Saturday, June 22, 2019

Wholesomeness

i.

There is something
tropical in your touch,
the timid smell of
pineapples and coconuts,
uncut.

I walk your way,
bringing emptiness
for you to fill with
anything you desire,
to the brim.



ii.

As people pass by,
I think of proximity,
bodies that stop
at nothing, ours.
Senses unleashed,
tasting each other’s
comfort, as people
pass us by, we kiss, 
knowing the more we 
do, the closer we get.



iii.

Let us practise
the biggest lie,
and crawl under 
its timelessness,
marvel together
at the heat
it’s producing,
enough warmth
to endure living
in reality’s chill.





Athens, 2019

Friday, April 5, 2019

Penning a Monostich


Language is a spell to hack reality, tap its unrealness.

Reflections


An anchorite stops walking
In the middle of the lake,
Turns and looks at his
Poised footsteps,
And waits

Until their ripples disappear.

Invisible to boatmen,
He then wears his sandals,
Inverts his body,
Testing the upper dactyls of faith.

He sees an unrecognizable face,

And resting on his hands notices that
Phalanges have left muddy hand-prints
In reflections of clouds,
Looking like bloated, pale worms.



Athens, 2006

A Poem Sleeps


Behind the bridal veil, a lost look,
Ill at ease smile, yellowish teeth.

It’s June and I’m a February-poem. I hold the tail of the dress,
Death is the groom.

Tired after this ceremony, I fall asleep.

I wake up in a book whose pages are wheels,
preparing a church for another wedding,

a church that has 28 closed doors.



Athens, 2006 - 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Tassos


I.
Tassos is having a dream
on a rainy, cold night.

I'm up writing and surfing the web.

I hear him in agony calling my name,
the loudest whisper I've ever heard.

I never reply and wait.

Back to sleep -- back to writing,
curious about the touch felt

on my right hand.

II.
He's a teacher, in an unfamiliar village, of martial arts.
Content, but his gut feeling tells him something is off,
then I appear, peaceful and laconic, in his dream.

“The lesson will keep me here for a while, my students… Go.”
“Go where?” He cannot answer. Says, “I have to stay here.”
"Stay where?" I ask, as I leave and coldness surrounds him.

Dad shows up inquiring whether I had been there,
putting his hand on Tassos's shoulder says,
“Hope with all your heart she returns. You have no other way out.”


III.
On tactful nights,
mutual rescues
sensibly take place,
whether we’re up
and about, busy
with the lust
mulishly preceding
such dawns of brighter
days ahead, or not.



Athens, 2019


Friday, February 1, 2019

Wishing Upon A Line


I need you to be great, my first line of a poem,
Grab attention, make it read till the end.
I need you to be so great I can repeat you,
Hide my lack of ideas, but still be original.
Reassure me and please readers, make this art worthy
Of spending all my free time, today or tomorrow.
It's not sad what I do, it's not pointless,
Finding lines to wish upon is not worse than
Finding stars in fixed skies whose falling
Rarely graces the fate of mortals with luck.



Athens, 2019

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Great Exodus


THE GREAT EXODUS

You’re now a shadow, not the first nor last,
Nothing can harm you as such; detach.

Observe the present you are in,
But do not troll the past.
Invoke the Great Exodus
To help your essence win.

Beware your merging with the night,
The blackness of a heartless crater,
From which the callous ropes of Fate
Are being flung anew to seize you later.

Down there, where the anthrax platform’s
Filled with mine-dust, archons need more slaves.
Ask yourself:
“What’s the reason for such vile wonders?”

Fear most craving to return,
To dream again in cave-like shelters,
To live inside a human body chained
Under the ruthless laws of Elders.

Time’s reign has ended for you; eschew restarting clocks
That ceaselessly exploit the signs of Zodiac.
I know you’ll need a new, full body soon,
Your thirst for it will be a torture.

Fight it, if all the shadows out there
Did the same, it’d bring the final closure,
No souls approaching in a file
The river of Oblivion.
Once crossed again you have surrendered
Life to Death’s Dominion.

Has this so far not brought us back
To nothing but Inferno?

A play for puppets where there is
No point, no freewill section.
Just karmic strings attached to stars
Long gone and black holes.

Reduced to size of granules,
Rubbing and rubbed along the sliding sands
In prison-hourglasses, aimless; whose ends
Are sealed with bones, left behind,
As remnants;
Yell to your former masters full of rage:

“Enough of this!”
Burn their Wheel
And leave no trace of them.


Athens January 2019

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Omen Accipio


Time's carriage halted at
the sound of the Bacchic clarinet,
lost chances stepped outside
and bleary-eyed waved at Death.

It was one of those moments
that like Lucius Aemilius Paulus
"ut domum ad vesperum rediit",
standing in front of his child
asks "Cur tristis es?"

Take your mask off Time,
this soul is untamed,
warning you now that
next time your galloping
specters will be killed
one by one,
for whipping these two
words out of my mouth
always delayed.


Athens

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What works and what doesn't


Reconsidering particular moments
Grappling in my head with years
I shouldn’t have wasted on people,
I wonder what works and what doesn’t.
Is my noncompetitive nature or
Their fixation with prevailing
What made me feel like working
Double shifts?
I have tried to find a place away
From their kerfuffle but it seems
The more I try the more I am
Caught up in yet another whirl
Of what doesn’t work not what does.
We, all part of a storm-centre,
Are tied together with emotions
And something provokingly unworkable.



by Nicoletta A. Poulakida, 2006, Athens

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Pillars

The whole world is a pile of crap
Hiding more crap.
Where is the truth, one might ask.
The truth is that you think,
Not what you think,
That you feel, not what you feel.
Nothing is hiding behind these two
Pillars you can only sense
They’re there.

