Paphos, Cyprus, November 2016/January 2017
From Sydney, via Dohar, to Larnaca; long haul flight over the Indian Ocean; please an aisle seat if possible; who will sit next to me; young man with sparse chestnut goatee; the ritual before I go on board; comfort shopping; buy a biography [Nikola Tesla]; a double-shot of Bombay Sapphire; since the near miss over the Caribbean; frightened of flying; Mark Webber in the next gate; not long ago it was Eckhart Tolle; and before that the happy songstress; to my right a distressed father of five; we jockey for the middle armrest; why does food taste differently on planes; more to do with smell rather than taste they say; I am repeating myself; Farfalle tossed with Arrabiata Sauce; will George hit his second fifty this weekend; your broken shoulder has healed well my boy; Katina manages amazingly without me; “I have loved you for a thousand years” (Christina Perri); the primary flight feathers of the Mute Swan; crosswind landings; angle of attack; the mythical landscape of Paphos; my changing face and my balding head; my departed Father’s birthplace; the deepest wound is silence; like a mark in the dark; your spirit gives life to the earth; Johann Sebastian Bach; punctus contra punctum [‘point against point’]; Nina Simone; the fingers are an extension of the voice; music smoulders down through to the large toe; C minor naturals and accidentals as required; I should stop for a drink; Zivania grape pomace and dry wine; nothing beats an icy cold beer; Bus 618 to the harbour; Apostolou Pavlou Avenue; Bank of Cyprus; Superior Real Estate; the earth stretches as far as the eye can see; to the end of silence; the suffering of the other is not ever far; Aleppo reveals the actuality of the new world order; Bana al-Abed keep safe under the giant wings of angels; long walk in the heat almost lost; local traffic signs are perilous here; step over cracks with the right foot first; great art like mystery inspires transformation; “The street had its own history/ someone wrote it on the wall, with paint” (Manos Loizos); Kallinikos Stavrovouniotis the inspired iconographer; preparation of brushes and woods; heated beeswax and coloured pigments; two young girls to my right are taking selfies; not long ago they would have been preserved in portraits; nine bus drivers on strike to my left; worry beads fighting a losing battle with cigarettes; no rain for three months; remember take quick showers; hot air masses over from the Sahara; gases and dust; the birth of stars; the big belt of Orion; second draft of the short stories done; “I journey inward seeking a language of lament” (Stephanos Stephanides); “How close we are/ to what we thought was so far away!” (Costas Montis); “Those who die in war, they sing the best songs for peace” (Mehmet Yasin); true artists will bleed; your voice must bleed to give life to birds; without blood your poems will cease to exist; Aphrodite rises from the foam; Adonis in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Book X); Pygmalion’s futuristic fetish gave birth to Paphos; most everything has been done and said before; even pixels and robotics; I need another blanket it is cold; two light bulbs burnt out; please make up Room 201; am I the last person on earth without a mobile; immunity from the network; the portable telephone will go inside the head; a 16 year-old Mother missing with her baby boy; we are all refugees; I have too many coats; “If you have two coats, give one away” (Lk. 3:11); scores of souvenir shops; the ridiculous mingles with the sublime; from nodding plastic Messiahs to the Virgin Mary of Kykkos; feather ice, fine as white Iranian Pashmak; figures of speech the folding doors at Pompeii; dreams the building blocks of images; globalism one of the terrible lies; to obliterate history; to deconstruct identity; the monopolization of food; “To the south, to the south, my time is running out” (Frank Turner); “First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin” (Leonard Cohen); “We all live in a yellow submarine” (Beatles); Saint Neophytos Monastery and Temple of the Retreat; a glorious Sunday morning histories and eternities turn together; the Divine Liturgy the summary of all things; Saint Barnabas Apostle to Antioch and Cyprus; Saint Spyridon the Wonderworker; Saint Sapricius the Bishop; mourning must not be wasted; the Berlin Christmas market attack; Russian ambassador assassinated in Ankara; babies freeze in Aleppo; wax honeycombs inside the beehive; synchronized wings; contract pollination; lightning in the form of ribbons; stories trapped in stone; Rock of the Greek; Saint Paul’s Pillar (1 Cor. 2:11-24); Paphos Castle; Tombs of the Kings; the Ancient City of Marion; who am I, dear Mother, and why