KATERINA AGGELAKI-ROUK/ΚΑΤΕΡΙΝΑ ΑΓΓΕΛΑΚΗ —ΡΟΥΚ

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LIFE’S LACK OF APPETITE
I’m not hungry, I don’t hurt I don’t stink
perhaps deep inside I suffer and I don’t know it
I pretend I laugh
I don’t seek the impossible
nor the possible, bodies
forbidden to me don’t please my eyes.
Sometimes I gaze the sky
with a yearning glance
when the sun lessens its gleam and
the blue lover surrenders
to the beauty of the night.
My only involvement
with the going around of the world
is my steady breath.
But I also feel another
strange involvement:
the agony I suddenly feel
for the human pain.
It spreads on earth
like a drenched in blood
liturgical tablecloth
that shrouds myths and gods
it renews itself endlessly
and becomes one with life.
Yes, I want to cry now
but even the fountain of my tears
has turned dry.

Η Ανορεξία της Ύπαρξης

Δεν πεινάω, δεν πονάω, δε βρωμάω
ίσως κάπου βαθιά να υποφέρω και να μην το ξέρω
κάνω πως γελάω
δεν επιθυμώ το αδύνατο
ούτε το δυνατό, τα απαγορευμένα
για μένα σώματα δε μου χορταίνουν τη ματιά.
Τον ουρανό καμιά φορά
κοιτάω με λαχτάρα
την ώρα που ο ήλιος σβύνει τη λάμψη του
κι ο γαλανός εραστής παραδίνεται
στη γοητεία της νύχτας.
Η μόνη μου συμμετοχή
στο στροβίλισμα του κόσμου
είναι η ανάσα μου που βγαίνει σταθερή.
Αλλά νιώθω και μια άλλη
παράξενη συμμετοχή
αγωνία με πιάνει ξαφνικά
για τον ανθρώπινο πόνο.
Απλώνεται πάνω στη γη
σαν λειτουργικό τραπεζομάντιλο
που μουσκεμένο στο αίμα
σκεπάζει μύθους και θεούς
αιώνεια αναγεννιέται
και με τη ζωή ταυτίζεται.
Ναι, τώρα θέλω να κλάψω
αλλά στέρεψε ως και των δακρύων μου
η πηγή.

~ Katerina Aggelaki—Rouk, translated by Manolis Aligizakis

UBERMENSCH

ubermensch_cover

Scarecrow

He knew our peculiar desire for suffering
as if we preferred the sigh of defeated and
the signs left behind by birds in their morning flight
our eardrums soft capable of capturing the rapture
of the thunderbolt yet, we still wanted to lay next
to the woman’s breast, close enough to feel her pain
close enough to taste her anguish and He, alone
encompassed the earth as if with His song
to transcend it, while we still kneeled before
the scarecrow, jet-black eyes and straw hair
on his head that moved back and fro, myths
upon which we had based our existence.

Σκιάχτρο

Γνώριζε την παράξενή μας προτροπή για βάσανα
σαν να μας άρεσε του ηττημένου ο στεναγμός
και τα πρωινά σημάδια που αφήναν τα πουλιά
στο πέταγμά τους. Τ’ αυτιά μας απαλές μεμβράνες
της καταιγίδας το πανδαιμόνιο που συλλαμβάνανε
κι ακόμα θέλαμε δίπλα σε γυναίκας βυζί να κοιμηθούμε
τόσο κοντά τον πόνο της να νιώσουμε, τόσο κοντά
την αγωνία της για να γευτούμε κι όμως εκείνος
μόνος του τη γη ολόκληρη με μια ματιά αγκάλιαζε
σα να `θελε με το τραγούδι του να τη μετουσιώσει
κι εμείς ακόμα γονατίζαμε μπροστά σε σκιάχτρα
με μάτια κατάμαυρα κι άχυρο στο κεφάλι που μπρός
και πίσω πήγαιναν, μύθοι που πάνω τους στηρίξαμε
την ύπαρξή μας.

Ubermensch, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2013
http://www.ekstasiseditions.com

AUSTERITY MEASURES

athena_7

The only reason the EU would force Greece to leave the euro is to punish it
Date: July 2, 2015 – 12:34AM
~ Clive Crook
In my more than 30 years writing about politics and economics, I have never before witnessed such an episode of sustained, self-righteous, ruinous and dissembling incompetence — and I’m not talking about Alexis Tsipras and Syriza. As the damage mounts, the effort to rewrite the history of the European Union’s abject failure over Greece is already underway. Pending a fuller post-mortem, a little clarity on the immediate issues is in order.
On Monday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said at a news conference that he’d been betrayed by the Greek government.