Athens, 2018
by Nicoletta A. Poulakida

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Exhumation


Where is the shape and form of that
Which makes me cry and grieve
Show me the bones the hollow skull
Show me the future of myself
In its condition as it is.
Open the grave and I will see
Why we’re all made
To end like this,
Now open the lid!
The voiceless answer
To my eyes flees
From his missing lips!
No ears to hear
My plea,
"Father come back to me!"


by Nicoletta A. Poulakida, 2018, Athens

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Iconolater


You want to stay alive, fight, persevere,
Not for some love or fame or money,

It is because you think you’re beautiful,
Not in the heart or soul or personality,

The face, the body you see in the mirror
You like it oh so much,

It is because you think you’re pretty.

You’d even kill yourself
Mesmerised by your icon.



by Nicoletta A. Poulakida, 2018, Athens

Her Project


The bigger couch, suitable
for taking long siestas with Bou by my feet
is covered with a synthetic blanket
and an old woolen sheet on top.

The second cover - indefinably beige-
can’t be better washed, yet it preserves
the yellowish breath of its past.

The halogen heater plays with
its persisting tones as it rotates,
180 degrees churning decades,
thread after thread after thread

And when its colour is butter yellow,
I can see the hands that weaved it,
young and strong, knowing
this particular tint surfacing,
is a mixture of reflections

of her red hair, the continual turn
of her head to the left
then back to the right
as she firmly operated the loom,

and I sense wool was not
the only thing woven into.



to my grandmother

by Nicoletta A. Poulakida, 2007, Athens

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Dad

in memory of my father


I.
Which weight Dad
slipped from your shoulders
onto mine,
when standing in a corridor
of a hospital decades ago
and the staff transferred
a body covered head to toe
and I asked you
“don’t you think Dad
this was a corpse?”
and you replied
“Yes, but we are here
for other reasons, aren’t we?”
II.
And now I know,
if you were standing next to me
at your funeral and if I were to ask you
“don’t you think Dad
this is unfair?”
you’d still say the same,
that I was there for other reasons,
careful not to slip more weight
onto my shoulders.



by Nicoletta A. Poulakida, 2016, Athens

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Chosen Dummies


Out in the dark valley of the night
pitch black moments glue to each other,
a constant subtle tremor’s energy anticipates
the twisted habit of the missing sun
to change the spectrum of the things
the days have done.

Who now thinks therefore I am?
Refreshing with his conscious cogitation
my being all the time while I’m asleep?
One of his dummies takes my place,
am I replaced, or are there many I’s
scattered in dependent timelines?

And more importantly when did we extrapolate
the sun’s return as scheduled,
hadn’t we witnessed his insane departure
every dusk, all he ever leaves behind
is a bipolar room for doubt.

We dream the past when we’re awake,
and sleep throughout the now.
It is as if the sun was what Shakespeare
may have had in mind, “to be or not to be”
was the bottom-line.

Although Spiritus ubi vult spirat,
a poet knows that here it’s always dark,
a poet listens to the ventriloquist’s heartbeat,
reversed replayed reechoed in slow motion,
a pattern torn by chosen ones
who don’t come back to shatter any myth
or spoil the dummies’ dream
and cut the prince’s tongue and arm.

Such is the only deal for a real life,
kidnapping your fake self in Now’s broad daylight,
one dummy less, missing from the drama
and never looking back.



by Nicoletta A. Poulakida, 2016

Masters of Delay


A happy day, an auspicious beginning
cloaked do the Fates make their usual approach,
Destiny walks unarmed and carefree
and Beauty bathes with a lover or alone.

The heart may be singing joyful songs to please the soul,
but one’s spirit knows beforehand,
there is no way one’s end can be foretold,
the last circumstances are the most unforeseen of all.

Even what’s best could not be as good
as the art to postpone therefore,
neither the fluttering cut of Atropos,
nor being senselessly reborn deserve their toll.



by Nicoletta A. Poulakida, 2018, Athens

Nothing but a soppy song

To Fanis, a poem promised years ago

I.
In the dentist chair
no new ideas are perching on my eyebrows,
‘When I was nine
a crimson wristwatch was given to me 
by my father
who died one morning at nine o’clock,’
I suddenly recall.
Fanis has no anesthetic
for what goes on in a patient’s soul.
His cell phone rings,
its ringtone is Luis Armstrong’s
“It’s a wonderful world”
Which may never have been his favorite tune,
but a reminder
for him, perhaps for all,
a declaration of best intentions
and colossal expectations destined to echo
– in my opinion –
as nothing but a soppy song.

II. two years later, ringtone changed

You’re not alone in thinking we’re alone,
That any route is solitary from birth to extinction.
We are here connecting paths,
Remembering passages to glades. 
Wanting to be loved again and again,
Exclusively, with intense, in and out of rarity,
Welcomed on the island without name, a maze
Of blindfolded dilemmas, feeling weary
and strange in need of a holiday.
III.
I have a better ringtone, 
but it’s not for phones,
it’s as sad as snow falling
on a white dog lying 
dead in the middle of a road,
as a tornado hitting your home.
I have a better ringtone,
but it’s not for people
that cannot stream it
throughout their lives
as they’re doing other things,
or making love.
*
Hush and turn 180 degrees.
A good bridge depends on 
Knowing both sides.
Make yours sturdier than
The Rock of Gibraltar 
Αs if it’s made for Titans,
Or someone followed by
A legion of relentless arguments. 
Expect the specters of your minds
To unfold their powers, then
Reach each other's hearts and
Send them to hell, where they belong.



Athens, 2016-19