poetry issues #12

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 12:15

This twelfth issue, whose distribution started today, completes the first cycle of Poetry Issues. It has been a full year of poetic expression and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I did. From now on the publication will become bimonthly, in order to dedicate some time to other works.

You can read this issue below:

 

 

April’s Fool

 

It’s a joke, all this rain,

and I’m reminded

only by date that this

is the advent of spring.

And I envy the trees.

They seem to possess

the right time for everything:

Like clockwork they go

through winters and springs

accepting, always in majesty,

each turn of season that I

try, strong-headed and vain,

to manipulate and command.

You refused to hold my hand.




Life Without Temptation

 

I didn’t die nor resurrect

at the age of thirty three.

I’ve lost my chance.

And now I watch myself

mature to death –

an unappealing apple

without an Eve’s hand

to save me from counting

how many meters

before I hit the ground.




Afterwards

 

Pestered as they were by what happens next

they left their sentences undone, hanging

annoying as fruit flies, unsure of their direction

overwhelmed by the vast possibilities ahead.

But once, fueled by a whole night’s drinks

they raced into the pink-gold dawn that painted

all their hopes anew. That’s when they learned

that language is redundant when your soul

is smooth and it’s not only youth that burns with instinct.




Letter

 

I don’t have to tell you

that we are not what we seem.

You know it better than I do.

 

Your chatoyant eyes reflect some

passion you dismiss. I have proof

in the shivers I get when you come

 

to have a coffee under my roof

and rehearse your staged words.

Still, I hear nothing but the truth.

 

It must be an augmented chord,

what tunes us in each other.

Life before you was a chore.

 

I’m a moth heading to the lantern

for what is love but death, dear lover?




In Therapy

 

Most days I don’t remember my dreams.

It’s just that I often wake up with a sigh.

 

I’m quite hard and detest looking back.

Cicadas and lilac skies don’t amuse me.

 

In my youth I grieved imaginary deaths

far as I was from the need of an afterlife.

 

I found purpose in the half-time. I was

meant to be the eye of the universe.

 

 

 

[If you would like to learn more about the Poetry Issues project, read this.]

Published in news

poetry issues #11

Saturday, 04 March 2017 16:21

The distribution of the 11th issue began today. Read the contents here:

 

 

You, Yes, You

 

I’m scared of your dark potential.

It unwinds serpentine

as you avoid collision and

– god forbid! – correlation

with other bodies on the street

all too efficient from having had

brushes with perceived fiends

but mostly eager to possess

a shallow pride you defend

by throwing tantrums of

unchecked greed and insecurity.



The Wanderer

 

Longing

often comes

in strange shapes.

 

Californian vineyards

and Australian seas

I haven’t seen you.

I don’t know if

I’ll get a visa for my dreams.

 

Of all the things

I left back home

I miss the hills.



The Drama-King

 

“I’m alone,” he cried

and pulled his hair

in desperation

from the small seat

on his high throne

but never looked beyond

his own reflection.



Victim

 

On the up side,

I’m not afraid of darkness

anymore. Horror

found me in broad daylight

and the hand was known.



In the Inside Pocket

 

An item or two of no importance.

An acorn or a corner of a leaf.

A marble and a hair clip.

Found poems meant to guide

and keep us grounded

respecting that we once

were children too.



By Your Sickbed

 

To attest the fact that

“our life is not our own”

I invent bunches of meaning

and lay them clustered

in the functions I perform.

 

I can be described at best

as mediocre or even arrested

in a wild adolescence of feeling.

But being given

one

more

chance

at efficient action, I twist

with abandon the wet towel

that will cool your forehead.

 

 

 

[If you would like to learn more about the Poetry Issues project, read this.]

 

 

Published in news

Poetry Issues #10

Thursday, 02 February 2017 11:40

Poetry Issues has just reached double digits! Enjoy this tenth issue right here:

 

 

February

 

The breeze stirs and then it moves us forward

with tangled hair and whirling splintered thoughts

and locks us in the chase of portentous

shapes in the low clouds. The soft grass writhes to

break free and its crystal prison of frost

stays relentless in it’s albinity.

But there is something in the lengthening

of light and the sonnets of the swallows

that travel from the lands of velvet warmth

that begs me to endure and join the strife.