A woman passes a banner supporting the No vote to the upcoming referendum in Athens. Photo: AP
The creditor institutions, he said, had shown flexibility and sought compromise. Their most recent offer involved no wage cuts, he emphasised, and no pension cuts; it was a package that created “more social fairness”. Mr. Tsipras had misled Greeks about what the creditors were asking. The talks were getting somewhere. Agreement on this package could have been reached “easily” if Mr. Tsipras hadn’t collapsed the process early on Saturday by calling a referendum.
What an outrageous passel of distortion. Since these talks began five months ago, both sides have budged, but Mr. Tsipras has given vastly more ground than the creditors. In particular, he was ready to accede to more fiscal austerity — a huge climb-down on his part. True, the last offer requires a slightly milder profile of primary budget surpluses than the creditors initially demanded; nonetheless, it still calls for severely (and irrationally) tight fiscal policy.
In contrast, the creditors have refused to climb down on the question of including debt relief in the current talks, absurdly insisting that this is an issue for later. On Tuesday, Mr. Tsipras made his most desperate attempt yet to bring the issue forward.
Far from expressing any desire to compromise, dominant voices among the creditors — notably German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who often seemed to be calling the shots — have maintained throughout that there is nothing to discuss. The program already in place had to be completed, and that was that.
Yes, the program had failed. No, it wouldn’t achieve debt sustainability. Absolutely, it was pointlessly grinding down Greek living standards even further. What did that have to do with it?
Juncker says the last offer made no demand for wage cuts. Really? The offer says the “wage grid” should be modernised, including “decompressing the [public sector] wage distribution”. On the face of it, decompressing involves cuts. If the creditors were calling for public-sector wages to be decompressed upward perhaps they should have made this clear. Regardless, the increases in value-added taxes demanded by the creditors mean lower real wages, public and private alike. As for no pension cuts, the creditors called for phasing out new early-retirement penalties and the so-called social solidarity payment for the poorest pensioners. Those are cuts.
The creditors called for a lot else, too. Remember that the Greek economy is on its knees. Living standards have collapsed and the unemployment rate is 25 per cent. Now read the offer document, and see if you think the advance in “social fairness” that Juncker stressed at his news conference shines through.
But I haven’t mentioned the biggest distortion of all. Noticing for the first time that Greece has EU citizens within its borders, Juncker addressed them directly on the subject of the July 5 referendum. Greeks will be asked whether they accept the offer presented by the creditors – an offer, by the way, that the creditors say no longer stands. “No [to the offer that no longer exists] would mean that Greece is saying no to Europe,” Juncker explained. President Francois Hollande of France clarified: The vote would determine “whether the Greeks want to stay in the euro zone”.
Nonsense. There’s no doubt that Greeks want to stay in the euro system – though I find it increasingly difficult to see why. If Greece leaves the system, it won’t be because Greeks decide to leave; it will be because Europe decides to kick them out.
This isn’t just semantics. There’s no reason, in law or logic, why a Greek default necessitates an exit from the euro. The European Central Bank pulls this trigger by choosing – choosing, please note – to withhold its services as lender of last resort to the Greek banking system. That is what it did this week. That is what shut the banks and, in short order, will force the Greek authorities to start issuing a parallel currency in the form of IOUs.
A truly independent European Central Bank, willing to do whatever it takes to defend the euro system, could have announced that it would keep supplying Greek banks with liquidity. If the Greek banks are deemed in due course to be insolvent (which hasn’t happened yet), that doesn’t have to trigger an exit, either. Europe has the wherewithal and a bank-rescue mechanism that would allow the banks to be taken over and recapitalized. These options are foreclosed because the supposedly apolitical European Central Bank has let Europe’s finance ministers use it as a hammer to extract fiscal concessions from Greece.
Nobody ever imagined that a government default in Europe would dictate ejection from the euro zone. The very possibility would have been correctly recognized as a fatal defect in the design of the system.
If the Greeks vote no, a Greek exit is a possible and even likely consequence. But if it happens, the reason won’t be that Greece chose to go. The reason will be that the European Union and its politicized central bank chose to inflict exit as punishment.

~ Copyright © 2015 Fairfax Media

IMAGES of ABSENCE/ΕΙΚΟΝΕΣ ΑΠΟΥΣΙΑΣ

images of absence cover
HASTE

It was still too early for us to choose our new path
when the door of the morgue opened and
we went inside to identify our dead relative while
the ones with the money hidden in the worn out
mattresses, pointed their finger to the scale with
the lone feather on one side and

with no words or hesitation they began to write down
the weight of his soul with numbers that
represented the size of the coffin into which
its eternal beauty would fit forever
ΒΙΑΣΥΝΗ

Ήταν πολύ νωρίς και ψάχναμε το δρόμο μας να βρούμε
όταν ξαφνικά άνοιξε η πόρτα του νεκροτομείου
και μέσα μπήκαμε να βεβαιώσουμε
ταυτότητα του πεθαμένου συγγενή μας
καθώς εκείνοι με χρήματα κρυμμένα
στα ξεχαρβαλωμένα στρώματα
έδειξαν με το δάχτυλο τη ζυγαριά
με το φτερό στη μια μεριά

