Monday, July 27, 2015

A Eulogy for Love - Chapter 6

For a woman, all resurrection, all salvation,
from whatever perdition, lies in love;
in fact, it is her only way to it.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Each man kills the thing he loves, according to Oscar Wilde and I love Nikos with all my heart and I'm killing him. I'm killing his psyche one day at a time. He's in love with me I feel it, I know it, but his love for me will never be reciprocated and that he surely understands. Perhaps if he told me about it something would change… But who am I trying to fool, nothing would. It would be better for him though if he stopped keeping that secret.

Secret? Not really. Everything shouts out the truth of his feelings for me; the way he talks and smiles to me, the shine in his eyes, his tenderness towards me, the way he worries when I'm not okay. He loves me with a pure, almost innocent love, whether he talks about it or not. Women always know. They know how to read the signs, yet they act surprised when someone, better late than never, confesses their feelings to them, if they don't love them back.

If there existed somewhere an ideal world, a land of dreams and a utopia, then he would be for me the ideal lover, the perfect partner. I can't think of a single woman who wouldn't want to be loved by someone like him, someone who lives love, and who never says I, unless he's about to blame himself for something. My desperate poet, will, I wonder, ever love you as much as I want to, as much as you deserve?

He's so special, one of those unfortunate souls that no matter how much they try they never find peace of mind. He will keep looking always for something, someone, and he'll keep turning inwards trying to conquer the desolate shores of his soul. And he will always leave, seeking the new, the strange, the different, the unknown.

No woman could ever stay by his side for too long. He's a man without a country, a fallen angel who doesn't quite fit in in our earthly world. He walks in the streets and sings All You Need is Love, he waves hello and smiles to the passersby, he looks up to the sky and his eyes sparkle as if he's about to fly. No woman could put up with him, not a single one. Just a couple of hours ago I've asked him what he did today and he said that he "became by four lines of lyrics richer." My crazy boy, my wise man, women love poetry, but they love security more.

It's painful for me, it really hurts that he's alone, but however sorry I feel for him, I can do nothing to bring him out of his solitude. Besides, what could I actually do to help? He's built his wall all by himself which means that only he can bring it down.

Oh, I wish, I pray that he would simply go away once again. Not necessarily away from here, just away from me. I don't want to find myself in a position that I would have to ask him to go. I simply want him to understand that I'm not right for him. To understand… To understand… To understand what? Oh God! I don't want him to go. I want him to think that I want him to. But if he does, then what? How could I live with myself then? I love him and he loves me… How could I ever tell the only true person I've ever met Do not love me, forget me, go? How?

I love him more than myself, and yet I could never live with him, become his second wing. He's too good and that I cannot stand. He believes that with his mild manners and peaceful gaze and his love, he can conquer everything, everyone. He lives in a world of dreams, while I survive the day to day hard realities of this one. He spends almost all his time, day and night, giving to others, and he never stops to think whether his efforts go to waste or not, or even if those others deserve his offerings. And even worst he believes with all his heart that I'm worth his love. Well, I don't think I do.

I have always been a pessimist, viewing the world through dark-tinted lenses. I've always expected things to go bad. While living a happy moment, I could see things taking a turn for the worse not long after. I don't know who or what to blame for my outlook. Perhaps it had something to do with the things I've lived. Maybe with the fact that I haven't met him early enough. The moment he stepped into my life, things started changing. Everything did. My days, all of a sudden, got rid of the black and  dressed in colors, and my nights were filled with poetry and music. He and his, let me call them, idiosyncratic friends have arrived like a breeze in my life, rejuvenating my senses, waking up my hibernating fantasy.

I admire his friends, almost as much as I admire him. They live the moment, every moment, they suck, as they say, the juices of the tree of life (I'm pretty sure that some poet wrote this, but his name, right now, I don't remember.) I am so happy that they took me, with open arms and so much love, in their company, and I'm so sad that I'll never be able to be like them; someone who can turn life into a poem, a song, a sculpture, a painting. If it wasn't for people like them the earth would stop spinning, the world dream would be erased from all the dictionaries in the world. Thank God there still exist the crazy ones, I've once heard someone say, I think it was Maria. Thank God. Thanks to them love, fantasy, visions, beauty, all that is worthy and true are still alive.