It’s in the slight murmur of the willows

when the grey skies push upon their backs and

instead of lamenting they sing: “Perhaps

this isn’t such a bad month to be born in.”

 

 

 

Bus Commuters

 

Not the servants of a dark empire

of fast-drying concrete and steel

with hands and faces worn

 

by the tiredness

of a joyless looping life

 

but princes and queens

of flourishing kingdoms of the sand

with peach orchards where horses run free.

 

 

Distance

 

There is a longer

space between your words and mine.

We are diverging.



Just Watch

 

The history of

mankind is nothing but a

plucky fist raised high.

But now the fight is over

the color of our new couch.



Rectitude

 

Trying to rectify the wreckage

caused by the rectangularity

of the wretched electorate

the pious asked the rector

who exclaimed that there

was nothing to correct.



Anatomy

 

She ordered the surgeon

to remove her organs

and take pictures of her innards.

He was then asked to put them back,

and the money was good and the life

was tough. “I don’t understand,”

she said later, ignoring the sore

while her eyes still searched

on the photographic paper.

“My liver looks perfectly fine

but, where is my soul?”



Student with Purple Glasses

 

“And where do you dispose

the oil from the frying pan?”

She asked the landlady,

sincerely worried about the lack

of environmental planning.

 

There was a halo of smoke

rushing around her platinum hair:

“Just pour it on your trash.

It’s excellent sauce

for the lunch of the seagulls.”

 

 

[If you would like to learn more about the project, read this.]

 

 

 

Published in news

Poetry Issues #9

Thursday, 05 January 2017 16:29

Poetry Issues #9 is out today. You can also read it here:

 

 

January

 

Shambling in his old-man slippers

out to the humble unkempt garden

he checked closely with the first dew

in the hanging cheap-blue plastic net

for puny craters on the smooth lard

planets of seeds and dried mealworms

to see if any sparrows had come

or if he would spend the winter alone.

 

 

 

His Greatest Act

 

He had the mane, alright.

But with the untowardly stretched

pink satin shirt and strassy pants

none of the kids could really tell

that there was an old defeated lion

and not a great illusionist trying

to escape the burning iron cage.

 

 

 

New Paganism

 

We are so eager to become

nothing but bodies

freed from the hold of endless excuses.

Carnal pleasures aren’t for the fainthearted.

 

We are so eager to find peace

in the white noise

of a hangover brain. We aren’t ashamed.

This is only a primordial ritualistic instinct.

 

Quiet people are afraid of Chaos

but they seem to forget

that he gave birth to their cherished Day,

that wry officeholder with the glowing teeth.

 

 

 

The Gigolo Triptych

 

Courting

 

She dismissed it as

disruption. A waterfall

in a dried up land.

 

Kiss

 

He lowered his head

as his hands smoothed along in

search of her wallet.

 

End

 

She invested in

a more trustworthy asset:

Church-cut dignity.

 

 

 

A Love Story

 

In the heart of the city

that doesn’t have a heart

I followed the lamplights

for one last time.

The oracle had told me

that a black river ran

through you

and hope had to cross it.

I paddled up the mucous dream-stuff

up to the city’s poisoned hills.

You were nowhere to be found.

 

 

[You can read about the project and find other issues here.]

Published in news

Poetry Issues #7

Friday, 04 November 2016 14:28

The seventh issue is out. If you can't get the printed version, you can still read it here:

 

Inside

 

It’s a beautiful day, outside

One of the last, if not the last

 

Before a heavy winter sets in

I like to think of windless autumn

 

Days as rare, and endangered

They make the wait more puzzling

 

What am I waiting for – perhaps a force

To make me – step outside

 

 

Family Values

 

Happiness was a bottle

of iridescent soap water

meant to burst in bubbles

on my mother’s marble floor.

She was annoyed and banished

from our common home

what she saw as stains.

She, who mercilessly counted

good times in fridge magnets.

 

 

In Flight

 

I looked suspicious.

My heart was in the hidden

pocket of my bag.

 

I forgot to put

my breathing mask on before

I turned to help you.

 

Falling, the dancing

lights on a welcoming sea

told me I belonged.

 

Pain was the red paint

on Claude Monet’s poppy field

in Musée d’Orsay.

 

 

Momentum

 

Our joys were made of plastic and fluorescent lights.

