Z. D. Ainalis, Poems in English

James Ensor, La chute des anges rebelles

James Ensor, La chute des anges rebelles

Z. D. Ainalis, Poems in English

Translated in English by Yannis Goumas

Three Poems

Odysseus

The prison in my mind
I bought off cheaply
for a packet of cigarettes
from a kiosk selling dirty mags in Omónia Square
now I walk more or less a free man
brandishing my umbrella
admittedly more than necessary
I am lifted bodily
and walk on the city’s rooftops
eroded by nitrogen and rain
and down on the pillaged bottom
of the gigantic Acheron lecythus
stirring the lees of ancestral wine-drinking
semen spilled oil murders fag-ends putrid flesh
and bones of the dead
ancient kings famous heroes
only my mother I didn’t expect to see
what the fuck is she doing here
when she started saying
her good-for-nothing daughter-in-law in a Benghazi brothel
then a mouse came out and ate her tongue
that she realized I didn’t belong there yet
a casual labourer
a pieceworker
a street sweeper I got wise to it once
and hundreds of small pins pierced my heart
but I took every care not to tear my new asbestos
attire
lest the hagiography beneath appear naked
pure white
crushing
the image
the real image

Penelope

Man’s face has come to be full of cracks
when you get up and wash in the morning before drying your face
thus wet
you count them in the mirror
a reminder of happiness’ foiled promises
one day I took to fingering
the rim of the largest of these
gaping like a roused vagina
I looked horrified at the abyss opening below
as far as the eye reached the dark
I pushed my fingers further in and
all at once I began sinking
sinking
so surprisingly
into a moist nothingness
with no light to get hold of
vertigo
I prayed then for the bottom as a bloody mercy
no good
in the final twist the huge cobweb
reminding me
of my fate

Telemachus

Poachers cut off my hands for booty
in the other war
what was left they stuck into rusty loops
that’s why you see me now holding the inkpot with my teeth
painting with my tongue
the page all spots
my blood in drops
my lips remnants of torn flesh
enamel gums broken teeth
tears spittle
and I’m not talking about myself
but I was sickened by that slut of my mother
who let in through the window temptations in dozens
turning them on
the bitch
and afterwards leaving them dumbstruck in the lurch
enjoying her monarchic sway over so many men
although the flesh’s fury whipped her horribly
each time she woke up wrapped in the sap of dawn
overcome by the ghosts of night
and yet
I’m not talking about myself
that’s why these days I think so much of Neoptolemus
and so many others

burnt generation
my generation

***

Search

I look back to the years that were and no longer were
I look back to the memories that were and no longer were
I look back to the lips that were and no longer were
among lights and sewers, what are you still searching for
my heart in the streets at night

Little Erotic Song

And I who so yearned to sow your body
to become deep spring golden rain in the deepest loins
to become river blood spasm spilled sperm
to become life in you
life to give back
a miracle


Gestation

One love
is a short
poem
hoarse
bleeding cries in
eternity

Hellenica: Novelty Within or Beyond Language: Anthology of Young Greek Poets, Athens, 2009.

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