I clamber down the stairs to Argiroupole metro station, heading to work, in central Athens. She’s sitting in one of the benches there, dark-skinned, dark-haired, probably a Roma, in her twenties. A long, limp pony tail, a shabby, red T-shirt, a flared, flowery skirt, tattered flip-flops. An equally scruffy two or three-year-old boy is wringing out of her grasp. Continues »
‘I know you and dad wanted something else for me but- Yeah, a rich, pot-bellied prince. You think mine is a frog, eh? He loves me to bits, mum; he really cares, that’s what matters.’ Sonia punches the pen’s tip fast against the notepad on the coffee table, peppering the white sheet with inky dots. ‘We’ll find something to eat. He’ll get a job. Continues »
Tzoras jots down the date of the primary school students’ last excursion this year. A week before his son’s University entrance exams. He couldn’t possibly be absent from this critical moment in his son’s life.
He unlocks the top desk drawer and takes out a deck of cards with famous actresses on he’d bought on an educational trip to Thessaloniki. He counts them. Fifty one. One’s missing. Fingers move deep into the drawer, through grade books and the register, under the desk pad. Nowhere.
He pushes the heavy iron gate open by the bars, flakes of peeling paint chafing his cold palms. The soles of his shoes scrunch against the grainy soil the pouring rain had carried this afternoon from the garden down the marble stairs, landing in small, grungy pools on the dirt road. He can feel the wet weather in his bones as he climbs up the steep, narrow steps, the night air heavy and cool on his cheeks. Continues »
I have always loved pets, particularly cats. I have, really. It is true that when my dear husband died I set my mind on buying a feline to keep me company. A quiet, good-mannered Persian one I had spotted in the shop window of the big pet shop downtown. Until I heard from the shop assistant there that it would need to be groomed daily. That put me off buying it. Too much trouble, I thought and figured I could do without a companion for a while. Continues »
Strategoula’s square jaw tightened as I pulled her messy, straw-blonde hair hard at the back, like plucking a dead chicken off its feathers. Her head bounced back and forth as if joined with her shoulders by bed springs. She reiterated by kicking me hard in the stomach and then I felt her pincers-firm grip on my left wrist. Continues »
You know what struck me the most when I saw you lying flat on the hospital bed? I realized I’d never seen you without your impeccable false teeth. You looked older, defenseless, robbed from authority. A catatonic man with cheeks sunken along the gums that framed a wide dark cave of a mouth, a forehead jutting out of the white pillow, wet wisps of hair drowning underneath.
Athenas street looks abandoned, still, like a dusty street before a duel in a western. Shop windows dim, like the dirty spectacles of a myopic child; cardboard boxes scattered over shabby floors, like presents that have been left unwrapped; dust blanketing the window displays, like stale icing on a cake. On the pavements, in flaky flower stands, yucca leaves cower over brittle trunks, like rusty, weary swords.
The economic depression has gravely affected retail sales all over Greece. Chopped salaries mean less money to spend on consumer goods. How do all these redundant people earn a living now, I wonder. Something has to be done soon or lots of people will starve. Continues »
The skin of my yiayia’s hands dry, like peeling garlic; blanketing a tangle of frustrated veins. Eyes round, tinged with terror, mouth agape, pale legs grappling with the white sheets in an effort to revolt against stagnation.
I want so much to comfort her, ease her pain. ‘I’m here for you. I’ll always be,’ I think but never utter the actual words. We’ve always shied away from exchanging soppy phrases such as ‘I care for you’, or ‘I love you’. Continues »
The Persian poet Sadi once in his spiritual ecstasy, found himself walking among the burgeon gardens of Elysian Fields (paradise), brimming with exotic blooms and rare perfumed heavenly flowers.