Raised by chip factories, we’d grown virtual feet.

Our time was running out like early morning coffee

and patience was the throbber on our loading screens.

 

Raised by chip factories, we'd grown virtual feet

and the first impact with sun-smelling turf felt strange.

Patience was the throbber on our loading screens

until we paced for hours in bleak waiting rooms.

 

The first impact with sun-smelling turf felt strange

but it shook off our belief in confined square spaces.

Until we paced for hours in bleak waiting rooms

our experiences had the depth of all-inclusive tourism.

 

What shook off our belief in confined square spaces

was the flawless animation of detaching yellow leaves.

Our experiences had the depth of all-inclusive tourism

and we just couldn’t get higher on computational speed.

 

The flawless animation of detaching yellow leaves

while time was running out like early morning coffee.

We just couldn’t get higher on computational speed.

Our joys were made of plastic and fluorescent lights.

 

 

Dinner for the Wolves

 

If I were a daube de boeuf

at an intellectual dinner table

would I find purpose and pride in

being eaten and praised and escorted

with pinot noir straight out of Burgundy

 

or would I try to crawl off the silver plate

daring to blotch the too white linen

and then straight off into some

drain leading to the gutter

where I would call out

my revolution?

 

 

[Read more about the project.]

 

 

Published in news

Poetry Issues #6

Monday, 03 October 2016 16:12

Ladies and gentlemen, Poetry Issues #6 is out:

 

 

 

The Screw

 

It was waiting for me, on the kitchen table

full of suggestion and gleam. It wanted

to be pressed hard on the wooden floor.

Its whole body begged to be twisted.

 

My moves were decisive. My expression

said it all, in a low grunt of womanly power.

Dominant in nature, I didn’t mind the sweat:

It validated my consistent, punctual effort.

 

I thought we were aligned – reciprocally

understood. But in a moment’s glimpse

it snapped, and rolled under the low couch.

Now, I have to find myself another screw.

 

 

The World Scaled Down

 

When I was fifteen, we lived on a lane

of big fir trees and low, curtained windows.

The lonely man on the corner once bought

a little cactus he placed on the mantel.

Passing by for school I waived at it, as

some children will befriend anything.

Within a few weeks I saw it wrinkle

and shrink in monumental misery.

I felt the impulse to knock on his door

but still feared the myths plaguing people.

“What kind of person let’s a cactus die

of drought?” I asked my mom distressed one day.

“The kind of person that also kicks his blind dog”

she said and turned to bake food casually.

 

 

Bread

 

In a way, it was a rite of passage

to qualified motherhood:

The fantasy of the steaming

fresh-baked bread and

the lemony glove next

to a matching apron.

And before that, the satisfaction

of the kneading hand

in slow motion, suspending

particles of flour pushed away

by the fluffy dough explosion.

 

 

Terza Rima for the Unhappily Married

 

You think that war is the ultimate carnage

that wakes in a man the blood-thirsty beast.

Wait ‘til you’ve seen the perfect marriage.

 

Wearing white in their coming-of-age feast

lies choose almond cake and harpsichord tunes

that you dance to, when your better half insists.

 

Cagey comfort turns you numb and immune

to the slow death of your once-flaming lust.

Soon you learn to mask silent rage with croons.

 

Absurdities bullet out of your mouth just as

last-minute, habitual lovers appear alluring

under the flattering light of a compulsive past.

 

To the downward spiral there is no ending

until you cry “revenge” and make for the landing.

 

 

The Hysteria of Fräulein von R.

 

He would press my head’s cross with his thumb

and instruct me to remember. He put on

such a show

with the pretext of conjuring up

forgotten memories. Once,

he turned me into a puppet

with his induced somnambulism

just to prove an argument.

 

He was so full of himself.

 

To get rid of him, I pretended

the paresthesia in my legs had left me.

He was contented, proclaimed me cured

and freed me of his presence.

 

But on some quiet nights the pain returns

out of the blue, as strong as ever.

 

 

 

 

[If you want to learn more about Poetry Issues, check the press release.]

 

 

Published in news

Poetry Issues #5

Thursday, 01 September 2016 14:24

The September issue is out now. Read it here:

 

 

Democracy

 

In sarcastic punishment

the word hangs from its hinges

like a rusty sign turned upside down

flapping due to unstoppable winds

in the flat desert sands of civilization

losing its meaning like it never had

personal history. Its essence hovering

projecting wraithlike visions

of what might have been.