have I become; what rests in the depths of depths; Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me the sinner; sickening migraine tonight; wild galloping horses; anvils made of splintered diamond; Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 9 in D major; you play music on the inside of my heart; it ends too soon; before we have time to say, this is who I am; a child is asked to decide on a Christmas gift; what will it be a dress or a toy; a small glass of milk, she says; thank goodness it is raining; Trinitarian mystery and supercritical fluids; “Lazarus, come forth!” (Jn. 11:43); I should tell Jeremiah to believe in the resurrection of the living; I should have been in Mexico; I should have brought another white shirt; Gennadios Taverna; White King Chess School; Papaconstantinou Bakery; my jaw is hurting again; oh please Lord, not for a third time; this codeine will not work; the ‘pigeon-toed orange peel’; it never existed Mr Eastwood; film can convince us of almost anything; Zeno of Citium; true good can only exist in Virtue; happiness depends on moral actions; truth is as recognisable as the odour under the armpits; go bald gracefully and delight in the possibilities; a middle-aged man with short-cropped hair waiting for Mediterranean mussels; an elderly woman with cat eye sunglasses is pushing away the past; a young couple bent over, lost forever in their mobiles; Marios Tokas Anoula tou Hionia; Michalis Kakoyiannis Zorba the Greek (1964); Christopher A. Pissarides “theory of search frictions”; a philosopher with broken hands taking notes; dark energy; dark matter; normal matter; expansion of the universe not slowing down; like stars racing on the edges of galaxies; the artist must for a short time forget; only then can he or she create anew; the palimpsest is a valuable example; beards are back in fashion; the Bandholz; the five-blade razor; birds made from old manuscripts and from the virgin’s hair; Pied Wheatear; Warbler Sylvia; Short-toed Treecreeper; Panagia Theoskepasti; Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa; Agios Georgios Basilica; Dostoevsky’s “The Possessed” an ongoing prophecy; please read Albert Camus’ “The Human Crisis”; Dag Hammarskjold Markings; the Cyprus issue falters again; corruption is the mainstay; culture of co-existence a distant vision; the view of the Mediterranean coastline is mesmerizing; each flickering light a poem in the horizon; miles of soul sleeping tonight; “Let the stars appear/ and the moon disclose her silver horn” (Jane Kenyon); South Sudan conflict; another catastrophe; hunger in Yemen; United Nations ineffectual intoxicated on blind power; a rusted door knob; a shoe without a heel; a broken teacup; we become that after which we chase; Midas touched his daughter she turned to gold; let us chase after poetry; why are you reading these lines; have you visited before; would you offer a hat in my distress [or a rope, as he once did]; in Pegeia they speak in key signatures; the young ones still court at the ‘vrisi’; Coral Bay sprays new life into the ancient lithosols; I was a soldier here long ago; one day they prepared us for war; there was lots of crying in camp; House of Dionysos; House of Aion; the “Forum” [the Agora]; the first photo is never right; why do you forget; a wooden boat swaying gently on scattered sunlight; a group of children skipping on pebble skins; seashells on the knees of butterflies; Chapecoense LaMia Flight 2933; from one moment to the next; Alexandrov Ensemble Tu-154 crashes in the Black Sea; a new chorus of mermaids; you will spring from bed one night; the answer would have at last arrived; it will be the last and the hardest of your battles; “years have passed many changes taking place” (Hazel Durham); “what’s changed is you” (F. Scott Fitzgerald); “so take away my passport!” (Mahmoud Darwish); you said you were going away forever; yet I will look for you in the cities; “Or ancient mounds that cover bones, Or rocks where rockdoves do repair” (The Alchemist in the City, Gerard Manley Hopkins); caution no entry; attention heavy vehicles; beware bumps on the road; Troodos Mountains; Pediaios River; Avakas Gorge; the way you clasped your hands; Latin-rig sails drifting into the distance; the secret remains in how we communicate the story; Cyrano de Bergerac and his talking earrings; I sing carols with old ‘Santa Claus’ Lawrence; December 25th Christmas Day; “In the beginning was the Word” (Jn 1:1); “Therefore Christmas, the day of the birth of the God-man the Lord Jesus Christ, is the greatest and most important day in the history of all the worlds in which man moves and lives” (Saint Nikolai Velimirovich); the parcel of land recovered; belongings were watered; January 11th time to go.