you see, these words are my weapon
when you touched my hand and I knew I had to let go. It was the last time.
Absence is ugly,
she brings death to the beauty of what used to be.
It’s the pain that eats you away and the sore eyes;
It’s the weakness that overwhelms your spirit.
It’s the countless sleepless nights and the bad dreams;
it’s all the moments I woke up wondering if you got home in one piece.
It’s the empty coffee cups in my room and the fake smiles I had to put on.
It’s the weight loss and my friends hugs.
Absence is all my presents that you’ve sold on a shitty market
and all our moments that you’ve shared; it’s all my clothes that you’re giving away
It’s me missing your baby sister,your mum, your grandma. I loved them you know. I really did. It’s me not remembering you, me not knowing who you are.
Absence is you robbing me from what was dearest to me: love.
It’s you somehow turning that love to hatred and ignorance; I no longer wonder if you got home in one piece, I no longer care.And this love, is absence.
Absence is the crushed car outside my house and all the men trying to go out with me; it’s all the compliments I say thank you to and I pretend to enjoy. It’s the empty words you said.
It’s how I don’t remember your warm touch or your smell; I think of you and a primitive feeling of revulsion fuels my belly.
Absence is all the ugly, horrible feelings I feel for you now. You pushed me to it.
Just outside the “Grand Hungarian” hotel in Budapest, there was a middle-aged, short, fat, curly haired man with a kind face who used to sell groceries during the day. Don’t think that he had a stall; no, he sat on the pavement, usually with a bottle of liquor in hand and he exhibited his groceries on a piece of cardboard on the floor. I noticed him every day though my memory of him is gradually fading away; I didn’t dare to take a picture of him, I preferred that he remained a figure of my memory only. I was also too shy to actually take a picture of him; how would he react? How could I explain that he was not some bizzare man to my eyes but someone I wanted to remember? So I said, let him survive in my memory.
It was my first time in Budapest, I was travelling senza parental control for the first time and I had so much to absorb. The decaying suburbs and the magnificent architecture of the centre,the small streets, the Danube that was not blue at all, the people who were so friendly, the rich history and culture all around me and the experience of absolute freedom. The statues that were scattered all around the city and the buildings that were still hurt by the previous wars; the damages from the bullets were still visible; the enormous shopping malls and the paprika all over the food. Yet every morning, as I stepped out of the hotel having consumed the rich continental breakfast, I looked for the man who sold his groceries on the street. He slept somewhere there too; I saw him curled up in a corner every night. Hundreds of people passed by him every morning without sparing him a glance; he had somehow become one with the scenery; a view they had grown accustomed to. Some mornings he was awake and jolly, looking around with a happy smile on his face, talking to himself I presume as I never saw anyone stopping by his cardboard. Some mornings he was sleeping, not curled up in his corner but sitting by the wall. No one was buying the groceries. Flows of people kept passing by.
One day I saw him crossing the street; he was holding a blind woman by the arm. He didn’t actually want to cross the street; he had nowhere to go to anyway. His cardboard and his groceries where just outside the hotel; his home was that very street. I watched in awe, amazed ; that little man, had offered to help a blind young woman while he himself had been taking nothing from those around him…I only saw them for a moment before they disappeared into the crowd but that image is deeply rooted inside me ; I bring it to the surface and relive it every time I find myself questioning humanity. She was blind; she couldn’t see his rugged clothes or his dirty hands, maybe she could smell him? She couldn’t have known that this man faced no kindness yet he had enough in himself, enough in order to give back. As I watched them for that brief moment I bid him farewell and wished him love.
It’s been ten years now and I have visited Budapest a few more times since then. The streets are filled with gipsys and women with babies in their laps, asking for money. Its a poor country Hungary. I never went back to the hotel; I don’t expect to see the little man there again. Even if I did, how could I ever explain to him that all these years I have often thought of him? That I still remember him helping someone out, that he has been my little hero. “Köszönöm” would never be enough.
