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from athena

Υπάρχει κάτι που όταν το πεις δεν αναπαύεται πουθενά

Αγγίζει τις σκιές των ματιών

Ακούει το όνομα σου, λαμπαδιάζει τα σύννεφα

Δεν είναι πάντα η στιγμή έτοιμη

(Ποτέ δεν ξέρεις με σιγουριά αν πρέπει να ειπωθεί)

Και όταν ξεκινήσει να τρέμει στην γραμμή σαν ήχος που δεν έχει βρει την θέση του ακόμη

(αναρωτιέμαι αν μπορώ και έπειτα πάλι δεν είμαι σίγουρη)

Αλλά είναι τόποι που το χρώμα τους κρατεί την αναμονή του και ετοιμάζεται να βυθιστεί

στα ουράνια σώματα

Κανένας αστερισμός δεν έχει την υπομονή να αφαιρέσει την νύχτα από την τροχιά της μέρας

Ο δίσκος αναπηδά στην αντίστροφη όψη του

Μια διαλυμένη συχνότητα από παρατημένα υλικά

Αν έβρεχε όπως χθες θα μετοικούσε στο πέρα αλλά βρέχει όπως σήμερα και δεν έχει το σθένος να φύγει

Προτίμησε τις κουβέντες από την σιωπή

Τα λογία από τις λέξεις

Και έπειτα πήρε ένα παφλασμό και έδωσε στο κύμα μορφή

Το πρώτο χρώμα αγκυροβόλησε στην ακτή, το δεύτερο ανέβηκε στην στροφή πάνω από την εθνική οδό μετά άλλαξε πορεία και γύρισε προς τα πίσω. Εκεί διαδραματίστηκε όλη η πλοκή

Χαμένη σε ισομερή διαστήματα

Δεν φεύγουμε απόψε ούτε αύριο

Τα δέντρα σκίζουν κομμάτια από το ξεθυμασμένο του γαλάζιου

(Εξαφανίζονται στο μέσα)

Ο δρόμος διαγράφει τις ταμπέλες

Αναρίθμητες σκιές, αναρίθμητες

Αν ταξιδέψουμε ίσως

Αλλά η ιστορία όπως και το παραμύθι έχουν μια αρχή ακόμη και αν είναι άμορφη

Είναι ίσως οι μέρες που η πικρή δυστυχία αγκιστρώνει φιγούρες και λέξεις

Σαν να φεύγει ένα δάκρυ από ολόκληρο το πρόσωπο και μεταμορφώνει το βλέμμα σε πόνο

Το τοπίο αφήνει δαγκωματιές από θλίψη, αέρας που αναδεύει ψυχρός την άνοιξη

(Το φύλλωμα δεν αντέχει τον παγωμένο ήλιο)

Περίκλειστη

Αδιάφορη

Η αναπνοή έχει γίνει ανάγκη και αφορμή

Σήκωσε το κεφάλι, τίναξε την σκόνη από τις οπλές σου

Σθένος

Μεταφράζω την συμμετρία

Κρόνος και Ιαπετός

Η Κλημένη κουρασμένη αφήνει τον σκοτεινό ωκεανό. Γκρίζο αλάτι και μαύρες πέτρες στιγματίζουν την ακτογραμμή

Γλυκιά αναθύμηση, λευκός οίστρος, ιερή θάλασσα

Ξέχασες;

Λεπτεπίλεπτες σαν δάχτυλα αρπαγμένα από την σιωπή ενός θαρραλέου σώματος

Αποφασιστικές σαν υψηλότατοι ουρανοί

Όλες μου οι μέρες στέκουν οδηγοί της Θρυών

Τα στάχυα δένουν σφιχτά το καλοκαίρι σε δέματα ήλιου

Κανένας ανόητος μην τολμήσει να κόψει την αγριοτριανταφυλλιά που πιάστηκε κατά λάθος στο φράχτη

Αφήστε την να αναβλύζει, πηγή από χρώμα γης, πηγή από χρώμα ξύλου

Ένα δυο τρία πέταλα

Βήματα

Ένα δυο τρία βήματα

Ο μοχλός είναι θεμελιώδης ως προς το μέγεθος

Εννοώ ότι μπορεί να αντισταθεί στην δύναμη που του ασκείται

Επικαλούμαι την χρήση του

Υποθέτω ως μακρινή ομοιότητα

Για να εξιστορήσω τα γεγονότα πρέπει να τα αποαφηγηματοποιήσω

εννοώ ότι δεν είναι μόνο το φανταστικό που αγκυροβολεί στην αυταπάτη

κάποιες φορές το πρίσμα μας αφήνει να δούμε το ίδιο το γεγονός ως αυταπάτη

τα δέντρα

η λίμνη

το μπαλκόνι

Οι δε γε εγκαταλειπόμενοι

Η μεταφορά του πεδίου στο πέρασμα μιας ασαφούς λειτουργίας

Παράδειγμα: Από το Α στο Β διαγράφεται η άφιξη ακριβώς επειδή δεν οριοθετείτε

Διαταγές προέλασης, είπε και με ένα κοφτερό βλέμμα έδωσε περιεχόμενο στην απειλή

Η χάρις εκπεπληρωται

Για δεύτερη φορά, η νίκη είναι μια εκπληκτική παράσταση

Ex post facto, δεν χωράει καμία αμφιβολία

Αμφίθυμη;

Μάλλον μεγαλοπρεπής, ίσως και παγερή

Η πρόταση και η συμφωνία δεν προσφέραν την αναμενομένη θέση

Memoir?

Correspondence?

Description?

Θα έλεγα ότι το κλειδί είναι στη διαδικασία: δεν χρειάζεται να διαχυθεί ότι μπορεί να συγκρατηθεί

Εκεί που συμβαίνει

Εμπνευσμένο σαν ποίημα

Η ποθητή είχε κεράκια αναμμένα στο δωμάτιο της και μια καρεκλά έξω από την πόρτα στην άκρη της γειτονιάς

Νομίζω φορούσε ένα πουκάμισο μακρύ σχεδόν μέχρι το γόνατο

Το είχε σφίξει με μια ζώνη στην μέση της.

Το θέατρο προσπαθεί να μιμηθεί την ζωή.

