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Φωνές | Voices

Φ ωνές Vo i c e s

Volume I, Number II

2014

VOLUME I, NUMBER II

| 2014

WINDOW by Sharon McNeil - Oil on Canvas, 30" x 40", 2004

USD$14.00 ‖ CAD$15.00  ₤10.00 ‖ ₠14.00 ‖ AUS$18.00

“Greece offers you something harder— the discovery of yourself...” Lawrence Durrell ISSN: 2330-4251

WHITE ISLAND by Constantin Alexiades

A Literary Journal of Voices of Hellenism Publications


NOW AVAILABLE AT

www.voicesofhellenism.org Volume I, Number I

The Premiere Edition

Woman From Macedonia by Calliope Iconomacou

Copyright © 2013 by Voices of Hellenism Publications All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. Rights will revert back to the authors after publication. Permission to use individual works should be obtained by contacting the respected authors. For requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below. Voices of Hellenism Publications P.O. Box 1624, San Mateo, CA 94401 www.voicesofhellenism.org Ordering Information: Quantity sales. Special discounts are available on quantity purchases by corporations, associations, and others. For details, contact the publisher at the address above. Orders by U.S. trade bookstores and wholesalers. Please contact distribution: Tel: (650) 504-8549; Fax: (650) 358-9254 or visit www.voicesofhellenism.org. Subscriber Services: A single subscription provides three annual issues for three years, $50 in the U.S. and $80 in all other counties. All payments in U.S. Dollars. Direct all inquiries, address, changes, subscription orders, etc. to: email info@vhpprojec.org; telephone: (650) 504-8549; mail: Voices of Hellenism Publications, PO Box 1624, San Mateo, CA 94401. Editorial and Publishing Office: 1040 S. Claremont Street, San Mateo, CA 94402. Postmaster: Send changes of address to Voices of Hellenism, PO Box 1624, San Mateo, CA 94401. Printed in the United States of America Second Edition ISSN: 2330-4251 Volume I, Number II is dedicated in loving memory of Ciro A. Buonocore

The beginning of a legacy of Hellenic literature. Call 650-504-8549 Or Email: info@vhpprojec.org. Deadline for submissions: August 1, 2014


Φ ωνές Vo i c e s Poetry

Landmark (After Hitchcock)

9

Nick Mamatas

To a Poet

10

Jonathan Beale

Costa Rica Animals

12

Thanasis Maskaleris

A Boy in Greece

13

Andrea Potos

Fight

14

Belica Antonia Kubareli

Caldera’s Happiness

15

Achilleas Katsaros

My People

16

Katie Aliferis

Doria 16 Ezra Pound

The Good Ol’ Days

17

Phyllis Sembos

Ό πράσινος κήπος (The Green Garden)

18

Vrettakos (Translation Anastasia Soundiati)

Return From Exile

19

Lee Slonimsky

Wisdom at Sweeties

20

Kimberly Escamilla

Ιδανικό Ζευγάρι (The Ideal Couple)

21

Marika Symenidou

Διγλωσσία αλά ελληνοαμερικανικά

22

Yiorgos Anagnostou

(Bilingualism à la Greek-American)

Greek Widows of America (1950s)

24

Dan Georgakas

Heaven’s Hands

24

Nick Johnson

Memory-of 25 Angelos Sakkis

Μητέρα (Mother)

26

Peter Nanopoulos

The Translation

28

Brendan Constantine

Mοίρες (Moires)

29

Stavroula Zervoulakou

Το Σφαγείο (The Slaughterhouse)

30

Despoina Anagnostakis

Water Becomes Us

31

Katherine Hastings

My Gary Kitchen

32

Paul J. Kachoris

Οδοιπορικό (Travelogue)

34

Despoina Anagnostakis

Στο Δάσκαλο (To The Teacher)

38

Kostis Palamas (Translation Peter Nanopoulos)

Μυρωδιά του Κυριακάτικο ψητό

39

Sotirios Pastakas (Translation Angelos Sakkis)

(The Smell of Sunday Roast)

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Fiction Palimpsest 41 Kathryn Koromilas

Bazaar

45

Belica Antonia Kubareli

Eye of the Hydra (Feature Novella)

47

Akos Kirsh

College Life: November, 1941

79

George Karnezis

Sunday, Saturday, Sunday

87

Akrevoe Emmanouilides

The Communist Leader’s Wife

93

Irena Karafilly

Bringing Cheese to a Séance

97

Steve Pastis

Princess and I at the Dance of the Crazies

99

Vangelis Manouvelos (Translation Angelos Sakkis)

Courtship 105 Harry Mark Petrakis

The Way Things Are

115

Will Manus

Creative Non-Fiction

About My Mother

117

Irene Sardanis

Return to Symi

121

Richard Clark

Journey to a New Reality

127

Dena Kouremetis

In a Tragic Split Second

133

Mary Pruitt

An Extraordinary Man and Friend

135

Stephanie Quinn

Academia and Scholarship

On Being Greek in America

139

Dan Georgakas

The Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

153

Foti Jean-Pierre Fotiu and Lazar Larry Odzak

Embracing the Humanities and the Arts

157

Yiorgos Anagnostou

Strange Prisoners

159

Christine Salboudis

Art

Woman From Macedonia

Calliope Iconomacou (Inside Front Cover)

Seated Figure

44

Peter McNeill

Up in the Air

46

Peter McNeill

Toilet in Place

46

Eleftheria Lialios

Eye of the Hydra

57

Akos Kirsch

Aναπαράσταση (Representation)

78

Odysseas Anninos

Ο μελισσοκόμος (The Beekeeper)

92

Odysseas Anninos

Ο θίασος (The Troupe)

114

Odysseas Anninos

Αγάπες στην άνοιξη (Love in Spring)

119

Odysseas Anninos

Greece 129 Odysseas Anninos

Cold Fire

152

Annamarie Buonocore

Kalamata Earthquake Photo Essay

164

Eleftheria Lialios

Window Sharon McNeil (Back Cover)


Biography

Pythagoras Caravellas

173

John B. Vlahos

Book Review

A Coffee Date with the Soul

177

Annamarie Buonocore

Film, Theatre, and Culture

M a n o l i ... !

181

Giorgos Neophytou

From the Shores of the Aegean to the

187

Ilias Chrissochoidis

Edge of the Pacific

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NOTICE OF CONTROVERSIAL CONTENT DISCLAIMER We recognize that some of the content herein may be controversial in nature. Please read the following disclaimer. Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal (Φωνἑς), its editors, board members, associates, and interns are not responsible for: ǑǑ personal, political, social, or economic views expressed by its contributing authors and artists ǑǑ views and opinions expressed by any advertisers or partner organizations ǑǑ the content of websites and links referred to by the Voices of Hellenism website ǑǑ copies of or references to existing or deleted pages on our site published by third parties ǑǑ controversial or political content on our website or in-print publications The views expressed herein are the respected views of the individual contributing authors and artists and not necessarily the views of our publisher, editors, board members, affiliates, volunteers, or interns. Although we take great care to avoid published content that might be offensive or inappropriate in nature, we would be most grateful if you would notify us at info@vhpprojec.org in case you encounter such content on our website or in our publications or have any other concerns. For more questions on our policies regarding controversial content, please email us at info@vhpprojec.org. Thank you.

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ΦΩΝΈΣ | VOLUME I, NUMBER II


Φ ωνές Vo i c e s

Founding Editor and Publisher Annamarie P. Buonocore Associate Editor Angelos Sakkis Assistant Editor Peter Nanopoulos Editorial Board Cassandra Vlahos, Dena Kouremetis, David Windsor, Paula Wessels, Nick Tarlson, Giota Tachtara, Irini Hatzopoulos, Steve Pastis Translation Board Angelos Sakkis, Peter Nanopoulos, Irini Hatzopoulos, Krystalli Glyniadakis

Advisory Board Peter Nanopoulos, Thanasis Maskaleris, Angelos Sakkis Scholars Emeritus and Deceased Fr. Leon Contos Sponsors 2013 Dr. Peter Hadreas, Olympia Tachopoulou Advertisers Friends of Kazantzakis Bay Area Printer Western Web Printing 707-444-6236 For all your printing needs

Graphic Designer/Art Director/ Photo Editor Ranya Karafilly Intern Lea Buonocore Voices of Hellenism Publications Board of Directors John Vlahos, Paul Manolis, Steve Pastis, Alexandra Kostoulas, John Kyriazoglou, Vickie Buonocore, Virginia Lagiss, John Bardis, Thanasis Maskaleris (Honorary Chairman), Annamarie Buonocore (Executive Director)

www.voicesofhellenism.org Volume I, Number II ISSN: 2330-4251 We accept submissions on a rolling basis with an August deadline for each issue. Voices of Hellenism is published once a year. We also welcome editors, board members, volunteers, and interns for two-year terms. Voices of Hellenism Publications is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation in the state of California.


TOWARD THE NEW VOICE Dear Readers, Under normal circumstances, I consider myself to be a fairly decisive individual. I rarely take more than three or four minutes to decide what I will eat in a restaurant, and most home decorating decisions are a walk in the park for me. But in the midst of such profound thinking, I found many unresolved contradictions. Often the best way to deal with many of these paradoxes is to just let them be. I love writing, but I hate it. I find the crisis in Greece depressing yet exhilarating in the artistic boom that is looming yet going unrecognized by many. I am essentially a rebellious non-traditionalist but am often humbled and even silenced by the powerful momentum of tradition that comes from humble chanting in an Orthodox liturgy. I decided to let the problems roll as I rolled with the punches of publishing the second issue. One day while driving down a scenic road, I thought about addressing the two above questions. While it is true that print media and publishing have seen better days, it is also true that there is an empowering sense of having the whole world at one’s fingertips in this eclectic corner of the world. When studying any field within the greater field of humanities, we are often faced with the dreaded question, “What are you going to do with that degree?” Many who have asked me that question over the years see teaching and academia as that default profession that serves as a refugee camp for those who live in fascination of letters and liberal sciences. 6

ΦΩΝΈΣ | VOLUME I, NUMBER II

They see these fascinations as impractical. What many of these people forget is that the world can become open in more ways than imaginable through books, magazines, and journals of the humanities. I am not saying that publishing is the only other choice for those of us who get the question, but it is a powerful profession that places the purpose in the humanities and proves the closed-minded wrong. People become who they become based on their knowledge, and books and other literature stands behind every ounce of that knowledge, the knowledge that fuels the world’s progress. That is why there will always be a need to continue publishing in-print journals such as Φωνές. When I think about the mess literary journals have faced for decades, I think of my earliest struggles to encourage fellow students and members of the local community to submit to and read schoolbased blogs, newspapers, and student literary magazines. The struggle to keep the momentum and that little thing called funding are always challenges. The question all publishers and writers alike must ask is whether we see these as challenges or opportunities. Here at Φωνές, we see these as opportunities, and this leads me to my next point as to how it sets us apart. The knowledge that fuels the world’s progress is the reason we must continue publishing and printing. Here at Φωνές, we receive many quality submissions that come across my desk. We receive so many that we cannot possibly publish all of


them. In these submissions of fiction, art, fields of Modern Greek Studies and Greek poetry, and scholarly essays, there are American Studies and offer the different voices of our people that speak of human perspectives on the various issues taking progress. As a freelance writer and poet place within these departments that offer myself, I realize like many others that our community a plethora of knowledge writing is not a sure path to fortune or and opportunities. even financial security. There is a higher We are a global publication that is currency. That currency is the human brought to greatness in every issue because voice. The human voice is the one that of our talented writers that deserve more will answer the questions, “why go on liv- than just the dark shadows of a file cabiing?” and “who am I?” net. Our editors are the ones that bring a Because we are a literary journal with plethora of backgrounds and experiences a Hellenic theme that caters to Hellenes to the table that shapes this journal. As and Philhellenes, we have an overwhelm- always, I would like to thank all of the ing amount of voices that not only speak writers, editors, financial sponsors, board of the oppressive struggles of the Greek members and volunteers who helped shape migration and diaspora but also of today’s this second issue. From the poetry that modern-day crisis in Greece, which is reflects on our cultural history, such as fueling a new diaspora of our people. the poem, “Greek Widows” by Dan GeorMuch of the literature by our people gakas to fascinating essays that consider becomes overlooked in a changing world. modern-day issues and trace them back to Literary magazines that focus on such a the foundations of our people and democniche like Φωνές are hard to come by, and racy, such as the essay, “Strange Prisoners” much of the role of the literary magazine by Christine Salboudis, this journal offers is being subsidized by academic publish- a wide variety that speaks of the diversity ers that may or may not be doing a quality and broadness of Hellenism in a global job that gives justice to the community landscape. We look forward to your feedwriter. Here at Φωνές, we are a com- back as always. munity journal with an academic and eccentrically intellectual backbone. We Sincerely, continuously make our mission to bridge the gaps that exist between our community and Modern Greek academia in many of the finest universities in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and Greece where our people have excelled in Annamarie Buonocore academia to make our mark on the world. Publisher, Founding Editor It is our goal moving forward to include more works emerging from the current Greek crisis. We also strive to engage the works of scholars and researchers in the

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POETRY

Landmark (After Hitchcock) by Nick Mamatas Even the minor films feature famous landmarks. Ever see a movie in which characters run into a cinema? And the film on the screen mimics and mocks the men and their scrambling runs? Hitch did that, in Saboteur. In fabulous Radio! City! Music Hall! Nineteen forty-two. Everyone knows Mount Rushmore. Thanks to those fingertips. Those flailing shoes. If you’re a man who knows too much you might end up shot at at the Royal Albert Hall Strangers on a Train Didn’t stay there for long. One stalks the other at the Jefferson Memorial How many other criminals have been captured at the Statue of Liberty? And yet, here I am in the British Museum Everything is so calm and orderly. Not like Blackmail so long ago. That fellow hanging from a rope. The Sphnix’s wry smile. But they have my Elgin Marbles. And I have my gun. And so many tourists waiting here, gaping. So I guess it’s up to me. 2014 | VOICES

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To a Poet by Jonathan Beale “Those who dare give nothing Are left with less than nothing.” — Robert Graves So then. How should I address? Mr. Heaney, Famous or Seamus Is the naming required or a real necessity? So from the word and idea. What? Sculpted by the poet in a darkened Moment when the key drops to reveal From Silence, peace, patience To be cast amongst stratosphere Where it will flow silently on from one-to-another Myth-makers dream of such — Their manna, their beverage And all the holy men stand to Preach their light's light. Yet the poet can cast more light. Sagacity moulds him in the wind Cut hard for and from the cold wind No charlatan can ever fool As the first flint then crashes Against the stone From some silent moment The birth is sent Crying out to the world The scream that is silence Breaks the silence. The vessel; poroused and ready. As is the accident of birth The ink to the mind Alchemy? Or what?

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ΦΩΝΈΣ | VOLUME I, NUMBER II


Some trickery? Of whys and wherefores Who then speaks and from where? So then who devised the torment? The discovery, the truthbearer The line then the anomaly Or receive in the mind’s eye That blended upon the soul To taste and forget the second That as celebrant One and all and so For the tabula rasa. And for the unwritten of tomorrow Have the sod from whence To grow their own ideas And so their ideas will grow. So said the voice from all the poets past. The effort and obvious rhyme So laboured the charlatan uncovered And so. The poet. The craftsman Born to give, the moment Is caught forever To be grown down the history line Made fuller in tongues to come “And empty shells reply That all things flourish.” — Philip Larkin

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Costa Rica Animals by Thanasis Maskaleris You, peaceful children of this paradise land, you stare at us, visitors, with the most amiable glances … You, dogs at Lenny’s and Joan’s hacienda, who accompany me to my morning wanderings … you are the most devoted guides I ever had, rejoicing in my appreciative response … And you, caged and uncaged birds, you look at us, puzzled by our human gestures, as though you want to decipher us … You are the barking, singing signal givers Initiating us to your terrestrial riches … You are in harmony with everything around you, Even with us, the intruding strangers. Here we, wanderers with dissonant psyches, can attune to the harmony that Nature gives … You can be our teachers of naturalness and peace, toward co-existence with all—with Mother Earth and with all of humankind …

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A Boy in Greece by Andrea Potos My grandfather was a boy in the mountains not far from Delphi, great navel of Mother Earth. He lived in a village encircled by a silvery-green sea of olive trees and dust, and lit by a billion stars. He told me he could read by their light alone. I love to think of him under that luminous sky, eons before I was born to his gentleness. Even the darkness cradled him, a book creased open on his lap. For Papouli

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Fight by Belica Antonia Kubareli She said: “The chicken is in the oven” and once again he replied with silence. She knew she had lost him but wouldn’t admit it even in her dreams. It wasn’t a matter of keeping up appearances. It was her need not to let silence penetrate her life. So every now and then, with the kids playing in the garden, the dog sleeping on the sofa, the kettle boiling and the windows rattling, she would drop a word to him, staring at his back typing on his laptop. She would never stop fighting his silence, trying to get him back to her world.

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Caldera’s Happiness by Achilleas Katsaros I saw the happiness and I only took a few steps behind to feel this emotion deeply in my soul. It was she who gave her beauty and brightness from inside her heart. She gave her beauty to Unknown Out of Us with no sense of despair. The little moon fights against the sun here in Caldera. Then I said, yes, happiness has a face, has also eyes, nose, hair … has body … has mouth and speaks and says only the good news that you love to hear … and then blows a little wind in the Aegean Sea and takes the words to make them treasures of the whole world. The little wind flies over the rocks here in Caldera and paints the sunset as a bay of innocence. it purifies the mind and at the same time is a promise of eternity. That moment is the medicine of sorrow and the little wind continues his game with your hair … it becomes the white that blinds you it becomes the friends who have a passport to your life …

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My People by Katie Aliferis Sapphire and teal Water crashes against the White rock strewn shore Towers of stone Crown the horizon Protecting what is ours Victory or death We will accept no less Maintaining our freedom Defending the Mani.

Δώρια - Doria by Ezra Pound Be in me as the eternal moods of the bleak wind, and not As transient things are— gaiety of flowers.

The poem "Doria" was first published in The Poetry Review in 1912. It is considered in the public domain because it was published before January 1, 1923. The copyright has expired.

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The Good Ol’ Days by Phyllis Sembos Oh, for the carefree days Of nineteen thirty-nine. When there was no haze And movies cost a dime. When mild wasn’t strontium And water was clean That nightmare ‘plutonium’ Was only a dream, When food was delicious Without MSG The bread was nutritious, And ‘what’s LSD?’ Franks were real beefy Not sodium nitrate, Nothing made cheaply Or sprinkled with phosphate. No florides or chlorides. Or bromides or DES, No chlorophil, portomil Or spilled oily mess Oh, for the carefree days When life was a bore. We all got together For a hell of a WAR.

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Ό πράσινος κήπος - The Green Garden by Vrettakos Translated by Anastasia Soundiati

Έχω τρεις κόσμους. Μιά θάλασσα, έναν ουρανό κι' έναν πράσινο κήπο; τα μάτια σου. Θα μπορούσα αν τους διάβαινα και τους τρεις, να σας έλεγα που φτάνει ο καθένας τους. Η θάλασσα, ξέρω. Ο ουρανός, υποψιάζομαι. Γιά τον πράσινο κήπο μου, μη με ρωτήσετε.

I have three worlds. A sea, a sky and a green garden: your eyes. If I could walk all three of them I would tell you where each one of them is bounded. The sea, I know. The sky, I suspect. As for my green garden don’t ask me.

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Return From Exile by Lee Slonimsky Exhilarated on his long-walked path, Pythagoras, rejuvenated, basks in lush sunlight and for a moment asks why numbers matter, if the height and width of triangles explains this awe, this Is of branchery, smooth stones, the love of blue for sky and water. How the wind, once true to winter, now’s the tickle of soft breeze. Exiled so long, he’ll soon be gone, but still the shimmer of the pond slows sullen time almost to sweet oblivion. His will Can make a lot of what is left. Sublime, the way age can lift attitude, rouse hope: he gazes at some swallows’ perfect loops.

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Wisdom at Sweeties by Kimberly Escamilla The neighborhood bar in North Beach is barren except for one clutch of retired Italians whose late lunch has blurred into an evening of beer and gossip. I know what my husband is going to order before we leave the tattoo shop, before Mary Joy unties the baggie of our daughter’s ashes, lowers her head and needle that will bind us for life. Ouzo, tinged blue, like the inside of ice is poured neat from a dusty bottle. The bartender-mother asks—are you Greek? We extend our saran-wrapped wrists, the Hellenic epitaph still wet and nubile. As the sweet anise burns, I think of the monks at Mount Athos who could never have predicted their pet-project some 700 years later would treat sour stomachs and jack-knifed hearts around the globe. The bartender-mother and eavesdropping Italians listen rapt and teary, they raise their glasses to the purity of grief, the kind that a tattoo and Ouzo can only begin to admit.

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Ιδανικό Ζευγάρι - The Ideal Couple by Marika Symenidou Translated by Krystalli Glyniadakis

Με διαφορά χρόνου φοιτήσανε μαζί Έκαναν από ένα αγόρι και ένα κορίτσι χώρια Αγαπούν την ποίηση , τις ταινίες και τη μουσική Μα πιο πολύ τη θάλασσα. Τον αρνήθηκε στην αρχή για να μπορέσει να τον βρει Την βρήκε για να μπορεί να την χάνει στο σκοτάδι Ω, ιδανικό ζευγάρι παντρεύτηκε αυτός Πήγε γαμήλιο ταξίδι αυτή!

With years apart, they attended the same university They had a boy, a girl, separately They both love music, movies, poetry But most of all, the sea. She rejected him at first so she could find him He found her so he could lose her in the dark. The ideal couple, went on to marry ­­–he. Who went on honeymoon? Well, she!

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Διγλωσσία αλά ελληνοαμερικανικά Bilingualism à la Greek-American by Yiorgos Anagnostou Να δημοσιεύσω είπα κι εγώ δυο δίγλωσσα στιχάκια πόρτες χτυπώ εκδόσεων Αρgό κουφότητα πικρά σφηνάκια. Πού ’ναι οι δίγλωσσοι θεσμοί, η δίγλωσση κοινότης; Πού των ντ και d οι καλπασμοί, της ποικιλίας ο πότης; Μονόκλ αγγλικής αγαπητοί διπλή ’ναι μυωπία ξένοι εξόριστοι Ε.Τ. ελλείψει ήτα κοινωνία. Όταν λοιπόν κληρονομιές διθύραμβοι υμνούνε ομόφωνες τσιριμονιές κιτάπια γλώσσας πού ’ναι; Στο LA μόδα έριξα τα παρδαλά στανζάκια στης Ορλεάνης τα βαθιά το δίστιχον μπλοκάκι στο Φρίσκο κι αν σπινάρισα οργανικά τιτλάκια στημένο ραντεβού παντού το δύστυχον ποιητάκι. Λέω λοιπόν ένα τουίστ του ράιντ προς βόρεια του East astride στης λεγομένης διασποράς οικόπεδα μην και προφτάσω τις κόπιες να περάσω στη λεγάμενη Andromeda μιας κοπιά ζουσας αγοράς ...

