from Kleftiko

George Prevedourakis


you’d be better off with a more original copy,
you migrated—you migrate
in the projects it’s always you,            

Fevgada, they sell barbed wire in everyone’s size,   
whatever I’ve given you, you’ll say I don’t count

Fevgada, we need to live in a state of suspended animation,
in a state of enchantment
detached . . .                                             detached

where have all the laconic swans flown?    

                         around his hatred turns
                         the planet, inconsolable
                         and in his maps you’re
                         a static, stagnant boat ride—
Fevgada, why are your bookshelves full of hay?

                         how can you ask me to straddle the lyric
                         and afterwards a student
                         of comparative literature, exiled from middle class  
                         salons with plywood and satin plaster,
                         the blinds of your ambivalence, cobwebbed martyrdom?

Fevgada, ade tired of selling shit at Popylaia, waiting for revolution,
ide-go-gather my material and publish my cancer in London

Fevgada . . .
adjunct gymnasts suggested I incorporate                               
deadlifts into my daily
strength training regimen,

Fevgada since I was given three months to live
six years have passed,
—what time does the riverboat pass for Thebes?—

Fevgada, I never went to a Communist Youth rally
but there are nights I feel
the Kremlin convene inside of me,
expelling my heart to Siberia,                          
shipwrecking my liver in Ikaria,
tuning a dissonant soul in the conservatories of social-realism,

Fevgada, not for you the koliva with wheat
only the lemon tree opens because you’ve been a good girl

Fevgada—I won’t sign!
besides, there are too many ways to betray you,
shall I tell you a joke?—this is Democracy!

Fevgada, the situation is serious . . .
I’ve got to consider my provisions:
my provisions are 364 cases of HAIG scotch
eleven thousand Dimple in a tall glass, two million lemon vodkas,
infinite corner-store-beers
and unnumbered front-loaded cigarettes,

Fevgada, and besides the “Gucci dress” was sewn in Malaysia—                   
remember how you danced in it you little twat? was that all

the gypsy’s revenge that happened to you?   
Fevgada do you still think
I’m talking about the Margin?

remember: “If we’d not been killing the communists, you—judge and jury—wouldn’t be here today to condemn!” Fevgada—on the stairs of La Maison Hermès—Aris Alexandrou’s mop—that’s what happened to you, endlessly—

Fevgada I shut off the TV. The TV where five minutes ago some crazy woman said she believed in the impossible—when a trafficker tells her about seeing a miracle in his prison cell—Elder Paisios after passing, in the flesh—how’s it I can know better and still believe?

Fevgada . . .
in my sleep I’m opening a red gate
I’m hanging up
the Golgatha-sign, and posters from the Salvation Army,
I’m playing marbles with Frederica’s kids
in Varkiza I’m leaving my wooden sword                               
and here I am—in Trikeri, an able-bodied woman
kneading loaves and sweets like Emily
with a stubborn prick in my metaphysics,

Fevgada forever young-treat with care-action aid-environment friendly,
—have a dose of the Real—:
234 users liked this page: “57 stores—38 vehicles—24 injured—
9—of them—serious

I’ve no appetite for patricide
depressed, I’m crossing a bridge—like you—
have you ever heard of Psychostasia?

Fevgada I’m struggling to become a founder-CEO,
a kufala-capitalist of pure intentions—even though now
I’m playing maître d’ in an upper middle class shithole—
Mr. Partaloglou—a big pawnshop jeweler
and our regular customer—favors 18-year-old whiskey with a splash of
talk about a token of ingratitude, my Fevgada—know what I mean—
know what I mean—back to my point—back to my point—I think I’m going

                         in the room the men enter and leave                          
                         talking of bonds and securities           

Fevgada . . .
I’m a troubled man
I grow older and become more troubled
nothing consoles me,
the money that bought me was blown from the start,
does the seafloor shoot its piano players? Here? In the Foreign?

Fevgada, you offered me Maalox and I liked you
but it turns out you’re the decrepit goat of the deep state,
beneath the surgical mask your little tongue
is learning to hand-kiss like sycophants,

and I’d like to confess something else,
but better let it go—let it go—let it go—let it go . . . Bloomberg said it best:

the crisis is a crisis is a crisis is a crisis and in this crisis, it’s critical indeed that we foresee all those elements leading to Armageddon and global financial collapse, factors may I say, that were deemed systemically unreliable beforehand. Oh yes  . . . gone are the times when we were riding high in pink limousines, sniffing coca from the breasts of a Ukrainian teenage wonder. Now, our strategy can be summed up in the lines of gathering all the wealth, equities, bonds and resources into an independent establishment that would be ceaselessly refunded by sovereign(?) states and private investors alike, according to our logistical wishes and demands. The ultimate result of this ongoing process could engulf, roughly, 97% of humanity as collateral damage. ‘Do we give a fuck?’ I hear you wonder . . . The answer is definitely not!