He thought to gather a few in his apron for friends at home, but the exquisite fragrances intoxicated him so much that he dropped the apron together with the flowers. Endeavouring to tell his friends of the wonderful sight and the rare aromatic scents of paradise on his return, he found it impossible, because the human tongue was too poor for such heavenly description. Continues »
Education is useful when the student is taught how to think liberally and not just to copy academic literature. Excess of education often produce lower intellect, intolerant and Calvinistic attitudes. It was never meant for humans to study a lot in order to find the right work in their life. All humans where born with certain talents to follow in life, which lead them to a unmistakable happier living with intellectual and spiritual success. Continues »
The photograph is black and white and was possibly taken about the year of 1900. It is a photograph of the nine children of the Wood family. My grandfather George was one of these children. I feel a great attachment to the photograph. It is like looking at a still from a movie as I take a peek into the story of their lives. They are all dressed in high fashion of the day and are posed in the garden having a tea party. Grace looks to be the eldest and sits at a small table with a cloth draped over it. She looks very poised with her eyes lowered to the teapot raised in her hand. She wears a beautiful wide brimmed hat, a sash around her waist and a dress high to the neck with puffed sleeves. Louie stands to the left of her facing the camera and [...] Continues »
The father of medicine, Hippocrates, set primarily in each new doctor a definition along with the standard oath, that: "You cannot be good a doctor without being a philosopher at the same time." We know that the philosopher besides the reflective, observant and intellectual learning is also a strict naturalist, which rightly so that the ancient Greeks used to call them Iatrophilosophers.
For this reason I would like to expand a bit on this definition for the ordinary person with a slight variation: "You can never be cured completely by a physician when he is unable to explain to you in simple language, the cause of your illness." Continues »
I wait for my mother and her sister outside church. They go to every ψυχοσαββατο. To commemorate our dead. The night before, Mum prepares κολυβα a mix of boiled wheat, bread crumbs, walnuts, sesame seeds and sultanas covered by a layer of icing sugar and decorated with slivered almonds, puts the προσφορο she has bought from the bakery next to her bag so as not to forget it and writes a list of the dead. Continues »
At Diasporic Literature Spot, being a literary website, from time to time we receive books from established as well as aspiring writers. I would say that in most cases these books can be a hassle to read and an even bigger problem to write about. However there are those certain books, by certain emerging or inspiring and aspiring writers that we feel privileged to receive, to hold in our hand and to read deepest thoughts in creamy or white colour pages. These specific books are the reason why Diasporic Literature is in existence Continues »
Nothing in life arrives by luck or accident without first being planted by our own thoughts and deeds? Wealth, poverty, happiness, unhappiness, success, failure and what else, are all part of our thinking process. We become what our thoughts and deeds are -and harvesting exactly what we have planted there. Good luck, co-incidence and external opportunities for success in life, are only random voices of ignorance and superstition. They resemble the hooting of the owls in the night, which only the daylight will calm and silence. Continues »
‘Honest friendship is a better choice than emotional love for a steady diet, says an American thinker. Suspicion, jealousy, prejudice, and strife follow in the wake of passionate love; and disgrace murder and suicide lurk just around the corner from where lovers cooing like mating pigeons. Emotional love is a matter of proximity; it makes demands, asks for proofs and wants frequent reassurance. Friendship seeks no ownership –it only hopes to serve, and it grows by giving even from a distance. Unfortunately, this does not apply the same with passionate love. Love bestows only that it may receive, and a one-sided passion turns to hate in a night, and then demands vengeance as its right and proportion. Friendship asks no foolish vows, it is strong in absence and most loyal when needed. It lends ballast to life and gives steadily to every venture’. Continues »
‘How delightful it will be to converse intimately with someone of the same mind, sharing together the pleasure of uninhibited conversation on the amusing and boring things of this world; but such a friend is hard to find. If we must take care that, our opinions do not differ in the least from those we are conversing with, we might just as well be alone”. It will be more pleasant sit alone in a reclining chair and with a book in our hands to read the thoughts of a distant friend silently without arguments and quarrels. Great thinkers love to be alone; they are willing to give their hands into society but they prefer to keep their thoughts private’. Continues »
There is no difference between a precious stone and a common stone in their building structure, except only in the rearrangement of their particles. The carbon in the charcoal and diamond, for instance, is the same, except for the different arrangement of their molecules, namely the crystallization. Yet… how far apart are they in beauty and value compared to each other. The pearl and the seashell have also identical structural synthesis; yet the pearl is superior in beauty and as cosmetic value. Similar situations we observe also in human beings. Two humans have the same ideas and words to speak and write, yet one produces literature and the other platitude. Why does this happen? What element made them differ so widely?