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To publish I dared to think a bit of verse in bilingual ink I knock on doors of Argot publications deaf ears, ah, cheers in bitter potions. Where’s the bilingual fora, the bilingual community? Where’s the galloping ρα and ra, the ippotis of multiplicity? Double myopia of a coquettα the monocle of English, dear sirs, yeah it is! those societies defeating eta exiled foreigners E.T.s. So when dithyrambs heritage extol I only hear “clapping of thumbs” loss of language taking its toll. In L.A. for fashion I tossed some spotty stanzas disco, in New Orleans the notepad sings the blues, and did I ever spin some organic titles in Frisco! the poor little poet still in pale hues. So I hitch my fate a ride destination northeast astride to the so-called diaspora estate “asétora” just so I get a chance, any aim to offer the copies for a penny to, let’s say, the Andromeda of an exhausted agora ...

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Greek Widows of America (1950s) by Dan Georgakas Consider these Greek widows of America completing black-clad lives in the rented rooms of the old neighborhood Or dreaming alone in their aging homes now that children sleep in the wedlock so eagerly sought for them, but which strangely had no place for those rough-skinned peasant girls who once were matched to older men and now endure November graveside days sipping the last of the home made wine.

Heaven’s Hands by Nick Johnson My hands have created a new path My eyes will lead the way My heart will speak when my eyes sleep My mind will mend and be my friend My soul will know just where to go My legs will bear me My lungs will breathe My hands will toil until they bleed My hunger will wait until the night My sleep will be in heaven I dream.

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Memory-of by Angelos Sakkis Leafing through an old book about a dictatorship in the Caribbean, written in Greece more than a year before the hated dictatorship there came to pass—the book sounding an utterly unheeded alarm—he spots a passage side-barred and underneath a comment in his late father’s hand “apofasizomen kai diatassomen,” the catchphrase of the odious ringleader meaning “We decide and decree”. Apart from any feelings stirred by those words, what catches him by surprise, in retrospect, is a memory of the smell of his father’s hands coming to him in stream-of-thought kind of way on looking at the writing, can almost see the hand holding the pencil, most often just a pencil stub, keeping accounts in the familiar longhand, and he remembers smells of the old grocery store; unraveling the strands no more in actual sense, but as a memory-of stale olive oil, cheese, nasty “trinal” all mixed with hand sweat, pungent touloumotyri, tarama and olive brine salamoura, the dry whiffs of burlap sack, damp sawdust on the tile floor in rainy weather the stifling darkness of the basement at the other store.

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Μητέρα - Mother by Dr. Peter Nanopoulos Translated by Dr. Peter Nanopoulos Εάν λυγίσης στη ζωή, εάν ποτέ κιοτέψεις, θυμήσου τι σού΄λεγε η μάνα από παιδί, πάρε τα λόγια τα σοφἀ και κάνε τα χρυσάφι, βάλτα εμπρός σου οδηγό και βάθισε ορθός σε στεριά ή θαλάσσι. Όση αγάπη κι’αν θα βρείς, και όση καλωσύνη, πέτρα μη ρίξεις πίσω σου γιατί πίσω είναι πάντα εκείνη. Εκείνη που σε νανούρισε από μικρό παιδί και πιότερες φορές σ’ εφίλησε μ’ αγάπη και στοργή. Εκείνη που στον ύπνο της ακόμη σ’ονειρεύει και λαχταράει να σε δεί σαν τότε που ήσουνα ένα μικρό παιδί. Όπου και νά’σαι τώρα πιά κοντά ή μακρυά της, σκείψε και προσκύνησε την Άγια Παρθένα και κοίταξε την αγκάλη της το ταλαιπωρημένο βλέμα: Eσένα και τη μάνα σου με εκσταση θα δείς. Για τη Γιορτή της Μητέρας

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If you feel like giving up in your life if you ever have the urge to retreat, remember what your mother said since you were a child, take these wise words and turn them into gold, place them in front of you as a guide and walk straight, on land or at sea. As much love as you may ever find, and as much kindness, do not throw a stone behind you because behind (you) she is always there. She, who lulled you since you were a small child and many a times did she kiss you with love and affection. She, who in her sleep still dreams of you and longs to see you like then when you were a small child. Wherever you may be now near or far away from her, bend down and worship the Holy Virgin and look at her embrace her weary eyes: You and your mother with awe you shall see. For Mother’s Day

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The Translation by Brendan Constantine I once loved a girl with Russian Flu. Every day I climbed her tree house, to sit at her side and read Chekhov in search of a cure. Neither of us knew what the strange words meant or if I said them right, but she would sometimes nod weakly, her forehead damp with candlelight, and say Now we're getting somewhere, though we never did before she slept. How many nights did I climb down, fearing my pronunciation kept her ill? How many branches hold the heart above the belly? What noisy book is read in the house of the heart, fruitlessly? One morning I woke to snow, the entire forest revised. When I got to her, she had passed completely from translation, even her name no longer the right word for her. I spoke it anyway, over and again until it sounded wrong to me, spoke it back into noise, then left it in the woods for storms to say.

This poem appears in the collection Birthday Girl With Possum (Write Bloody Publishing, 2011)

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Mοίρες - Moires by Stavroula Zervoulakou Translated by Angelos Sakkis

Χθες έψαχνα απλά το τι μου πήρες, απόψε με κοιμίζουν μοίρες Η Κλωθώ, η Άτροπος, η Δάχεση αύριο χάνονται οι ελπίδες, ροκανίζουν το νήμα της ζωής τις νύχτες. Το ποτό και το τσιγάρο συντροφιά το μυαλό μου καθημερινά σκορπά. Αγάπες που πτώχευσαν, ποτάμια που στέρεψαν, ρόδα που έσπασαν χαι αίμα χυλά. Αγάπες που ήρθανε, ποτάμια που τρέχουνε, ροδιές που ανθίσανε για μια καρδιά.

Yesterday I looked for what you took from me Tonight the Fates lay me to sleep. Clotho, Atropos, Lachesis, by tomorrow all hope will be lost, they gnaw all night at life’s thread. For company cigarettes and drink my mind daily on the brink. Love gone bankrupt, rivers gone dry roses were smashed and the blood flows. New love is back the rivers flow again rose bushes bloom for someone’s heart.

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Το Σφαγείο - The Slaughterhouse by Despoina Anagnostakis Translated by Irini Hatzopoulos

Ζήτω η Ελλάδα του παρελθόντος και των μαντείων Οδός Ελλήνων με αρετάς, ενδόξων βίων Κάτω η ζούγκλα του παρόντος και των αχρείων Εμπρός τα ζώα για συναχθείτε Και ευρωπαϊκά παραταχθείτε Το φορτηγό για το σφαγείο έφτασε Με ελληνική περίσσια λεβεντιά Αντισταθείτε Πριν πουληθείτε Μαρούσι, Νοέμβριος 2011

Long live Greece Of the past, of the oracles Virtuous Hellenic way, illustrious lifetime Down with the jungle of these soundrels Onward animals, assemble And marshal yourselves as Europeans The lorry to the slaughterhouse is here Loaded with the youth of Greece Be brave! Resist! Before you’re vended Marousi, November 2011

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ΦΩΝΈΣ | VOLUME I, NUMBER II


Water Becomes Us by Katherine Hastings We wander the tangled meadow of a newly birthed common spring in our blood, the taste of spring on our skin, in our hair. Spring is in the song of the wending words floating between us, words taken from the latest film, the latest book, the news. We give each other the music of our mouths, hard land crunching beneath our heels, note the young trees with their first blooms. For decades I have watched you—young girl in the frilly dress belted by guns and holsters— leap from the blue bridge into the Niagara. Your determination was a lovely dive, a dare, your platinum hair an unwilling accessory to grace. As you flew off between paper mill and docks, I climbed hills backwards to face the bay, the Gate. We hadn't met, of course, but I thought I heard you say, Lean into me like a wave. We rode the water as the water wanted— smooth at times, then rough. Stars landed their light on the smooth deep blue of it or turned to us their black backs. We walk and I say The apple blossoms of young trees fade so soon, but you are in the middle of a story pulling a girl to shore, pulling me, those falls roaring in the distance, and I know, as that water always knew, something about electricity, how we'd go over together.

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My Gary Kitchen by Paul J. Kachoris Passing through my cob webs once again. Remembering the ironclad rules of steel-dusted Gary. Lock-stepping into my old neighborhood. Venturing out of my Greek kitchen to find a new land, lurking out there, just behind the white and sheer kitchen curtains gaily tied back at their sides. Bumping up against a language so painfully tinged with guttural grunts. Unintelligible to my refined and vowel-kissed ears. Not like the yellow canary’d Greek spoken to me by my proud, house-dressed and aproned mother, who scurried around singing her Greek kitchen song to me: “kanarini mou gliko, se mou peres to mialo, to proi pou keladas ....” (“my sweet canary, you have taken my mind, in the morning when you warble ...”) Lulling me and loving me with her queenly smiles; spinning golden notes around my heart and blessing me, her little Greek prince. Outside in the streets and in the school yard— Aliens!! Creatures making up new words. And I, staring at their mouths transfixed, wondering: “what babble are they spouting?” These are not the sounds from my Greek kitchen! They are deep attacks of a very painful exclusion: pithy spears aimed, oh! so straight into my heart; shattering the little, yellow canary of a boy, who only wanted to romp around, play, love and be loved and just be engulfed in kitchen magic.

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But these guttural Teutonic grunts were so unkind, so un-soothing. Heavy, heavy stones of sharp edged cacophonies, shaming and shoving me into strange and frightening corners. Cowering, shaking and trembling unprotected. Slaying my sweet, innocent Greek kitchen happiness. And finally, pinning me窶馬aked up against a foreign wall to be shot summarily, for crimes I never knew I had even committed, when I first ventured alone, out of my safe, little Greek Gary kitchen.

This poem was the Second Prize winner in the Lyric Poem Category; Poets and Patrons 50th Annual Chicagoland Poetry Contest 2006 [2002-2006]

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Οδοιπορικό - Travelogue by Despoina Anagnostakis Translated by Angelos Sakkis Ο δρόμος μάκρυνε αφόρητα απόκαμα πια και το κορμί μου γέρνει γέρικο καθώς γίνεται είναι φορές που θέλω ο δρόμος να κοπεί στα δυο κι εγώ σα πεταλούδα ανάλαφρη να νιώσω του γκρεμού το δέος δεν έχω μάτια γι άλλο δρόμο αυτόν μου όρισε η μοίρα να πορευτώ αγόγγυστα μού’ταξε οδόστρωμα καλό δίχως καμπές και σκάρτο υλικό για να πατώ γερά μα εγώ, χιλιάδες οι φορές που σκόνταψα και λύγισαν τα πόδια μου σα τραυματία γλάρου στης λίμνης τα λασπόνερα η μοίρα πάντα αδέκαστα ορίζει που θα περπατήσω κι εγώ κι εσύ άξιε συνοδοιπόρε Ο δρόμος είναι αφόρητα μακρύς σας λέω κι εγώ δεν ξέρω αν θα φτάσω εκεί που όλοι ξαποστάζουν αν φτάσω κάποτε, αν, λέω, θα’ναι σα να’ κλεισε ένας κύκλος ο κύκλος της ζωής περπατώντας ως το θάνατο κουράστηκα να περπατώ, κουράστηκα να περιμένω είναι φορές που φτιάχνω όμορφες ατσάλινες φτερούγες για να πετάξω και πιο γρήγορα να φτάσω μα προλαβαίνουν δυνατοί αέρηδες, τις σπάνε και είμαι μόνη στο κενό σαν καρυδότσουφλο σωστό στο μένος των ανέμων Κι η ανατολή, αυτή δε μπόρεσα ποτέ κατάματα να την κοιτάξω πως να κοιτάξω κάθετα το μέγα ήλιο μετά τα βόρια και νότια ταξίδια

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ΦΩΝΈΣ | VOLUME I, NUMBER II


η μόνη σίγουρη πορεία είναι στη δύση εκεί ο ήλιος δεν πονά μόνο καλωσορίζει και με το πέπλο το χρυσό που πια πορτοκαλίζει όλη τη φύση τη νεκρή μαζί και μας σκεπάζει Νύχτωσε και φοβήθηκα μη χάσω το δρόμο μου γιατί όσο κι αν τον βαρέθηκα αυτόν τον ίσιο δρόμο δεν ντρέπομαι να σας το πω φοβάμαι μη λοξέψει και στο σκοτάδι πια χαθώ και χάσω τη ψυχή μου αυτή που η μάνα μου μ’ευχές κι αγάπη φόρτισε και σπίθα σπίθα ηλεκτρισμού η αγάπη της φώτισε τη ζωή μου σας λέω πια άλλον εγώ δρόμο δεν έχω μάθει και το φεγγάρι με βοηθά αν τύχει και ξεφύγω πάλι τα χνάρια μου να βρω ξανά να περπατήσω τον ανεκπλήρωτο σκοπό ευθύς να συνεχίσω Πολύς, ατέλειωτος ο δρόμος σ’αυτό μου το ταξίδι τέλος δε βλέπω πια έχει κρυφτεί στου χρόνου το μπαούλο και σα θ’ανοίξει κάποτε αυτό αντί για τέλος μια αρχή σάμπως μεταλλαγμένη θα ξεπροβάλλει, η αρχή της ανυπαρξίας σ’αυτή που ήμουν άχρονα προτού τη γέννησή μου Μαρούσι, Απρίλιος 2009

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The road has become so unbearably long I’m dead tired and my body lists as it gets older at times I wish the road would break in two and like a weightless butterfly I’d get to feel the awesome precipice I’m not looking for another road fate has ordained this one for me to tread ungrudgingly its smooth surface has been assigned to me with no turns or bad construction, so I could firmly plant my feet but me, I’ve stumbled more than a thousand times and my legs have buckled under me like those of an injured seagull at the water’s muddy edge fate always impartially ordains where I’m to walk both me and you my worthy fellow traveler The road has become so unbearably long I tell you and I don’t know if I will ever reach the place where everybody rests if I ever do, if, I say it’s going to be as if life’s circle has closed and there’s nowhere to walk but to death I’m tired of walking, I’m tired of waiting at times I construct beautiful wings of steel so I can fly high and get there faster but strong winds catch up with me, they break them and I’m left alone in the void like a nutshell in the raging gales And the sunrise that one I could never face straight on how could I gaze squarely at the glorious sun after the journeys to the north and south

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the only reliable course is to the west the sun from there doesn’t wound, it only welcomes and with its golden mantle that slowly turns to orange it cloaks the entire still nature along with all of us Night has fallen and I fear of losing my way because no matter how sick I am of it of that straight roadway I’m not ashamed to tell you I’m afraid it might swerve and in the darkness I’d get lost I’d lose my soul the one my mother charged with blessings and with love her love a spark, a spark of electricity that has illuminated my life I tell you, I’ve known no other road and the moon helps me, in case I drift off so I can find my tracks again and soon I resume the walk toward the unfulfilled end A long and endless road during this journey of mine I no longer see an end it must be hiding in time’s steamer trunk someday when that’s opened instead of an end perhaps a somewhat altered beginning is going to appear, the beginning of non-existence like where I was outside of time before I was born. Marousi, April 2009

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Στο Δάσκαλο - To The Teacher by Kostis Palamas (1859-1943) Translated by Dr. Peter Nanopoulos

Σμίλεψε πάλι, δάσκαλε, ψυχές! Κι ότι σ' απόμεινε ακόμη στη ζωή σου, Μην τ' αρνηθείς! Θυσίασέ το ως τη στερνή πνοή σου! Χτισ' το παλάτι, δάσκαλε σοφέ! Κι αν λίγη δύναμη μεσ' το κορμί σου μένει, Μην κουρασθείς. Είν' η ψυχή σου ατσαλωμένη. Θέμελα βάλε τώρα πιο βαθειά, Ο πόλεμος να μη μπορεί να τα γκρεμίσει. Σκάψε βαθειά. Τι κι' αν πολλοί σ’ έχουνε λησμονήσει; Θα θυμηθούνε κάποτε κι αυτοί Τα βάρη που κρατάς σαν Άτλαντας στην πλάτη, Υπομονή! Χτίζε, σοφέ, της κοινωνίας το παλάτι!

Chisel, again, teacher, souls! And whatever is still left in your life, Don’t deny it! Sacrifice it to your last breath! Build the palace, wise teacher! And if some strength in your body remains, Don’t get tired! Your soul is made of steel. Lay now deeper foundations, So that war cannot destroy them. Mine deeply. So what if many have forgotten you? Sometime they too will remember The burdens that you bear like Atlas on your shoulders, Patience! Keep building, wise one, society’s palace.

Kostis Palamas, a beloved and highly respected figure in Modern Greek literature, lived in Athens during the first half of the 1900s. He wrote the inspiring lyrics to the Olympic Anthem and a long array of deeply patriotic poems that earned him the unofficial title of the National Poet of Greece. He also wrote many moving short stories and incisive studies related to the work of influential writers who had preceded him, including Andreas Kalvos and Dionysios Solomos. Palamas was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature and his work has been translated in many languages. The poem "Στο Δάσκαλο" ("To The Teacher") serves as an appreciative testimony to teachers everywhere. (See Kostis Palamas, A Study of his Life and Work, by Thanasis Maskaleris; Twayne Publishers, 1972.)

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Μυρωδιά του Κυριακάτικο ψητό The Smell of Sunday Roast by Sotirios Pastakas Translated by Angelos Sakkis

Μυρίζει ψητό της Κυριακής στο μπαλκόνι μου. Απλώνω τα χέρια και βρίσκω την κουζίνα σβηστή, τα πιάτα κρύα. Ξέχασα να μαγειρέψω πάλι. Χορταίνω με τις μυρουδιές κι ας μην με κάλεσε κανείς να μοιραστώ το κοτόπουλο με πατάτες στα τρία. Σε τάγμα ανεπιθυμήτων, λέω, δεν υπηρέτησα τυχαία.

It smells like Sunday roast on my balcony. I stretch my hands and find the stove turned off, the plates cold. I forgot again to cook. I feel full just with the aroma, even though nobody’s asked me to share the chicken and potatoes split in three. It wasn’t by chance, I figure, that I’d served in a battalion of undesirables.

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FICTION

Palimpsest: A Novel BY KATHRYN KOROMILAS

G

reek light. The ancients likened the light of day to Being. Light gave life. Darkness took it away. I could never have understood this had I not arrived in my father's village and sat under its sun. In Zelopolis the sun was no metaphor, it was real. It forced clarity upon the landscape, making its topographic idiosyncrasies completely seeable; exposing everything as far as the eye could see, even beyond the eye. Forced knowledge that only the mind could comprehend, that only the spirit could intuit. My first encounter with Greek light, however, was merely theoretical. It came through the world of books in my father’s artificially lit library back in Coober Pedy. It was there in the dim, dry ambience of that room that I first read the poets and the philosophers. It was there that I came to understand that the sun generated the best conditions under which a person may discern objects and scrutinise truths. It was there that I played out the drama of light and of darkness, the drama that determined, for the poet Elytis, what it was to be Greek. I followed the Homeric myths underground—down the dark and dank stairways—curious about the underworld, but always, reluctantly, coming back up. Greeks were supposed to be children of the light, and would always choose light over darkness, sight over blindness, reason over confusion, life over death. It was in Akindynos’s aphotic room, drilled into the dismal underground of Coo-

ber Pedy land and fitted with shelves filled with book and book and book, where I spent the long days of my youth. I’d always been drawn to my father’s library as it revealed a world of colour in the darkness. I imagined that Greece must be a lot like Coober Pedy. In Coober Pedy, many people spoke Greek, and looked Greek, and had Greek names. These Coober Pedy Greeks were also curious about darkness. They sought treasures in the antipodean shadows, underground where ochre turned black. But more than that, they recoiled from the day, and sought refuge in darkness, where they built their homes. I then understood that it wasn’t Coober Pedy light that they shrank from, it was the heat. Even back then, Akindynos burrowed into the darkness seeking out the Greek light. He sought all possible knowledge of the Hellenic world, and of the Hellenes. He added books to his library that were either about Greeks or about other things, but written by Greeks. Amongst all the Greek volumes, Akindynos also included encyclopaedic texts that, by virtue of their broad scope, appended information of a world that took me far beyond the confines of Coober Pedy and the Coober Pedy Primary School, the disseminating-curriculum and the teaching staff, those blood-filled narratives of colonisation, the dark stories of indigenous culture, of witjuti grubs, red kangaroos, and the Dreaming. There was the world of Coober Pedy in which Akindynos was a visitor and 2014 | VOICES

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the world of Hellas in which Akindynos, and by extension me, belonged. But there in my father's library I also found my own world, another world, between this one and that one, a world that opposed the vivid Greek optimism of light. One day I turned a page in an illustrated book of world religions only to be shocked into recognition, to recollect some old knowledge, to rediscover a black goddess who held a bloody knife in one arm and a decapitated head in another. That was Kali, the Hindu goddess. Kali, she who is black. Kali, with a long red tongue lolling out of her open mouth. Kali, symbolising violence and death. But also, life. Kali, motherly love. Kali. Her name full of the same sound of my own name, my nature already drawn to the same darkness. My namesake may have been the bright-starred constellation that my father called Callisto, but darkness was always more becoming of me than light. As it was of Thalia. From the very moment she was born, or maybe a little later, a few months after she was born, she would cry whenever I took her outside into the sun, or even inside when I pulled aside the curtains to sit in the light. Julian and I had moved into a three-bedroom house in Adelaide. A light, airy, sunny home, optimistic and welcoming, a family home. Thalia’s was the front room where the light of the day would stream inside, making her unhappy. The two back rooms were for Julian and for me, a bedroom and an office, filled with artificial light that could be manipulated and focused onto whatever needed to be seen. During my pregnancy, I had sought out the sun, spent most of my time in the front room, bringing my books with me, but then, usually leaving them aside, the room too bright for reading. When Thalia was born, I would drink tea in the front garden under the shade of the Jacaranda with the spectacle of light all around. But Thalia was always 42

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distressed. She was always in a battle with the sun. Thalia was not a child of the light. Not a Greek at all. And so, there we were—mother and daughter—and we developed a new habit. We slept throughout most of the day, and stayed awake until late at night when she was able to function, performing all the normal actions that children perform during the day, and I could be a normal mother. In the evening’s darkness, Thalia would happily play, laugh, listen to my stories, listen to me sing, crawl into Julian’s embrace, feel about his face. I understood very early on, much earlier than Julian, much earlier than the doctors, that Thalia’s rejection of light was a matter of confusion, not contempt. She did not know how to filter the shafts of light. They came to her potent and dangerous. When the diagnosis came, Thalia had already learnt to negotiate her way around the space, seeking the dark, covering her eyes in the light. Along with the diagnosis came a dark pair of glasses to help with the day, but even then Thalia would keep her tiny hand to her forehead—a constant salute—keeping every single ray of sunlight from making contact. I should have expected it, should have been prepared that day. We were in Coober Pedy—a visit to see Thalia’s grandmother, Anastasia. Thalia, having mastered her walk was already so confident in making her way about the space; not seeing and yet seeing by counting steps, and feeling around obstacles, smelling paths and intuiting spaces. It must not have been more than a minute, less than that. I had turned my back. It is a wonder mothers ever do that—turn their backs—but they do. And it was in that moment, and not the previous moment, not the moment when I was looking right at her as I spoke to Anastasia about her. It was the moment when I had turned away. Anastasia had begun talking about the mine, a new machine, and I


had turned to see the thing she described. This was the moment that Thalia sought the darkness, and the deep shaft, the treasure below. I knew she’d fallen even before I turned around to see that she wasn’t there. To see that her short figure with her large blonde head had disappeared from the landscape. I understood it in my body first, and then, when I turned back to find a flat landscape without a child, I knew it in my head. Thalia, who’d become so confident in navigating herself in the dark, must have run toward that black hole in the bright landscape, her joy must have been so great, her trust in the blackness so complete that she had stepped right into it, and fallen down, there. Broken. Later, when I returned to Coober Pedy, to the hot ochre land with the holes in the ground, I would sit for long hours, just sit, next to that single hole. In the begin-

ning, it was inconceivable that I would do anything but sit, and stare, and replay the moment again and again, rearranging the facts, placing myself, or Julian, or Anastasia over the hole that took Thalia. I’d replay even further back, and rearrange the entire day, shifting the visit to another day, an overcast day when the black hole would be less attractive. And I’d go even further back, to the moment of Thalia’s conception, shifting that day to another day, rearranging the chromosomes, so that different genes would connect, disease-free genes that would have avoided the blindness. And I’d go even further back, murdering off the conception entirely, removing all evidence of there ever having been a Thalia. The past was not satisfactory. It was not satisfactory at all. But it had past, and could not be changed now. Not now. Not ever. Enough. � Excerpted from the novel PALIMPSEST

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Seated Figure by Peter McNeill.


