road rage

So this book by Henry Miller, the Colossus of Maroussi, absolutely exalts middle-class intellectual greeks just at the break of WWII. He’s the same man who was positively disgusted by the parisians in a previous book and yet the positivist outlook towards greeks seems somewhat adolescent in comparison – it’s almost a bit patronising, but in an involved and compassionate sense. As a descendant of the greece Miller describes, I recognise the charisma, passion and vulnerable intellect in the class-chaotic greece has been during modern history.

So I watch and try to gather some insight into what happened to the ancient philosophers, illuminated by the abundance of sun and the poets, drinking wine and eating food that effortlessly grows, with hearts filled with courage for every little war fate and patriarchy brought at their doorstep again. What seems to have happened is that they are now in the full-time business of raising kids, in Athens, a city specifically designed for adult audiences. Since the market has died and is now a ghost, haunting us and reminding us of our mistakes, parents with little to do, other than sit in an office of some dysfunctional corrupted public sector agency for a few hours daily or a bank, are today’s philosophers, the descendants of those people Miller adored. They, contrary to their ancestors, feel great resentment towards everything and everyone, as there seems to be no light in the end of this tunnel. And yet everything is illuminated by a very bright version of the sun.

The kids, the hope, the symbol of the light at the end of the tunnel, which fills everyone with a resentful kind of hope are not only in the eye of the storm, but also the center of criticism and often perversion. Because the system is saying “I shall not make sense for no one” and so the state has become a merciless god and parent to us all, stretching our minds to their limits and feeding off our struggle to survive on a ground now pretty much paved with the bodies of “the weak”. Well the weak are just people who cracked or where a bit unlucky. But still they fell and to those who do not know them this means less people to compete against.

You may ask me at this point, why am I discriminating against childless people, but of course because the childless people are the ones who have adapted and are not even interested in the light, supposingly somewhere at the end of this tunnel – they are underground life-forms, mutants and freaks who have accepted a parasitic form of life and produce their creative output in oblivion of their natural biological or economic foundation. The rest, the ones who strive to preserve a sense of respectful existence, in the old sense and still trust that their hard work will be pioneering for the much-awaited tunnel exit, are the ones who still feel, hurt and love with passion – but their sense of a future and the collective is overshadowed by the impossible system and simultaneously boldly illuminated by the abundance of light.

So in my far-fetched exclusion of the childless (with a little prejudice, due to my disappointment at watching my generation go through its reproductive years worshiping death, destruction and pets like some kind of perpetual post-puberty emo crew) I find that between socially distinguished, but mostly anonymous people of Greece, there is one thing that stays the same – the heap of light on our fear of death. Where there is more light, the darkness also seems more overwhelming and under all this light, making fruit delicious and sweet, it becomes fairly obvious that the empty darkness of death is in direct and sharp opposition.

The fear of death makes everything more intense and passionate and the light illuminates this intensity further and so the parents drive through roads of traffic in the heat to get their kids to extracurricular activities, making up for the inadequacy of the failed state, which still pushes mercilessly for more conservatism and strictness and the kids scream and pull strips of hairs from their heads and kick balls and try to escape the inescapable fear of death in the tunnel the state and their parents force them to live in and the parents scream for them to hang on and try harder for the light will soon appear and their bodies have to be in the best shape so they can run towards it and not get lost or suffocated and the state and banks see more opportunity for profit there, basically draining the only source left, the greek sun and the parents make food and fuel and who-knows-what-else from only sun now and proudly they still survive and raise kids, but if the sun ever fails to rise then doom will prevail. Yeah, I mean if it was the arctic circle, darkness and the relatedness to death would be something people could cope with – but here… oh god here, just bright summer sun illuminating what has become an abundantly illuminated lost cause.

Sometimes, whilst sitting in traffic in the summer heat I’m thinking “go crazy dude! it’s the only sane thing to do” and then a moment later I’m thinking “you’re a terrible mother! as long as the sun shines, you should try harder!” and what comes out of my fucken mouth is “kid, you’ve got to try harder”. Oh bullshit!

abstract

The house is in ruins

dog hairs cover everything

sticky sweat

haven’t cooked a proper meal in days

lists of things to do hanging on cigarette smoke

I finally remembered what love feels like

not entirely sure I can grasp all aspects

have been trying for days now

initially came those intense dreams

realistic and disturbing

then came oblivion and denial

then came some sympathy for oneself and existence

not feeling very scientific

feeling entirely practical

entirely emotional

a practically emotional state of affairs

and the realisation that one can’t but love what it is they love

can’t help but protect what it is they need to keep alive

people’s faces are melting

I’m reviewing summer photos

now always seems so far away

tomorrow is a long way

personal symbolism

personal objects and shared memories of enormous significance

wasted time

feeling for one another

the war is upon us

or is it the peace?