Βγήκα στον δρόμο. Ηλιοβασίλεμα. Κοίταξα αριστερά δεξιά,τίποτα. Μόνο ήλιος. Εσυ πουθενά. Που είσαι; Απέναντι μου, το κυπαρίσσι μας. Ψηλό ψηλό και δυνατό. Ξεκίνησα να το σκαρφαλώνω.’Εσπασε ένα κλαδί, έπεσα. Πόνεσα. Δοκίμασα πάλι. ‘Εφτασα λίγο πιο ψηλά, έπασε πάλι ενα κλαδί και.. έπεσα…και πόνεσα αγάπη μου.Ανέβηκα σακατεμένη πάλι πάνω, ακόμη λίγο πιο ψηλά. Μα ένα λάθος βήμα και έπεσα πάλι αγάπη μου και εσυ δεν είσαι εδώ. Μα συνέχισα αγάπη μου, ανέβηκα πάλι, πιο προσεχτικά και πήγα πάνω ψηλά ψηλά μα εσυ πουθενά. Γύρω γύρω μόνο ο ήλιος που δύει. Προσπάθησα πολύ για να σε βρω. Αλήθεια. Πολύ. Που είσαι;
*Στίχος απο Το Μονόγραμμα του Ο.Ελύτη
I saw them marching, they are just kids,
I saw them yelling,
I saw them feeding the hungry- only the Greeks.
I saw them beating others up, it makes me sick
Humanity, how did you come to this?
I saw them calling themselves pure Greeks
devouring the culture of the Nazis
its breaking me up inside
this war, I bleed you bleed
its simple like this;
A smile is a smile,
labor is labor
hunger is hunger
suffering is suffering
love is love
whether you’re Greek, Albanian, Turk, Agfani, Bulgarian, Rumanian, Italian, American, Polish, Cypriot, Israeli, Palestinian, Iranian, African, from the land down under, Maltese, Lebanese, Slovakian, Armenian, Russian, Swedish, Kazak, Mongolian, Brazilian, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, from Kathmandu or Vietnam.
I see the rhythms of hatred as they dance with their weapons,
and I refuse to let your be,
I mock your beliefs,
feed all the hungry-I assure you, you will still be Greek.
με έλουσε ερωμένη της
σε ετούτη τη ζωή μου
κ’οταν θα λιώσω
θα γένω αλάτι
μέσα απο ανθρώπους
χαμόγελα που γεύτηκες
λέξεις που έφυγαν
σκιρτήματα πολλά μα ψεύτικα.
Και μεταλλάζεις όσα κρατάς στις μνήμες
μη θυμηθείς σαν κάποτε κοιμάσε
φυλάς δειλά τα λίγα πράγματα του, βράχε
φτιάχνεις όπλα, πόλεμος έρχετε θαρρώ.
Θάνατος θε να τις πάρει.
Άσε τη θάλασσα να γλύψει κει που πονάει
βράχε, μη στερηθείς τα χαλίκια που πέταξες
ήρθε νερό, στις πληγές μέσα λιμνάζει
μη φοβηθείς την ύλη που σου μοιάζει
αγκάλιασε αυτούς τους ξένους, κοίτα! Χαράζει..
Κ’ανθίζεις, πάλι, βράχε,
μέσα απ’ανθρώπους άλλους,
λέξεις μικρές και οικείες.
Μικρόν άγημα συναισθημάτων,
παρευλάνει μπροστά ανάμεσα σε έρημας ψυχάς
συνοδευόμενον επίσης απο σοφίαν, γαλήνην, μοναξιάν.
Επιστρατεύσατε άμεσα συγχώρεσην κ’αγάπην.
όσαν υπήρξαν και χάθηκαν
κ’ειν η καρδιά μεγάλη, για σε χτυπούσε μα εσε πια δε χωράει
προσκυνώ, άγνωστε, τη μέρα που θα ρθείς
σαν βράχος να στεριώσεις.