
a minute presence –
I alone have every right
to observe
the well-crafted volumes
the black grimaces on this marble.
I want to understand
(try to understand)
what it is that hastens to give the brain its freedom
what – in extreme refinement –
it is that asks the brain to give back its freedom
the whole story
the scenario and the hammer.

The artist tried to do this.
It is 1878.
The Acropolis exists.
This country exists (exists?)
"under observation" – be it so –
and "in deteriorating condition "
the face filtered through the wrinkles
(he might almost guess the agitated movements passing by
the holograms on this marble)

Whatever exists will be destroyed

every single clay model
every single study
the soul exposed
to this impulsiveness
overwhelming the empty air (empty?)
the air filled with empty agitation
don't turn around/don't believe it/don't deceive your mind with ghosts of this kind

I have every right to be alone
I alone have every right
to observe
this face
the laugh on this face
eroding consciousness
projected elastic
the whole face a laugh
drenching/ years now/ the mind/ bending it
to the point of utter resistance
where only the wind can bend.

The world becomes smaller and smaller - almost empty.
(what is the true primal essence of things)
The mind stops resisting.
The hands remain inert.

I have every right to be alone.
I want to stop this laughter.
I want to hear beyond it.


Translated by Richard Pierce

* In the winter of 1877-1878 the famous Greek sculptor Yannoulis Chalepas suffered from a severe nervous breakdown: he destroyed hundreds of clay models, studies and sculptures, mainly of heads of Satyrs. He was put 'under observation' and, ultimately, sent to Italy to recover. He soon returned to Greece to study the sculpture of the Acropolis but ended up in a public psychiatric clinic on the island of Corfu.

Landscapes ΙΙ

'Facing the Music'
after Paul Auster

in a flare of beauty
or the vertigo of love

In the gap between death and dying
what was that which was glowing bitter
which was gathering – bitter-
in the staring eye
the relentless bleeding
of a momentous blue.

I want you to feel it
colour of utter devotion, of despair
and nothing else
how it has lived inside me all night long
the harsh agony
for nothing else but this
and how it kept breaking in myriad manifestations inside me
becoming these words.

I want you to feel this blue
colour of loneliness and uncertainty
and nothing else
while the air and the earth resound
a random conflagration in the irritated atmosphere
that dwells nowhere.
I have to tell you everything about it
I have to name for you the encounter
since this very night this colour
and that something we had forever lost inside it-


Impossible to hear it any longer.

Language is irreversibly drifting us away from what we are
every single word becoming an elsewhere
something that moves
eloquent and competent in this
more sharply
than the blind eye.
And nowhere amidst these words can we be at rest.
And nowhere amidst the colours resides this blue.
And nothing here begins by merely naming it
not even these words
that I keep speaking to you –tonight-
strange and emotional
driven by this blue
and how it has grown inside me
a tender violent force
overwhelming my inner self

There is nothing these words could give you
but the pure contemplation of a colour.
And there is nothing these words could give you
but the unforeseen horizon
that is our denial to accept
that they had failed us-

And as if these words do not exist.

And as if this blue had never existed.


(From Three Notes for a Melody, Athens 2004)
(translated by Dimitra Kotoula)




It's you.

Yes, I can hear you.

A fine skin spreads over my tongue.
Caresses it.
A fine skin caresses my tongue.
My hands resound full of fruits.
Full of abandonment.
Whatever is going to happen in the tale
is happening now in my hands.
You blow my day.
Surprise it.
Your smell flustered my day.
It whirls.
My day whirls and falls into yours.
My heart
a warm meek mouth
that your heart's scented caress
has condemned to survive
wide open
without lips.


(translated from the Greek by David Connolly and Dimitra Kotoula)


Moods X

I'm so emotional tonight.

The sharp cohesion of an art both demanding and rather joyless
for the time being holds back.

we could, if you wish,
walk together through galleries
of museums in love with their own statues
analyze the pointed uncertainty of the hand
beneath the damp material- the marble
the rough preparation of the surface for painting.
We could, if you really want to,
even compose a little music.
It will be splendid and carefree
unfolding rather slowly
but always in those ever-reliable four-beat measures.
Don't deny me this.
Besides, what would it cost?
Bring along this moment and this page.
This moment
on this page
-my only asset-
cancel it all
for, tonight,
faithful to the purity of tears
in an era of cynical assurances
worthy and illustrious,
could (how could I possibly)
claim you.


(translated by Anthony Hirst and Dimitra Kotoula)




It's light fading into light.
The sea, the dazzling sea that will endure.
The horizon that vanishes into the horizon's own despair.

The evening draws back into itself rustling.
Pure silence drizzles in our veins.
There's something insistent in the air
― a decision ―
not quite formed but momentous.

And see.

See within
this tiny fragile face rising.


Be kind to it.




(translated by Anthony Hirst and Dimitra Kotoula)



Landscapes I.

It's an icy day.

A lifeless wing of morning light
hangs there, defiant
The smell of frost
and the red leaves of the plane tree steaming.
Fresh furrows of wet raw material
my hands
held straight out to me
worn down by desires
dragged through the mud of all that indulgent nostalgia
find their bearings.
Remaining faithful to this light
I can perceive myself more clearly
I remember myself more clearly
beyond the expected or the actual.
The autumn smoke rises peacefully.
The forest of my inflamed thought stirred up again.
The sound fading red into my mouth.
Keep your eyes closed.
Keep your eyes closed to-

I, you and- this.

Grief is scattered in handfuls above the sea.
The sea so apparently glorious.
We have no glory.
Only our hands now coupled
white hands amidst the greens
worn down by desires
dragged through the mud of all that indulgent nostalgia
hands borrowed and lent
for a moment almost bright
then are reduced to nothing
the small violent army of an imperious triviality
only our hands a couple
-but wingless-
ravelling and unravelling promises
forcing decay to recede.



I you- this.

The horror in words rising
we lying
in the dark
each starring at the other

each holding onto the other
in the dark

and the heart asks for nothing

-for we are poor-

just breathes

-the rhythmical breath of its own relentless pounding.


(translated by Anthony Hirst and Dimitra Kotoula)