Νομίζεις;

Ναι αλλά δεν ξέρω κατά πόσο τα καταφέρνει.

Οι άνθρωποι και οι εμπειρίες τους;

Μπορεί αλλά μου αρέσουν οι απλές καταφατικές προτάσεις.

Η θεατρική δομή όπως και ο θεατρικός χώρος ..

Βαριέμαι, είπε. Απλά είπα κάτι για να το πω.

Αυτό που είναι επιβλητικό δεν μένει ατιμώρητο

(Χωρίς γαληνή ίσως)

Με την πάροδο του χρόνου ακόμη και η τόλμη μπορεί να φανερώνει αδυναμία

Το ένστικτο του αποβλήτου αρπάζει την ευκαιρία της υπεκφυγής

Η πρόσβαση παραμένει στην αποποίηση κάθε δικαιώματος

(Εξαγνιστική)

Συναρμολόγηση της αντίστασης στην έλλειψη εναλλακτικής λύσης

Μην βασιστείτε στην βεβαιότητα ούτε στην ισορροπία

(Ειρηνοποιοί)

Αντισταθμίστε την άγνοια με την πίστη στον δισταγμό

Για οποιονδήποτε λόγο, με οποιονδήποτε λόγο

Η αμέλεια

(Αναπόφευκτα)

In the great Morning of the world

The definite article

Έξω από το παράθυρο η ζεστή μαζεύει σύννεφα σκόνης

Η χαρούμενη φωνή μιας ξένης στιγμής

Οδηγός της έννοιας ή της πιθανότητας για ουσία

Πριν από την αλήθεια

(Οι ρίζες)

Δυνατότητα σύλληψης

Νοηματικά αντικείμενα

(Σε εσφαλμένη απόδοση)

Η τέχνη του πεπερασμένου, απόδοση φυσικής ταυτότητας

Λυπάμαι που είμαι το θέμα του ποιήματος

Αλλά πως θα μπορούσε να γίνει αλλιώς;

Χωρίς τους Ελεάτες

Η εμπειρία του άγχους θα έμενε ανυπόγραφη

Εγγύτητα

Ψάξε στις αρνήσεις

Ψάξε στην απόρριψη

Η τέχνη δεν είναι η μίμηση της ζωής

 
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from carolyn

At the village school in the old days, the children of the policeman, the priest, the retired army officers, the teachers, the postman and the shop keepers stood out from the rest – they were well-dressed with polished leather shoes.

Theodoros, the postman of the village, being salaried, had the opportunity to save money and bought the piece of land where our family had their threshing floor, right on the main road through the village, with two huge mulberry trees nearby which provided shade during harvest time. If you know about farm work, you can imagine the position, the view, and the light wind at the end of summer to help with the winnowing, separating the grain from the chaff.

On this plot of land, a modern house was then built with concrete columns and slabs and bricks and mortar, duly rendered on the outside, plastered on the inside, then painted a cypress green colour, just as if it were in a city. The roof had European-style tiles, first ever in the area. The front section downstairs was used as a storeroom, the family lived at the back, and upstairs was rented to the state as the doctor’s residence and rooms for receiving patients.

As time passed Theodoros no longer used his fine white horse to go to the nearby villages to deliver the mail but instead used a brand new car which he parked on the side of the house behind his tractor. His full head of hair was now silver grey making him look quite distinguished, his eyes as merry as ever.

Then a second postman was taken on to deal with the villages, there was a full-time clerk at the post office, so Theodoros only looked after the postal delivery in the sprawling village itself, which now boasted a branch of the Agricultural Bank of Greece. He would deliver on foot going from house to house in the busy centre of the village, greeting everyone, knocking on doors to leave letters. He used his car to drive up to the highest neighbourhoods. It made a very personalized service.

His wife Angelika was thin, head always covered with a scarf for protection from the sun, helped with the farmwork, looked after her ailing mother-in-law and three children. Those children spent quite some time peeping around the corner of the house giggling when I first visited the village all those years ago.

An Englishwoman who had married at another village started coming to the primary school on Saturdays to give English lessons. The children, now handsome boys and a beautiful girl, joined the class. They finished junior high school, then senior high school, then went to study in Athens, found well-paid jobs, married and produced children. An exemplary family all round.

Theodoros still had a good income even when retired, as civil service pensions in Greece are renowned for being high. He had time on his hands, so could visit grandchildren in Athens and a relative here and there who had moved away. Angelika was happy to stay at home, still taking care of her mother-in-law and the vegetable patch at the back of the house.

One year in the first days of September, before the grape harvest and not long after the lively village fair and dance which lasted until dawn, Theodoros made use of his free time and his spare money. He went to Mykonos, the most expensive and cosmopolitan island in Greece in the 1980s. Not with his wife. He took Dina with him, a still shapely luscious housewife his age who lived in the centre of the village.

They returned to their respective houses a few weeks later, and the village settled down once more to its usual rhythm. It was time to harvest grapes and make wine, and Theodoros and his wife Angelika gathered their grapes from their vineyard near the vegetable patch. The wine that year was exceptional.

 
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from qwazix

I was walking alone, as one does, between the dirty apartment buildings that were stacked one after the other as if by a giant kid that stacks their toy bricks: arranged in a way, but not very neatly.

I entered they gym shop on the ground floor of one of these buildings. I asked for some protein bars and a couple of yoga bricks. While the clerk was fumbling around to open the plastic bag, I was imagining, what if I asked him for a frozen chicken? Would he laugh? Would he just pause and look at me? Or, I thought to myself, he would take the question at face value and tell me he doesn't sell frozen chickens and that I should go to the supermarket next door.

As I exited the shop once again, a man was parked so tightly just off the sidewalk ramp, that neither wheelchairs, nor walking people could cross the road. As I saw him walk away from his vehicle, afraid to chastise him for his blatant lack of consideration, I imagined I was not alone, but with a friend.

I would grab him and hold him, while my friend would slowly remove his backpack, open the zipper and get a portable, battery operated little blender out of it. He would then take a small tablecloth, spread it with care on the boot of his car, and get some pineapples from a supermarket cart we'd be hauling.

