Saturday, April 11, 2009

Growing Up In Greece

Growing up in Greece during the colonels' years between 1967 and 1973, I got to experience counterculture at its best. From the reefer hippies backpacking through Europe sporting Canadian flags and avoiding the draft, to the packed streets of Plaka and Monastiraki before crass commercialism took over, to the emerging student movement and the subversive, underground art. One such example was to be found, of all places, then on EIRT (now ERT), one of the two TV stations in Greece at the time. It was a half-hour tragi-comedy reminiscent of Becket's "Waiting for Godot" called "Ekeinos kai Ekeinos" or loosely in English as "This One and that One". It followed the musings of two vagabonds, vagrants, street people, call them what you like, mostly farcical but surrealistic, existentialist conversations. Here's an example of Solon and Loukas while waiting for a bus next to a post with a faded sign:

-Σολων, δεν ειναι τοπιο αυτο για να περασουμε εδω ολη μας τη ζωη;
-Προσπαθω να θυμηθω γιατι ηρθαμε εδω. Τι μας εκανε και ηρθαμε εδω; Θυμασαι;
-Δικια σου ιδεα ητανε. Και, δεν ηρθαμε εδω. Καταληξαμε εδω.
-Ισως αν ξεραμε γιατι ηρθαμε εδω, να ξεραμε και το που παμε. Τον προορισμο μας τουλαχιστον,
-Σολων, αντι να ψαχνεις στην τσεπη σου για κανενα τσιγαρο ψαχνεις για τον προορισμο σου.

"Solon, isn't this the ideal place where we can spend the rest of our lives?"
"I am trying to remember why we came here. What made us come here? Do you remember?"
"It was your idea. And we didn't come here, we ended up here."
"Maybe if we knew why we came here, we would find out where we are going. Our destination at least."
"Solon, instead of searching for a cigarette in your pockets, you're searching for your destination?!"


Friday, April 03, 2009

The ghosts of my house / Τα φαντασματα του σπιτιου μου

Τα φαντασματα του σπιτιου μου / The ghosts of my house

Μπηκα στο σπιτι μου το παλιο, και βρηκα σκονες και φαντασματα
μαζι μπλεγμενα σε ιστους απο αραχνες ξεχασμενες στο σκοταδι
Το παλιο τραπεζι στου δωματιου τη μεση κι' επανω του μικρα παιδια
σκυμμενα, αμελλα, ζουνε στο παρον
Κλειστα παντζουρια, κουρτινες κρεμασμενες με φροντιδα
ξεχασμενη κι' αυτη τεχνη μιας εποχης

Passing under the door of my old house, I found dust and ghosts
together caught in webs from spiders forgotten in the dark
the old table in the middle of the room, small children bending
over it, without a care living in the present.
Closed shutters, curtains hung with care,
another forgotten art in the past