 

 

Evenings with Grandma

 

Among the reassuring roundness of buttons

in the churchly silence of the haberdashery

I examined with the stern brow of the assessor

treasures in mother of pearl and carved ivory.

 

Along the hollow spools of silken thread

that tied me to nothing but minuter tints

of damask red and cobalt blue, I contemplated

on their amaranthine possibilities for coalescing.

 

At home, I danced away to the airy scissors snips

and the fast, unsteady beat of the sewing machine.

On the pincushion I did my little voodoo thing

wore a thimble and pronounced my pointer queen.

 

 

Migrating

 

An acute change of

wardrobe. Never seen flowers

thirsting for the sun.

 

 

Guilt

 

From all the ghosts that

haunt me, the ones I fear the

most are still alive.

 

 

A Break-Up in Late Thirties

 

She tried to gather her thoughts

in a single confrontational sentence

while the children slept in their cots.

 

She dressed the table in blue polka dots

brewing on her need for acceptance

as she tried to gather her thoughts.

 

She cleaned the fridge and paired the socks

but her eyes never strayed from the entrance,

while the children slept in their cots.

 

She decided, dusting her chipped teapots,

that the cheap ones have greater endurance,

and then tried to gather her thoughts.

 

Under the louder than life kitchen clock

she thought she heard a car in the distance.

Meanwhile, the children slept in their cots.

 

Petting the faithful, warm-breathed dog,

the only male who was still of assistance,

she tried to gather her thoughts.

 

Her husband came at midnight and brought

a loaf of cold bread and a bag of repentance.

She was waiting with gathered thoughts

and the children still slept in their cots.

 

 

The Monks

 

For forty years, in utter silence and candlelight

the three of them worked copiously in their cells

with the tomes of hellenistic philosophy.

Their indoctrinated quills were ablaze

while copying Aristotle’s unmoved mover

and Plato’s conforming form of the good.

 

But on Epicurus there were long pauses

for there was a worm in the heretic’s words

eating out the apple of unquestioned devotion.

 

The hegumen kept his raven eye on them

sensing how they shook their fatigued heads

in dread and understanding. The rest went about

their common business of trade, intrigue, and prayer.

 

Longing for the Garden of their secret faith,

in their deathbed they didn’t call for priests

but for one of the agriculturists, and asked

for gardenias and lemon trees to be planted

above their unsung, shameful graves.

 

 

 

 

 

Published in news

Poetry Issues

Sunday, 10 July 2016 09:38

 

If you're wondering what Poetry Issues is, I think it’s time you read the press release:

 

Why poetry?

Because it’s immediate.

Because the meaning is enhanced and deepened by the music.

Poetry doesn’t brag or hesitate, and I admire that to a character.

Because it’s art, and art helps me connect the dots and remember beauty.

 

Why a pamphlet?

Because we need something tangible, to make sure we exist.

Because different platforms affect the same work in different ways.

Because I trust in unexpected encounters.

 

Where?

Poetry Issues is distributed regularly in The Hague and not so regularly in Malmö, Liverpool and Berlin. Copies can also be found in private collections (aka, in friends’ houses) in Athens.

 

Who else?

I would like to thank the people who contributed to and/or distributed the pamphlet. Credits go to Alexandra Mouratidou, Sandra van Lente and Jenny Porter for their priceless support and involvement.

 

What’s the plan?

The first cycle is completed with the twelfth issue. Those twelve issues will form the first Poetry Issues collection to be compiled shortly. The project will continue, as it has proved fruitful, but on a bimonthly instead of a monthly basis.

 

So, where can one read Poetry Issues now?

 

Here you go:

 

Poetry Issues #1

 

Poetry Issues #2

 

Poetry Issues #3

 

Poetry Issues #4

 

Poetry Issues #5

 

Poetry Issues #6

 

Poetry Issues #7

 

Poetry Issues #8

 

Poetry Issues #9

 

Poetry Issues #10

 

Poetry Issues #11

 

Poetry Issues #12

 

Poetry Issues #13

 

(to be updated accordingly)

 

If you would like to learn even more, read the interview in Litdocs.