FICTION

Bazaar BY BELICA ANTONIA KUBARELI

A

n old beggar bumps into me saying, “Your eyes are yellow” and starts crying. A fat African woman dances to her internal music oblivious to the hubbub with her hands stretched up in the skies and her eyes closed. A young couple rolls half naked under the sunny bushes and I enjoy their hugs like a child in the middle of Mom and Dad. My dog falls in love with a cat who scratches her wildly while she licks him. A pair of boots land on my head. Not my size. Dazzling smells cause me hunger—hunger for you. A peddler sells the books I had given to my best friend when I left Greece. The Sunday bazaar leads to Acropolis. The gods still overlook Athens. �

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Up in the Air by Peter McNeill

Toilet in Place by Eleftheria Lialios


FICTION

Eye of the Hydra BY AKOS KIRSH

PROLOGUE Tolo, Greece The sunrays of Apollo caressed my skin as I laid on the beach near to the road, which led into the town. I couldn’t stop admiring the beautiful girls who passed by me in the sand, but sadly none of them were alone so I couldn’t use my charming personality to get their attention. Without a single cloud in the azure sky, some whistling seagulls circled above the water surface. Windsurfers flickered from one end of the bay to another while swimming tourists enjoyed the water constantly at the beach. The wind brought to them the sound of a ship’s horn from a remote port. Behind the nearby islands the outline of mountains emerged on the distant horizon. I was watching the people and enjoying every minute of my free time. Only two days had passed since I'd arrived in Tolo to release the dead steam, which I was filled by during my job. The life of a private detective is never an easy one. Usually full of danger and tension. That is why every year I tried to scrape together a small amount of money for a vacation. Sometimes it was really hard. Practically every day I wandered the streets of London, even on the weekends. In any case, I had managed to get to Greece once again. A few years ago, I had travelled to Athens and Rhodes also, but for the charming lit-

tle town of Tolo I hadn’t had any luck until now. I was ready to go and jump into the warm waves when suddenly a shadow fell on me and a pink paper kite crashed into my head. I was thoroughly surprised and fell to the ground in fright, as I started to struggle with the monster which was stuck to my face. “Oh my God! Are you alright, sir?” Asked a tinkling female voice. I hardly heard the words, but to serve as an excuse for me, some sand went into my ears. Once I realized there was nothing to fear, I dropped the kite and stood up. I was about to start shouting at its master but an etheric phenomenon appeared before my eyes, on which I could just blink and dared not quarrel with. Slender body, long blonde hair and a blue bikini … a view which I could not resist. Her tanned skin was almost glowing in the sun. “What’s wrong with you? Are you deaf?” She asked impatiently. “Oh … sorry! I got carried away. This thing is yours?” “Yes it is. I’m sorry for what happened but a strong wind came and …” “Don’t worry!” I smiled kindly and the impact on her was obvious, as she returned the gesture. “Let me introduce myself! My name is Ron Wyatt.” “Jennifer Borchardt.” “You have an interesting name. Does it come from a German father perhaps?” “That’s right. How did you guess?” 2014 | VOICES

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“Good instinct. May I invite you for a cocktail?” I asked by a rush of idea, but I noticed for her it wasn’t unexpected because she agreed immediately. Probably she realized what a big impression her presence had on me. Leaving the coast we crossed the road and sat in a nearby tavern, where I ordered the drinks and, accompanied by the roaring sound of the sea, we started talking. It turned out that she worked as a restorer at the British Museum, but now she was spending her holiday here. Jennifer seemed happy in my company, although at times it looked like she was spiritually somewhere else—but I didn’t give much credit to that. When I talked about my job she was thoroughly surprised. Then we ordered another round. The more we talked, the more she fascinated me. Especially when she began twisting a strand of her hair and flirtatiously smiled at me. “Would you like to go dancing tonight with me?” I asked, though I had no idea why since I wasn’t good at dancing. On the floor my movements reminded one of a nervous chicken. “Absolutely. Where?” “There is a nightclub not far from here, it goes by the name of Disco Club, I think.” “Yes I know where it is. In which hotel are you staying?” “In the Demos Apartment house on the other side of town.” “Nice. My place is the Apollon Hotel. Just five minutes away from here.” “I guess I know which one it is. Ten o’clock would be okay for you?” “That will be fine,” Jennifer nodded, smoothing a stray hair from her forehead, then looked at her watch. “Well … time went fast. I think I will go and swim a little bit, and after that I will return to my room. Left all my stuff on the shore anyway.” “I’m afraid me too. Let’s hope everything will still be there!” 48

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Fortunately, none of our stuff seemed to be missing. As I began to pack, Jennifer walked into the sea, cheerfully waving her hand. She jumped into the waves like a mermaid. When she reappeared, she was already in the deeper section of the water. Nobody was around her, so she could swim wherever she wanted. Only a white speed boat, with two fishing men, rocked in her vicinity. They were far away, so I couldn’t see them clearly enough to be sure, but it looked like one of them was wearing a diving suit. I shrugged my shoulders and grabbed my backpack. I strolled in the sand, then turned back to take a last glimpse of her, but a terrible sight met my eyes. Jennifer was desperately flapping her arms in the water, then she sank in a moment. I cried out and raced breathlessly toward her direction. I dropped my bag and clothes, then jumped into the water. With powerful strokes I swam towards her. In the meantime, she turned up again and again, crying for help in horror. I doubled the pace. Then she submerged once more and didn’t come up this time. When I reached her, I took a deep breath and dived. A blank unbroken silence reigned under the water. The salt heavily stung my open eyes, but I tried to control myself not to close them. Soon, I discovered her slowly sinking body. I managed to grab her arm and pulled her towards the surface. As I emerged from the water, I saw some people watching from the shore, then a sailor man popped up next to us and helped us out of the sea. Together we pulled Jennifer onboard and laid her down. Unfortunately, she wasn’t breathing. I was terrified and tried to artificially respirate her to get the swallowed water out of her lungs. All in vain. Filled with disappointment and exhaustion, I had to sit down on the deck. Meanwhile, the unknown Greek man steered towards the shore. It was unbelievable that the woman I had just met and invited on a date was now, on the same day,


dead. I cursed Fate and mourned for Jennifer, completely in the dark. But something else when something captured my gaze. did turn up,” he said, leaning closer to me. I leaned over her and examined her body. “My colleagues called the British Museum My eyes widened, as I stared at the red stripe and asked about Miss Borchardt. They have that ran around Jennifer’s neck. There was never heard of her.” no doubt; it hadn’t been there before she went “What?” I couldn’t believe my ears. This to swim. As I looked closer, I already knew information was something I didn’t expect. what I was looking at. Someone had stran“You heard me right. Whoever she was, gled Jennifer professionally. I jumped up and she lied to you, Mr. Wyatt.” looked for the speed boat with the fishing “But why?” men, but couldn’t find it. “Good question,” he nodded, then stood They had disappeared like a grey donkey up and held out his hand. “You can go now. in the mist, and left behind nothing but the Your statement was recorded but … don’t body of a charming woman. As I reached the leave town for a while!” shore, I couldn’t stop wondering what the I said goodbye and left the building. hell had happened before my eyes. Immersed in my thoughts, I walked through the main street of Tolo, passing taverns and CHAPTER ONE shops. The whole situation seemed surreal and absurd. My holiday couldn’t get any Inspector Stratos Fotopoulos was a middle- worse than this. Who were you really, Jenaged man. His straight hair had started to nifer? I decided I had to find out, so I headed bald strongly on top of his head, and he tried straight for the Apollon Hotel. to compensate for it with a surprisingly thick It didn’t take long to find the building, beard. His manner was rough and straight- which was marked by a billboard featurforward. Fotopoulos didn’t even attempt to ing a golden harp and lettering on a brown hide that he didn’t sympathize with me, but background. I arrived at the parking lot, at least he believed my story. There wasn’t from which people could access the buildmuch furniture in the white-walled office. ing through a glass door. Pleasantly cool air Apart from a file cabinet and his desk, I saw waited for me inside. The marble hall was nothing else in the room, except one chair, furnished with a white piece suit and a largeon which I was sitting opposite the inspector. screen TV. “You are lucky to be a private detective Behind the reception desk, a bald bespecand pure as freshly fallen snow,” Fotopoulos tacled man was seated. He immediately arose growled, after making me wait for an hour as he saw me. until they checked my data. “So you didn’t “Good afternoon! How can I help you?” see anything?” He asked in slightly accented, but under“Just what I told you already. I imagine standable, English. those two guys from the boat could tell you “Greetings! My name is Ron Wyatt. more.” Inspector Fotopoulos sent me to look around “The problem is that we don’t have any the room of Miss Jennifer Borchardt.” description of their appearances. However, “I believe the police closed the suite many witnesses also claim that they saw already,” he frowned, but I didn’t let myself one of them climbing out of the water in a be distracted. diving suit. Only the foam they churned up “I’m here unofficially. The inspector is remained after them. In other words, we are a good friend and a colleague of mine. You

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know, I’m a detective in London. Actually, he isn’t satisfied with the performance of his men and asked me to help. Neither would he be happy to learn that you were not willing to cooperate with the authorities. We are talking about a serious crime here, sir! But if you think it necessary, I shall make a phone call …” I shrugged my shoulders and reached for my mobile phone. “No need for that!” Replied the man suddenly, from which I found out that he didn’t wish to experience the wrath of the inspector. “Here is the room key. Second floor!” So I went up the stairs. I could have used the elevator, but two years ago I got stuck in one during a power failure. Since then, I couldn’t force myself to use the mechanism. After a few minutes, I was standing in the corridor outside of the room. A yellow ribbon was stretched across the door, indicating that the police had already scanned the place. Without hesitation, I tore off the ribbon and stepped inside. I found myself in an elegant room with a double bed and a balcony. From there, one could enjoy a stunning view of the open sea. Before entering, I took out a handkerchief to avoid leaving fingerprints, and opened the cabinets and drawers. I'd hoped to find something that would explain the whole situation, but there wasn’t much to check. It appeared she had moved in recently and didn’t feel like unloading her luggage. In the open suitcase, only her clothes were lying. I searched through and through the room but couldn’t find anything that would bring the case further. Until I discovered some strange scratches on the floor at the foot of the bed. I crouched and looked under it. To my surprise, one of the tiles was located differently in comparison with the others. The local authorities had been really careless. I quickly pulled aside the bed and took a closer look. As I displaced the tile, an envelope caught my eye. I picked it up and 50

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extracted an old newspaper as well as a letter with the following writing on it: Meet me at midnight on Thursday in the port! I know why your father died. His diary is in my possession. Come alone! Professor Alain Bergman I was thoroughly surprised by the content of the letter. It seemed I had gotten myself into a complicated affair where nothing was as it appeared to be. I also read the newspaper article, which was about a fire that had occurred on the island of Hydra twenty years ago. A French man had died in the flames, but the article didn’t mention his name. The rest of the newspaper was missing. I sat down on the bed and began to wonder. Whoever Jennifer was, it was certain she didn’t stumble across my path by chance. I felt it. Nevertheless, I knew how to continue the investigation. I decided to go to the meeting and see who this Professor Bergman was with my own eyes. Because today was Thursday! I needed answers, and only he could provide them. I took the contents of the envelope, put everything back in its place, and then left the building. The receptionist gave me a puzzled look but I didn’t care about it. My thoughts were focusing on the meeting already. Now I really regretted not bringing my gun with me. But who would do such a thing, when he was going on a vacation? However, Fate had yet again intervened.

CHAPTER TWO The silky cloak of the night fell quickly. Tolo’s nightlife became more lively. Locals and tourists sat in the taverns to have their dinner, listening to pleasant music and talking, or just visited the bazaars to buy some souvenirs. Dozens of cars and mopeds travelled


on the sidewalk-less main street. A parade of French, English and Hungarian words buzzed around me. The vibrant nightlife proved to be attractive, though it was the least interesting thing to me. I looked at my watch while heading to the harbor. Only ten minutes left until the meeting. As I approached the edge of town, there were increasingly few pedestrians, until I found myself alone on the street. I passed a long row of parked cars, shooting a quick glance at the pink flowers of a bougainvillea which ran along the wall of a house. Tolo had lost none of its scenic beauty and charm in the light of the street lamps. A few minutes later, I reached the port. Dozens of fishing boats and cruise ships rocked on the waves, while the night lights calmly danced on the water. The colored lights were strengthened by the reflector of a passing vehicle, as the port was located next to a road which bypassed the town on the nearby hillside. A row of benches and lamps stood on the long promenade of the harbor. I didn’t see a single soul, but I tried to be cautious. I was walking in the shadow of the concrete wall along the promenade, listening to the sound of the sea as the waves lapped the shore. I almost felt like I was on an island of peace and tranquillity. Almost. Finally, I reached the end of the promenade, where the shadows deepened. Suddenly, the sound of footsteps reached my ears. Someone was walking up and down near the rocks, outside the light of the lamps. Slowly I managed to make out the contours of his figure. He was short and had his hands clasped behind his back. I thought it was time to reveal myself. “Professor Alain Bergman?” I asked, and my voice made him stop. His glasses glinted as a stray beam of light wandered over his face. “Who are you?”

“I came to the meeting. My name is Ron Wyatt.” “I was expecting a woman.” “I know. She sent me,” I lied. “She was afraid it might be dangerous to meet here, so I agreed to come in her place.” “I still don’t understand what you are doing here.” He wrinkled his forehead and stepped out of the shadows, revealing his skinny body and grey hair. He appeared to be in his seventies. “I’m a private detective.” “Oh … I get it! This means that Miss Sicard hired you?” Sicard. Now I had learned Jennifer’s real name at least! Of course I answered with a yes, but confessed that there was much information in this matter that I still didn’t know. “In the letter you sent her, you mentioned a diary,” I came to the point. “Yes, it’s here with me,” he said, pointing to his pants pocket. “It belonged to Luc, Miss Sicard's father. We were colleagues and friends for a long time until … he was killed.” “How did he die?” “He was run over by a car on his way home. There weren’t any witnesses. His body was found lying on the Paris road the next morning. The police investigation didn’t last long. Allegedly they found alcohol in his blood and they thought he was drunk that night, though I’m sure he wasn’t. He never drank. On the same day as his murder, someone broke into his house and made a mess, but didn’t steal anything. I suspect that someone bribed the police, which is why they dropped the case. The killers were looking for the diary, which Luc sent me via post a day prior to his death.” “He sent it to you and not his own daughter? Why?” “Their relationship was not the best.” “I see. And what can be found in the diary? What was your profession by the way? Miss Sicard wasn’t too talkative.”

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“We worked as art historians at the University. At times, the Louvre used our services as restorers as well.” “Professor Bergman … this story becomes more and more confusing. Why the hell did your friend die?” “Read it!” He said, handing over the diary. “Then you will find out. I can’t say more because there is little time left … I’m afraid they are on my trail.” As soon as my fingers touched the leather-bound book, a soft pop sounded from somewhere above us, and Professor Bergman lurched. On his chest a red blood spot appeared, increasing in size. I immediately dove for cover and flattened myself against the wall. I don’t know how I was able to move at all. It’s not an everyday thing that someone is killed before your eyes, and the sight thoroughly shocked me. Despite the situation, the adrenalin flowing through my body gave me enough strength to act. However, there was nothing I could do for the old man. He collapsed before my eyes and breathed out his soul. It was time to leave the port! But I couldn’t go backwards, because new bullets hit the ground around me. I saw a dark figure stirring behind a bench. I cursed my bad luck, then made a decision and moved towards the rocks. I ran as much as I could, while bullets flew around me like angry wasps. Fortunately, the night’s darkness served as a perfect cover, though it also made my escape harder. I could barely see anything as I climbed down the rocks and found a small crack to hide in. The sea washed my shoes. Above me, loud and angry words were spoken and the figures of two men emerged, then stopped at the edge of the hill and looked down into the darkness. In their hands, they held silenced pistols. After looking at each other, the higher one motioned to his companion, who started to climb down. He moved like a panther, skillfully and 52

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silently. He was a professional. The man was only a few centimetres away from me, and I didn’t even dare take a breath. His companion joined him. They knew I was there somewhere, but they couldn’t rely on their eyes. Unfortunately, the situation quickly turned to their advantage when one of them pulled out a flashlight and turned it on. The white light pierced the night like a sword. Only seconds separated me from death, so I had to act. Using the power of surprise, I broke out and pushed them with my full power. It was fun to listen to their cries as they fell into the water with a loud splash. Without wasting a second, I climbed back to the promenade, hoping that they didn’t have any friends, otherwise I was doomed! But Goddess Fortuna stood next to me that night. With the diary in my pocket, I quickly disappeared into the shadows, like a wandering spirit in an old castle.

CHAPTER THREE I returned to my apartment, located on one of the steeply rising side streets, with my nerves on edge. Once I'd sat down on the balcony and drunk a glass of beer, I managed to calm down a bit. The area was quiet and the noise of the bustling main street reached my ears dully. Across the rolling dark sea, the lights of other settlements vibrated on the mainland. A little closer, the cross of Koronisi Island’s only church shone with blue light, like an improvised lighthouse. At this moment, I would have gladly returned to my house in London to enjoy the company of my cat, Tom, whom I'd left with one of my friends in my absence. Finally, I gathered myself together and started reading the diary. Surprisingly, it described the life of Luc Sicard’s father, François Sicard. He was born in Paris, into a moderately wealthy family. François lost his mother at a young


age and his father became an alcoholic, so as a teenager he was forced to look for a job. After a long search, a local press employed him as an assistant, but in his spare time, François devoted himself to painting. He often made drawings in the streets for money. In time, a benefactor and patron of the arts discovered his talent and searched for a teacher to train him. Meanwhile, his father slowly drank himself to death. The young François soon became independent, and under the tutelage of his teacher, he grew up to be a true artist. Until the age of twenty-six, François lived a modest life despite the inherited family wealth, because he didn’t want to throw away the money. At a cafeteria, he met with his future wife, Patricia Laroche. A year later, they married and began to travel. The painter was charmed, especially by the Mediterranean atmosphere and historic monuments of Greece. Despite his talent, he didn’t become famous. His complicated nature made things even more difficult. Apart from Patricia, not many people were capable of develping a good relationship with François—probably as a consequence of his hard childhood. A breakthrough came at the age of thirty, when a large number of his paintings were sold. It was even mentioned in the newspapers, because two English Lords and a German lawyer were the ones to purchase them. However, the happiness of François was overshadowed by his wife’s illness. In every second month, a hot fever knocked Patricia off her feet. The doctors didn’t know the reason for it, and the medicines could only ease the symptoms. She became skinny and weaker over time. For three years, Patricia battled the disease, but on an autumn day she finally closed her eyes. In his grief, her husband reached out to alcohol, as had his late father, and became addicted too. He had only a few friends, who unsuccessfully tried to steer him back towards a

healthy lifestyle. Even his only son, the fiveyear-old Luc, wasn’t able to change his mind. Once the painter became incapable of raising a child, a cousin of François looked after the children. Finally, everyone turned away from him and there wasn’t a gallery that would exhibit his creations. As a last hope, he sold his house and moved to Greece, to the island of Hydra, which had long been known as a centre for culture and the arts. He built a new home for himself three kilometres out of town. The sea air and the hospitable residents helped him find peace, and slowly François gave up alcohol. Then he began painting again, and in a telegram made contact with his son and cousin. On the island, he made numerous paintings, which were purchased by several galleries throughout Europe. Some even reached America. However, fame never found him again. Though he established an acceptable relationship with his son, the gap that separated them remained. Then, on a summer night, tragedy occurred. The sixty-year-old François, who was said to adore cigars, fell asleep in his bed, and the sheet caught fire. The whole building burned down. His family transported his remains home, and the memory of the artist was slowly forgotten on the island. His works were also destroyed by the flames, but some said one painting survived the fire. The diary ended here. I was sitting with my thoughts, staring at the dark sea. According to Bergman, I would know what was going on after reading the diary, but I could only guess. For lack of any better ideas, I flipped through the book again. Then I came across an inscription at the bottom of a page, written in small letters. It was hard to read, but in the end I succeeded: The victorious Heracles (1991 – François Sicard & Giannis

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Pavlis). Now I realized what was going on! The victorious Heracles was probably the last painting of François, which wasn’t destroyed in the fire. Luc Sicard discovered the person who knew something more about it. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the time to get to the bottom of things, just like his daughter, who shared his fate. Professor Bergman also passed away. It seemed I was the last person who could reveal the secret. I was ready to fulfill the task. Not because of pride or a reckless desire for adventure. Simply due to my commitment to justice. I owed it to the memory of the Sicard family.