In the meantime, I've tied the guy and put a funnel in his mouth. My friend now has a knife and is peeling and cutting the pineapples, laying them tidily on the tablecloth. I take the pieces one by one, put them in the blender and after I'm certain they'd be a homogenous pulp I gently pour the smoothie down the inconsiderate bastard's throat.

What is he gonna do? Go to the police? Who would believe somebody claiming that two guys stopped him in the middle of the street and force-fed him fresh pineapple pulp. They'd think he was mad.

The same evening I was sitting in front of the computer, watching the multiple columns of mastodon scroll endlessly by. Someone commented on the current fad (well by 2020, not so current anymore) for absurd job titles in programming-related ads such as: rockstar developer, javascript ninja and others, equally cringeworthy.

Immediately I thought I should send a CV to all of those companies, just to land a single interview and then show up dressed up like Mötley Crue but with a colorful keyboard instead of an electric guitar, or even better, dressed like a ninja, and go sit there in the waiting room as if nothing weird is happening. “I'm here for the javascript ninja position, yes”.

Which of course reminded me of the time my partner was working at Big Pharma and they usually had these “Round Table Discussions” where opinions of managerial staff and other high ranking officials were supposed to have equal weight with white collar workers and where all kinds of infuriating discussions took place, and I wanted like nothing else to show up in the middle of the meeting dressed up like a medieval knight, with a horse if possible, and announce my presence. I always thought that just the looks on the managers' faces would be payment enough for my imagined bravery.


Next day, on the way to work I stopped to get a coffee at the familiar bakery. There was a new girl there. The coffee was surprisingly good. That made an impression, but I didn't think long about it. At the office I'd remark about the coffee to my new co-worker.

She turns to me in the most natural way and tells me: “You should go back and tell her. Tell her that she made you the best coffee you've ever had. Tell her that you only live for the brilliant coffee she makes and that you want to marry her. Tell her you love her.”

I stayed there looking at her, wondering how did she know.

 
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from georgia

Παίρνεις το φλιτζάνι, το γεμίζεις νερό, πρέπει να είσαι προσεκτικός όταν πρόκειται για την προετοιμασία ελληνικού καφέ, με κάποιο λάθος στις αναλογίες θα είναι σίγουρα αποτυχία. Ανοίγεις το βάζο με τη ζάχαρη, μετράς το ένα τρίτο από ένα κουταλάκι, το ζυγιάζεις με το μάτι, αμφιβάλλεις για ένα δευτερόλεπτο, είναι εντάξει. Έπειτα, το σημαντικότερο, ο καφές, μια φουσκωτή κουταλιά, τη γεμίζεις με μία γρήγορη μονοκόμματη κίνηση, δεν έχεις δεύτερες σκέψεις, είσαι πιο σίγουρος, αποζητάς τη γεμάτη, μεστή γεύση. Ανάβεις το γκαζάκι κι ανακατεύεις. Είναι κρίμα που οι καινούργιες κουζίνες δεν έχουν μάτι για τον ελληνικό καφέ, θυμάσαι τη γιαγιά σου που σε έμαθε να πίνεις καφέ, κρυφά, γύρω στα δώδεκα, το δικό σας μυστικό. Δεν τις πρόλαβε τις νέες κουζίνες η γιαγιά, δεν πρόλαβε ούτε τους υπολογιστές, ούτε τις τηλεοράσεις πλάσμα. Πέθανε ένα πρωί όσο ήσουν στο σχολείο, δέκα χρόνια πριν χαλάσει η κουζίνα, είκοσι πριν τον υπολογιστή, τριάντα πριν τη σmart tv που έχουν τώρα όλα τα εγγόνια της. Νέα μέθοδος να μετράμε τα χρόνια, γελάς, ναι, από τις συσκευές, πότε τις αγοράσαμε, πότε τις πετάξαμε, όλα φθαρτά, και μείς φθαρτοί. Η δικιά μας φθορά έρχεται υπόγεια, τρυπώνει κάτω από τα σκεπάσματα, την ώρα που κλείνεις τα μάτια και σκέφτεσαι ότι να θα το κάνεις το άλμα του ύπνου και αυτό το βράδυ, θα καταφέρεις να κοιμηθείς, δε θα βασανίζεσαι από όλα αυτά που έζησες, που δεν έζησες, που δε θα μπορέσεις να ζήσεις, από το μηδέν, από το μαρτύριο να γνωρίζεις ή να μη γνωρίζεις, από την αλήθεια ή το ψέμα, από.. Έχεις κοιμηθεί. Επιτελέστηκε και πάλι το θαύμα, σώθηκες από τις σκέψεις, η αλυσίδα που σε τραβά στο κενό γίνεται χαλαρή, επιπλέεις σε φουσκωτό στρώμα, είναι δύση και ο ουρανός είναι κόκκινος, αίμα που στάζει, κολλάει αργά στον ιδρώτα πάνω στο σώμα σου, δεν μπορείς να βγεις από τη θάλασσα, θα περιμένεις να σε χτυπήσει ο αιμάτινος ουρανός, έρχεται αργά, το ξέρεις ότι θα πρέπει να κάνεις υπομονή. Πλάτς. Αποσύρεις εγκαίρως το μπρίκι από τη φωτιά. Το κοίταζες που φούσκωνε, ανακάτευες αν και ήξερες ότι δεν έπρεπε, αφαιρέθηκες. Το πρόλαβες. Την τελευταία στιγμή. Η σταγόνα από το αίμα δεν έπεσε στον καφέ αλλά στο μάρμαρο της κουζίνας. Πλατς.

 
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from carolyn

An SMS appeared on my phone last November reminding me it was time to pay the dues for maintenance of our graves and the upkeep of the local cemetery.

This message appears about the same time each year, mentioning it can be done through Alpha Bank at such and such account number, or in person at the church. One afternoon last week as I was driving past on the way back from the supermarket, I saw the priest’s car parked outside, pulled over and parked next to a long whitewashed stone wall.

The church looks closed, but there is a little sign that says “Close The Door – Airconditioned”. It’s a bit of a tight moment to push the heavy ornate iron door inwards, and then to pull the inside wooden door towards you. To ease the situation there’s a little sign that says “Door Opens Outwards” and another that says “Mind Your Feet”.