χωρίς πολυλογία και κατάγραψαν το βάρος
της ψυχής του με αριθμούς που αντιπροσωπεύαν
το μέγεθος του φερέτρου που μέσα του
θ’ αναπαυόταν του κάλλους της η αιωνιότητα

~IMAGES of ABSENCE, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2015
http://www.ekstasiseditions.com
http://www.authormanolis.wοrdpress.com
http://www.libroslibertad.ca

Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems/Τασος Λειβαδίτης-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα

Tasos Livaditis_Vanilla
Η ΕΚΤΗ ΗΜΕΡΑ

Ήταν η έκτη μέρα της δημιουργίας, η μητέρα είχε ντυθεί στα
μαύρα, φορούσε και το καλό καπέλο της με το βέλο, “δεν έπρεπε να
μας το κάνει αυτό ο Θεός” είπε, στο βάθος χλωμοί άντρες στήναν
τη μεγάλη σκηνή του τσίρκου,
“γύρισε σπίτι είναι αργά”, “ποιό σπίτι», είπα κι αγκάλιασα το
φανάρι του δρόμου,
η μικρή ξαδέλφη όπου να `ναι θα πέθαινε, την έσπρωξα πίσω απ’
την ντουλάπα, “σ’ αγαπάω” έλεγε, μα εγώ την έγδυνα κιόλας σαν
πόρνη — κι όταν τη θάψαμε, εγώ έμεινα για πάντα εκεί, πίσω απ’
την ντουλάπα, μισοφαγωμένος απ’ τα ποντίκια,
κι ήταν η έκτη μέρα της δημιουργίας,
οι τροχαλίες γρύλιζαν καθώς ανέβαζαν το πρώτο ρολόι στη στέ-
γη του σταθμού,
κάθισα στην άκρη του δρόμου, τόσο θλιμμένος, που οι τυφλοί
μ’ έβλεπαν.

THE SIXTH DAY

It was the sixth day of creation; mother was dressed in black;
she wore her good hat with the veil “God shouldn’t had done this
to us” she said; at the far end pale workers put together the big
stage of the circus
“come back home, it’s late”, “which home?” I asked and hugged
the lamp-post of the street
my young cousin was almost dead when I pushed her behind the
closet, “I love you” she’d say but I had already undressed her — like
a whore; — when we buried her, I stayed there forever, behind the
closet, half eaten by the mice
and it was the sixth day of creation
pulleys grunted as they lifted the first clock up to the roof
of the station
I sat by the side of the street, so sorry, that even the blind
could see me.

~Τάσου Λειβαδίτη-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis
http://www.libroslibertad.ca

Übermensch/Υπεράνθρωπος

ubermensch_cover

Ascertainment

 

     Early on we understood it was too late for us. There was

no place left where we could honor our saintly dead. Ηow

with lashes to discern who to punish and who to reward

with ephemeral fame while we got flogged by the wrath

of the right? Full moon witnessed tragedies and measures,

unimaginable delight of the confessor who tried to calm down

our resolve, ‘I looked at the impossible end’ he told us and fear,

unblemished fear, how heavy you weighted down onto

our lives as we kept marching in sunny days and in the darkness

of our guilt and we sang courage to give to our courage and

to accept that god was dead the days of the Ubermensch

had commenced.

 

ΔΙΑΠΙΣΤΩΣΗ

 

      Νωρίς το καταλάβαμε ήταν πολύ αργά για μας, τόπο δεν

είχαμε για ν’ αποδώσουμε τιμές στους άγιους νεκρούς μας.

Πώς να ξεχωρίσεις ποιον να μαστιγώσεις και ποιον

να ανταμείψεις με την εφήμερη τη φήμη, ενώ

μας χτύπαγε η οργή της δεξιάς; Πανσέληνος μάρτυρας

τραγωδίας και μέτρων μιαρών, αφάνταστη χαρά πνευματικού

που επίσης γαλήνευε τη φλογερή μας φύση, «προσπάθησα

ξανά προσεκτικά να δω το τέλος μα ήταν αδύνατο», μας είπε

κι ο φόβος, άχραντος φόβος που τόσο βάραινε τη νειότη μας

και το ταξίδι συνεχίσαμε σε μέρες φωτεινές και σ’ ενοχής

σκοτάδι κι ετραγουδήσαμε το θάρρος μας να ενθαρρύνουμε,

που πέθανε ο θεός, οι μέρες του Υπερανθρώπου αρχίσανε.

