Translated from the Greek by Yannis Goumas
The Houses Of The Dead
Houses belong to their dead
as the bones of horses to their riders.
Starting with the peeling of walls
to arrive eventually in their stalk
—never from doors or windows
they always bring an expectation.
Then you unnail the boards
slowly that not a stride of theirs be lost
and next, you take down the ceiling
fixed so many years from their fumes.
Don’t ask about the furniture, it’s of no use.
They’ve made eternal vows with their touch.
“Gospel According To S.”
Counting the triumphant denials
tearing the viscera with a lancet’s precision
bringing new hopes as future defeats
I walk in the universe.
What we were deprived of is what moves us
towards that side of the moon
with a local low level and raised lips.
O dark root of optimism
how much longer shall you grow in arid soil
ramifying infinity with the illusion of being?
A dead armchair is equal to millions of voices
and an extinct torch to thousands of raging photons
yet affection is two letters ahead
and the throne a rustle without the body.
O generation, spiny chicory of Erebus
O generation, slain wild beast in the throat of God
O generation, perplexed and computerized
mirrored in stagnant waters fayum-like.
And where bombarding beehives, there “peace” trumpets forth
and where crystallized limbs, there outflow rivers
and when on the table “injustice” is slaughtered
the innocent dine on crumbs of righteousness
and when they sound “mercy”
comes caisson disease.
You always dismiss your demon servant
as you affirmed during the war.
He who cries “my poor sides!”
will be quelled by the beauty of her bare parts.
And she who mourns for the constellation of Centaurus
the splinters of his skin will be undoing.
For who can stop a beast pouncing on its prey
and the victim’s desire to be marauded?
Blessed are the hungry and thirsty for love
and satiated they are.
And finally whoever is humiliated by the pace of a lizard
whoever is still moved by a dewdrop’s will
to hover on the leaf of its fate
whoever still wonders
“Who knows what experience has in store for us?”
he’ll emerge from the kingdom of heaven
worshipping not knowing what.
Palmyra, 2015 A.D
Art is transformed from a nymph into a butterfly
as you, shattered Desert Nymph,
are mirrored in the ruins of your ruins
without prospect of reflection.
The ancient pillars propping up memory
are now hurled into infinity like grains of sand
alike Calderon de la Barca’s ethereal inspiration
before becoming an invalid lament.
Tiepolo is looking speechless at Zenobia who is crying.
Beside him, Rossini is smoking thoughtfully.
And I hundreds of kilometers away from them
raise from the ground a random stone
in memory of History coming to an end.
Who can believe without attributing it to his faith
as the breeze rustles in the leaves
without giving away its origin?
Who can desire without construing his passion
following the cricket’s amorous call?
The dusk’s ashes scintillate without a murmur
the water’s tear leans waiting for the glaciers’ glory
and the ivory gateway receives
the weary knees with the runner’s eagerness.
The stubborn silkworm asks for no revaluation
nor does the primeval root acknowledge debt.
The hyacinth has no need of prehistory to effloresce
nor the Pleiades to endow their bright brooch.
All that you love is given self-sown.
And if at the bottom of the sky
you saw broken chinaware and fallen vases
it’s because the light rubbed in our palms like thyme
became a blade in the hands of conscience converters.
And if you heard the pine tree sobbing
and the dolphin cursing
it’s because haughtiness became jet, intoxication, and cicatrix.
The fishermen’s sorrow, the galaxy’s hissing
and crystallized the lava’s sperm.
Whatever you kill takes the shape of your hand.
Your age are the people hitched on your eyes
and words digging on paper conduits
to the final sparking of the new blindness.
(they call it knowledge or starry grass).
The hum of barbarity in the world’s
morning bell full of morbid microbes contaminating the senses,
spurts like a winged rash over the roofs
of bodies, penetrating even the most thick-skinned reptiles.
We walk in the mud of oblivion
with the galoshes eternity,
a skull pierced by the ignorant horn
with hollow slots where cast coins
the penholders of darkness
what you ignore brands you forever.
The hand that killed
the five-year-old child
in Gaza in 2012,
was his father’s hand
in Vietnam in 1967,
and his grandfather’s
in Spain in 1936.
The child that was killed
and in Spain
passed away the hour
shown on the clock
of the bombarded church
in Croatia in 1991.
The 21st-century biographer to come
be less troubled.
They offer you a red stone. Mum’s the word.
Your silence is the art of Alhambra
And that glass bead around your neck
Inevitably brands you wherever you go.
Strangers’ hill. Your way.
“What soil allays a stranger when he dies”
You think again as you regard the Fountain
With the Lions encircling the source.
A dog’s tail reveals
what millions of books try
With two fingers you can silence
a cicada ’s voice but not its
The quickest way
for one to reach knowledge is
We should evaluate heroes
not by time, but
You should pity Achilles not for
his vulnerable heel, but for his scorched