Might I but moor tonight in thee! I've once heard Emily wonder aloud… Might I moor in you? I want to do that, I really do, but I won't. When I've met you it was already too late, I had given myself to somebody else, and to him I still belong. You gave me all that Marios never did and for that I thank you. I know you hate these two words but since you're not going to read them or hear me saying them I dare whisper them in these pages: thank you!

I would like to hug you, kiss you, caress your hair, express my gratitude for you being there, for you being you, but I won't. Instead I'll keep filling this journal with these thoughts, safe in the knowledge that they'll remain hidden. This is my silent way of saying the thousands of thank you's I owe you. If you have, by some miracle, become the listener of my soul, then this thing here is going to be my secret confessor, someone that will never speak aloud, unless I want them to, the things that are best left unsaid. I am a flower that slowly gets eaten away by the secret poison.

Nikos, my poet and painter of my dreams, they say that the paper has no soul, and they are wrong. These pages are more alive than anything in the world. They have my scent, they carry my thoughts, they hide your omnipresence, they see my tears and feel my pain and joy. This paper, I'm writing on, is like a beating heart, it's all the world and nothing at all. Soulless is what soulless people call it.

Isn't it funny, or rather strange, that for some time now I'm writing as if you are right here and I'm talking to you? I feel like I'm composing a letter that I'm never going to send and that's not too far from the truth. But, if this was a letter, it wouldn't be so long, it wouldn't overflow with hurt and joy. I would simply write: Keep leaving (and living,) seek your dreams, reach for your peaks, stay you!

As I am writing these words, right next to me, in bed, lies Marios, the first man that made me feel like a woman, he who made me one. He is the body, you are the soul. He fulfills my desires, you make me want to live, to hope, to fly.

If we were spirits, you and I, we would set wings in our own secret skies, we would discover our personal paradise and we would built a world so full of beauty that in front of it the colors of the rainbow would pale. But we are not, we are made of matter, we depend on it. And that's probably why we two could never be… You are more spirit than matter, I am the opposite. And opposites may attract but in the end they capsize.

The beauty that deep inside me I hide no one will never know. Not even you, even though you may suspect it. I will stay with Marios and the hurt that goes with him. Somewhere inside I feel that I need this pain. The same glass gifts me both bitterness and delight.

To be continued.

The quotes written in Italian, unless implied otherwise, are by the Greek poet Maria Polydouri.

The image was taken from here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Eulogy for Love - Chapter 5

Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.

William Blake

I used to count the life by the minute while I was with you. I wanted to know how many minutes, hours, days of happiness I had lived. It wasn't many. And now, as I talk to you about all this I place my life at your feet, and forgive me, human as I am if I hurt. How could I not be in pain having loved so much? I love today's misery, and the little happiness of yesterday.

I've felt what it meant to be happy when I confessed my love for you, when I explained how deep and true it was. For me it didn't matter much that it was a love with no tomorrow, a one way street. You were there for me to love and that was enough to make me happy. But, alas, misfortune showed up out of the blue and imposed its own rules, making love withdraw in the dark, so the smile became a tear, and the tear pain.

No one can escape their fate, they say. They say. People talk a lot but know very little. Everybody creates their own destiny all alone, day by day, breath by breath. Don't you agree? Every day we add something to the edifice of our life. If we are going to end up building a palace or a shed it's all up to us.

I truly believe that the lives of all those rational people out there are based on the irrational since they think that if they succeed in something it's because of their intellect, but if they fail that's due to bad luck. They philosophy of life consists of nothing more than a couple of labels.

We were not like that. We took nothing for granted. We did not put labels on things. The only thing we were certain of was that the sun would rise up in the morning and set in the evening, even if we didn't see it. We were different, we were special, six people in one soul that has now almost shrunk to naught.

It's difficult, almost impossible, for one to get used to the idea of your departure. He, that used to go away often and for long has remained, and those who always stayed have departed for a journey with no return. Life is mocking us. Pain is not always bad, sometimes it's even good, it makes us stronger, but it becomes crippling once the threads that bind us are shred to pieces. What joy could follow a pain like this? How could a smile again blossom on my lips? What sun could shed its light on my life's path? What soul could caress mine? Oh, why should I lead a poisonous life?