making peace with war

the war inside

the social war

the family war

the building war

the family pet war

the peace of a forest to live in and a warm body to live by

the ugly  and the beautiful

all merged together in midst

the new and the old

the beauty and the beast

the nightmare and the sweet dream

the violent awakening in the middle of the night

not knowing if that dream was a nightmare

because you care too much to make a personal descision

a shared existence

is always a heavy affair

an enormous risk

smelling of doom

sweet doom like the birth of a child

destined to die

destined to live

destined to feel pain

destined to change every cell in our bodies

think more, not less

Forever young

 

Wow! This song came on while I was driving home lastnight and it made me feel so glad to get to hear it again. I could have gone through life without ever remembering it had existed in the background of those dark moist times of puberty and having had the chance of reliving that primitive teenage fatalistic sensation. I was about to pull out a piece of paper to make a memo so I wouldn’t forget, but I didn’t, as I’m 30something and sensible with driving. The first thing I did when I got home was to look for it… and there it was sung by this guy called Errol Brown. Who the hell is Errol? I wondered and naturally looked Errol up. He turns out to be more than a cool guy, having written songs, such as “You sexy thing” and “Secret Rendezvous”, yey, a man who knows his memes. Anyway, Errol made me think about the terrible proximity one has the tendancy to feel to their puberty. A million different phases have passed since then and yet that time seems to raise a mighty emotional response to replayed memes that predominated at the time.

I went to the cemetery the other day, as it was my late mum’s birthday and felt I should bring her or well, her decaying bones some flowers. I’m sorry I’m this cynical, but whenever I think of my mum, I think of someone dear inhabiting the cemetery, which really makes me think I am nowhere near accepting her death. In fact it is almost like accepting the death of a big piece of yourself, or well someone you related to greatly and felt attached to since birth, which is something no one who’s still alive can easily do. Anyway, it’s an ever ending paradox, I’ve accepted that.

So, I was excited in a tearful sense, as I would for once go to the cemetery in celebration, not of her death and disease, but of her birth, which gave birth to my birth and everyone else’s (referring to siblings, son, nephews and nieces) and her wonderful presence in our lives. So I bought a nice yellow pot plant and some sunflowers, since she loved anything yellow and they didn’t have any yellow roses and hung around for a while, watering the other pot plants and rearranging them and having a cigarette or two and thinking of her, trying to remind myself not to wish “happy birthday” – jesus death really stretches my brain to its limits. I was thinking about how pretty and independent she usually was and how she loved to tease her kids and grandchildren (all spoiled brats, by the way). She had this sarcastic sense of humour, which drove all three of us nuts, as we could never tell if she was serious or not.

So anyway, I was so happy to remember her like that for once and be there alone with her, without everyone else’s bullshit, because what I usually can’t get over and can’t begin to find a way to joke about, is how she died… It is terribly tormenting that she still felt young and she still made fun of us, until the last months when she lost herself in what else? cancer. It was like watching a teenager age within months. I never felt she was that much older than me, because she never behaved like she was, even though she was incredibly dependable for anyone she loved. It was just her soul, which always preserved that teenage playfulness.

Hope I made you weep about someone dear, you lost, but it wasn’t the point. My point was that no matter how old you get, your synapses seem to remain stuck at that overall mentality you had when it stopped growing (at 16) and you feel ridiculous at times, not behaving your age and feeling flooded by a sea of emotions just by hearing a silly song (no offence Errol, I think you’re way cool). Amazing! The limits were set at the age of 16-17 and all they had us thinking about at the time was how to get into university. If that’s not a global conspiracy, please tell me what is.

Attending death @ 1ο Νεκροταφείο

Only the other day I was with a couple of hipster architect girl-friends and this guy and we started talking about cemeteries. There’s this particular cemetery in Athens, where most famous and important people have been buried plus quite a few middle-class nobodies coming from sort of socially respectable athenian families or whatever. As we talked about all those strange statues meaning something to someone at a distressing time in their lives, the kietch temple-looking little houses luxuriously encapsulating the dead and the peace and quiet of a morning walk in the cemetery, one of the girls said “well, you know, I’ll be buried there one day”, “oh, so will I!” I exclaimed excitedly, while the other two were already giving their reasons for being forced to decline this event in a slightly resentful tone. I guess the two of us belonged to those families owing a plain marble box in the coolest cemetery in town… Hurray or something… Well the truth is we were pretty excited, I mean if you were to die and had to have people mourning for you, you would like it to be a sort of cool event, which would give all the sad mourning people something to look at and talk about, whilst sipping a cup of coffee or cognac and enjoying a day dedicated to you having died. To top all this, having an equally deceased friend around, or one who would soon be, seemed like the sort of death that would follow one’s life in Athens. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be honest about how things will be turning out with my final home. However, it is my dying wish that my tombstone should say “Kala Mari – an unemployed single mother” and that everyone should come dressed as hipsters.