CHAPTER FOUR The sun clothed the landscape in a red robe as it leisurely rose above the horizon, stroking the bottom of the cloud fragments lazily sliding on the yellow sky. I hadn’t slept much last night, but I was ready to go to the island of Hydra. Alas, I had to wait; it was too early in the morning and everything was closed still, so I couldn’t pay for the tickets to the ship. However, I suspected that inspector Fotopoulos would be in his office already. I was right. I wanted to speak with him to ask his permission to leave Tolo, which I hoped he would grant me! Fortunately, although he was sleepily wiping his eyes and yawning a lot, he agreed. I was about to leave when he asked a question that I was secretly expecting. “Do you know a man called Alain Bergman, Mr. Wyatt?” “Why do you ask, inspector?” “He was killed last night in the harbor. A fisherman found his body an hour ago. He was shot. So … do you know him?” “Never heard of him,” I answered, with an innocent face. The inspector scowled at me, then sighed and motioned, allowing me to leave. 54

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“Notify me when you return, Mr. Wyatt!” “Of course.” Once finished, I looked at my watch and headed towards one of the nearest offices of Pegasus Cruises, a cruise organizing agency. Not many people were standing around in the street, so it wasn’t hard to spot once again a curly-haired, bearded guy who had been following me since I left the apartment. Probably he was one of the armed men from the harbor. This would mean they knew who I was, which would be possible only if they had started following me when I met Jennifer. Perhaps last night it wasn’t the professor but me who drove them to the port. Pretending that I hadn’t noticed anything, I moved on. Some of the taverns were preparing to open, as were a few souvenir shops. The office was still five minutes away, so I decided to take a risk. I wanted to know who the enemy was. Behind one of the taverns, a narrow alley led down to the beach, and I quickly turned in at the corner. As soon as I got out of the sights of my unwanted shadow, I started running. Arriving at the beach, I quickly flattened myself against the wall of the nearest building, from which I was able to keep an eye on the alley’s entrance. Fortunately, there wasn’t anyone in the vicinity except me. On the beach, stacked sun-beds and folded white umbrellas lay in the sand. In the next moment, the running figure of the bearded man appeared as he rushed through the alley. He was approaching fast, and my muscles tightened. The moment he reached the sand, I jumped on him. I punched his face and watched with satisfaction the curve of his flight as he fell to the ground. While the waves washed the sand again and again, I leaned over him to look into his eyes and pull him up, but in doing so I let down my guard. He recovered very fast and scattered some sand in my face, which I tried to get rid of


as quickly as possible. My opponent, however, didn’t hesitate to hit me on the chin. The ground ran out from under my feet as I lost my balance. Stars jumped before my eyes. The bearded man snarlingly stood over me, pulling out a silenced pistol from his pocket. “Where is the diary?” He asked, aiming the pistol at me. “In a safe place,” I replied sarcastically to provoke him, until he made a mistake in his anger. “Speak or I’ll create a nice hole between your eyes!” He shouted, grabbing my shirt and pulling me up. My time had come! Taking advantage of the momentum, I hit the arm in which he held the weapon, and then belted his face. I felt his nasal bone break and warm blood splashed on my forehead. A painful scream left his throat and the gun fell to the sand. I immediately kicked the weapon into the water, then punched its owner in the stomach. The guy fell to his knees. “Now start singing nicely, like a bird!” I said, gripping his hair strongly to make him feel the pain. “Who are you working for?” “To your mother!” “Wrong answer,” I shook my head then hit him again. “Let’s try it once more!” “I don’t know his name!” He said to avoid any further punishment. “I’m just a freelancer. He contacted me via phone.” “There must be something you know about him! What does he look like?” “I saw him only once. We met on his yacht two days ago. He was wearing a hat and sunglasses.” “Is that ship still here? What’s its name?” “I don’t know. They covered the markings.” “If you are not going to tell me something useful, the fish will enjoy your company very soon!” I hissed, squeezing my fingers on his throat in rage. “Alright! Alright!” He responded, protecting his damaged nose and reached into his

pocket to pull out a piece of paper. “He said we had to call this number at ten o’clock in the evening to report.” “Good boy,” I took the note.“Where is your partner?” “At our hiding place. When we fell into the water last night, he was badly wounded by a rock.” “Poor guy,” I nodded sympathetically, then knocked him out with one punch. He fell to the ground like a rag doll. It was time to pay for the voyage, so I walked back to the main street. My fist hurt, but I was smiling with satisfaction. After I bought the ticket, there was only half an hour left until the departure. Stepping out of the office, my gaze flashed from one face to another, but I did not see my bearded friend. I walked to the harbor relaxed. The slim, streamlined body of the snow-white ship beat back the beams of the sun like a crystal. A few minutes later, I was on my way to Hydra.

CHAPTER FIVE The picturesque island, dotted with mountain ranges, appeared on the horizon like a barren gem, covered with some trees and a few bushes. I watched as the city, dominated by grey and white houses and embedded in the mountains like an amphitheatre surrounding the natural bay of the harbor, drew nearer. Fishing vessels and yachts rocked in the waves. Sunbeams were reflected back from the windows of charming cafeterias, churches and bazaars. “Inspiring sight, isn’t it?” Said a female voice in my ear, and as I turned, a real beauty caught my eyes. She was sitting on a bench, wearing a white blouse. Her long black hair looked alive as the strong wind started playing with it. With slender fingers, the woman set her sunglasses right on her freckled nose, while she stood up and walked next to me with a flirty smile. For a second, I thought a Greek goddess had come to life

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before my eyes. The short skirt pointed out the tempting line of her long legs. “Breath … taking,” I moaned, making her laugh with that jingling voice, which was music to my ears. “Me or the island? Don’t look at me like you haven’t seen a woman before!” “Hydra is beautiful but not as beautiful as you,” I complimented her. “My name is Ron Wyatt.” “Anna Tanakis.” She took my hand, and I almost felt an electric shock when I touched her fingers. “Do you often take the first step to meet strangers?” “Only if I no longer want them to be strangers,” she said, flashing her white teeth. At least fifteen minutes remained until the ship made port, so I invited her for a soft drink at the bar. Responding to my interest, Anna revealed that she was a teacher at the University of Athens and was currently on holiday. She had been staying in Tolo for two days. Before arriving in Tolo, she had already called the cruise agency to tell them that she was interested in the voyage to Hydra. “This is your first time on the island?” she asked. “Yes. What about you?” “For me this is the umpteenth visit, Mr. Wyatt. I spent many holidays here with my parents, until the age of ten. We rented a tiny bungalow. Unfortunately, after their divorce, I didn’t come back here for a long time,” she said, glancing at her empty glass. “My parents also divorced, so I understand how you feel,” I said, trying to comfort her a bit clumsily, which she noticed and smiled at. “What do you do for a living?” “I work as a private detective. I have my own office.” “Wow! Isn’t it dangerous?” “Occasionally. Maybe that’s the reason most women don’t stay with me for long.” I 56

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don’t know why but I felt an irresistible wave of honesty inside me. For many years, I considered this issue a painful subject, but now it broke out of me. “Three years ago I divorced my wife. Fortunately, we didn’t have any children. I was enraged when I learned that she left me for a bookkeeper, though I gave her everything. She said she couldn’t continue to live with me because of my insecure life. Yet … my work is far from being so dangerous. Usually the cases I get are busting cheaters or finding a missing person. So it’s very rare that I accept a dangerous case. God has a weird sense of humor.” “I’m sorry! Not everyone is able to endure the hardships. Fortunately, there are some women who aren’t afraid to escape the boredom of everyday and take a risk,” she winked, making me smile like a kid under the Christmas tree, surrounded with presents. “What do you teach exactly at the University?” “Ancient literature and mythology. Why?” “I’m just curious about something. Are there any myths related to the island?” “I guess. You ask because of the name of the place, right?” “Exactly.” “Well … the locals connect one of the twelve labors of Heracles to the island, the defeating of the monster called Hydra, although the location in the story doesn’t match that of the island. However, the shape of the island is longish so it could be seen as a snake. Human imagination has no limits.” “Tell me a bit more about this!” “Alright. The monster had more than one head. It was said that the central head was immortal and had poisonous breath. If one of the heads was cut off, two new ones would grow to replace it. Heracles and his armorbearer, his nephew Iolaus, figured out how to kill the creature. They burned out the wounds after a head was cut off, so new ones couldn’t grow to replace it. To connect this


Eye of the Hydra by Akos Kirsch.

victory to the island, some explain it with the draining of the swamps.” “I see.” The victorious Heracles. Now I had an idea what Sicard’s intact painting could

depict. When the ship left Tolo, I checked the Internet with my cell phone to search for some information. About Sicard, I found that his pictures were worth at least five hundred thousand dollars, and the price of them

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went up even more after his death. A speculation rumored that a Sicard collection could be worth a few million dollars. Then I realized that this game was played in big money, so I’d better proceed with caution! “I feel that you have business on the island,” said Anna, and looked into my eyes. “Indeed. I have to find someone. Do you know a man called Giannis Pavlis?” “Pavlis? Sounds familiar …” she started thinking, then her eyes lit up. “The one you are looking for must be at least ninety years old! He lives in the north part of the island as far as I remember. If he is still alive, of course. But you better ask the locals for guidance. What do you want with the old man?” “Only he can answer a few questions about an old case.” “Clear. I’d rather not know what’s going on,” she laughed. “When you finish we should go to a tavern. Call my number if you have the time! Here it is. I’ll just be buying some souvenirs.” I was surprised how pushy she was and found it suspicious actually, but I still accepted the offer because she was so attractive. I could never say no to a woman. Suddenly the ship’s horn signalled that we had arrived and the crew was preparing to land. I hoped everything would go well with the old Pavlis!

CHAPTER SIX The fiercely blazing sun almost burned my skin when I stepped to the jetty, but fortunately the wind blew pleasantly cool air from the sea towards me. The harbour was loud with the voices of tourists, and saddled donkeys were lined up behind each other waiting for passengers. Except those with bags attached to their backs, led by their masters. I watched an animal with amazement, because a fridge was tied to its back and four men had to keep it balanced as they unloaded a boat. 58

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It wasn't actually that big a surprise, because I read that most vehicles were prohibited on the island, which remained preserved from modern architecture as well. The image of the port was still characterized by the gray houses of old captains. This created quite an idyllic atmosphere. I immediately noticed the fortress and its black guns, pointing at the sea. Hydra was a significant sea power once and played a major part in the struggle for independence of the Greeks against the Turks in 1821. The memories of this event can be found still in the Museum, located in the port. At least that’s what I gathered from what I read on the Internet. Besides the fortress, the windmills and white stone-built houses also caught my eye. For a short time, I considered where to start. Then I asked about old Pavlis from the master of a waiting donkey. Fortunately, the man spoke English and willingly explained where I could find the man I was looking for. My way led through the stone-paved narrow alleys, which rose steeply upward. Some of the winding streets proved to be so narrow that at one point I was forced to lean against the wall to allow a tourist group to pass by. Finally, I managed to reach the end of the alley, from which I had a magnificent view over the town and its harbor. The mountains—rising over the city—looked down on the teeming mass of people, like ancient giants fading into the mist of the past. Slowly, I left behind the buildings and headed for the dirt road that led to the home of Giannis Pavlis. Dry bushes and grass lined the path on which I walked. The barren island showed its romantic but also its poor face. It was no wonder that people were living off fishing and tourism on these lands. From the distance, a ringing sound of bells reached my ears, and I saw a little church shining in the sun on a hilltop.


The stone house of old Pavlis sat in the shadow of a cypress tree, surrounded by rocks. Gray peaks stretched in the background. The owner of the house was sitting on a bench, leaning on his walking stick and talking to his grazing donkey, but the animal didn’t react to his words. Pavlis was wearing a beret and a plaid shirt. He greeted me with a polite smile when I appeared in front of him. Vividly shining eyes sat in his wrinkled face. “Mr. Pavlis?” “Yes that’s me. What can I do for you?” He asked in his throaty but strong voice. I introduced myself and asked if he remembered his old friend, François Sicard. As I mentioned the name of the painter, he immediately became suspicious and, frowning, stared at me. “Why do you want to know, Mr. Wyatt? François has been dead for years.” “I am aware of that. As I am of the fact that his last painting, which wasn’t destroyed in the fire, is probably on your property. Otherwise … it wasn’t me who figured this out but the son of François: Luc, who was probably killed just like his daughter, Jennifer. Someone drowned her in cold blood before my eyes. I couldn’t save her. Somebody wants to get ahold of the painting at any price, Mr. Pavlis.” The old man stared grimly in front of him for several minutes. Finally, he sighed and stood up. “Come inside the house, Mr. Wyatt! Let’s discuss this matter next to a glass of wine.” So I stepped into the cool building, where we sat in the kitchen and my host poured my glass. The sweet taste of the silky wine caressed my throat. “I have to tell you bad news, Mr. Wyatt. The painting is no longer in my possession.” “How so?” “I kept it safe for a long time. François requested it. You know … he became very

paranoid before his death. He thought someone would make an attempt on his life, but eventually the end came to him through his own fault. He became like this after creating that picture.” “What does the painting depict?” “The battle of Heracles and the Hydra. The hero is about to burn out the wound on a neck of the monster with a torch. Quite an interesting work, because in the background you can see the port of the island at night. On the jetty two or three people are standing. In the water below, a boat can be found. I never understood the essence of the composition.” “Sounds odd, that’s for sure. Did you sell it?” “An antique dealer from Nafplio bought it. A particular man called … Manolis Leventis. He often visited the island in those days and became friends with François. A German guy was with him, but I saw him only twice. I can’t remember his name. He was dealing in antiquities too, legally of course.” “I see. Do you think Mr. Leventis is still alive?” “No. However, his grandson inherited the business. Petros is his name. At least that’s what I heard. If you check a phone book, I’m sure you will find him.” “Well … thank you for the help and the wine!” I stood up to leave, shaking hands with the old man. “I wish you all the best, Mr. Pavlis!” “Good luck, Mr. Wyatt! God bless you!” I leisurely walked back down the path. Two hours were left until the ship’s departure, so I decided to call Miss Tanakis, who was visiting the fortress at that moment. She asked to meet me there. I agreed and put my steps on pace.

CHAPTER SEVEN I had to push my way through the crowd of tourists to reach the meeting place. A short, winding road led up to the fortress. I found

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Miss Tanakis leaning against the fortification wall, looking at the gently waving sea where a hydrofoil passed by, disturbing the surface of the water. Anna smiled when she saw me. “Welcome!” “Thanks!” “Were you be able to arrange what you came here for?” “You could say so. But I have to visit Nafplio also.” “Really?” She pulled up her eyebrows. “When?” “As soon as possible. Maybe tomorrow.” “This is an urgent matter?” “Probably. Though I would rather stay in Tolo to enjoy your company, Anna,” I winked at her. “You really don’t waste much time, Ron.” “Life is too short, don’t you think?” “Surprisingly, we agree. By the way … I could go with you and we wouldn’t lose anything. I planned to go there anyway these days. Maybe I can even help you.” “You might be right. Now that we cleared this up, let me invite you to a lunch!” “I gladly accept.” We set off, heading downwards hand in hand, when I noticed a bald man, who occasionally glanced at us. I pretended that I hadn’t noticed anything, but from the corner of my eye, I saw him following us. Under his hooked nose was a thin moustache. He wore a white shirt and canvas pants. I remembered seeing him on the ship. Perhaps the bearded guy in Tolo, whom I’d interrogated, had lied about his partner? It wouldn’t be a surprise. We ate at one of the port’s taverns. The guy also dined three tables away from us. Since there was still some time until departure, I asked Anna to check out the Museum, which was at the end of the pier. She happily agreed and had just bought the ticket, when I tapped my forehead. 60

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“I left my wallet on the chair. Go ahead! I’ll follow you in a few minutes.” “Alright,” she said, then went into the building. Of course I lied about my wallet. I wanted to catch the bald guy, so I entered one of the alleys. I almost ran up the stairs, then turned to the right at a blue shuttered window. Surprisingly, the street was empty. The tourists preferred to gather around the shops in these minutes. Next to a wall, there stood a mature, potted ficus and I quickly jumped behind it, peeping out from behind its leaves. My chaser was lagging behind but eventually he showed up. Seeing the empty alley, he came to a halt for a minute. He looked around, puzzled, then moved towards me. I was waiting, ready to act. Suddenly a third man appeared from behind the corner. He was tall, his blond hair was parted in the middle, some rectangular sunglassess covered his eyes. His blue shirt harmonised with the white walls, but the same could not be said for the silenced pistol in his hand. As he heard the steps, the bald man whirled around and reached toward his pocket. But he was too late! The bullet pierced his head. Bone shards and brain fragments flew in the air. Everything was covered in blood: the ground, the wall and even the leaves of the ficus. The sight made me feel sick to my stomach, unlike the blondhaired man, who put away his weapon and looked down at the body for a second. After a minute, he left without uttering a word. I could not even spit or swallow in my surprise. After a brief hesitation, I quickly searched the pockets of the bald guy, but didn’t find anything, and left the scene. Fortunately, I’d been careful enough not to get my fingers covered in blood, too. Reaching the promenade, I saw no trace of the murderer. It seemed wiser for me to join Anna before someone shot me down as well.


In our remaining hours on the island, not much happened. When the time came, we returned to the ship and left Hydra. On the way back to Tolo, I was haunted by the memory of the murder. The corpses were uncomfortably multiplying around me, like mushrooms in the forest.

CHAPTER EIGHT Night had fallen by the time we returned to Tolo. Anna said goodbye, then returned to her hotel to sleep. I wanted to do the same, but first I had to take care of something. I took the phone number, which I got from the bearded guy in the morning, out of my pocket. It was time to find out who ordered the killing of Professor Bergman and my tracking. I was standing on the promenade of the harbor while I called the number and waited. After two rings, someone picked up and a deep male voice spoke. “You are late! I told you to call me at ten o’clock not half an hour later! What’s up? How much does the private detective know?” “Enough to see that you are a coward, who lets someone else carry out his dirty work,” I replied, and noticed with satisfaction that the owner of the voice was very much surprised on the other end of the line. “Mr. Wyatt! How did you get this number?” “From one of your gorillas. I had to persuade him a little bit, but the boy made a wise decision eventually. Therefore, he was able to walk away with only some missing teeth and a broken nose. Moreover, I ran into your other assassin on Hydra. Poor guy is probably still lying in the street with a nice hole in his head.” “You don’t make my job easy, Mr. Wyatt.” “I’m glad to hear that. By the way … you didn’t introduce yourself.” “It’s enough that I know your name. The rest doesn’t matter. Anyway, you can still

walk away alive if you forget about this case and continue your miserable little life. Otherwise, I will step on you like I step on an insect!” “How poetic. Unfortunately, I have a reputation to protect. I always believed that the truth comes first. Something is telling me that the painting doesn’t belong to you.” “I suspected that you wouldn’t retreat, but sooner or later I will get the picture.” “We will see. You better hurry then, before your competitor finds it!” I said, to make his nerves dance a bit. My instinct told me that the blond guy from Hydra was working for someone else who was also hunting for the picture. Although this was only a theory. “I’m not interested in your empty threats. I’m warning you that I know everything about you, thanks to my information network! So don’t try to get in my way again if you want to stay alive!” The man hissed. I tried to pay attention to his accent, but I couldn’t identify it. “You sound very upset. You are afraid of me, aren’t you?” “Don’t be ridiculous! Watch your back instead from now on!” He said, then ended the conversation. I guessed that this number wouldn’t stay active anymore. To be sure, I called it again, but a female automated voice told me that the number was not available. Looks like I was right. At least I’d learned one thing about my enemy: that he knew no compassion. In my soul, I prepared myself to face many dangers. Only one thing spoiled the picture and reduced my chances: the absence of my gun, which I’d left in London. I needed a trump in my hand to survive the coming days. The only hope for me was to find that damn painting. I glanced at the lights dancing on the water’s surface, then left the harbor. Over the dark mass of the opposite island, the bright strip of a shooting star crossed the

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sky, and a second later disappeared into the night.

CHAPTER NINE The next morning, I rented a battered Fiat and picked up Anna, who was as beautiful as always. She was wearing a flower patterned, one-piece dress, which only reached the middle of her thigh. Her white handbag was hanging under her arm, but somehow, for a few seconds, my eyes focused more on her curvy breasts. I had to hold myself back in order to keep behaving like a gentleman, though I felt a warm wave of heat, as if I were walking in the desert. From Anna’s wide smile, it became clear to me that she had noticed my embarrassment. So I rather stepped on the gas. Before picking up my companion, I’d obtained a phone book and looked up the address and number of the antiquities shop. Fortunately, the owner of the shop picked up the phone so I could introduce myself to Petros Leventis, and tell him that the Sicard family had tried to find the painting. I heard a lack of interest in his voice at first, but when I mentioned that some members of the family had paid for it with their lives, he became interested and started whispering. “Meet me at the Palamidi Fortress at three o’clock this afternoon! Come to the Fokionas bastion. I will be in a red shirt, so you can easily recognize me.” “I’ll be there!” I promised, then ended the conversation. I drove leisurely, as we still had a few hours until the meeting. The weather was cloudy, and the sun emerged only sporadically to involve the surrounding mountains in a golden glare with its rays. We left many roadside resorts behind us and eventually arrived in Nafplio, which was once, for a short time, the capital of Greece. A city full of life and palm trees appeared before 62

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my eyes, where a variety of tourists and locals walked the streets. An army of scooters circled the parked cars on the roads. We managed to find a parking lot under the fortress, next to the park. The mass of tall trees provided a cool shade and a number of nearby taverns and shops were waiting for travellers. “What are we going to do until the meeting?” She asked, getting out of the car. On the way here, her curiosity had awoken, so after a brief hesitation I'd shared with her the events of the past days. I thought she would find the journey with me too risky, but she became excited instead. Anna explained this reaction with her love for detective movies. She undoubtedly enjoyed the situation. Of course, it wasn’t my intention to put her in danger, but I needed a helper as well. Two sets of eyes see more than one. “As polite tourists, we will visit the stores and will go to eat something,” I replied. We crossed the road and turned into an alley, where we found a large number of shops selling souvenirs. During our walk—through narrow streets—we arrived at the port. Fishing vessels rocked on the waves with the white walls of the Bourtzi Fortress, which was built on a tiny island, in the background. A ferry had just arrived when we appeared, and from its belly a horde of passengers and cars emerged onto the promenade. All this activity was followed by the gaze of visitors, sitting on the terraces of taverns and cafeterias along the beach. The wind and the sight of the sea made us hungry, so we went to a restaurant. Once we’d finished, we bought an ice-cream and continued our walk. The ancient mountains rose above us like unavoidable Titans. We sat on a bench, watching the seagulls circling above the water. Meanwhile Anna, at my request, talked about her family a bit. Both of her parents—now retired—had worked as teachers, so it was no wonder that


she had followed the family tradition. She had three sisters and twelve cousins, not to mention such a number of nephews that I could hardly memorize all the incoming data. My humble family relations were nothing next to hers. My mother was a secretary before she met my father, who worked as a simple waiter. After their marriage, they put together their saved money and opened a family business in the countryside. Ever since, they’ve been the owners of the Wyatt-inn. Despite their divorce, they managed to maintain a good relationship and still work together. Slowly, the time of the meeting was approaching, so we headed towards the Palamidi Fortress. A long staircase made of slippery and cracked stones led up to the monument. As we walked up higher and higher, an amazing view opened out for us. We could see over the entire city, the orangetile-roofed houses, a former Byzantine chapel, a port and another fortress nearby—the Acronafpli—plus the parking lot and a beach, where dozens of people enjoyed the warm water. However, this panorama had its price. My legs were shaking because of the long way up, and even Anna gasped wearily behind me. Sometimes we had to stop for a short break. Sometimes other hikers came up or went down as we stopped, leaving us behind on the stairs. Finally, after a half hour, we reached the entrance, where we bought tickets along with a brochure, and went inside the building. The centuries old stones provided a pleasant shade while the wind whistled between them. According to the brochure, the Venetian fortress was built between the years 1711 and 1715, then fell into Ottoman hands before its construction was completed. It was formed by a complex network of eight towers, which involved aquifers, ammunition dump sites, food storage and—among other things— barracks.