It is warm inside thanks to the airconditioning that is working effectively against the cold January weather, and looks cozy in the half dark with the tiny flames of votive candles reflecting off polished brass and glass. The sumptuous rich red carpet softens any noise. The walls are covered in icons, in memory of souls departed. It seems deserted.

Behind the carved wooden sanctuary screen there is a movement and suddenly the church bells ring out for a few moments. Silence again. Then the figure behind the screen moves, stops, continues on its way to the sanctuary door on the right. A pale thin young man has been standing there with his hymn books, ready for the service of Evensong.

The priest appears, hesitates on the top marble step as if he’d only just seen me. He greets me by name. He has a way with remembering names, even of those who don’t attend church regularly.

I greet him and state my business, he says he doesn’t want to hold me up or keep me waiting, so goes back into the sanctuary returning with the receipt book and a pen. There’s a table just by, near the huge dark wooden carved throne where the Archbishop would be seated. It’s convenient for resting the receipt book on. One receipt in my name, one receipt in the husband’s name. Ten euros each.

The priest farewells me with good wishes for the new year and I’m about to leave, but there is no congregation, not even the ladies who attend church more regularly than most. I feel bad for the priest and decide to stay; after all I do in fact have a free fifteen minutes. It’s really cold outside and there’s nothing in the supermarket shopping on the back seat of the car that will spoil by being out of the fridge for a little longer.

Evensong starts. The priest’s powerful voice fills every corner of the church, the cantor responds in turn, the Byzantine chanting is uplifting and half an hour passes quickly. Then a mobile phone rings, the chanting stops and the church fills with silence.

I’m not sure if the service has finished and the minutes pass. As I leave, the difficult wooden door thuds closed behind me, probably reverberating around the whole church.

Outside from the steps of the church I look across the road to the cemetery dead ahead of me behind the whitewashed wall. Indeed it does look tidy and well maintained, with the white tombstones gleaming eerily in the fading winter afternoon light. Yes, it was definitely worth buying our plots to have everything nice and organized, and paying the annual fee, in spite of what the husband says.

 
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from qwazix

I took the words “urban exploration” to their literal meaning. There wasn't a nook nor cranny that I wouldn't sneak in. Friends and family started worrying about me. They saw weirder and weirder photos scrolling past their feeds and the comments below revealed unease and worry. “Where are you going? Is it safe?” “What is that thing?” “Are these junkies?”

They were not junkies, of course. Not that I hadn't met people under influence, but they don't ever let you take their photos. During the day they are mostly decent people, working at the desk next to you and you are none-the-wiser. They were what they call themselves “The Guardians”. They take turns to guard spaces in the city that don't play by the usual rules.

Today I was down there below Surgeon street and I was trying to move the trashbin that was strategically positioned to obscure the entrance, but it wouldn't budge. A few moments later a skinny face emerged behind the bin: “Go away, the bin is here for...” he paused. “Oh, it's you. Can you slide in through here?I bolted the bin in place because I think they must have sniffed us out. Damn cops.”

I squeezed with some disgust behind the filthy bin and descended the makeshift ladder. The air smelt of mold. The Guardians were gathered in a circle, conversing quietly. “Where are the days when we were squatting empty buildings in plain sight? We could help people back then: there were community meals, free lessons, parties. Now we're gathered here, underground, like rats” I heard the oldest one say, a bald, skinny man in his mid-50's or so. “There's no point in reminiscing the past, Peter” remarked another one, younger, muscular, with reddish hair and short beard. “there's reason to believe they're onto us and they've been more aggressive than ever, at least since we've gone underground”. He let a long breath of air come out as if he didn't want to say the rest of the sentence.

“We have a lot going on down here. We could go down as terrorists for most of it if not only for helping that young mother and her baby. They're illegally here and since they passed that law that conflates immigration with terrorism” he let a tired sigh out “I can't even talk about it. How many are you ready to risk your lives?”

“Fuck it I still remember how it was before and I do curse myself for supporting this oppression for 8 hours every day. Somebody has to fight. Somebody has to die. Might as well be me.” Peter said without a hint of hesitation. This seemed to energize the group. The whispering between them grew louder.

I attempted to whisper something myself to the woman next to me but before I could, my field of vision blanked. It felt as if the movie of my life suddenly faded to white. A fraction of a second later, a loud bang. My ears hurt. When I regain some kind of sensory input I hear loud voices and the sound of rubber clanking on plastic. Clubs on shields.

“Grab whatever you can, and charge!” Peter's voice was heard, louder than ever, and echoing on the cavern walls. “We're dead ahead, anyway”.

