Letter of Mathios Paschalis
The New York skyscrapers will never know the freshness
that comes down on Kifisia
but the two chimneys I liked so much when I was abroad
just behind the cedars return again
when I see the two cypress trees over your familiar
that has the paintings of the damned being tortured
in fire and brimstone.
All March long rheumatism played havoc on your beautiful hips
and in the summer you went to Aidipsos.
Gods! how life struggles to just go by, you could say like
a swollen river going through the eye of a needle.
The heat is burning to the night, the stars gift us with midges
I drink bitter lemonades and am still thirsty;
Moon and movie theater, phantoms and the suffocating
Verina, life has ruined us and the Attic skies and
the intellectuals clambering in their heads
and the landscapes that ended up posing
because of the drought and hunger
like the young men who spent all their souls
that they may put on a monocle
like the young girls—sunflowers swallowing their heads
that they may turn into lilies.
The days go by slowly, my days circulate inside the clocks
dragging the second hand along.
Just remember how we turned breathless in the narrow streets
that the car headlights wouldn’t gut us.
The thought of a foreign land encircled us and enclosed us
like a net and
we were leaving with a sharp knife concealed inside us and you said
“Harmodios and Aristogeiton”.
Lower your head that I can see you, but even if I saw you
I would try to look farther.
What is a man’s value, what does he want and how will he
justify his existence at the Second Coming?
Ah! I wish I found myself alone with the sea and the wind
on a beaten up ship in the Pacific Ocean
alone and with neither a wireless nor strength to
fight the elements.