 

Ubermensch, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, spring 2013

Υπεράνθρωπος, ΕΝΕΚΕΝ, Θεσσαλονίκη, Μάτριος 2014, τηλ 2310-833665

 

Übermensch/Υπεράνθρωπος

ubermensch_cover

Ascertainment

 

     Early on we understood it was too late for us. There was

no place left where we could honor our saintly dead. Ηow

with lashes to discern who to punish and who to reward

with ephemeral fame while we got flogged by the wrath

of the right? Full moon witnessed tragedies and measures,

unimaginable delight of the confessor who tried to calm down

our resolve, ‘I looked at the impossible end’ he told us and fear,

unblemished fear, how heavy you weighted down onto

our lives as we kept marching in sunny days and in the darkness

of our guilt and we sang courage to give to our courage and

to accept that god was dead the days of the Ubermensch

had commenced.

 

ΔΙΑΠΙΣΤΩΣΗ

 

      Νωρίς το καταλάβαμε ήταν πολύ αργά για μας, τόπο δεν

είχαμε για ν’ αποδώσουμε τιμές στους άγιους νεκρούς μας.

Πώς να ξεχωρίσεις ποιον να μαστιγώσεις και ποιον

να ανταμείψεις με την εφήμερη τη φήμη, ενώ

μας χτύπαγε η οργή της δεξιάς; Πανσέληνος μάρτυρας

τραγωδίας και μέτρων μιαρών, αφάνταστη χαρά πνευματικού

που επίσης γαλήνευε τη φλογερή μας φύση, «προσπάθησα

ξανά προσεκτικά να δω το τέλος μα ήταν αδύνατο», μας είπε

κι ο φόβος, άχραντος φόβος που τόσο βάραινε τη νειότη μας

και το ταξίδι συνεχίσαμε σε μέρες φωτεινές και σ’ ενοχής

σκοτάδι κι ετραγουδήσαμε το θάρρος μας να ενθαρρύνουμε,

που πέθανε ο θεός, οι μέρες του Υπερανθρώπου αρχίσανε.

 

Ubermensch, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, spring 2013

Υπεράνθρωπος, ΕΝΕΚΕΝ, Θεσσαλονίκη, Μάτριος 2014, τηλ 2310-833665

 

Impact/Επίπτωση

Impact

     And since the new reality was upon us truly we 

accepted it: dead was our God. Buried him yesterday

afternoon with no songs, no paeans, nor lamentations

and we felt a lot lighter. Nothing was as ticklish as

the mood of the sombre day while fear, I would say,

deep in our hearts, hidden. Sorrow reigned in the black

funeral home office while just outside beggars stretched

their hands asking for what we couldn’t spare, decency

of the new serpent who appeared but without fangs,

feverish magnolia bloomed its purple flowers over

our nuptial bed and in an eyrie we filled our chalice

with courage and we mailed it to the four corners of

the universe and promised never to be trapped again  

in the idiocy of a system.

 

The Andian condor we declared heir of the flesh.

The wind and the rain we proclaimed our catharsis.

 

     Evoe, oh, free elements, evoe.

 

     ‘Multiply and conquer the earth’ someone said. And

it was good.

 

Επίπτωση

     Όντως ήταν αληθινό και το δεχτήκαμε. Πέθανε

ο Θεός μας. Τον θάψαμε χθές το απόγευμα χωρίς

τραγούδια ή παιάνες, δίχως κλαυθμούς και μοιρολόγια

κι ανάλαφροι ενιώσαμε τίποτα πιο πολύ δεν μας

γαργάλαγε παρά το ύφος της μουντής μέρας ενώ ο φόβος,

θάλεγα, βαθειά μες την καρδιά μας είχε καταχωνιαστεί.

Στην σκοτεινή αίθουσα του γραφείου κηδειών κουμάντο

έκανε η θλίψη κι έξω απ’ την πόρτα οι ζητιάνοι απλώνανε

το χέρι και ζητούσαν αυτό που δεν θα τους δίναμε, ευπρέπεια

του φιδιού που δίχως δόντια εμφανίστηκε, η μαγνόλια

που άνθισε μενεξελιά μπουμπούκια πάνω στο νυφικό

κρεβάτι κι εμείς μες τη φωλιά του αετού γεμίσαμε κουράγιο

το δισκοπότηρό μας και το ταχυδρομήσαμε στα τέσσερα

της οικουμένης άκρα κι υποσχεθήκαμε ποτέ συστήματος

θύματα να μην πέσουμε.

 

Τον κόνδορα κληρονόμο της σάρκας κηρύξαμε.

Τον άνεμο και τη βροχή κάθαρση ονομάσαμε.

 

      Ευοί, ώ, λεύτερα στοιχεία, ευοί.

 

     ‘Πολλαπλασιαστείτε και κατακτήσετε τη γη’

κάποιος εφώναξε. Κι ήταν σωστό.

~Übermensch

~Υπεράνθρωπος