 
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from georgia

Survivors Ants are walking on my kitchen tiles, up and down, without a stop. I would like to kill them but I cannot. It is certain: I am unable to hurt any living being. As I approach the sink, I see them. There, moving, carelessly, as if they owned the whole world. Whenever, I am washing a fruit, the dishes, the glasses, I am pouring water to make them scared –in vain. I am trying to imagine how I might look to their eyes: huge, 1 m 90 height, heavy, over the past years I have been gaining weight, it won’t be long before I reach 100 kilos. It is not difficult to deduce, that I am not a typical human specimen, nevertheless this does not prevent me from thinking that to an ant all humans are giants, another species, among which they move boldly and manage to survive. I am walking from the kitchen to the bedroom, back and forth, stopping at times in the bathroom. Μy movements inside the house are limited. As for going out, it is out of the question. I dread reliving it. Chest pain, sweat all over my body and a sound, my heartbeat turning into something deafening. While it used to be quiet, almost built in, inside my body, in a way that I never knew it was there, now all of a sudden it became more and more vivid, attacking the acoustic nerve. The first day I dealt with it calmly. I executed meticulously the daily tasks at the bank and returned home. Inside the apartment the symptoms began to faint away. In the evening, before going to bed, I was almost convinced that I was done with it. It would not have been the first time. We have been living together since my childhood. In my finals I was that close to dropping out from the exams. My parents dragged me to school, just before I get locked in my room. All that hard work and late hours should not be wasted. Just thinking about it, twenty years later, I honestly wish they had been wasted, I would have spared myself from the stain of excellence. I graduated from Law school quite painlessly. Working hard, staying in, consuming mild sedatives though. My cousin, ten years older than me, an obstetrician, served as the perfect provider, she was also taking them in order to cope with the hospital stress and the menace of the unstoppable upcoming births. With the help of half a pill and two strong coffees I was able to go through tomes of studies’ material with apparently no great effort. Piece of cake. The actual working reality was another story. I got the job in the bank, after marking a high score in demanding examinations- all due to my usual blind method of continuous studying and to my brain capacities, which at that time was still running a constant sprint. Then came the training, devotion and a never ending stress. To my surprise and despite any personal intention, I made it to the top. I failed to make any friends in there. They disapproved of the fact that I despised smoking, failed to join their jokes, and kept a solemn face, never letting them have a clue of what was really going in my mind. For years I managed to cope with the pressure at work. Thanks to the sedatives, the control of the breath, the counting to ten and the exercises or relaxation….Finally I thought that I have beaten it. I had stopped sweating all of a sudden, I didn’t lose my breath while talking, my hands kept steady, my pulse was normal. With no obvious reason that morning I knew that nothing had really changed. It was alive inside me, hidden, sedated maybe, and suddenly it was wide awake again. Α triggering event was enough to get it started. The news announced to me by the board of directors, a decision I knew nothing about. “Congratulations, you are now the manager of our branch in………………….. Congratulations!” “Since when?’ “As soon as possible. By next week at the latest you should be at your new position”. It didn’t take more than a minute for the sweat to immerse my body; soon it would be evident on my clothes. There was no way out. The heart followed afterwards. The pounding was so strong that made my ears hurt. Ι pretended to be sick and got home with a taxi. Unable to react to a change I didn’t desire and to the responsibilities I despised, I was caught off guard and there it was taking hold of me again. Days passed by and it didn’t get better. I had informed them that Ι was suffering flu, but for how long I could go on with that story? I knew there was no turning back when I tried to leave the house in order to gather some supplies. The same symptoms once again along with a sense of dizziness and the difficulty to breathe. I got home keeping the head bent and dragging my feet. It was only when I had closed and locked the door behind me that I started feeling a bit better. I know that it was waiting for me. A lifetime. Ι had let it asleep. I had made the mistake to ignore it and there it was on the attack. I could blame the fact that I was approaching middle age, a crucial period of human life no doubt, or my living alone for so long, like a machine. And now my engine was rusty, and everything that was suppressed inside me had awakened.

 
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from georgia

Το πότισμα

Φορώντας το κοντό μαύρο φόρεμα, το αγαπημένο του καλοκαιριού, ποτίζω το λουλούδια όπως κάθε βράδυ, με το ποτιστήρι όχι με το λάστιχο, κι ας το νιώθω βαρύ στο ταλαιπωρημένο από την τενοντίτιδα χέρι μου, το έχω γεμίσει ως απάνω και μου θυμίζει το κόκκινο ποτιστήρι που είχα μικρή, το βασικό είναι ότι εξακολουθώ να έχω γλάστρες να φροντίζω, όχι όμως τριανταφυλλιές, σε εκείνες ήμουν μια αποτυχία, δεν πειράζει κάπου χάνω, κάπου κερδίζω, για παράδειγμα οι βασιλικοί μου ήταν οι πιο φουντωτοί, τους ζήλευαν οι γείτονες και μέσα μου ένιωθα περήφανη σαν να ήμουν προσωπικά υπεύθυνη για την όμορφη όψη τους, αλλά μπορεί και να’ μουν, επιβίωναν λόγω της φροντίδας μου, έτσι δεν είναι; Η αλήθεια είναι ότι εδώ και δύο εβδομάδες ζούσαμε απίστευτα καυτές ημέρες, το νιώθαμε στο σώμα μας που κολλούσε από τον ιδρώτα, το νιώθαμε από την αϋπνία που μας βασάνιζε τις νύχτες καθώς δεν ήταν δυνατόν κανείς να κλείσει μάτι από τη ζέστη, μία λύση ήταν να μπαινοβγαίνει στο ντους, τακτική που υιοθετούσα κι εγώ εναλλάξ με το πότισμα των λουλουδιών και το τραγούδι, αυτό το τελευταίο ήταν το πιο απελευθερωτικό, νανούρισμα, το δικό του το αγαπημένο, νάνι το μωρουδάκι, νάνι το μικρό μπεμπάκι, ή δίχως λόγια καλύτερα για να μην προσελκύω το ενδιαφέρον ή τον οίκτο των γειτόνων, από τα ανοικτά παράθυρα όλα ακούγονταν, τα κλάματα και οι φωνές μου τότε στην αρρώστια, τα τραγούδια τώρα που όλα είχαν τελειώσει, ίσως και η βρύση που έτρεχε, το νερό που κυλούσε με δύναμη για να γεμίσει το ποτιστήρι, όλα να γίνονταν ήχος, το μόνο που έλειπε ήταν το κλάμα του μωρού, όμως ποια άλλη απουσία θα μπορούσε να ήταν τόσο οδυνηρή; Καθώς κουβαλώ το ξέχειλο ποτιστήρι έτοιμη να δροσίσω τα λουλούδια μου τραγουδάω και χάνομαι, αγγίζω τα φυλλαράκια του βασιλικού, σκύβω και τον μυρίζω, η ευωδιά του βάλσαμο, δεν σταματώ ούτε στιγμή το νανούρισμα, νανουρίζω τον εαυτό μου και τις φωνές στο μυαλό μου, ίσως σε μια προσπάθεια να αποκοιμίσω τις σκέψεις μου, να εξαφανίσω τη λογική μου, ταυτόχρονα αφήνω και νερό να πέσει στα πόδια μου, συλλογίζομαι ότι άμα δροσιστεί το σώμα μου θα είμαι ακόμη ζωντανή.

 
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from qwazix

I left you years ago. I still feel bad about it but it was the only way. I was not the person you thought I was and I couldn't be what you wanted. I chose my own path. It was very hard for me to face you so I disappeared. I know you must be disappointed. Don't be.

I just hope that the adage “every parent wants their children to be happy” holds true for you too. I do believe it holds true for you, too. But you're too old. Your worldview does not match mine. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...