Torrential rains and winds thrash us as we alight from the bus and negotiate oncoming traffic. Cars - windscreen wipers on full speed, headlights full beam, begrudgingly slow down to allow us to cross to the hospital. There are no traffic lights or pedestrian crossings. As we reach the other side of the road and step on to walkway, the umbrellas snap in our hands. We wade through spreading puddles of mud, splashed by water from the footsteps of other commuters. I fear slipping so, head down and bags tucked under my left arm, I tread warily. By the time the warmth of the hospital heating hits us our clothes are dripping wet. It is 8.45 am. We left home from a nearby township at 7.40 am. Continues »
I walked under the old elm trees. It was a cold winter’s day and the air was sharp. There was no one to break the stillness. I was conscious only of the dank smell of wet leaves underfoot and the sheep and cattle grazing peacefully in the paddock across the creek.
At last it was possible to be myself, away from people. My thoughts were in emotional turmoil. Watching death creep insidiously through my mother’s body as cancer claimed her was hard to bear. I tried to grasp the inevitability of losing her. She was noble in her dying, never complained. “Andy’s randy today,” was all she would say when beset with pain. Continues »
The soul of man possesses the capabilities to recognise and respond to truth that the myth carries, even before the mind grasped and analyse it. Most of us have been touched with this type of phenomena in the past and especially in our youth, before our minds and souls have been wounded and cobbled by dogmatism and wrong education. Soul responds sensitively to truth and its poetical beauty that encompasses the myth –and which has been lost through countless incarnations. Here, we see clearly the Socratic theory that our soul pre-existed and that all knowledge is nothing more than αναθύμισης=anathimisis= recollections from the past. Continues »
Over a career of fifty-five years, Kostas Paniaras has developed a rich code of media and moves from painting to sculpture and special installations, freely adopting various materials through which he gains access to the illusion of the new image.
In the process of his quest for the truth, artistic acts/reflections of an undefined inner self and memories resurfacing from a remote past take part in the constant game of the alternating presence and absence of 'subject' as well as in the various possibilities for the final verdict of his temporally-and above all spatially-displaced work. Continues »
One way to approach this stubbornly difficult question is to look at it from two seemingly opposed and irreconcilable perspectives that we’ve inherited from Greek Mythology: that of Aphrodite and Apollo – the two extreme ends of the spectrum or should we say, kaleidoscope of love. If indeed irreconcilable, do we choose carnal love as inspired by the Cyprian Aphrodite, goddess of Eros, which grounds love in the hedonistic pleasures of the body, and which, as the chorus in Antigone warns us, drives men and women mad, or the spiritual love of the mind, as inspired by the Sun god, Apollo? Continues »
If we’re so inadequate in simple situations how could we pretend we know what truth is? Why should we torment our lives to something we may never know? And I heard the agnostics say, "I don’t really care what truth is and what a lie is". But is all we want to consider that we are whatever we are and we will make the best of it so that we can deny ourselves the possibility of leading a tormented life? Do we feel comfortable with what is occurring around us, as we try to avoid situations that affect us negatively and “go with the flow" so to speak? But then why do we need to think and seek? Continues »
Something has been upsetting me lately. Something that crept into my philosophical thoughts without warning and left me sleepless at night, when the moon shines high outside of my window and the wind that visits me cannot take away feelings of helplessness. Something has come as an uninvited guest into my night to shed light where there was darkness and shade where the light was blinding me; an aide to help me deal with the pain of emptiness. Continues »
They sit at the table on the balcony, stripping virgin vine stems of leaves, buds and stringy bits. Their voices, with the rustling of the sprouting pine needles, echo in the breeze across the platiea – until the final stem is stripped. Then the aromas of the boiling saucepan – aniseed, garlic, spring onion, olive oil dressing – that blends with the breeze. Continues »
In a time when words are wasted. Repeatedly. In a time when one must struggle against becoming yet another living platitude. Defiantly. When everyone has depression, and pills will help you find yourself. Predictably. I look up at the skies of the infinite winter, attempting to read God’s handwriting. Confusedly. Continues »
A sense of peace prevailed among the people who seemed to be relaxed and happy after the pre-Christmas rush. They waited expectantly for Mass to begin which was to be celebrated by a visiting priest from Rome. Annie, our organist, had not arrived. I was told she wasn’t well and we must proceed without her. Continues »