The meeting place was supposed to be at the Fokionas tower, so we tried to follow the map and move in that direction. The fort reminded me of a small maze, but we managed to find the place. It was located to the south of the Agios Andreas tower. On its south-eastern point, a gate led to a narrow and winding staircase, which ran over the coastline of Arvanitia. Needless to say, when I looked down from there, the dizzying depth didn’t do anything good for my fear of heights. Fortunately, I just glanced at the stairs, then went back to the wall, where Petros Leventis was waiting. He was wearing a red shirt, as he’d told me on the phone. He was a tall man with shoulder-length hair. Dark eyes sat in his face under thick eyebrows. His handshake was manly and strong. “You could have found a more easily accessible location,” I said. “This is the most neutral place in the city. Have you been followed?” “I doubt it, but don’t take my word as guarantee! Tell me what you know instead. Do you have the painting?” “No. But I know where you can find it. My grandfather wanted to keep it safe.” “From whom?” “From those who caused the death of François Sicard.” “François Sicard was killed? I thought a cigar caused the fire.” “My grandfather said that the fire was set on purpose. They were good friends and trusted each other. A German antique dealer, some Heinrich Ganz, visited my grandfather during those days. According to him, this German was responsible for the death of François Sicard. When Ganz saw the painting, he desperately wanted it. For some reason, it was very important to him. After that … Sicard became nervous.” “Hmm … maybe Ganz threatened the painter?”

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“As far as I know, he did,” nodded Leventis. “Sicard gave the picture to my grandfather before he died. My grandfather was afraid of the German, but also wanted to bring him to trial. Sadly, there wasn’t enough evidence to prove his guilt. Since Ganz didn’t know the location of the painting, he left the country and went home. But my grandfather didn’t forget and eagerly continued to search for evidence, though without much luck. Then came a heart attack and he died. His last wish was … that only the Sicard family should know about the painting. Since you’ve made it obvious that they were killed, I’ll reveal its location to you, Mr. Wyatt.” Leventis had just finished the sentence when a blond-haired man—the one from Hydra, who had shot the bald guy—stepped out from behind the stairs, which led to the wall. The silenced pistol was in his hand again and he pulled the trigger without hesitation. I moved to push away Leventis, but I was too late. The bullet pierced his stomach, and he collapsed. Anna screamed while the killer ran away. “Stay with him and call an ambulance!” I shouted, then started chasing the murderer.

CHAPTER TEN I almost fell on the slippery stones, but I somehow managed to keep my balance and, taking advantage of my momentum, jumped from the stairs instead. I ran through an arched gateway, following the labyrinth-like paths, and soon reached a small square at the entrance of the fortress. The visitors watched the event with wide opened eyes, as two strangers rushed off before them breathlessly. The blond slipped out of the gate and took the stairs, which led downwards, to escape. I was running close behind him. For a moment, I was dazzled by the gaping depth below me, but I didn’t stop. I was getting closer and closer, which he noticed because he sped up. 64

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In the next moment, when he reached the third round and whirled, the guy shot at me. I immediately stooped and flattened myself against the rocky wall. The bullet passed me and hit the stones of the staircase. By now the killer had started to run away again, making me enraged. What I hate the most is when someone thinks I’m the target. I threw myself after him and in a minute managed to catch up with him. The unknown man looked back for a second and blindly fired at me, but I ignored the bullets. When I got close enough, I knocked him off his feet. Both of us hit the floor. Fortunately, during the fall, his hand was slammed to the ground, and the weapon fell from his fingers and slipped down to the parking lot below. Encouraged by this, I grabbed his shirt and turned him on his back, then punched his face with my fist. But my opponent was an experienced fighter. He spat some blood and, as if nothing had happened, returned the blow. The man was a bit larger than me, so the strike hit me with the power of a locomotive, pushing me to the lower stone wall along the stairs. The world turned upside down while black dots jumped in front of my eyes. The blond stood up and made to leave, but I couldn’t let that happen! I reached after him and grabbed his ankle. I was hoping that I could make him fall down on the stairs, but he kept his balance easily. He kicked my face with the sole of his shoe, almost breaking my nose, and then walked away. After this, I had no strength to follow him, so I lay on the ground and watched his vanishing figure. I stayed there motionless for several more minutes until an old couple came and helped me up. They were French as far as I could tell, though I didn’t understand any of their words. In any case, they kindly offered me a sip of mineral water, which I gladly accepted. I still felt terrible, but I motioned that I was fine now. They believed me, though they left


me alone reluctantly as they continued their We sat silently in the car while I drove back journey up to the fortress. to Tolo. Anna broke the silence eventually. I looked down from the stairs, but the “Who was that man?” She asked, and I attacker had already gone. Then I heard the wished I could answer! However, I shared my siren of an ambulance. Anna had done as I’d theory with her. asked, it seemed. It was time for me to return “Perhaps he is working for that German to the wounded. It took me a while to get antique dealer, Ganz. If he is still alive of back to them. By the time I arrived, Leventis’ course.” head was resting in Anna’s lap, while three “I don’t understand. So who were the men or four tourists stood behind them. who killed Professor Bergman?” The antique dealer was in bad shape. He “Them? They are working for a mysterilooked pale, and he was breathing briskly ous figure, who is probably also looking for while a pool of blood spread slowly under his the picture and has not yet revealed himself. body. Three of us are looking for it now, counting “I must … tell you …” he whispered in them.” a weak voice, so I leaned in closer to him. “This whole thing is like a bad dream,” “Thalassa street … 23, in Kavala. The attic … said Anna, and I had to agree with her. of the old house … under the boards of the “When are we going to Kavala?” central beam.” “You shouldn’t come with me. It may “Why there? Hold on Leventis! Help is become too dangerous.” coming,” I tried to keep him conscious, but “Maybe you are right, but if you think you he slowly stepped into a place where living can leave me out after what happened, then people are not allowed to enter. you are wrong!” “The house … belongs to my family. It’s for “I’m just worried about you. I shouldn’t rent,” he groaned, then made a faded smile have let you join me in Nafplio either.” and closed his eyes. “You can’t change it now. A man died … in Petros Leventis left our world forever. No my arms, Ron! I cannot act like nothing hapone said a word. Anna gently laid his head pened. This memory will haunt me forever. I on the stones, while looking at me with tear- want him to pay for it … the one who comful eyes. I shook my head sorrowfully. There mitted the murder.” was nothing we could do now. Only the wind The anger and determination in her blew between the walls like haunting wraiths words convinced me that she wouldn’t listen in daylight. to me anyway. I wouldn’t be able to shake her off now. CHAPTER ELEVEN Maybe I didn’t even wish for that to happen. We left the scene before the ambulance arrived. We didn’t want the authorities to *** ask uncomfortable questions later. The few tourists around us were foreigners, who “So you are leaving us,” inspector Fotodidn’t pay much attention to us because they poulos looked at me, when I told him that I were looking at the corpse with horror and would continue my vacation in Kavala. intensely discussing the events, allowing us “That’s right.” to disappear unnoticed. They didn’t see us “I’m sorry to hear that. Well … I wish you talking with the victim anyway. all the best!”

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“You’re just letting me go like this?” “It must be surprising to you, but I have nothing against you and there is no reason to arrest you. But I would like to ask something!” “Go ahead!” “Have you visited Nafplio today? Imagine, barely an hour ago, I heard on the news about a local resident who was shot in the Palamidi Fortress!” “This is the first I hear of this. I met with a pretty lady, you know. She was with me in Nafplio, where we had lunch and walked around a lot. We wanted to go up to the fort, but the staircase was closed because a police officer wasn’t allowing anyone to cross. Maybe this crime was the reason. Anyway, we came back, but if you have any problem with this …” “Alright, alright! No need to take my question so seriously!” He waved his hand. “Enquiry is a bad habit of mine. Occupational hazard.” “I’ve noticed. With your permission, I would like to leave now.” “Goodbye, Mr. Wyatt!” We shook hands, and I left the office. I felt his watchful gaze on my back until the door shut behind me.

CHAPTER TWELVE By noon the next day, we were already in Kavala. In the early morning, we had gone from Tolo to Kalamata by taxi, from which we could easily reach the second largest city in northern Greece via a cheap flight. Kavala was founded by settlers in 7 BC under the name of Neapolis, on the coast of the Kavala Gulf, opposite the island of Thassos. Thanks to its trading port and the gold hidden deep in the mountains of Panagia, it became a significant town in the area. Later, between 1387 and 1912, it came under the authority of the Ottoman Empire. Its current name was given 66

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in the 15th century, and it was during this time that the huge aqueduct was built, which still stands as a memento of the past. As I learned, tobacco and marble processing are the main parts of Kavala’s industry. All this was related to me by Anna while we sat on the plane, and I listened with interest. I always liked to hear new information about the places I visited. We booked our rooms at the Galaxy Hotel because of the favourable prices and location. It was on Venizelos Eleftheriou street, not far from the harbor. When I stepped out onto the balcony, a magnificent view opened before my eyes as dozens of ships rocked on the water along a promenade lined with palm trees. In the background, snow-white houses and the deep blue sea beat back the sun. I only regretted that the pleasant atmosphere of my visit was overshadowed by the earlier murders. After we had unpacked and had lunch, we decided to look for Leventis’ house. Prior to this, we had looked up the phone number of the house and Anna had called. A woman had picked up the phone, who turned out to be the tenant of the house. Anna managed to convince her that we were working for the National Gallery in Athens, and that Mr. Leventis had given us permission to examine the building, which was the home of a famous painter in the last century. The woman was thoroughly surprised but, to our astonishment, believed the story. Barely half an hour later, we stepped out into the vibrant city center, from which we could catch a taxi. We set out to find the address, while silently admiring the passing large squares and cobblestone streets, as well as the restaurants and storey buildings. The house was north of the harbor on a narrow street. Surrounded by a flower garden and old-style houses, the area looked very atmospheric. The renter of the yellowtile-roofed building, Miss Iliana Panayi,


enthusiastically invited us inside. She was a short woman whose dark, piled-up hair accentuated her slender neck and round face, in which smiling brown eyes sat. She was probably in her thirties. She wore jeans and a white blouse. As a good hostess, she offered us seats, then went to the kitchen to bring a glass of something cold to drink. Meanwhile, she didn’t stop talking and, in a few minutes, we had learned half her life story. Finally, she took a break and I was able to speak about the purpose of our visit. “Miss Panayi, as we told you earlier, we assume that a painter lived in this house before it was sold to the Leventis family. According to a few letters and a diary, it’s possible that the last picture of the artist was hidden in the attic of this building.” “How is this possible?” She asked in disbelief, but I had an explanation ready. On the way here, I’d had time to create a fake story. “Mr. Sicard was French and had no children. Because of his financial problems, he had to auction his home. The new owner, Nicholas Leventis—great-grandfather of Petros Leventis—renovated the house. During the work they found a tiny chamber under the basement where the painting was hidden. Unfortunately, Mr. Sicard had already died so he couldn’t take back his rightful property, which he had simply forgotten because of his other problems. Eventually, the fate of the picture depended on Nicholas Leventis’ daughter, who liked it so much that she hid it in the unfinished attic. She was afraid that her parents might sell the painting, and never dared to tell them what had happened. Instead, thanks to her, everyone thought it was stolen. We know this from her own diary. Later, she felt guilty about keeping it a secret from her father, so she left the picture in the attic.” From the corner of my eye, I noticed that Anna gave me an approving glance for my performance. I must admit, I was proud of

myself because Miss Panayi completely came under the influence of the story. I already felt sorry for her because of the lie, but I had to achieve my goal without putting her in danger. “So … if you don’t mind, we would like to examine the attic,” smiled Anna. “Of course. Follow me!” Our host motioned, and escorted us to a small room, from which a stairway led upstairs. Thick dust sat on the attic’s floor, while in the corners a multitude of spider webs were suspended. Worn-out pieces of furniture, newspapers and other odds and ends decorated the place. It was obvious that neither Petros Leventis, nor the occasional tenants, paid too much attention to the upper level. In fact, the attic looked unfinished. Once, a black nylon layer had run under the tiles, as a ceiling, but now it hung down raggedly. The three of us started to examine the place, especially around the beams. Between them, the tiles placed on the frame were visible. After an hour of searching, I was the one who found the painting! At the intersection of the eastern wall and the roof frame, a brown piece of rag peeped out from under the ragged nylon layer. I found it strange, so I looked closer. It was suspicious to me, so I asked Miss Panayi to bring me a knife, which she did. Once I got the knife in my hands, I ripped the layer with a firm motion. The material of the old nylon tore easily, and beneath it, a cylindrical shape covered in rags slowly revealed itself. I pulled it out carefully and put it on the floor, then gently unpacked it. The painting of François Sicard, which had caused so much trouble already, was finally in my hands. I glanced at Anna and both of us started to laugh. “We found it!” I whispered.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN The picture was really strange, as the old Pavlis had told me on the island of Hydra.

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The middle of the painting was dominated by Heracles, wearing a lion’s skin while raising a torch and his club to strike down the dragon-like creature whose head—one of many—stretched towards the hero from the left corner of the painting so its body didn’t appear on the creation. The scaled heads of the Hydra looked down on the hero with opened jaws and glowing red eyes. Meanwhile, in the background, modern white houses stood in the night. Not far from these waved the water of the harbor, with a boat on its surface into which three figures were loading some golden objects. In addition, the artist had used vibrant colors and deep shadows, so the painting attracted the attention even more. After I’d packed it back into the paper roll and the rags, we said goodbye to Panayi and expressed our deep gratitude for her cooperation. We even promised that someone would visit her soon from the National Gallery, and told her she might receive some money as a reward. I saw that the poor women became excited, but I hoped she would forget about the subject in a few weeks. By then I would hopefully have put an end to the case! “Now what?” asked Anna when we returned to the street. Fortunately, a new red cab appeared and I motioned to stop it. “Now we return to the hotel and discuss the rest,” I said, and opened the door of the red Mercedes for my partner like a true gentlemen. Suddenly, a dark blue BMW caught my eye across the street. For a moment, I just stared at the car. I don’t know why but somehow it seemed threatening. Even more so, because one lone figure was sitting at the wheel, his eyes fixed on us. His face was hidden in shadow, except for some parts of it, which looked familiar. Then I realized who I was looking at: the bearded guy from the beach at Tolo! The one I interrogated. One of the killers of Professor Bergman. 68

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The man started his car and stepped on the gas, while pulling down the window and reaching out his hand. He was holding a silenced pistol. I ducked down at the last moment to avoid the lethal bullets. Anna screamed as a projectile shattered the rear window of the taxi and the BMW passed us, though it didn’t go far. Less than four meters away the vehicle crossed the road and stopped, and the man fired at us again. This time the terrified and shouting taxi driver ran out of luck as a bullet found its way into his chest. He died immediately. I knew that we had to get out of there as soon as possible! With hasty movements, I opened the car’s door and dragged out the body while deadly projectiles flew around me. Then I jumped into the seat, turned the ignition, put the car into gear and stepped on the gas. The taxi rolled backwards toward the exit of the street. I turned it not far from the exit, but the BMW had drawn dangerously close already. A cat and mouse chase started. I drove out from the side street with a sharp turn, while the cars—coming from the left— crossed the road with squealing brakes and angry drivers behind their wheels. The sun was shining brilliantly, but the surrounding houses provided enough shade to allow me to see where I was going. And I needed a clear view, because long lines of cars were parked on both sides of the road. Meanwhile, the BMW raced close behind us. The bearded guy gained on us often, and we felt it when he pushed the taxi with the bumper of his vehicle. Sometimes I could hardly keep the Mercedes on the road because of the collisions. Anna screamed almost annoyingly, while trying to encourage me to go faster, which I didn’t think such a good idea in the medium traffic, but I had no choice. My heart was beating in my throat, especially when I had to pull the wheel to avoid hitting a woman, who just


wanted to cross the road to get to the other side of the street. Her terrified face remained vividly in my memory. People noticed the chase wherever we passed. Numerous thoughts flashed through my head on how we could shake the man, but nothing clear came to mind. So I turned into an alley again, while another bullet hit the car. A small tavern was located in the street, where just a few guests were eating. They curiously turned towards us as we passed in front of them. I saw three Chinese tourists rushing out from the building to take photos. At least they had a little excitement. For me it was too much already. Meanwhile, we drove past a traffic sign then found ourselves on a wider highway, which ran across the city. Suddenly, I spotted the rising fortress over Kavala, which was built in the Byzantine era against the barbarian hordes. With its robust shape, the fortress was prestigiously bathing in the sunshine, while looking down on the old town and the nearby harbor. We headed straight in that direction, which wasn’t difficult since the majority of the roads led to the harbor. Time passed, bullets flew and the tires smoked while a song of terrified screams reached us. Soon we found ourselves at the gate of the old city, which was connected to the modern part of Kavala by the huge aqueduct. The arched gateway of the building was approaching fast. The gray stones created a sharp contrast with the leaves of the nearby palm trees. In the next moment, the side window broke into pieces and I felt some of the shards injure my face. The BMW drew near us. I saw the bearded man aiming the gun at me as we reached the passage. So I acted quickly and jerked the wheel to the left. The two cars collided with a loud bang. Our persistent pursuer lost his balance and the bullet missed its target. In addition, he was gripping the wheel with only one

hand, so he had no chance against the full weight of the vehicle, and couldn’t keep the car on the road. It was a pleasure to watch the BMW hit the massive pedestal of the aqueduct. Its hood was crushed and the front right wheel was torn from its place. Anna and I smiled at each other in relief, but we didn’t stop to admire the scenery. However, my mood was ruined when I looked in the rear-view mirror. I saw the bearded guy coming out of the wreck, then he just ran away. I felt disappointed because I’d hoped that we had finally gotten rid of him! Sadly my hopes vanished in the glimpse of an eye. But the painting was in my hands, and that was what mattered.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN After leaving the taxi in a quiet alley, we returned to the hotel to refresh ourselves. Anna felt tired so she withdrew to her room, but said she would join me in an hour. I knew that even if I’d wanted to sleep, my discursive thoughts wouldn’t allow that to happen. Instead, I took the picture and put it on the bed. I was sure that François Sicard had left some traces in his final work. It couldn’t be a coincidence that after its completion, he had died. I stared at the painting for a long time, until a minor detail caught my eye. As I looked closer, I lifted my eyebrows because the discovery had fundamentally shaken my theory of events. I decided that it was time to call my old friend Barton Campbell in London. Barton and I had founded the detective agency together. Though he remained a silent partner, he helped me out with some information from time to time. “Ron! How are you? Chasing the girls on the beach every day, right?” He laughed after receiving the call.

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“Not exactly. Unfortunately … I’m involved in a serious case and I need your help, Barton,” I replied, and briefly told him what had happened. “Can’t say I envy you, Ron. I think you should bring the painting to the cops.” “And get myself in even bigger trouble? Now that it’s in my hand I have the trump card. Not to mention the fact that I can’t prove it wasn’t me who killed Professor Bergman in Tolo. I wouldn’t be happy to spend the rest of my life in a Greek prison.” “Maybe you’re right. What can I do for you then?” “Get some information about a German antique dealer called Heinrich Ganz! Try to pinpoint the year he visited the island of Hydra. Find out if something else happened on the island before Sicard’s death. Also, try to learn in whose possession Sicard’s paintings are found!” “Okay, I’ll call you as soon as I have any news!” Both of us said goodbye and the discussion ended. I folded the picture and put it back in its case, then hid it under the bed. Eventually, I sat on the balcony and began to wonder. Was it possible that I’d found answers to some of my questions? Hopefully this was the case, but I had to wait until Barton called back to be certain. The sun slowly approached the horizon as I listened to the sound of the traffic and the horn of a ship somewhere in the port. Two hours later, there was a knock on my door and I saw Anna waiting in the corridor. She smiled at me. “I slept a little longer than I promised. Sorry!” Anna came closer and our faces almost touched. I found her very charming in this moment. She was wearing shorts and a purple T-shirt, which highlighted her curves. Her green eyes sparkled like seductive diamonds and I couldn’t resist any longer. I kissed her 70

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warmly. She returned the gesture. We fell onto the bed while embracing each other, and with hasty moves peeled ourselves out of our clothes. The touch of her silky skin only stirred my desire, while her wavy hair fell across her curvy breasts. We climbed up again and again to the peaks of pressure for many hours, until we ran out of energy. Our bodies were bathed in sweat and heated up. This was eased only by the wind which penetrated the door of the balcony. Barton hadn’t called me back yet, but I didn’t mind for the time being. A few minutes later, I went to the bathroom, then pulled on my shorts and stepped outside on the balcony to breathe in some fresh air. The cool air gave me chills, but it was good because I felt as fresh as ever before. From the room below us, I heard the sounds of a couple’s romantic night, which made me smile. Their balcony door was probably open. The lamps of Kavala dressed the city in a cosy robe. The illuminated shape of the fortress and the shining lights of the harbor dancing on the surface of the water filled me with peace. Then I heard noises from inside. I looked into the room and saw Anna fully dressed with the painting in her hands. That didn’t surprise me, but the sight of the blond-haired man, standing at the open door, did. Not to mention the gun he was holding. I was staring at the killer of Petros Leventis! “I’m sorry, Ron!” said Anna, without looking at me. I couldn’t say a word in my surprise. Her treachery totally shocked me with the power of a striking hammer. The blond man grinned wickedly and raised his weapon. I didn’t wait for him to shoot. There was no place to hide, so I made a desperate move. I jumped to the side of the balcony door and threw myself over the banister while grasping it with both hands. I heard the sound of the bullets coming through the glass and


glancing off the banister. Then a few seconds later, I tried to get a grip on the balcony itself. I knew it was a crazy idea, but I had no choice. I was clinging there, grasping the bottom of the balcony like an orangutan. The muscles in my arms started to burn thanks to the unusual strain, then I heard voices coming from above. “No! I’m sure he has fallen down,” said Anna. “Let’s go and prepare for the meeting instead!” “Ambrosia Club, right?” asked the man, and Anna answered yes. “Okay, we can go, but first I will check to see if he really is dead.” The soles of his shoes tapped softly as he approached. I couldn’t wait any longer. I started swinging my body a little, then opened my fingers and began to fall. In the next moment, thanks to the goddess Fortuna, I found myself on the balcony beneath our room, where I successfully hit a table, which broke into pieces under my weight. The air was knocked out of my lungs and I felt a little pain, but at least I didn’t suffer any serious injuries. After a few seconds, I stood up a bit dazzled and walked into the room. Inside, the couple who had been making love on the bed stared at me in horror. “Pardon me!” I said, waving at them, and left their room. Stepping out into the hallway, I saw the elevator going downstairs, so I started to run towards the lobby. The receptionist, an elderly man, was surprised when he saw my half-naked figure, but I was heading for the exit and didn’t pay much attention to him. Through the glass door, I noticed Anna and the blond man getting into a taxi. By the time I stormed out, they had already left. I watched the vehicle disappear into the night while I sank to my knees. I felt disappointed and empty because of Anna, who had just been using me all along.

The anger inside me was about to erupt like a volcano. I had never felt such strong emotion before. “The game is not over yet.”