 

Published in poetry

Poetry Issues #4

Monday, 13 June 2016 19:55

 

Poetry Issues #4 is out there, and in here too:

 

 

Education

 

Under embalmed squirrels and framed Jesus Christs

vast world maps with the USSR and Czechoslovakia,

under roofs that leaked on glossy hospital-pistachio walls

child eyes rolled outside tall windows on the concrete yard

where allies were chosen and enemies constructed

as demanded by parades in mid-length skirts

and blue-white flags so big that only boys could lift them.

By the blackboard the chalk flakes still landed like snow

on the thyme-honey-haired girl with the red barrette:

I will never climb on the fig tree again.



The Dying Art of Restoration

 

I don’t know for how much longer

I will be able to fix things.

 

My swift fingers are cemented

in the once dripping glue.

 

Now I’ve only got my thumbs left –

a true crustacean with hard-shell woes.

 

I will crudely mend another gimcrack

before some mishap makes me watch

 

tacky friendships smash like bibelots

in my life’s living room.



The Shakespearean Prophecy

 

You will raise your children on free-range ambition,

lull them in the cradle with sonatas of success.

Like race horses, they’ll have a taste for competition

but you will find that their minds quite often digress

and bend under the brewing threat of mediocrity.

Concerned, you will then use your means to devise

a stratagem rooted in sincere parental hypocrisy

as your offsprings will hunt a vacant glittered prize

or seek arduous relief in codependent relationships.

They’ll spend small fortunes in mindfulness remedies

make gods of psycho-gurus trying to come to grips

with panic attacks and other acquired emergencies.

Your greatest investment will lose much of its equity

but you’ll always save face with industrious charity.



Balance

 

Those twilight moments,

when neither here nor there saves

you stay still and hark.



Temperature Rising

 

I am the grumpy one.

The one who flinches at the sun.

 

Hot summers should be banned

along with bronze tans.

 

Since all association was removed

from counting ice creams and dips in blue

 

in the sunswept nooks of memory resides

the transparent smell of the moribund.

 

And I – I keep my dead roses in the vase

unwilling to accept or to part.

 


Next issue: September 2016


Published in news

Poetry Issues #3

Saturday, 07 May 2016 17:00

 

May’s Poetry Issues is out, including “Platamon” by Alexandra Mouratidou.

 

Along with The Hague and Malmö, I am pleased to announce that a small number of copies of the current and previous issues are distributed to a selected audience for the first time in Berlin, thanks to the publishing professional and co-founder of Litdocs and the Literary Field Kaleidoscope, Dr. Sandra van Lente, and in Liverpool, thanks to the curator and visual artist Jenny Porter, some of whose work you can admire here.

 

And if you can’t get your hands on a copy, you can still enjoy the content of Poetry Issues #3 right here:

 

 

The end of our affairs

 

We’d like to fold them up in a neat

bedsheet-in-drawer manner

but they’re a roomful

of hopelessly knotted yarn.

 

So we set them on fire in the yard.

 

We resume our conversations

with ashes-on-mantel earnesty

then stuff them in shoe boxes

at the back of the garage.

 

So we get to keep the advantage.

 

In cardboard urns we align the has-beens

the would-be husbands we never miss

but then we judge it inefficient

as it all comes down to mass.

 

So we finally throw them in the trash.



Unfastened

 

I asked him to tell me once again

about the death of stars.

He went up and down the room

and I stayed focused on his arms

that broke into a dance against

the stubbornness of time,

tracing harmony and flow

back to when

each loose moment had the stamp

of the movement of the sun.




 

Platamon

by Alexandra Mouratidou

The evening leans

the sea shies behind a fan:

geranium red.

 



A Child’s Solace

 

A memory of

forever invincible

young parents laughing.

 



Mirror Image

 

It took me years of staring

at a flat map

 

before I saw

the night’s stereogram

 

as firefly lights descended their strings

one by one

 

and surfaced to the unlit soul

of the one staring.

 



Interrogation Triolet

 

The empty pages forced me to confess

to all the murders that I didn’t do.

The pen is now resting on my chest.

The empty pages forced me to confess

insisting that we made some progress

before the late-night shift was due.

The empty pages forced me to confess

to all the murders that I didn’t do.




Published in news
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