By Michael Morgan I still see the images as though projected on a wall screen or a plasma T.V. set, super clear and detailed, the single gold fish in a bowl leaving an iridescent slick as it moved, the white screens around my bed. I can still smell the coal tar disinfectant permeating the air, the matron all in white, large in stature. I compare her now to a Spanish Galleon in full sail. I remember her name, Sister Pump. I was seven years old, my tonsils had been removed. A fashionable operation at that time. I was in “Airlie” Private Hospital, Ivanhoe, Melbourne, a few minutes walk from my home. It is now 64 years later, and as I write I have in my hands a series of recently obtained documents, one of them being my original certificate of birth. It is an old scrunched up photo copy. I [...] Continues »
by Iakovos Garivaldis
Towards the end of the final decade of the 20th century, I met a very interesting man in his late 60s in Melbourne who became a dear friend in later years and during my involvement with the Hellenic Writers’ Association of Australia. His name was Lawrence (Larry) Darrell, or Solon Papadopoulos before he changed it, when he first arrived to Australia. Lawrence was a lonely man all the time I knew him and as the story of my life goes, I did like to talk and associate with men older than me (he was about 20 years my senior) and usually lonely. The way we met was quite bizarre since he contacted me in 1999 when we were having our first Book Exhibition of books by writers of Greek origin in Melbourne in co-operation with the Archives Museum of RMIT University and AHEPA Victoria (a Hellenic cultural organisation). Continues »
by Dr Christos Galiotos What does it feel to be marginalised in a country that I call home? I have asked myself the question infinite times at the wake of consciousness. How can it be that I feel as a foreigner in the land that I was born? Is locality of birth a defining feature in the construction of my identity? Does my birth place mean that I have immediate bonds with Australia? Musing about my cultural identity I discovered from long ago that my ancestry, roots and soul are definitely Greek. I feel Greek, I speak Greek, I think in Greek. I have often wondered what about if I was born in another country, perhaps a neighbouring Asian country, would I still be Greek? Would I still feel Greek? I feel that no matter where else I would have been born and bread, I still would be Greek. Being [...] Continues »
(C) Nicholas Fourikis As it takes me one to three years to write a book, I want to consider many issues before deciding what to write. The worst scenario I can imagine is to rush into a story and abandon ship after six or twelve months. I don’t want to even think of ‘whodunit it’ stories and I’m not a romance writer. My heroes fall in love and I chronicle the occasional lovemaking scene but I don’t want to fill a book with bed hopping heroes enjoying the delights of the flesh. My book should be a hero’s journey for without heroes nothing changes and the world we live in becomes a depressing place. Reading the lives of the saints fascinated me, I rejoiced every time Ulysses escaped from yet another near death experience and I cried the day Martin Luther King was assassinated but I’m not into biographies of [...] Continues »
The food was prepared, the table set. It looked like a subject for a Renoir or Bonnard. Just luscious to look at. Time for a relax, guests due to come at 7 p.m. Divine aromas of luscious food cooking permeated the atmosphere. Bliss!!
The guests arrived on time. The first drink was poured and then we heard the fire siren, and then another. The hills around reverberated with the sound.
Oh no!… I was a member of the voluntary Country Fire Authority. Continues »
For fifty years every April llth, my birthday, I have taken from my bookshelf a small, blue, relief stamped volume, entitled “Life of Frank Buckland,” printed by Nelson. Not a great book, but fascinating, a grand opening to a new world for a young man obsessed with learning. When I open this book it is with rememberance more than nostalgia, in fact reverence, that I view the inscription “From F. Thomas to Michael on his 12th birthday, April 11th 1952.” I have always been blessed in my life when all seems to be a struggle, when creative drive goes, when the daily news of world events begins to overwhelm, my guardian angel gives to me the gift of a situation, or person, to transform and regenerate my life. Frederick was such a gift. A mentor and someone who has always inspired me. I was absolutely hopeless with mathematics – numbers, [...] Continues »
(Extract from an award winning short story in Greek) Growing up in the outskirts of a large town serves as a conduit of conformity to tradition for any youngster; it is bound to implant a character that preserves countless family values and a certain obliging cultural mannerism. Thessaloniki, Greece was no exception. The whole setup inspired me copiously and in a wasteful feeling of togetherness so intense, so pervasive, one could almost sense its palpable presence in the atmosphere; concealing, at the same time, emotions that were seeking an outlet through a rebellious behaviour within. I saw a myriad of soft orange-pink settings by the seashore, which expanded my horizon for infinite miles; always thinking that our world ended at the spot where the wave stopped moving inland and that another began beyond it; the edge of the wave acting as a threshold between the world I knew and the world inspired [...] Continues »