Fevgada, the fuck? Is this life?
in the nightclub of anti-poetry
you drums—I bass?

               “an order,” we said, gentlemen, “an order”
               you shouted at the police of the sky
               with blunted knives, and your Astoria
               belts unbuckled,

Fevgada, a public loneliness prays for you                                          
high up on holy acts with broker’s rosaries

Fevgada, when will you be worthy of John, of Helen, of Nick, of Thomas?

Fevgada, you weren’t there
when I was gorging on my neighbor’s heart,
nor did you come to see me on my graduation day,
so you didn’t notice all the non-agencies gathered at my non-feet
offering me a flexible job
polishing the fences
of the new crematorium,

Fevgada, of all the martyrdoms
I chose the drop,
maybe it’ll break soon—
after all, it’s Chinese, no?

I don’t want to smuggle cigarettes
or become a breeder of ideological snails
I carry your rusted
wheel on my shoulder already,

Fevgada, I’m not going anywhere        —anywhere                 —anywhere
here . . . I’ll go,

Fevgada, everyplace I find Greece, the wound travels me.

dear prey,
            please tell me

which is better of the two:

to be hunted
when hunting’s forbidden,

or to be hunted
when it’s allowed? 



Andreas Pagoulatos! I’m with you in Perama
               where you’re richer than Deutsche Bank
I’m with you in Perama
               where you’re tied to the dry dock of spring
I’m with you in Perama
               where you kick the ass of raving days and Sleepiness
I’m with you in Perama
               where perhaps you feel more cancelled             
               than a Greek dramatist-neurologist-historian-taxi driver
I’m with you in Perama
              where we live with dozens of ghosts and our spells no longer work
I’m with you in Perama
              where the ferryman consults the exchange rate
              before accepting your fare to the other shore
I’m with you in Perama
              where the other shore has been reserved
              by parties of upper-crust technocrats
              and eternal blood donors are paying it off with faulty money
I’m with you in Perama
              where seven broken EKG’s are needed
              to measure the pulse of a dead man
I’m with you in Perama
              where four thousand idiot schoolkids
              are strangling Maria Nefeli
I’m with you in Perama
              where there’s infinite one-way streets to choose from
              and just one sea to drown in
I’m with you in Perama
              where the Public Domain resembles
              an ancient carnival mask
              we used to wear
              before going to sleep
I’m with you in Perama
             where lacerations were discovered inside the politically correct
I’m with you in Perama
             a boat in nonexistent water
             years devoted to oxidizing coins
             and the silence——of the cash—————registerrrrrrrrrr
             pressing “Z” for the barista-prophet’s resurrection 
             and he is resurrected, at night he enters the dream, a vampire of
             and riot police brute, he bends down to your ear and whispers:
             Enron—Exxon—Fanny Mae—AIG—Freddy Mac—EFG—Lehman
             Brothers—Mute brothers—Desiccated brothers—brothers in arms
             —intangible gold titles—snorted lines of cocaine—silver—ecstasy—
             by the ounce—Motoroil 36.44—FTSE 20 478—C41—you’ll be worn
             to the bone, rookie—CDS—incontrovertibly—expected hyper-profits
             —you’ll spit out the milk of your mother—per capita—in breadth—
             the truth is—I never deflower young virgins before midnight—OPAP
             2.445—Nasdaq:2004—we’re finished—bonds for the drought will hit
             zero—we fight for a better era of banking—pensions at 76—PSA 44.9
             —CPK 78.000—when will you park my insanity?—dividend 5mg per
             second—Ich bin ein Athener: Read my lips: Life—Life—the tonality—
             of Defeat

O thick-skinned fascist kids, tie-clad badgers,
O Police helicopter, don’t bother me when I’m Not writing,
O Bitterness, remember your garter belts, liberated, under occupation,

I’m with you in Perama
in my dreams you crawl breathing in shipwrecks,
crying on a highway cutting through the Balkans,
to the door of my house
in a meta-Hellenic night.

translated from the Greek by Brian Sneeden