CHAPTER FIFTEEN It was time to return to my room, but first I asked the receptionist about the location of the Ambrosia club. He told me where I could find it and I thanked him. Meanwhile, some guests entered the lobby and looked at me stunned, but I ignored them while walking to the elevator. I played over the events in my head again and again, but couldn’t find an explanation for Anna’s behavior. Unless she had been playing me since the island of Hydra. After all, she had been quite pushy when we first met. I shouldn’t have trusted her! However, I couldn’t afford the luxury of brooding over the past. I quickly got dressed and was about to leave to catch a taxi, but as I returned to the lobby, an unexpected guest stood in my way. He was a Greek man wearing a white shirt and brown jacket, and constantly smiling eyes sat in his craggy face, which somehow made him look like a trustworthy person. It was obvious that he was no threat to me. “Mr. Wyatt?” “In the flesh, but who are you?” “A friend,” he said simply. “We need to talk!” “Look … I’m in a hurry and …” “Oh … I understand, but I think the painting of François Sicard is worth wasting a few minutes of your life on me.” I stared at him with wide open eyes, but I couldn’t argue with this statement. We talked for fifteen minutes. Afterwards, I left the hotel, feeling more positive about the coming hours. I stepped out into the street and, within a few minutes, had managed

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to get a taxi. Barton called me while I told the driver where to go, and the information I received from him answered many of my questions. The whole picture suddenly became clear. So far, I was just another puppet in the hands of others, thanks to Anna, but now it was time to put an end to this. I was heading to the harbor, and was continuously surprised by how many people were walking on the streets. The nightlife of Kavala had already started. After I left the taxi, I found the club, located in a quieter part of the port, relatively quickly. It was created from an old, smaller warehouse, indicated by a red flashing panel. I walked in the direction of the building between the parked cars. A pleasantly warm, though sometimes cool, wind blew in from the sea, on which the coastal lights of the city danced playfully, providing a magnificent spectacle in the night. A low-flying helicopter drove off in the starry sky. By the pier, a few boats and a battered fishing vessel rocked. Soft music and laughter reached my ears from its deck. A drunk homeless man lay on a bench a few meters away, muttering in his sleep. The loud music hit me like a wall when I entered through the door of the club. I had to get used to it, as I couldn’t even hear my own thoughts. It was a long time since I’d visited such a place. Fortunately, there were a lot of people inside, so I managed to walk to the bar without attracting attention and ordered a drink, while keeping an eye on my surroundings. Decorative girls and cool boys danced in the flashing lights. The tables were lined up along the walls, separated by thin-walled boxes, but only a few people sat on the chairs. Long minutes passed with waiting and I started to fear that I had come in vain when I noticed a familiar face in the crowd: the blond-haired man had appeared, and in his company was Anna. 72

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She held the paper cylinder that contained the painting, and was wearing the same clothes as when I’d last seen her. I quickly turned away to avoid being noticed, but followed them with my eyes. They went straight to a table in the corner, and took a seat. They were not alone. An old man sat in front of them, wearing a white suit and a hat. Two large guys stood beside him. Bodyguards, no doubt. With their grim faces—both of them were bald but one of them had a thick beard—they didn’t seem too dependable. There was a brief conversation, then the company got up and moved towards the exit. I carefully followed them. It wasn’t easy to fight my way through the crowd, but I succeeded. After stepping out the door, I immediately jumped behind a car and continued watching from there. The old man and the others finally stopped at a white Audi, which was waiting at the edge of the parking lot under the rustling foliage of the nearby trees. Something, however, thoroughly surprised me. The blond guy roughly grasped Anna and took the painting from her. Meanwhile, I managed to get close enough to hear their conversation. The harbor was quiet … too quiet. Nobody came in or out of the club. It was like the calm before the storm, or at least that’s how I felt. “Good job, Miss Tanakis,” the old man nodded. “As if I had a choice, you bastard!” Anna stepped forward, but the blond man pulled her back. “Would you tell your gorilla to let me go finally?” “I’m afraid I can’t do that! I’m sure you understand what a difficult situation this is, so you will have to come with us. You know too much, madam.” “Where should we do it, Herr Ganz?” asked the blond guy, confirming what I had already suspected. The old man was none


other than the German antique dealer who’d wanted to get ahold of the painting of François Sicard many years ago: Heinrich Ganz. “This place is not very suitable because of the club. Anyone could disturb us. We will say a final goodbye to Miss Tanakis in the suburbs,” laughed Ganz in his rasping voice, and motioned for her to get in the car. Anna resisted vehemently and tried to scream, but her captor put his hand on her mouth. In his grip, she was like a defenceless fly in a spider’s web. I had to act! While one of the bodyguards opened the door of the Audi to let their boss get in, I came around the car I was crouched behind. My muscles tightened and I was ready to overrun them. I knew the risk and how small my chances were, but there was no other choice, no matter how crazy the idea was. In the next moment, a gunshot thundered and the blond guy’s body twisted, then he fell to the ground, letting go of Anna, who leaned against the car in terror. The painting ended up on the concrete. Heinrich Ganz and his guards also froze. Seconds later, a loud voice sounded and two men stepped out of the shadows. “Nobody move!” It was the bearded assassin, who had shot at us in the afternoon from the BMW. Next to him was a tall and slim figure, who also pointed a gun at the others. His face was covered by glasses and a beard, but these just didn’t fit him. No doubt he was wearing a disguise. But I already knew his identity, thanks to the information Barton had given me. It seemed the time of reckoning had come.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN At this very moment, all those gathered wanted the painting without sparing a thought for human life. The board was set

and the puppets prepared to make their last moves. I could sit back comfortably and watch as they slaughtered each other since I was unarmed anyway, but I was worried for Anna’s life. However, although I was always fond of a challenge, for now, I still waited. “Who the hell are you?” asked Ganz, and the man in glasses replied with a laugh. “My name is not important, though I’m sure you’ve heard of me. What matters is that I want the painting. That busybody private detective and you, Herr Ganz, almost ruined my plans, but the game is now over!” “Look … I’m very rich. Maybe we could make a deal …” “Don’t tire yourself! I’m not interested in your money. Drop your weapons instead!” The antique dealer started grinding his teeth in rage. His bodyguards were forced to obey the command, so they threw away their pistols. The weapons landed on the ground, and one of them skidded under the car I was crouched behind. “Miss Tanakis!” The man in glasses glanced at Anna. “Would you bring the painting to me please?” He smiled, but his face reminded me of a predator, and I noticed that Anna felt uneasy doing what the man had asked. She slowly lifted the cylinder and cautiously started walking towards the two men. Meanwhile, I tried to acquire the gun under the vehicle without being noticed. After a short period of stretching, I reached it, and the touch of the cool handle provided me with courage. By now the picture was already in the hands of the bespectacled man, while his bearded companion held Anna with one hand, aiming the gun in the other at the German. “Listen!” Ganz tried to talk himself out of the situation. “I have good relationships with powerful people. They could help you sell the painting for a splendid price on the

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black market. Let’s discuss it or leave us and go! Either way, you win.” The man in glasses looked quickly at the bearded assassin standing next to him, then both of them glanced back at the antique dealer. “There is a third option.” “Like what?” asked Ganz desperately. His bodyguards were staring at the guns, almost mesmerized. “Like this,” said the bespectacled man simply, then pulled the trigger just like his partner. The hollow sound of music coming from the club was completely suppressed by the banging sounds of the guns, as their muzzle fire flashed several times while the German and his gorillas plunged to the ground like bloody rag dolls. The man in glasses put away his pistol and made to leave with the picture. “Take care of her, but be fast!” He ordered his companion, who pressed his weapon to Anna’s temple. I jumped out from my cover and shouted at them. The bearded assassin, along with his boss, looked at me stunned. “Let her go, right now!” I pointed the gun at them and my glance met with Anna’s eyes, which shone with relief. “Mr. Wyatt! What a surprise, though maybe not so much. After all, we came here by following you,” said the man in glasses. “Don’t be a fool! Do you think you have any chance?” “I said let her go now!” I hissed, and I was ready to shoot. The assassin also tightened his fingers on the trigger, his eyes throwing sparks of anger as he looked at me. I felt a bead of sweat drip down my forehead. The tension was palpable in the air. Anna’s life hung in the balance! The long silence was finally broken by the cruel words of the man in glasses. “Kill her!” 74

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I didn’t wait for the assassin to carry out the command, but neither did Anna. She tore her arm from his grasp and pushed him. I pulled the trigger and the bullet crossed the distance between us. The killer’s body jerked as the projectile penetrated his chest, on which a slowly spreading red spot appeared like a bizarre flower. He fell with widely opened eyes. I saw how his boss took out his gun to send me to the afterlife. My gun-holding arm swung to prevent this, but it wasn’t necessary. A blinding light flashed and a reflector from one of the boats highlighted us. I could swear it wasn’t there before. It had probably been lying on the bottom of the boat hidden from curious eyes. Within seconds, dozens of policemen had surrounded us. They practically invaded the parking lot and the wharf. Some stood on the deck of the fishing vessel. Others came from the hill behind the club and some jumped out from the boats. Meanwhile, a real crowd gathered outside the club, as a few people had come out to smoke and immediately informed their friends about what was happening. The guy in glasses was surprised and didn’t dare move. Then a man stepped out from behind the wall of the policemen. He was wearing a brown jacket and white shirt and holding a pistol. His strict eyes turned to the figure standing in front of me. “As you can see, you are surrounded. There is no escape from here. Drop the gun and lie down on the ground! I’m arresting you in the name of the Greek police.” The bespectacled man looked at me and the detective for a long time. Then his fingers opened and he let go of the weapon. In that moment, three policemen rushed at him. They screwed back his arm and snapped a handcuff on his wrist. I felt relieved, while Anna stepped up to me and put her arms around my waist.


“I’m sorry for what I did!” she said. I looked into those green eyes and kissed her long and passionately. “I was afraid you might not arrive in time, Mr. Venizelos,” I turned to the detective after catching my breath. He was the one who had visited me at the hotel a few hours ago, when I was about to come here. “We wouldn’t let anything happen to you, Mr. Wyatt,” he smiled. “But we had to secure the location first. After you told me where the meeting would be, I immediately called my colleagues. We arrived here shortly before you did. Most of us came on the Coast Guard’s ship, which let us off, then disappeared so as not to cause any suspicion. The others came in cars, which are now left in an alley. The fact that we remained unnoticed was pure luck. However, you need to explain a few things!” “With pleasure!”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Detective Ilias Venizelos put us in a police car and we drove to the Police Station of Kavala, which was located north of the port on Omonoias street, the longest road of the city. We ended up in a rather small office, where we sat down to make a report in which I could explain a few things. I was ready to answer their questions, while Anna waited tensely beside me. She didn’t say a word on the way here and probably didn’t know what to expect, despite the fact that I had kissed her not long ago. Her treachery needed explanation, and the detective didn’t hesitate to ask for it. “Before Mr. Wyatt kindly enlightens us about the case, tell me, Miss Tanakis, why did you play the painting into the hands of Heinrich Ganz?” “I …” Anna began and looked at me with misty eyes, then lowered her gaze. “I had no other choice. After we returned from the island of Hydra, that blond guy was already

waiting for me in my hotel room in Tolo and the German was with him. But it wasn’t the first time we met. They threatened that they would kill my father if I didn’t inform them about Ron’s plans. They knew that Jennifer Sicard was searching for the painting so they followed her to Greece. They also knew she would try to make contact with a private detective. When she talked to Ron on the beach … it was easy to figure out that he was the one. I was already there in Tolo because Ganz wanted a women to spy for them.” “Why you?” I asked and looked at her. “Because of my look, they said. Ganz noticed me in Athens in a cafeteria two days before my trip to Tolo.” “How do you know so much, Miss Tanakis?” Asked Venizelos, who seemed very curious, and with good reason. “They told me, which made me wonder if they would leave me alive or not.” “Looks like the German thought about everything, though I didn’t know about them yet when all this happened,” I said. Her testimony revealed why she had been so pushy when we first met. She’d had no choice. I just hoped it wasn’t hard for her to get closer to me! “Yes, but you did make contact with the Sicard girl and it was enough reason for them to look after you. What happened in Nafplio, where the blond guy shot down Petros Leventis, was my fault. I told them where we were going. I wanted to tell you, but I couldn’t. They said a man was waiting in Athens just to blow up the nursing home where my father lives, due to his condition. There was no reason to doubt their words. In addition, Ganz showed me a photo of my father sitting on a bench in the garden and talking with the other patients. I was so scared! However, I tried to give them as little information as I could, though I couldn’t fool them. Before we came to Kavala, I called them again.”

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“They ordered you to get the picture from me after we found it, right?” I lifted her chin to let our gaze meet. “Yes. I’m so sorry, Ron! I thought they were going to kill you before my eyes, but I was helpless.” “Don’t worry about it! You were in a difficult situation. Do you know anything about your father?” “Only that he is not in danger anymore. Before the meeting at the club, the blond guy called their accessory in Athens and told him not to hurt my father, and to leave the city. Then he allowed me to call the nursing home and speak with my father. But I need to see him! I need to know that they didn’t trick me!” “Well … I think this relieves you from all charges, Miss Tanakis,” smiled the detective. “It’s your turn, Mr. Wyatt! In the hotel, you already clarified a few things about the matter, but there is still something I don’t understand. Who is the other person who also wanted the painting, and why?” “I’ll tell you, of course. But first let me talk about the motive behind the actions of Heinrich Ganz! He wanted the painting not only for its value, but because a much more serious thing stood in the background.” “Go on!” “François Sicard was killed by the German antique dealer. Shortly after he went to the island of Hydra in 1991, he heard about the artist, whose work had already attracted his attention, so he visited him. But Ganz was shocked when he saw the latest creation of Sicard. In fact, Heinrich Ganz had travelled to the island to steal a valuable artifact from one of the churches.” “What kind of artifact?” “A golden cross with a red diamond in the middle. The theft took place at night. The treasure was loaded on a boat and taken to a safe place. Ganz stayed on the island to avoid any suspicion. However, the old painter was 76

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an eyewitness of the case. Probably he was wandering near the coast that night, so the next day he painted what he saw because he didn’t dare talk about it, as he feared for his life. With good reason. So, when Ganz visited him, he recognized the implicit message in the picture and feared that Sicard would go to the police. That’s why he wanted the picture at any price. Sicard became suspicious and didn’t sell it to him. This was his doom. Ganz set his house on fire to destroy the evidence and the only witness.” “How do you know this?” Venizelos shook his head in disbelief. “Thanks to my friend in London. He dug up the newspapers from that time. That’s where I heard about the stolen cross. But the artifact is also visible on the painting. It’s not easy to notice it, but it’s there, right under the gaze of the monster Hydra. One of the creature’s eyes is focused on it. So it wasn’t hard to put the pieces together then. However, Ganz’s calculations were flawed because the painting was saved and the Sicard family never stopped looking for answers about the death of their relatives. It was the German who killed François Sicard and his son, Luc Sicard, though I have no real proof of this.” “Unbelievable,” sighed Anna. “So many died because of one man’s greed.” “If only there were one, but there are two of them!” I corrected her. “Here is where our friend, who was working in the background, comes into it: Patrick Nelson.” “So that’s his name? Who is he, really?” “A wealthy owner of a shipping company in the United States.” “And you know this from your friend in London too?” “You could say that. He gave me a list of those who bought paintings from Sicard in the last few years. Five people were on the list, but only Patrick Nelson had more than a dozen pictures! He is an enthusiastic collector of artwork and his name came up several


times in relation to cases of stolen paintings. EPILOGUE Of course, there was never any proof that he had anything to do with those. Analysts We walked hand in hand down the street, believe a Sicard collection could be of price- which was closed by the impressive aqueduct, less value.” like a wall at the end of the road. The stones “I always hated the crazy millionaires,” were shining with gray-blue light thanks to said Venizelos, leaning back in his chair. the nearby street lamps. The area was sur“No wonder. I think Nelson was even more prisingly quiet. Only a few cars passed by us dangerous than Ganz. He knew that more while a soft wind swept through the buildpeople were looking for the picture and he ings. Stray cats jumped into the shadows as tried to clear everyone from his path: the they heard our footsteps. Sicard girl, Professor Bergman, Ganz and me.” “I would like to ask something,” I broke “Fortunately he didn’t reach his goal! Mr. the silence, then pulled Anna to the wall of Wyatt and Miss Tanakis … I think we are fin- a house. She looked deeply into my eyes, but ished. My colleagues in Kavala will take care her serious face betrayed no emotion. of the rest. Thanks for your help! You can “I guess I already know what you want to leave now.” ask.” “One more word, detective!” I lifted my “That despite the compelling factors … finger to stop him. “You didn’t tell me in the were your feelings towards me true?” I nodhotel what I wanted to know. How and where ded. were you informed about the case? You said “I know that your trust in me has probably you work in Athens.” been shaken, Ron, but I can tell you honestly “That’s right. Do you remember inspector that I would have met you even without Ganz. Fotopoulos in Tolo?” All that we shared with each other and what “Of course.” happened between us … was true.” “He called me after you left town. He I couldn’t stop smiling after her words. I worked in Athens before he moved to Tolo. felt happy and relieved. The spasm that had We were partners for three years, so I trusted clutched my throat was completely gone and him, and I was available anyway. It wasn’t Anna finally let her emotions rise to the surhard to follow you in Kavala. We bugged face. I never saw her as more charming than your suite after both of you left to find the in that moment. I kissed her. I couldn’t get painting.” enough of the sweet taste of her lips. “And I thought the inspector suspected A few minutes later, a taxi approached that I was the one who murdered Professor and I waved to make the driver notice us. Bergman,” I laughed, and then shook hands “Let’s go back to the hotel!” I said after my with the detective. “Thanks for everything!” mouth became free. “The night is still young, “Farewell, Mr. Venizelos!” said Anna, don’t you think?” with her arms around my elbow. “This time we agree, Mr. Wyatt,” she “Take care of yourselves!” Venizelos nod- laughed and then both of us got inside the ded and left. taxi. � It was time for us to leave too.

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Aναπαράσταση (Representation) by Odysseas Anninos.


FICTION

College Life: November, 1941 BY GEORGE KARNEZIS

P

rofessor Stanley Morse turned away from Homer’s Odyssey and looked out from his third floor office window in Wieboldt Hall. It was one of those deep, dark November afternoons with a chilling wind tossing snow flurries under a dull grey sky. The trees clung to their last few leaves. Students hurried across campus, their books held against their chests. Not a day for discussing Odysseus’s landing on an island awash in Homer’s wine dark sea. Still, he thought, maybe I could make some connection. Being buffeted by that wind off Lake Michigan was not exactly the same as being storm-tossed the way Odysseus was by Poseidon, but it was fun to devise analogies like this. His students always seemed to appreciate such sudden connections with their own lives. He had been teaching this humanities course for almost two decades. He still loved teaching it, particularly because the students were undergraduates, mainly first and second year. Many were still a little green, pretty excited or excitable, and he delighted in many of their innocent and untutored responses. Morse was one of the few senior professors who insisted on teaching such courses. Many of his colleagues wondered at his devotion to them. After he became a full professor, they told him that the junior staff should pay their dues teaching the novices so that he could teach more advanced courses and seminars. After all, wasn’t he weary of those stacks of stilted prose, those

predictable responses, all those papers that took so much longer to read and correct? “I take your point,” he had said, and gave them some history, explaining how he’d gotten into this business because of Mark Baskin, a respectable senior scholar and teacher who also seemed to enjoy teaching introductory courses. Teachers like Baskin, mentors really, were his early models, like Harkins in history and Goldsmith in philosophy, who paid proper attention to their students, reading and responding to their papers, not merely grading them. Once in a while Morse would take out some of his yellowed papers he had saved from his own early college years. He would wince at his juvenile prose and be reminded again of how forgiving Baskin had been. His talent for crafting those sharp, critical observations displayed a master teacher’s tact for asking appropriate questions, the ones whose answers would have made the writing better. Baskin would routinely exhort Morse and his classmates “to put more questions to your work before handing it in. That way, you would save me, your reader, the trouble of doing so.” Such advice had sounded so odd and evasive when he first heard it, but it had stuck with him, so much so that now, as Professor Morse, he could hear Baskin’s voice whenever he counseled his students about their writing. Yes, Baskin was for him a Socrates performing midwifery. Just the other day Morse had told some colleagues, 2014 | VOICES

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who again suggested he take a break from immediately with a humble warning: his such teaching, that he was still carrying world is not the Gods’. And he quickly recalls Baskin’s torch. “Yeah,” someone quipped, the fates of those lost to war, or on the jour“sometimes the cave is pretty dark.” ney homeward, so that Telemachus and all The snow came heavier. Yeah, pretty dark those who have ears to hear could underand we’re getting deeper and deeper into it. stand that he, a Spartan King, would give He recalled that sentence from Simone Weil: much of what he’s gained if only he could In the end, a study of modern history leads bring those companions back to life. to the conclusion that the national interest of The class had stayed with him. Through every State consists in its capacity to make his careful questioning they were led to war. How many of those young men he saw become Homer’s audience listening to how every day would wind up dead or wounded an innocent youth like Telemachus could be in the war that was surely coming despite taught, just as we all needed to be taught, efforts to stay neutral? How many would that “victory” and fame have to be purchased, survive, and what sort of Ithaka would they and that payment never ceases. It was all he return to when it was all over? His own son could do to withhold his personal history: I had been blown to bits just a week before understand, you see, my son was only twenty Ares gobbled his last meal of young men in when— the so-called Great War fought to end all Morse heard the knock on his door just wars. And who pays for it all and who gains? after he had skimmed a few more lines and The old Greeks had it right. Everybody loses. come to Menelaos’s question: “What pleasure Agamemnon sacrifices a daughter so the fleet can I take then in all these precious things ...?” can sail, but when he returns triumphant, He looked at his watch. Five minutes till class his wife slaughters him in revenge, and then time. He rose and opened the door. It was she is killed when their son exacts similar Michael Drugas, an older student in his class, revenge on his own mother. And Achilles is sometimes very outspoken, but never excesas dead as Hector. sively so as some overconfident types were. Morse returned to his book and recalled A young woman, quite attractive, wearing the previous class. Then he had noted how a black beret, a well-worn long winter coat, deftly Homer had sounded such solemn notes, and a white hand-knit woolen scarf, stood a making the pain of war that much more little behind him. Morse noticed how nicely poignant and present when remembered her dark wavy hair rested on her shoulders. amidst the splendid setting of a victorious She still had her gloves on and seemed a little King Menelaos of Sparta presiding now frightened, as if she were using her comover a joyous wedding feast to celebrate panion as a shield from the cold. Morse was the double wedding of his son and daughter. quick to give her a reassuring smile. Telemachus, searching for news of his father, “I’m so sorry to bother you, Professor. I enters the scene as a visitor. He is amazed just wanted to be sure it was OK if my friend at the splendor of it all and whispers to his Miss Georgan here,” he bent his head in her companion that surely they find themselves direction, “visited our class today even if in a place resembling “the court of Zeus.” she’s not a student.” (“Think,” Morse had quipped, to his students’ “Mr. Drugas, ah, yes. Of course. Certainly. delight, “of an Indiana farm boy gazing awe- Most welcome.” struck at the Palmer House lobby.”) The King Michael nodded and said his thank you. overhears Telemachus’s praise and responds Morse watched him take his companion’s 80

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arm and lead her toward the classroom down the hall. Drugas. He would be the sort of student to refer to “our” instead of “your” class. Morse liked him for it. Besides, he was one of those few students who ever approached him about his politics. In 1937, there had been that awful mess, a massacre, really, during the steel strike on the Southeast Side. The police had gone berserk and Drugas’s father had been shot and was paralyzed on that Decoration Day. Michael told Morse that he had heard the rousing speech the professor gave at a rally downtown a few days later, and that he decided right then, even while still in high school, that he wanted to get into the University where— how had Drugas put it?—“guys like you were teaching.” Drugas had asked what it was like for Morse to be on a stage with the likes of Carl Sandburg, A. Philip Randolph, and Paul Douglas, who were also at the rally. Morse described the scene and his feelings as best he could, and then had warned the young man that there were a number of his colleagues who were less sympathetic to his public activities. He then asked Drugas about his own interests. “Just learning,” Drugas said, which was refreshing to ears used to receiving some sort of set speech in answer to such a question Morse returned to his desk, picked up his Odyssey and a few index cards, put them in his briefcase, took a last look at the snow thickening in the dwindling daylight, and walked to his classroom. *** “So let me remind you again how important it is to listen to Homer and to imagine a rhapsode speaking and even singing this story. That meant you had to perform—” Morse saw Mr. Lentz’s hand shoot up. “Yes?” Lentz was looking intently at him. “Sir, you used that word before. Rap—?”