I didn't mean to get mean here sorry. I'm also sorry for the bad pun. Totally unintended. Let's get back on track: I am happy. I am a completely different person from you and I am a completely different person from what you wanted me to be, a.k.a what YOU wanted to be. No, I don't have degrees. No, I don't have a “good” job, nor “achievements”. I won't have children and you won't be a grandma. But I am happy. And that has to be worth something.

I was lost. I kept trying to be something you had imagined, something vague and a moving target. When I realized I can never be that, then I was finally free. But you would never understand. Or so I thought. Now I hope you do. And I hope you forgive me.

I am tired of being judged by other people's standards. I am me. I know that at times one can't see clearly inside himself but fuck it, sometimes I know what I want and how I feel. I am tired of doubting myself, doubting my wants and my feelings.

I want to be something different and I don't fit into this world. Friends are those who accept me. Family are those who support me.

I hope I can still consider you family,

Love,

Your child.

 
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from carolyn

When Kyrios Vasilis the old man next door died, his children set about emptying his little house, the barn and the stable. Out in the middle of the field that over the years had produced fine crops of potatoes, corn, wheat and even peanuts when they were getting good prices in the late 1970s before imports started from Italy, there they were – all that remained of their parents’ earthly possessions.

There was the cart with the enormous but thin wooden wheels, with iron bands around the circumference that made such a heavy rumble on the flat roads across the fertile plain that encircles Pyrgos. The neighbor would use it to take his produce to town, to the elegant neoclassical Market Place designed by Ziller, built in the 1890s.

Then there was the huge abari, a wooden box about a metre high and two metres long with a division in the middle, one part for storing his wheat and the other for his corn, but now perched crookedly at an angle on top of rickety wooden chairs with woven plastic seats, dirty red and faded yellow.

On the heap there were also two old empty wooden trunks that had held their mother’s dowry of hand woven cotton bed linen and heavy blankets made from wool, and mats made from prickly goat hair for use in front of the fireplace. The trunks gaped open, their lids at a strange angle.

There they all were, in a jumbled pile.

And then they weren’t there.

We’d gone up to the village for a few days to cut the brambles hanging over from the field above ours, and when we got back we realized that everything had disappeared. There was just a big black circle in the middle of the field.

I still wonder, did his children also burn the photos that I’d seen on the wall of the little house.

 
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from carolyn

It was the warmest November ever. My girlfriend had arrived in Athens from abroad and we were euphoric. We’d gone down to Sounion two days before and there’s a photo of me barefoot on the rocks below the temple and we were laughing about going swimming in our underwear.

We’d rented a basement in Drossopoulou Street. We didn’t mind the miserable buildings, dark and dirty from the buses that lumbered along on their way towards friendlier parts of Athens that boasted tree-lined streets. That’s where my sister lived, in an apartment that we brothers had all contributed to so that she’d have her own house and dowry, and could get married. She’d invited us to drop by, and on the way from the bus window we saw the banners and signs on the Polytechnic building, and the crowds of students in the forecourt, others surging out onto the street, chanting and calling for reforms.

Some students were writing slogans on the buses as they pulled up at the traffic lights. Then the buses would continue on their way towards Omonia Square and then up towards Constitution Square, carrying the messages and demands for change and freedom all over Athens.

The next day, the wide street in front of the Polytechnic had been closed off, and buses were being diverted along other routes. In the distance we could see the crowd of students, and I wanted to join them. I said that I had to go and take part, it was my duty to protest, I had to go to the Polytechnic too, and my girlfriend let me go.

But I didn’t stay. I went back to our basement in Drossopoulou Street because we were taking a ferry to Monemvasia the next morning.

I was there that day, but I wasn’t there that night when the tanks came rumbling and one of my friends from school was killed. Once I looked at footage and photos and scenes from that night, searching for him. In the end I found his photo, but on the headstone of his grave at our cemetery.

 
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from qwazix

Jeannie flicked images on her phone. “Look, mom, this is the new school”. She was so happy her daughter would talk to her like that. All day at work the other moms were whining how their daughters never spoke to them.

“Here's the classroom. This one on the back is my desk. I drew that bouquet of flowers on it today”.

“It's lovely, darling” Melanie said, thinking, “I'm sure the next thing I'm going to hear is: I want to have a tattoo like that” but she stopped herself before saying anything out loud.

And here's our hiding spot in the yard. Melanie knew hiding meant smoking but she let that slide too. One thing at a time.

She continued flicking past pictures describing this and that. Between them a plain door in pale green. Melanie could distinguish a heart or two drawn in marker on it. She squinted.

“Ah, this is just the bathroom door” Jeannie said and quickly flicked past it. Melanie did not immediately react. She kept staring blankly at the phone as a cinema reel started playing in her mind's eye.

bathroom

The set was a school bathroom, but way more decadent than the one in her daughter's photo, at least judging by the state of the door. Marker graffiti on every wall, broken mirrors, stickers everywhere. She pictured a young girl with a red marker, drawing a heart around a BFF acronym and a couple of names she couldn't even remember anymore. She also saw the same girl rushing to take a tiny piece of paper out of her underwear and taking two quick glances before flushing it down the drain. Suddenly the girl is now sitting on the sink counter, leaning on the back wall with her bare feet under the running water, while her friends were leaning on the stall doors, all smoking camel cigarettes out of a battered soft pack in the foreground. Soon the other girls disappeared and here she is again, legs wrapped around that tall boy with the wavy hair and strong hands. A shiver traveled through her spine as she remembered their lips crushing together while his body pushed her against the wall.

She tried to shake the feeling. “Hey mom, what is it? I lost you there.”

“Yes I'm with you. I was just thinking that no school bathroom, is just a bathroom...”

#shortstories #flashfiction #writing #script

 
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from qwazix

this story's prompt

I'm waiting for the bus at that busy bus stop on King Constantine avenue, the one near the chapel of, what's its name, anyway, a saint or the holy mother of something probably. My bus should arrive some time between now and half an our later, I hate waiting for busses, especially since my walkman is out of batteries and I can't listen to any music. And the cars are too loud! Do you think in the future the cars would be quieter? Airplanes are certainly quieter than what they were a few years ago. One can only hope.