My very own thoughts sound selfish to me right now. You are gone for good, and this pathetic little man only thinks about himself. True be told though, I have a good excuse. I do what I do and I think what I think because I miss you so. Because I am left all alone. Nature is the only thing that can bring a little bit of comfort at dark times like these.

The cool breath of the air, the cricket's song, the sound of a distant melody, they all shout out to me that life is here and exploding with beauty. I search deep inside of me to find the balsam for this destitute, the lost way to love, to rediscover the ingredients of a happiness that I hardly got to know. I look for all those things but instead I find a mine of memories and images of a past that whisks my days away. I see a lovely face smiling at me and then fading, vanishing into thin air, like a phantom, a playing of light.

Not long before you died I have dreamed of you, this time in my sleep. We were together in a little square at the heart of village that was built with stone. It was crowded, hordes of people all around us, but in my eyes they looked like shadows. I saw you embracing my whole being, kissing me, I heard you saying I will always return to you. This kept happening again and again for a long time. Hugs. Kisses. Words. The very last time though was different. You came to me, embraced me, kissed my eyes and said I live in you and disappeared. Along with you vanished all the shadows and the scenery changed in the blink of an eye. Now I was in a desert. I was surrounded by sand that was painted in a strange red hue. The sun was about to come down in the distant horizon. I followed the path sculpted in the sand by its weakening light, and as the darkness begun to fall a whisper started running almost undetected through the emptiness. A whisper that was getting louder by the minute. I could see no one anywhere, and I couldn't make out what the voices said. This went on all night long and it felt to me that it took the next morning too long to break. I was lost and at a loss when I clearly heard a voice saying The light is gone from his soul. Then I understood, and I woke up, sweaty, scared. I wanted to cry but the tears wouldn't come, I wanted to scream but my vocal chords seemed to have frozen stiff. I knew, with a certainty that I couldn't explain, that that nightmare would come to life.

Dawn is upon us. Today is Sunday. I can hear the sound of church bells ringing in the distance. It's time again for me to go, Eleni. I will return tomorrow night to talk to your spirit or whatever there is out there. I want to tell you more. I want to remember even more. I want to break free from the chains of my pain, but also set you free, so that you can wander away from me to some distant skies, unknown to me and to all.

To be continued.

The image was taken from here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Isadora Duncan and Greek Traditional Dance by Giannis Zografakis

In this video I have changed the music accompaniment. Isadora uses Greek dress, Greek ritual dance, Greek philosophy, tradition and mythology, but she forgot the most important factor: the music. You can't project mystagogy with the dringis-dringis on the piano. Thus this "surgical procedure."

Traditional music comes from an ancient, almost mystical past. Its purpose is to bind the soul and the spirit with something transcendental, through a continuous and repeated motif.

The music that Isadora uses to express the choreography is pointless and ineffective, and as a result out of the whole exercise comes nothing special; it provides no message, no meaning. It's hypotonic and seems to serve no purpose at all. The ritual dimension of the choreography vanishes, loses itself in the original musical score, the sound of a piano on which the choreography has been based. But when the movement and rhythm of the body is linked with the elements of traditional Greek music, it automatically gains meaning, and from therein emerge the hidden rituals and symbols that have to do with the eternal cyclical or spiral movement of the rebirth of the shapes through the inevitable stages of death and birth.

In the Minoan tradition the Cretaceous Zeus had the characteristics of a dying god that would every year die and be reborn, following nature's patterns. That's why there used to be in Crete a grave dedicated to Zeus, the only one of its kind in the whole of Greece, on Giouhta mountain. This trend was closely connected with the naturalistic dimension that stemmed from the ancient matriarchal worship of the Minoans.

Traditional music replicates exactly those circles through the repetition of specific sound motifs that circle around a spot in which lies the purpose, the meaning, and the fountain out of which stems the original and primordial information.

Ritual dance follows this logic and carries the message of the continuous renewal and rebirth of everything, placing in material frameworks the frequencies that stem from the music.

Dance translates the sound waves of a musical ensemble and turns them into image through the expression and the kinetic flow of the body, thus making the body an intermediary, that brings forth from the virtual world of frequencies the harmony, which it impresses in the material world as movement. The coupling of these two elements can acquire a transcendent sacredness.