“Rhapsode, yes? Can anyone help us here? I’m gone at the end of the term, so it’s nice to rely on your fellow students for wisdom in my absence.” Some chuckles from others and a little embarrassment from Lentz. “Yes, Miss Malone?” “The rhapsode was a professional singer or performer who recited Homer. Think about the word rhapsody, or ode. There could be musical accompaniment with a lyre. You said that later we’d be reading Plato and he gives rhapsodes a tough time.” “Good, thank you. And yes, we will be reading Plato’s Ion where, as you noted Miss Malone, we get some criticism of these performers and even poetry in general. Does that help, Mr. Lentz? “Yes sir, thank you.” “Thank Miss Malone.” Some laughter again and he wondered as he watched Jane Malone blush whether he’d gone too far. He smiled broadly at both of them as they exchanged quick glances. No harm done. Another hand went up. “Yes, Mr. Goodman?” “Sir, it’s tough to imagine this being sung and anyway it’s a translation so it’s even harder to ...” Morse had heard it all before but appeared to listen as Goodman elaborated his complaint about “those long speeches,” while also taking some pleasure in announcing that their translation was in prose, not verse. Maybe he hadn’t read the assignment, or was just bored with it so he had to look for excuses. “You raise some good points, Mr. Goodman. We are not studying the original and have to rely on the wisdom and devotion of translators.” He reminded them of the famous verse translations by Chapman and Pope, welcomed papers that would compare them, and then brought up what he thought was an especially interesting point. “Funny, isn’t it, how dependent we are on transla-

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tions? Let me see. How many of you read the Bible in the original Greek or Hebrew?” Five or six hands went up, some of them tentatively. “Ok. Fine. Now also think about the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic and yet the Gospels were written in Greek—that is, the evangelists were translating his words. Strictly speaking, we don’t have Jesus’s original words.” He paused. It was clear they hadn’t thought about such matters before, about how the past was obtained. He looked at Michael Drugas and noticed he had turned to his companion with a look that said ‘See, I told you this guy was everything I said he was.’ Or so it seemed to Morse. Perhaps, over the years he had gotten into the habit of overinterpreting students’ expressions.

“Sounds like a sloppy Greek Tarzan. Pretty scary. No wonder the handmaidens scatter!” “But your second point—the one about the lengthy speeches—is worth addressing. Does anyone wish to respond to Mr. Goodman’s observation? Yes, Mr. Drugas?” “You reminded us, last week I think, about the Greeks’ love of rhetoric and how those who could use—what does Homer say, ‘winged words?’—were honored. Back in Book One Telemachus gets tough with the suitors after Athena helps him to speak his mind. Sure, I agree with Mitch—Mr. Goodman—about the speeches, but for Homer they were a sign of character and ability.” Morse waited for others to respond. He looked at Mr. Goodman who had turned in his seat to listen to Drugas. Morse was tempted to merely praise the insight but 82

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knew he risked showing undue favoritism. It was one of those moments when he decided to do something he hadn’t planned on doing, but he routinely reminded himself that such openings were what kept him passionate about teaching. “Thank you, Mr. Drugas. That’s a point well made. But let’s play with this topic a bit more and bring it back to the rhapsode’s role in all this, keeping in mind Mr. Goodman’s concerns. Do I have any volunteers, any budding orators or rhapsodes in the class willing to read a speech aloud? I have one in mind that may be of interest. It’s the first words Odysseus says to Nausikaa when she sees him in book six. Let’s test out Mr. Drugas’s point about character and ability, something the Greeks called arête.” He gave them the page number and they took a few moments to turn to it and locate the speech. There was a time when he was impatient with such pauses, but he’d come to understand how each class acquired its own rhythm or pacing beyond his control. He waited for volunteers. Morse watched the bowed heads as they read silently. Still no takers. He waited a little longer. A few students looked up at him. Finally Sean Farrell slowly raised his hand. “Well, I’ll give it a try. I’m on the speech team but I don’t do oral interp. I debate.” “Thank you, Mr. Farrell. We’ll be gentle with you. We’re a friendly audience.” “OK, but can I make a point before I begin?” Morse nodded. “Professor Baker, our coach, always urges the oral interp people to imagine their circumstances when they perform, so we should do that.” “Circumstances?” Morse asked. “You know, who’s listening, what’s the speaker’s goal and such.” “That seems wise, yes,” Morse said, “continue. That sounds like advice for actors, too.


And rhapsodes had to be actors, wouldn’t you say, given all those lengthy (he nodded to Mr. Goodman) speeches by different characters?” “Yes, and obviously this speech is directed toward Nausikaa, a Princess and he wants her help. She’s come down to the shore with her handmaidens to wash clothes.” Rachel Cohen’s hand went up. Morse nodded. “Her wedding clothes,” she said as if she were correcting someone. Morse watched as Miss Cohen flipped a few pages back. He’d give anything for a few more Rachel Cohens, even if she was the type who hardly warmed her classmates’ hearts. The class listened as she read a few lines describing how Athena, disguised as one of Nausikaa’s handmaidens, urges her to go to the shore to wash her wedding linens. “It’s as if Athena is telling her to prepare part of her trousseau. She says: ‘It’s time for you to marry and you want to have nice clothes for yourself and your wedding company. That’s what gives a girl a good name and pleases her mother and father.’ ” Morse waited for more responses. He wasn’t sure where Miss Cohen was going with this. Miss Fields, always a stickler for consistency and realism, suggested that it seemed a little strange that a Princess would be assigned laundry duties, but Miss Cohen shrugged and waved her hand dismissively, insisting that Homer had to find some way to get her down to the shore to meet Odysseus, though she conceded it was a little “contrived.” Morse glanced at his watch. Were they losing focus? “These are sensible remarks, I think.” He turned to Mr. Farrell. “Is this what you meant by the circumstances of Odysseus’s speech? Does Miss Cohen’s detail add anything?” “Well, I guess, though I wasn’t thinking that far back. But yes, I can see where what she—Miss Cohen—said would be part of it.”

“I guess all I’m suggesting,” Miss Cohen said, “is that Homer may be playing with the idea that there’s something possibly romantic about the upcoming encounter between Odysseus and Nausikaa. I mean, given all this mention of marital things.” “Well,” Mr. Farrell said, looking down briefly at his book— “Odysseus isn’t very well dressed when Nausikaa first lays eyes on him. He’d sure make a lousy bridegroom. He’s not dressed for the ball.” Farrell read, with some exaggerated drama, Homer’s description of how the wild-haired almost naked Odysseus, leaves covering his privates, emerges from the bushes—like a lion stalking prey. “Sounds like a sloppy Greek Tarzan. Pretty scary. No wonder the handmaidens scatter!” Some exuberant laughter. Morse smiled and Farrell beamed: a standup comic with the audience clearly won over. As the class settled down, Morse noticed Michael Drugas’s companion (he’d forgotten her name) with her head bowed and reading the text open between them. “Thank you, Mr. Farrell. Point is well made. You’ve set the scene. We’re ready for your—I mean Odysseus’s—speech now, if you are. I’d only remind us of the fact that since Homer now has Nausikaa’s handmaids frightened off stage, as it were, the speech is directed to Nausikaa alone. Also, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, Homer notes that Odysseus’s decision to speak was made after rejecting the possibility of clasping Nausikaa’s knees—doubtless a wise decision, as Mr. Farrell reminds us, given his lack of proper attire.” After a bit more laughter Farrell took Morse’s cue and read: I kneel before you, my lady. Are you a god or mortal? If you are a god like those who rule broad heaven, you are for me most like Artemis, daughter of Zeus, in form and stature. If you are mortal and one of those who dwell upon the earth, thrice-blessed are

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your father and gracious mother, and thrice time. No other tree like that grew out of the blessed are your brothers whose hearts are earth. So also am I amazed to see you, yet warmed for you when they see such a youth afraid to clasp your knees. at the dancing. But most blessed of all in A slight pause and an audible theatrical his heart is he who comes laden with gifts sigh from a young lady in the class. Morse to take you home as his bride. Never have couldn’t tell whether it was genuine or mockmy eyes rested on such beauty in man or ing. It had, however, created a few chuckles woman— before Farrell continued. Sean Farrell paused, looked up at ProMy suffering is deep and I’ve spent fessor Morse and then turned and glanced twenty days storm-tossed on the wine-dark around at his classmates. He sighed, took a sea, alone, carried away from the island of deep breath, and addressed them: “Excuse Ogygia to have Fate cast me here on shore me, but what a line! He really knows how to to suffer more, unless the gods relent, for butter her up. Such flattery! I—I mean, he’s they’re not done with me yet. Pity me, my laying it on pretty think, isn’t he?” lady, no one do I know living in this land. Morse saw Drugas’s raised hand and nod- Show me the way to your town and clothe ded toward him. me with a rag, whatever you have will do. “Well, remember what you said, Sean, And may the gods grant you every desire: a about Odysseus’s poor appearance. He’s got husband, house, and one heart between you. to make up for looking like a savage and I Best of all is when two become one true mind guess you can say he’s dressing himself up in and make a home, becoming husband and words. That’s what I meant about character wife, a joy to their friends and misery to their and ability—” enemies. “And,” Rachel Cohen said, raising her Morse watched everyone’s head rise when hand and looking back at Drugas and then Mr. Farrell finished, and he immediately at Morse, “isn’t it interesting how he brings complimented him on his “spirited reading” up marriage?” before asking if he wanted to say anything “Yes, Miss Cohen,” Morse said, “I think else he found interesting after reading it. you’re on to something there. After all, in the “I think,” he began slowly, “I mean it larger scheme of things, this work is about seemed to me I’m—I mean—he’s being pretty a married couple reuniting.” Rachel Cohen clever here, sort of manipulative, um, that nodded in triumph. The rest of the class part about having led troops reveals his staremained attentive. Maybe there was more tus. He’s not just some bum. It’s cagey, too, going on in this book than they’d thought. the way he slips in that bit about the palm He noticed that Michael Drugas had leaned tree at the same time. More flattery, so he slightly toward his companion and that he keeps piling it on and still gets in something smiled at something she whispered to him. about himself too.” She seemed very animated. Chad Hansen’s hand went up. “It also “Well, so far so good. If there are no more made sense the way he wished her well at the comments, please, Mr. Farrell, carry on.” end and saved his request for help till after In Delos once I saw a young palm tree he’s buttered her up. And it certainly worked. so lovely, sprouting beside Apollo’s altar. I I liked hearing it aloud.” led troops there once on the voyage that has “So,” said Morse, “Mr. Drugas’s point brought me so much trouble, but when I saw about the character and capacity of the that young sapling I stood amazed for a long speaker, does that make sense, especially 84

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in light of Mr. Goodman’s concern about length?” Morse glanced at Drugas and then at Goodman, and waited. Goodman raised his hand. “Yes, I’d say it shows us how cunning and manipulative Odysseus can be. You know, a soldier whose strategy is to win over an opponent and get them to do what you want. Lots of clever moves, sure. Tricky Greek.” Morse noticed how Drugas’s friend was leaning forward and listening carefully to the conversation. She seemed to want to say something. Rachel Cohen and Laura Winter had their hands up. “Miss Winter, then Miss Cohen,” Morse said. “I found that what he said at the end, about marriage and a good home with one heart, very moving. It was a sort of blessing that would have made quite an impression if I were in her shoes, and it goes back to Rachel’s point about the marriage theme, and your point, sir, about the larger theme of book.” “Good. Miss Cohen?” “Yes, thank you. That was my point too. After all, the whole Trojan war began with the break-up of a home and marriage when they abducted Helen.” Several students nodded in agreement. “Ah,” Morse said, “yes, that makes the point nicely. I see what you mean. Recall also how the first words we hear from Zeus in the beginning allude to Clytemnestra’s marital infidelity and his futile warning delivered by Hermes to her lover, lest he receive a vengeful death at the hands of Orestes. Thank you for reminding us that Homer repeats the marriage bond motif, in all its guises, for better or worse, for his listeners.” Miss Cohen looked at him with gratitude and Miss Winters seemed pleased as well. Others offered him understanding nods. Morse glanced at his watch. Five minutes or so to go. He usually liked to take this time to do a little summarizing of what they’d

concluded, but that didn’t always happen. He was invigorated now. He could feel some new understanding in the air during a class like this. It would make his day. When the opposite happened, either because of his own mistakes, or his students’ lassitude, or a combination of both, the remains of his day could be marred, a stain to be wiped out, he always thought, only by a sparkling class next time. He was about to begin his summary when Michael Drugas raised his hand. “I hope you don’t mind, Professor, but our visitor has something to say.” “Certainly,” Morse said. “I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced you. Miss—? “Georgan.” Her voice was soft and a little nervous. “Katherine Georgan.” “Welcome. May I say that given what we’re discussing, we need to be most hospitable to strangers—I mean visitors—” Morse immediately regretted his clumsy miscue, this silly, contrived attempt to make her presence connect with the class discussion. “Please, Miss Georgan,” he said, managing a smile he hoped would make up for the blunder. She glanced briefly at Michael Drugas and then spoke. “As you all were talking it made me think a lot, uh, well, you see—the situation, the circumstances—as you said,” she looked at Sean Farrell, “your reading it the way you did—I just, well—” Morse saw how aware she was that the class was looking at her, waiting. She looked at Drugas again. He nodded his head rapidly and said, “Odysseus’s humanity, remember?” That evening over dinner with his wife, Morse would try to describe this moment and what followed. “It was,” he said, “as if something clicked. Oh, my dear, I live for such moments. You know how it is when a student is seized by an insight and an almost desperate need to pin it down before it vanishes?” “Yes, yes,” Katherine said to Drugas, and then addressed Morse. “What I mean to say is that for me Odysseus is really trying to

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establish his humanity here. If I were the at Michael and then at how many had turned audience and saw him, this creature, sud- around in their seats. Morse was about to denly jump out from the bush almost naked, speak but she looked up at him and said, “Oh, I’d wonder whether it was some wild animal my goodness. I’m so sorry, sir. I didn’t mean or savage. But as Michael said, his speech to go on and on this way. Please—” gives him new clothes, human clothes. I mean, “Not at all, Miss Georgan, I’m sure I speak he mentions the gods, which tells me he has for the class in welcoming what you’ve said.” a religion, and he knows about families— Several students nodded and there were about how your father and mother and even a few “Yes’s” “Thank you, Mr. Drugas. It your brother feel when they see their sister pleases me all the more when students, and and daughter—how did he put it?” (Michael also our guest (Morse congratulated himhanded her the book)—“when they see such self at finding the right term) help give life a youth at dancing.” You see, he knows about to those otherwise dead words on the page, marriage and celebrations and can speak which Mr. Farrell brought so well to our ears. about the good fortune of Nausikaa’s lucky Good work.” suitor who brings gifts to woo her. Flattery, Time had expired. Morse assigned the yes, but he’s also telling me he knows about reading for next class, thanked them again customs, and human feelings and about, um, for their attention and “their contributions,” yes civilization and the natural beauty of a reminded them that their next paper was young palm tree ... and about what it means due in a week, and watched as they gathered for a man and a woman to unite to create a their books and heavy coats. Later he told home, you know, not just for themselves but his wife that he had thought for a moment to give joy to others as well. I guess what I’m about asking Mr. Drugas and Miss Georgan saying is that in this speech Odysseus wants to stay behind, but it was clear they were to build something in common with someone both in a bit of a hurry. “Even if it was true he’s never seen before, someone he’s not sure that she gathered up and repeated what othis human or divine. But he needs her help ers had said, she got something that others and first he’s got to make himself human hadn’t quite hit upon—it was extraordinary.” ... at least that’s how it comes across to me, And he went on trying to help his wife share especially after Mr. Farrell told me to think his own impression that Miss Georgan was about the whole situation, the circumstances, making discoveries as she spoke—just as he you know. And while I was listening to what himself did in his best classes during those others had to say, which was very interesting, moments when he felt words and thoughts and to Miss Cohen’s point about marriage, I come to him that were, even after so many just got this idea, you see ...” she looked again classroom years, startlingly new. �

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FICTION

Sunday, Saturday, Sunday BY AKREVOE EMMANOUILIDES

T

here was a sameness about Sundays. The bells of Saint Ludwig’s penetrated the walls of the porched row houses, and as less ardent Christians listened to their steps, the Irish, Italian, and German families directed themselves toward seven o’clock mass at the spired church that dominated the neighborhood. The clock in the church tower was tall enough to be the timepiece for all the residents, and when the clocks in various kitchens rested their arms and refused to budge another minute, a mother would call to her child, “Go to the corner and see what time Saint Ludwig says.” For the two little girls who lived in the corner house, the seventh day was quieter than the other six. It was the only day their Papa was home, and for as long as they could remember, Mama had cautioned them that they must be quiet on that day for their father worked hard and needed to rest. During the week, Niko Kontoyannis walked home from the little restaurant he owned, always following the same route over eight treeless city blocks. Occasionally, a passing neighbor or customer would drive Mr. Nick, as they called him, home, but since there were fewer affluent people in the area, most nights he walked. As soon as the girls heard his footsteps on the wooden porch and the turning of the door-knob, one or the other would run to the parlor where he had seated himself to rest in the neat, clean, multi-patterned room.

“Kalispera, Baba.” “Good evening, Papa.” Although Niko spoke English adequately, the children always addressed their parents in Greek within the home. “How are you tonight, my little Katina? Your poor papa is tired as always. It was dark when I left this morning, and it is dark again.” He sighed with resignation and exhaustion. Katina would kneel down and untie the sticky shoelaces and remove the greasestained shoes from her father’s hot, damp feet. It was not a duty she enjoyed, but it was something she and her sister did unquestioningly; it was expected. Angeliki, the older girl, had a cool glass of water ready, and on the tray, together with a small glass of ouzo, were a piece or two of bread, a few black olives, and a thin slice of white cheese, just enough to stimulate his appetite for dinner that was waiting. It was part of the ritual to treat their father with respect, to make him comfortable, and to anticipate his wishes. Sundays, too, had their pattern. The girls, now eight and eleven, were never able to rise before their mother. No matter how early, Maria was waiting down in the kitchen, mixing, rolling, preparing the special treats they associated with that day. She was always neatly dressed, with an embroidered apron protecting her crisply pressed cotton dress, her hair shining and combed into a knot at the nape of her neck. The children had never seen their mother on the lower floor of the house any other way. They often glimpsed 2014 | VOICES

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the neighbor ladies in long robes and wrin- tests of Luther and Knox. So the girls walked kled nightgowns furtively coming out to to the Presbyterian Sunday School at the pick up the milk or the newspaper, but they far end of the neighborhood. The austere understood that that would be unacceptable building and dignified manners of the Scotson their corner porch. English congregation did not seem unusual The girls would eat their breakfast to them. They sang in the junior choir, listogether, and when they had finished, their tened to New Testament parables, and mother would clean off the table and reset it participated in all the children’s activities, for her husband. Soon she would go upstairs except Communion. Their parents had never and run the water for his bath, and when he attended a service, but they would come to called she would be there to scrub his back, the girls’ performances in the Christmas shampoo his hair, and bring whatever he programs and permit them to join the Halmight request. loween parties in the church basement. By now, the chimes had called and Niko had finished his eggs, and he gesrecalled the worshipers to three more masses, tured for more coffee. the comic pages had been read and scattered, “Maria, do you think it is wise to let the and the girls dressed and ready. girls keep going to that American church? “Nine, ten, eleven. Sunday school begins They will forget that they are Greek.” in fifteen minutes.” Maria hurried them. “It “A church is a church. I have told them is going to be a hot day. After dinner, Papa all the Bible stories I remember, over and may take us to the park so come straight over.” She looked away from him. “They home.” tell me their teacher is a nice lady. Since I The Greek Orthodox Church, which Maria cannot take them downtown to our church needed and would have preferred for her chil- every Sunday, isn’t it better for them to be dren, was downtown, an hour’s ride on two getting some kind of religious lessons? Engtrolley cars. On particular saints’ days and lish or Greek, they’re both saying the same during the pageantry of Holy Week, she and thing.” Almost as an afterthought she added, the girls would make the trip to the Church “And those people aren’t tryingto make them of Saint George. Climbing the concavely- change their faith.” worn stairs, they became enveloped in the She poured the coffee into his cup, added mystic atmosphere and sensuousness of the two spoons of sugar and some cream, and old building. The iconography of unknown handed it to him. She prepared one for artisans glowed from the walls. The heavy herself. fragrances of incense and smoking beeswax Although she would never say it aloud candles, the Byzantine chants and jingling of to him, she thought. Finally you are worrythe priest’s brass censer pained Maria with ing about them. All you know is hard work, nostalgia for the familiarity and warmth of the business, independence. You are a proud, belonging. honest man and owe nothing to anyone. But A Roman Catholic mass would have the last time we went to our church together been nearer to the liturgy of Orthodoxy, but was when Katina was christened. She was a the fear of assimilation and centuries-old year old. If I did not send them to this place, schisms questioning papal infallibility and they would be like little heathens. If I did not the wording of creeds were not easily over- insist a dozen times a year, they would not come. In Maria’s concept of theology, they remember that they were baptized Orthodox. were deemed a greater threat than the proBut she drank her coffee and was silent. 88

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The children brought home picture cards and their weekly lesson sheets. About them both was an air of shy excitement. “Mama, next Saturday is the Sunday School picnic, and Mrs. Hunt invited us to go with her family. May we go, please?” Angeliki looked to Katina for support. Katina knew when she was needed. “They will have lots of races and games and prizes, and we’ll be home early.” “It does sound nice,” agreed Maria. “I think so, as long as you promise to behave as if I were with you.” Angeliki smiled with pleasure. “Mrs. Hunt said you should come too, Mama. It’s a family picnic.” “Really? She invited me?” Maria’s voice became doubtful. “I don’t know, Kiki. What would I say to those American ladies? My English ... the language ... I don’t know how to speak their tongue well.” “Honest, Mama. She said she wanted you to come so she could meet the mother of the sisters who were so well behaved and smart.” Angeliki blushed. “Now, now, she was just being polite to you.” Maria was inwardly pleased to hear her daughters praised, but they ought not to think of themselves too highly. “What would I do there all day?” “Maybe you can play games with us, Mama.” Katina giggled at the thought of her plump mother running a race. Niko had half listened to the conversation. “You will not be able to go to that picnic. We will have one of our own on Sunday. Mama will cook, and we will invite Stathis and his family and Dimitri and his children too, and we will have a good time in our way.” “That will be very nice, Papa, but can’t we go to both?” It was a subdued Angeliki who asked. “No. One picnic a week is plenty,” he said firmly. “You have been to enough of their Halloween parties and other silly affairs. We

will spend the day with our patriotes, our own people.” “But you let us go before. Why is this time different?” It was unlike Angeliki to protest, but she was suddenly angered by the inconsistency and injustice of her father’s denial. “Niko, please let them go, just once more.” Maria’s wet eyes were hopeful. A heavy-browed glance from her husband silenced her, but it did not still Angeliki. In her frustration she forgot her usual timidity and discipline. “Why are we always different? I hate being an outsider. I want to be plain American like everybody else. I wish I weren’t what I am.”