Then there's this baby next to me in a fancy stroller who's crying all the time it's annoying. Where's his mother to comfort him? If it's a him. I can't tell. The stroller's fancy and it's dressed all in white as if they just christened it. It can't be, its parents should be somewhere around... Who leaves a child in a stroller in a crowded bus stop. He certainly couldn't have arrived here by himself.

I'm trying to shut the baby out. It's not there. It's not annoying. Get over it. Look away, see on the opposite side of the street there's this guy juggling oranges or something, look at him. No, don't look at him. He'll come by asking for a tip later and I don't have any coins. And I'm certainly not going to give him a hundred, no. What time is it? The bus is probably still a quarter away. And the baby is still crying. Somebody make him shut up.

Maybe there's a pacifier somewhere inside the stroller, let's have a look. Yeah, here it is. Hey baby, here suck on this, do us all a favor, there you go. Silence, at last. Ok, relatively because there's now this guy on the 50cc motorbike who's revving up all the time at the traffic light. I want to kick him in the balls. You'll make the baby start crying again, you bastard.

WHERE'S MY BUS! I'm tired here. It's more than 30 minutes since I came here. Fortunately the baby hasn't cried for a while. He's looking at me now and playing with my hands. He looks cute. No sign of his parents either. I'm starting to like him. I'm touching his tiny nose. Is that a smile? That's a smile. Awww. Let me find something that jingles. My keys. Hey mister look! Keys. Listen how they jingle!

At last! My bus. It's approaching fast. Hey little mister, nice to meet you! Hope your parents return soon. But what if they don't. Maybe I should wait for the next bus. I hate these old buses too, maybe the next one will be one of the new ones. They have airconditioning too. Now I'm gonna melt in there. Anyway, let's wait for the next. How do your parents look like, little mister? I'd like to meet them. When you see them tell them they can come over for dinner one day. Just kidding, I wouldn't know what to tell them, I'd just sit there all evening and say nothing and they'd be weirded out. I don't mind talking to you though, you seem to understand me. Nobody listens to me anyway.

Ah, look! A nice car over there. Wouldn't you like to have that car instead of waiting here for a crowded bus? Wouldn't it be nice to drive with the top open and have the air brush through your hair? You don't have much hair yet but you'll grow some soon. I think you'd be pretty when you grow up. I'm sure of it.

Now now, don't start crying again, look! there's another bus. Is it our bus already? It is. That explains why the other one was late and packed. Now I really got to go little mister. But who leaves a baby on a stroller in a crowded bus stop. If his parents never come get him? I promise I will watch the news every day. I will come here every day in the morning to catch my bus.

“Sir! will you help me a little, please!”

 
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from Maria Mant

Αγαπητέ Μιχάλη και φίλοι,

Αρχικά ευχαριστω πολύ που πήρες το χρόνο να διαβάσεις το κείμενο μου και για την ωραία απάντηση σου.

Απλά θα ήθελα να κάνω μια μικρή διευκρίνιση. Τα κείμενα μου δεν είναι αυτοβιογραφικά και όπως κάνουμε φαντάζομαι οι περισσότεροι που καταπιανόμαστε με τη γραφή, στα κείμενα μου υιοθετώ τη φωνή του αφηγητή μου και συχνά απόψεις που μπορεί να μη συμπίπτουν με την “κοινή γνώμη”– οποια και αν είναι αυτη- ή ακόμη και με τις δικές μου.

Πέρα από αυτό, όντως είμαι ένας άνθρωπος που μεγάλωσε στην επαρχία και δεν είμαι Αθηναία αν και είναι η μόνιμη κατοικία μου τα τελευταία 8 χρόνια. Το κείμενο αυτό και ο συγκεκριμένος αφηγητής ήρθε από κάποια χρόνια πριν που εργαζόμουν σε δύο δουλειές μένοντας στο κέντρο σε αρκετά πιεστικές συνθήκες σε χρόνο, χρήμα και κοινωνικότητα. Και εκεί τελειώνει κάθε ομοιότητα/παραλληλισμός με το χαρακτήρα της ιστορίας.

Συμφωνώ με το κείμενο σου και πλέον είμαι στη θέση να απολαμβάνω περισσότερο την όμορφη Αθήνα, η οποία για έναν “ξένο” συχνά θέλει μάχη για να τη φέρει βόλτα και να βρει την ευκαιρία να σηκώσει το κεφάλι του και ανακαλύψει τις ομορφιές της.

Φιλικά, Μαρία

 
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from Πρόλογος

Πρόλογος

Έχεις περάσει δεκαπενταύγουστο στην Αθήνα; Μέσα στην Αθήνα. Ζούμε περίπου 6 εκατομμύρια άνθρωποι εδώ, όμως εκείνοι που γνωρίζουν την πόλη αυτή την περίοδο, τις ημέρες πριν και μετά, είναι λιγότεροι και από τους μόνιμους κατοίκους σε αυτές τις στάσεις που σταματάει το τρένο από Αθήνα πρίν φτάσει Θεσσαλονίκη. Πάντα σκεφτόμουν να κατεβώ σε μια από αυτές τις στάσεις. Να δω με τα μάτια μου ότι πράγματι υπάρχει κάτι εκεί και δεν είναι απλά μια πινακίδα.

Πίσω όμως στην Αθήνα. Υπάρχουν δύο είδη ανθρώπων που συναντάς αυτή τη σύντομη μα τόσο σημαντική περίοδο. Η πρώτη είναι οι εργαζόμενοι που έχουν ήδη ξεμείνει από ρεπό [ή κρατούν ρεπό] ή δε μπορούν να φύγουν λόγω απαιτήσεων δουλειάς. Η δεύτερη είναι άνθρωποι που δεν έχουν κάπου να πάνε είτε λόγω έλλειψης φίλων είτε λόγω έλλειψης χρημάτων. Παραδόξως εγώ ήμουν εδώ γιατί φαινομενικά ανήκω στην πρώτη κατηγορία. Στην πραγματικότητα όμως, δούλευα γιατί ανήκω στη δεύτερη. Ο πρόλογος αυτός όμως ίσως έχει διαμορφώσει ένα παραπλανητικό τόνο για την Αθήνα του δεκαπενταύγουστου, η οποία είναι η πιο γοητευτική της στιγμή. Σκέψου το θέατρο όταν πρέπει να αλλάξει το σκηνικό και τα φώτα πέφτουν ώστε να μη χαλάσει η ψευδαίσθηση του θεατή κατά τη διάρκεια που φεύγουν και έρχονται έπιπλα και ηθοποιοί. Περπατώντας, λοιπόν, στους δρόμους των συνοικιών του κέντρου, βλέπει κανείς ακριβώς αυτό υπο το φως της ημέρας. Τα μαγαζιά ανακαινίζονται, βάφονται, καθαρίζουν εντός ολίγων αστραπιαίων ημερών και παρουσίας ελαχίστων μαρτύρων. Νιώθει κανείς ότι είναι μέρος μιας παράστασης, με τη μόνη διαφορά ότι το σκηνικό πριν και μετά μένει το ίδιο.