Isadora Duncan has approached the ritual and transcendent elements through her dance studies. In the video at hand an effort is made to highlight the values that can bring traditional Greek music and the modern version of dance together.

The video was made by Ana Zumani.

The text was translated by yours truly.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Eulogy for Love - Chapter 4

We are each of us angels with only one wing,
and we can only fly by embracing one another.

Luciano De Crescenzo

Evenings have now become synonymous with solitude in my lexicon. The silence slices through me like a double-edged knife. I want to talk, to scream, to wail but there's no one around to hear me. No, no one will hear my howls, no one will wipe away my tears. There'll be no silent comfort. The longing is, oh, so big and so small are we, the people that make up its parts.

How silly is our life and how fools are we to put up with it as it is! Silly and tragic. How does it change courses from one moment to the next, just like that? How does it break our dreams into pieces all at once? In a moment, in a single fateful moment I've lost everything, I've lost everyone. I've lost you and all our crazy friends; the poets of life, the prophets of doom. Almost everyone I ever loved have become pieces in the labyrinth of my memories: you, Maria, Kostas, William, Emily… You've all turned into ghosts and the sun no longer caresses my soul. We are but shadows of shadows, Kostas used to say, and he was absolutely right.

The weird thing is though that an untimely feeling of sanguineness seems to be currently running through my whole being. I feel that from now on everything will go well for me, but how? How? How can that happen since I've lost you, the most precious stone of my existence, the flame that burned my body and my heart? Am I finally going mad? I sit here, I look at the earth that cages your human body and somehow I feel optimist! How can it be?

This night is, like the ones that preceded it, deadly quiet. The heaven above is dressed in cloudy black and the stars, just like yesterday, are furnishing their light on some other skies. It's as if the elements can feel my pain and trying to silently stand by my side.

Water has started falling from above. A light drizzle. The tears of the clouds come cold and wash over me, and bring joy the grass, the handkerchief of the lord, according to Whitman.

Everything reminds me of you, all of you. And every single thing cries out to me: you are alone. The mask of sorrows has become one with my face but I know that one day I will expel it, I will get used to the new order of things and get on with my life, but, of course, I will never forget.

Eleni! Your name keeps running in circles in my mind, I can hear it whispered by the wind, sang by the birds, and I can see it written on this land by the raindrops.

I wonder if you've finally found salvation, my love. My love! How ironic, I've never called you that when you were still alive and yet here I am doing it now. The distances that tear us apart and bind us together. Everything can be said when no longer anyone has anything to lose.

I'm going to tell you something, something of old that was left unspoken, thus it's still new: I've always made dreams for Us. I would sit in a train, watching the scenery hurriedly passing by before my misty eyes, and think about you. I would fly towards distant lands, looking at the clouds beside me, the sea and the earth below, and think about you. I would walk in green fields and deserted beaches, I would climb up mountains and go down ravines, and think about you. I wanted us to share the same images, to live the same sunsets, to experience the same things, to rise together to the heights of our collective imagination. I've dreamed all that with my eyes open, but the moment I closed them, I could no longer see us together. Why? The answer to that arrived to me in the most cruel of ways, as you well know.

As I look back I now realize that our differences were big, but somehow we've learned to live with them. If we ever became a couple, probably they would be a problem, an obstacle that would pull as apart. Not becoming one is the thing that saved our friendship. As for our common interests they were few, but enough to keep us close: the poetry and the music, our readings and sporadic excursions to the islands or the countryside, the most simple yet beautiful things.

I close my eyes and I bring back to life in my head all that we and our friends have lived together. Our discussions without end, the fugs, the nonstop drinking and the singing in the hidden beaches of Paros, Emily's stories, Kosta's and Maria's silent eye to eye conversations, William's accompanying of our every word and thought with his guitar. I remember you shedding silent tears as Emily sang Imagine with her blues voice, Maria smiling almost inwardly with a knowledgeable look on her face, and the rest of us staying still, lost in the magic of the moment. I remember the sun rising like a red crocus through the sea, the birds waking and starting their morning chorus, the fire, the ecstasy in our gaze…

And the river of sweet memories continues to flow without a break, before it unavoidably spills into the stormy seas of my being.

To be continued.

The image was taken from here.