Οι μέρες αυτές, αν και λίγες, πέρασαν για μένα σα μια μικρή ζωή. Η ζέστη και η ασυνήθιστη για αυτή την πόλη ησυχία έπαιξαν σίγουρα ρόλο σε αυτό. Όμως αυτά που είπα, αυτά που άκουσα, αυτά που ένιωσα και είδα’ αυτά είναι που την καθιστούν μια μικρή ζωή. Λέμε ότι κάποιος ζει όταν έχει να πει ιστορίες και όταν συμμετέχει σε καταστάσεις και σε σχέσεις, γιατί η συμμετοχή μας σε αυτά αποδεικνύει την ύπαρξή μας. Γι’ αυτό οι ιστορίες μας είναι πάντα σε σχέση με κάποιον άλλο ή κάτι άλλο. Πιστεύω ότι οι μέρες αυτές, αν όχι όλες τότε σίγουρα οι περισσότερεες, ικανοποιούν τον παραπάνω ορισμό. Έζησα έτσι μια ιστορία, σαν ένα εμβόλιμο διήγημα σε ένα μυθιστόρημα, το οποίο παρεκκλίνει από την κύρια υπόθεση, προσθέτει ωστόσο διακριτικά στο μωσαϊκό των χαρακτήρων και του πλαισίου αυτού.

 
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from Maria Mant

Πρόλογος

Έχεις περάσει δεκαπενταύγουστο στην Αθήνα; Μέσα στην Αθήνα. Ζούμε περίπου 6 εκατομμύρια άνθρωποι εδώ, όμως εκείνοι που γνωρίζουν την πόλη αυτή την περίοδο, τις ημέρες πριν και μετά, είναι λιγότεροι και από τους μόνιμους κατοίκους σε αυτές τις στάσεις που σταματάει το τρένο από Αθήνα πρίν φτάσει Θεσσαλονίκη. Πάντα σκεφτόμουν να κατεβώ σε μια από αυτές τις στάσεις. Να δω με τα μάτια μου ότι πράγματι υπάρχει κάτι εκεί και δεν είναι απλά μια πινακίδα.

Πίσω όμως στην Αθήνα. Υπάρχουν δύο είδη ανθρώπων που συναντάς αυτή τη σύντομη μα τόσο σημαντική περίοδο. Η πρώτη είναι οι εργαζόμενοι που έχουν ήδη ξεμείνει από ρεπό [ή κρατούν ρεπό] ή δε μπορούν να φύγουν λόγω απαιτήσεων δουλειάς. Η δεύτερη είναι άνθρωποι που δεν έχουν κάπου να πάνε είτε λόγω έλλειψης φίλων είτε λόγω έλλειψης χρημάτων. Παραδόξως εγώ ήμουν εδώ γιατί φαινομενικά ανήκω στην πρώτη κατηγορία. Στην πραγματικότητα όμως, δούλευα γιατί ανήκω στη δεύτερη.

Ο πρόλογος αυτός όμως ίσως έχει διαμορφώσει ένα παραπλανητικό τόνο για την Αθήνα του δεκαπενταύγουστου, η οποία είναι η πιο γοητευτική της στιγμή. Σκέψου το θέατρο όταν πρέπει να αλλάξει το σκηνικό και τα φώτα πέφτουν ώστε να μη χαλάσει η ψευδαίσθηση του θεατή κατά τη διάρκεια που φεύγουν και έρχονται έπιπλα και ηθοποιοί. Περπατώντας, λοιπόν, στους δρόμους των συνοικιών του κέντρου, βλέπει κανείς ακριβώς αυτό υπο το φως της ημέρας. Τα μαγαζιά ανακαινίζονται, βάφονται, καθαρίζουν εντός ολίγων αστραπιαίων ημερών και παρουσίας ελαχίστων μαρτύρων. Νιώθει κανείς ότι είναι μέρος μιας παράστασης, με τη μόνη διαφορά ότι το σκηνικό πριν και μετά μένει το ίδιο.

Οι μέρες αυτές, αν και λίγες, πέρασαν για μένα σα μια μικρή ζωή. Η ζέστη και η ασυνήθιστη για αυτή την πόλη ησυχία έπαιξαν σίγουρα ρόλο σε αυτό. Όμως αυτά που είπα, αυτά που άκουσα, αυτά που ένιωσα και είδα’ αυτά είναι που την καθιστούν μια μικρή ζωή. Λέμε ότι κάποιος ζει όταν έχει να πει ιστορίες και όταν συμμετέχει σε καταστάσεις και σε σχέσεις, γιατί η συμμετοχή μας σε αυτά αποδεικνύει την ύπαρξή μας. Γι’ αυτό οι ιστορίες μας είναι πάντα σε σχέση με κάποιον άλλο ή κάτι άλλο. Πιστεύω ότι οι μέρες αυτές, αν όχι όλες τότε σίγουρα οι περισσότερεες, ικανοποιούν τον παραπάνω ορισμό. Έζησα έτσι μια ιστορία, σαν ένα εμβόλιμο διήγημα σε ένα μυθιστόρημα, το οποίο παρεκκλίνει από την κύρια υπόθεση, προσθέτει ωστόσο διακριτικά στο μωσαϊκό των χαρακτήρων και του πλαισίου αυτού.

 
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