“Why are we always different? I hate being an outsider. I want to be plain American like everybody else. I wish I weren’t what I am.” Both parents looked at her sharply. Niko’s eyes were pained and shocked by her release, uncomprehending of her disrespect. Maria was disturbed by the child’s outburst, but she was sympathetic, for she knew the feelings of being alien and wanted to tell her that she understood, but she could not be disloyal to her husband or question his authority as the father. Calmly, Niko reached for his daughter’s hand, and she did not draw it away. “My Angelikoula, we are all outsiders someplace. You are still too young to know more than the pain you feel now. Someday you will realize what it means to be Greek, and it will mean more to you than the inconvenience of being different and the momentary pleasures of picnics and pageants.”

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“I know, papa, but sometimes it is so hard, were freshened and the china and silverand it hurts so much not to—you know—not ware checked. Toward the end of the week, to belong.” she baked sweets: sugar-dusted kourabeiNiko sighed, and the sound embodied the des and sesame-sprinkled koulourakia, inexpressible melancholy he had smothered golden pastry flutes filled with custard and for the two decades of his immigrant life, the diamond-cut layers of syrupy baklava. She impotence of the stranger. sang while she worked, minor-toned hymns “Yes, yes, my little one,” he nodded. “It is glorifying the Virgin for whom she had never easy to be so. We are a little strip of been named or melodic folk songs from her land that has broken off from the mainland Macedonian village. Niko sampled the wine and floated into foreign waters. We become that had been aging in basement barrels and a lonely island, but we take our roots with judged it fine enough to serve their guests. us and nourish them as best we can in the The sounds and smells of another Sunday soil that clings to them and in the new soil mingled in the girls’ waking senses. Angethat we add.” liki counted to eight with Saint Ludwig, Maria was resetting the table for the and Katina sniffed garlic-studded lamb and afternoon meal, and she spoke. “We have baking bread. Rain had cancelled the all-buttraditions and customs whose beginnings— forgotten Saturday picnic, but the morning’s who can remember how they begun? Should sunlight suggested pleasant weather for their we discard them simply because they are mother’s feast day. not like our neighbors? Can you imagine “Good morning, girls. Get up and dress Easter without singing Chirstos Anesti or and come downstairs. We will have breakfast without red eggs and Tsourekia? And how all together today.” Maria’s cheerfulness was would you like New Year’s Eve without contagious, and both girls eagerly did as they Vasilopita or Strouna?” She looked at her were told. daughters. Their father was wearing his blue suit “That would be awful,” said Katina. and waiting at the table for them. They “The American kids only have birthdays, kissed their mother and offered the tradibut we have birthdays and namedays, too,” tional greeting. “Hronia polla, Mama.” “We added Angeliki. “Katina’s is on November hope you have many more name days,” said 25th, and mine is on March 25th. Papa’s is Katina. on December 6th, and Mama’s is on August “Yes, yes, Mama, many more,” agreed 15th.” She was delighted at her discovery. Angeleiki. “Are we going to have a party, Papa, a “You look very nice, Papa. Why are you iorti for Mama? Can’t we have that instead dressed up so early?” questioned the younger of a picnic?” sister. “I had almost forgotten, Kiki,” said Maria. “We are all going downtown to the church. “We don’t usually celebrate my nameday, The taxi will be here at ten o’clock, and this only Papa’s.” afternoon our friends will come to offer Niko smiled gently at his wife. “This year greetings to your mother.” we will celebrate your day and add another The church was crowded, for there were tradition to those of our family.” many who sought the blessings of the VirDuring the next week, Maria cleaned gin on this, the day of her death, and many the spotless house. She polished the furni- who shared with Maria one or another of the ture and washed the windows. The linens variations of that name. Niko placed a bill in 90

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the brass plate and handed both girls candles, which they lit and placed in the sand-filled tray in the church narthex. They crossed themselves and kissed the icon of Saint George and that of the Mother of Christ. Their father led the way down the tiled aisle, and they stood together until the priest signaled that all may be seated. Niko and Maria smiled contentedly at each other across the bowed heads of their daughters. This day would be one of joy and

festiveness, and there would be others as well to treasure and to savor, moments of sentiment and remembrance. But both knew that their island was drifting further away from one shore and new roots were sprouting and reaching toward the fertile soil of the other. To nurture the tender plants without tearing them would require the sensitive, delicate touch of wise husbandry, and they knew so little of gardens. ďż˝

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Ο μελισσοκόμος (The Beekeeper) by Odysseas Anninos.


FICTION

The Communist Leader’s Wife BY IRENA KARAFILLY

T

he rain came early that autumn. It had caused a power outage. A laundry line started suddenly one September after- was suspended from two long nails, brightnoon, pouring down with a spiteful ferocity. ened by a child’s drying underwear. On the Because of the storm, because her son was table, next to a flower vase, lay a hand mirror, afraid of thunder, the young mother put the a comb, a pair of kitchen scissors. boy to bed later than usual, after she had “Where’s your husband?” trimmed his hair and fed him a snack, and Stephanides crossed the room, walking the rain had slackened, and finally stopped. with a slight limp. He reeked of ouzo, yet was They had been using the chamber pot evidently sober enough to have waited for the all evening, but now Ermione threw a wool rain to let up before venturing out. shawl around her shoulders and stepped out, “He’s not here.” Ermione had backed away padding towards the privy. The outhouse was as far as the laundry line, intent on Stephacold and damp as she lowered herself over the nides’ every movement. Turkish toilet, her feet on the footrests, her “I know he’s not here! Where is he, I hands clutching at her bunched-up skirts. asked!” She hurried back with the empty chamber Ermione’s face wobbled. “I haven’t seen pot. She put it away and was bolting the door my husband in months!” when she heard the crunch of footsteps out on “Oh, go on! He couldn’t stay away from the gravel path. There was a rap at the door. you this long. Not Nikos.” Stephanides “Nikos!” Ermione darted back to the chuckled. He was a balding man in his midentrance, fumbling with the bolt. Nikos thirties, with a flamboyant moustache and was her husband, the Communist leader dark eyes that seemed to be in perpetual appointed after the Civil War had spread all search of some misplaced item. Years ago, the way to Lesbos. “Ni—” he and Nikos Antipas had been classmates. The thickset man who came hurtling out “I hear you’re such a good wife too,” the of the night was not Nikos Antipas but Dim- intruder said, “washing your husband’s feet itris Stephanides, the local olive mill owner’s and all. Isn’t that right?” son. He was hissing at her to be quiet. Ermione raised a shoulder, as if depreErmione sprang back. The intruder had cating her own wifely devotion. She seemed a flick knife. His eyes darting about, he took about to say something when lightning in the large, cluttered kitchen: the basin of filled the windows. She was a beautiful dishes waiting to be washed, the dying fire, young woman, with languorous green eyes the shadowy corners beyond the range of the and honey-colored hair tumbling over her oil lamp. It was only ten o’clock but the storm shoulders. Her parents had died in Skala 2014 | VOICES

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Sykamnias during the Occupation; her inlaws did not approve of their son’s choice of bride any more than they did of his politics. “I suppose you’re hoping to collect the reward?” She blurted out, as if the idea had just crossed her mind. Stephanides cleared his nose. “I’m planning to collect it,” he stated, looking at her with a crooked smile. “Now, for the last time, where is he?” “I have no idea!” Ermione tossed out, “But I know you’ll never catch him!” “You think so? You think he’s too smart for us, eh?” Stephanides chortled. “Funny thing is his own father doesn’t think he’s so smart, does he?” Nikos Antipas’ father was a staunch Royalist; he’d been heard to laugh in the kapheneion, hearing of the twenty-fivemillion-drachma reward placed on his son’s head. “He’s not worth so much as a drachma, that’s what his father said!” Stephanides’ eyes appraised Ermione, gleaming with irony. “What d’you say to that?” “What do I say? I say a single one of his fingernails is worth more than the whole of you put together—moustache and all!” she added. At this, a spark of fury appeared in Stephanides’ eyes. “You bitch! Who do you think you are? You who came here with nothing but the rags on your back! You stupid, arrogant bitch!” Saying this, the intruder gave Ermione a violent push, watching her stagger backwards. She managed to regain her balance, only to trip on her son’s birdwhistle. She went reeling to the floor, her slipper flying off her foot. “A Communist bitch opening her sewer of a mouth! At me: Dimitris Stephanides!” Ermione levered herself on her elbow and sat hunched over her foot. She began to massage the arch, her face scrunched with pain. “What’s the matter? Has the lady hurt herself?” Stephanides tilted forward, mocksolicitous. He was about to add something 94

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when Ermione raised her eyes. She leant in and spat straight into the taunting face. “You!” Stephanides appeared stunned for a moment, but quickly grew resolute. He put away the knife. He extracted a handkerchief from his pocket, then a pair of handcuffs. He swiped at his cheek with the rumpled cloth, then stuffed it into Ermione’s mouth. He grabbed her wrists and bound them with the handcuffs. “So, where’s that clever husband of yours now, eh? Let’s see if we can get him to come to your rescue!” It was raining again, the storm blowing gusts of water against the dark windowpanes. Ermione was weeping now, kneeling with her mouth gagged and her hands shackled, her eyes wildly sweeping around the room. Stephanides stood stroking his moustache, like a military strategist contemplating his next move. All at once, as if suddenly inspired, he lunged towards the kitchen table and pounced on Ermione’s scissors. With a swift, brutal gesture, he swept away the child’s underwear. He cut down the laundry line. He hastened back to his captive. She began to jostle from side to side, her head thumping at her tormentor’s chest, her whole body resisting as he went about binding her limbs. Soon, he had her all trussed up, hunched over in the pool of flickering light, with the dying embers hissing in the hearth and the rain spitting on the tiled roof. There was a rip of lightning, a ferocious roar of thunder that seemed to shake the house to its very foundations. In the absence of the customary dowry, Nikos and his family lived in an old rented house, standing all alone on the way to the harbor. Seizing a clump of Ermione’s hair, Stephanides began to hack, the scissors flashing through the golden tresses. He gripped an ear, letting the thick coils drop around the defeated body like flowers from a dying


bush. He chopped on the left and chopped on The response this time was a strangled the right, on top and on the bottom, in front sound, a slow, defeated nod. Stephanides and in the back, never so much as glancing at leant forward. He yanked the gag out of Ermione’s face until he was done. He seemed Ermione’s mouth, waiting while she strugsatisfied then. The young wife’s head looked gled with a spluttering cough. Finally, she like the shorn skulls of female prisoners in stopped. She remained silent. wartime newsreels. “Well?” Only then did Dimitris Stephanides look “He’s somewhere in the hills ... around into his victim’s eyes. He lowered himself to Vafios, I think.” The young mother looked Ermione’s level and poked his face at hers, doomed, her eyes darting towards her son. his tobacco-stained teeth bared in something The boy’s whimpering had turned into gulpbetween grin and grimace. ing sobs; a worm of mucus was sliding out of “So! Are you going to tell me now?” his nose. The response to this was a strangled Stephanides ignored him, searching the sound, a vigorous toss of the violated head. mother’s face. He seemed unable to decide The hair was gone but not so the loathing. whether she was telling the truth. All at once, “No?” He snickered. He stood up, let- he reached into his trousers and whipped out ting his hand travel to his belt. There was his penis. The air in the room grew dense a momentary hush. He let go of his buckle, with menace. For a moment, the intruder then began to fumble with his fly buttons. seemed to hesitate; then, squaring his shoulHe undid them slowly, deliberately, ignoring ders, began to urinate all over Nikos Antipas’ the muffled sounds coming out of Ermione’s wife. He aimed the stream at her neck, her constricted mouth. His absorption was such face, her raw scalp, like a gardener bent on that a moment passed before he registered watering every corner of a neglected garden. that her eyes were fixed not on him, but Ermione, whose face was blubbered with somewhere beyond his shoulder. tears, now had urine coursing down her There was no doubt about it: the child cheeks. She kept her head angled to one side, gave him pause. He stood on the threshold, a her eyes squeezed shut, her mouth twisted six-year-old boy dressed in a flannel robe, his with ferocious disgust. bare feet peeping from under the hem, his “So, is there anything else you might eyes huge with terror. As the man’s gaze fell like to tell me?” Stephanides had taken out on the boy, his mother let out a choked sound his knife and was sliding it across his own and appeared to grow limp, a look of pure cushioned palm, as if testing its sharpness. entreaty filling her eyes. “Where can we find your husband?” The child was whimpering. He took a Slowly, Ermione’s eyes blinked open. She tentative step forward, arms raised in frantic glanced at her son, then at the knife, tremappeal. “Mama!” bling violently. She looked straight into her “Stay where you are!” Stephanides barked. captor’s face and shook her head slowly. “Don’t budge, or I’ll kill your mother, under- There was, her gesture said, nothing else she stand?” He gave the child an arresting stare, could tell him. She was utterly at his mercy. then shifted his attention back to Ermione. For another moment, Stephanides stood starHe appeared, all at once, almost conspira- ing at her with his dark, restless eyes. The boy torial, as if the two of them shared a secret was clutching at his groin, his sobs turned to beyond the child’s ken. “So, you ready to tell hiccups. The man looked fleetingly at a loss, me now?” like an actor groping for forgotten lines

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“Look here!” He had picked up the mirror and was thrusting it at Ermione, whose eyes were screwed shut. “Look, I said: I want you to see yourself!” And at last she did. She glanced at her own reflection, then raised her gaze, the seagreen eyes shimmering with accusation. “Don’t look at me like that! You’re lucky it’s me or you’d be losing something more precious than just your whorish hair!” Stephanides rose and tossed the mirror into the sizzling hearth. The shattered glass made a shriek escape the child’s mouth, but the intruder shot him another look and the shriek faded into a prolonged whimper. Stephanides was about to put his knife away when something seemed to strike him. Bending forward, he narrowed his eyes and held the blade to the young mother’s throat. “If you’re ever tempted to talk, remember this!” he said, gazing at her creamy neck like a lover. “Understand?”

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Ermione was silent. The child was sobbing, a puddle of urine forming at his feet. “Do you understand?” Ermione dropped her gaze. She nodded. Stephanides let out a long, heavy breath. He snapped the knife shut and slowly returned it to his pocket, then leant over and freed Ermione’s wrists. Outside, rain was falling again, spitting on the tiled roof, the dying fruit trees. Stephanides hesitated briefly, but finally turned towards the back exit. He paused only long enough to pat the child’s head as he brushed past him, as if to reassure the boy that all would be well. � Excerpted from THE CAPTIVE SUN, published in Greek by Psichogios Editions under the title Η ΑΣΥΜΒΙΒΑΣΤΗ ΜΟΥΣΑ and in English by Picador Australia. The Ebook is available from iTunes and www.psichogios.gr. For more information, please visit: www.irenakarafilly.com


FICTION

Bringing Cheese to a Séance BY STEVE PASTIS

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rofessor Papadakis brought a briefcase full of papers. He had been researching séances ever since we decided to do one. Irene brought a blue velvet tablecloth that looked quite appropriate and fit my card table perfectly. This didn’t surprise me, even though she had never seen my apartment before and had no idea what kind of table we would be using. Somehow she always knew the right thing to do, say or bring. We filled three of the four seats that Irene set at the table, and Professor Papadakis explained proper séance etiquette while perusing his notes. There was a knock at the door, which surprised me. It was almost midnight and I didn’t invite anyone else to our séance. Since most of my questions could be answered by opening the door, I got up and did just that. It was my Aunt Koula, and I was baffled. She rarely visited me, and certainly never this late. “I brought cheese,” she announced as she took a large Tupperware container out of a shopping bag. “Thea Koula, we’re about to hold a séance,” I explained to her in an effort to help her understand that her leaving would be a good thing. “Did someone say they brought cheese?” asked Professor Papadakis. “Yes, my aunt has brought a Tupperware container full of cheese,” I replied.

“Well, let her in!” said Professor Papadakis. “Everybody knows I love cheese!” Aunt Koula came in and I introduced her to Irene as she focused on Professor Papadakis. “I brought cheese,” she said to him as if it were an opening line. There was something in the way he smiled at her that seemed to threaten our séance. “Thea Koula, we’re about to start a séance,” I said, hoping that my words might get our plans back on track. “What kind of cheese did you bring?” asked Professor Papadakis. “Feta and kasseri,” replied Aunt Koula as she took the lid off the Tupperware. The professor looked intrigued. I went to get napkins. Professor Papadakis and Irene were both munching on cheese when I passed out the napkins. “Can we get back to the séance?” I asked. “Why don’t you take a seat, Koula?” asked the professor. She sat down next to him as I dimmed the lights. “They can’t see the cheese,” said Aunt Koula. “You’d better turn the lights back on.” “We need it to be dark for our séance,” I responded. “What is a séance and why does it have to be dark?” she asked. “We need to create the right atmosphere so we can talk with people who have died,” I said, hoping that she might get scared and leave. 2014 | VOICES

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“Then you are doing it all wrong,” said Aunt Koula. “I talk with your theo and some of my old friends all the time and I don’t have to do it in the dark.” I had no response. I turned the lights back on, sat down and had some kasseri. Professor Papadakis whispered something into my aunt’s ear and they walked outside. I soon realized they weren’t coming back. Irene took the Tupperware and napkins to the kitchen and returned to fold up the tablecloth.

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“Irene, I’ve been meaning to ask you why you came tonight,” I said. “I didn’t think you were all that interested in our séance.” “You’re right, I’m not,” she replied. “I just wanted to see if things would work out the way I thought they would.” “You are always so intuitive,” I told her. “And you are always so adorably oblivious,” she said as she took my hand. �


FICTION

Η Πριγκίπισσα και εγώ στο χορό των τρελών - Princess and I at the Dance of the Crazies BY VANGELIS MANOUVELOS

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ήκωνα την Πριγκίπισσα στον αέρα, τα μαλλιά της χόρευαν σε έναν ακατάληπτο ρυθμό, τα γέλια της επανέφεραν νόημα σε όλα, στις ανάσες, στις σκέψεις, στο χτύπο της καρδιάς μου. Θύμιζε ότι έπρεπε να σταθώ όρθιος, δυνατός και να δώσω σε αυτό το κορίτσι ό,τι του είχε στερήσει η ζωή. Προσωρινά ή μόνιμα. Μητέρα και πατέρα. Η μητέρα της έφυγε για την Αυστραλία και ο πατέρας της και αδερφός μου, έφυγε για τον άλλο κόσμο. Τα μάτια της άλλαζαν χίλια χρώματα και χωρούσαν μέσα τους εικόνες αμέτρητες, ευτυχισμένες (εγώ θα φρόντιζα για αυτό), πλημμύριζαν από τα φώτα της Σταδίου, όσα είχαν μείνει, και τα καθρέφτιζαν ακόμη πιο λαμπερά, ακόμη πιο ζωηρά, γεμάτα ελπίδα ότι θα συνεχίσουν να χορεύουν στο δικό της ρυθμό, στις δικές τις μαγικές κινήσεις. Της άρεσε τόσο πολύ της Πριγκίπισσας η βραδινή κυριακάτικη βόλτα μας, ώστε όλη την εβδομάδα με ρωτούσε εάν έφτασε ακόμη η ημέρα της βόλτας, εάν ήρθε η ώρα να πάμε στο «χορό των τρελών». Έτσι το είχε βαφτίσει, ένας θεός ξέρει από πού, και το συνόδευε με το απαραίτητο τελετουργικό πολλών στριφογυρισμάτων, φωνών και χτυπημάτων. Ευτυχώς όχι επάνω μου, αλλά στα παιχνίδια της,

εκσφενδονίζοντας τα στα πιο απίθανα σημεία του διαμερίσματος. Τρόπος του λέγειν «απίθανα», γιατί στα σαράντα τετραγωνικά τουδιαμερίσματος, δεν χωρούσαν πολλά απίθανα σημεία. Το είχε αγοράσει ο συγχωρεμένος ο πατέρας μου σε ένα από τα ατελείωτα μπάρκα του. Τρία, τέσσερα χρόνια. Ξεχνούσαμε πώς ήταν. Κάθε φορά που γύριζε γνωρίζαμε έναν καινούργιο άνθρωπο, κάναμε τις απαραίτητες συστάσεις. Κάθε φορά μπερδευόμασταν. Ποιος ακριβώς ήταν; Μόνο η βαριά κολόνια επιβεβαίωνε ότι ήταν ο πατέρας μου. Περνούσε λίγο ο καιρός και τον αποχαιρετούσαμε ξανά. Αν δεν ήταν για τον πατέρα μου και τα ταξίδια του δεν θα είχα το διαμέρισμα. Θα έμενα με την μητέρα μου, δυο στενά πιο κάτω. Θα είχα αρχίσει τα ψυχοφάρμακα. Δεν νομίζω ότι μπορεί να την αντέξει άνθρωπος περισσότερο από μισή ώρα. Ίσως να είμαι εγώ ο παράξενος, αλλά κυριολεκτικά δεν νομίζω ότι έχει παραμείνει άνθρωπος μαζί της, στον ίδιο χώρο, πάνω από ένα μισάωρο. Αρχίζει ένα ασταμάτητο μοιρολόι για τα πάντα: για τον καιρό, για τα λεφτά, για τα φάρμακα, για την Πριγκίπισσα, για εμένα. Τώρα με την κατάσταση όπως είναι, έχει φτάσει σε άλλα 2014 | VOICES

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επίπεδα. Δεν περιμένει κανένα έναυσμα από τα λεγόμενα του άλλου. Με το που θα δει κάποιον, ξεκινάει ένα παθιασμένο λογύδριο, που θα ζήλευαν όλοι εκείνοι οι πολιτικάντηδες του συρμού, που απλώς χτυπώντας τα δάχτυλά τους θα σβήσουν όλα τα προβλήματα με μιας. Καπνός τα προβλήματα. Καπνός και εγώ. Δεν την αντέχω ούτε λεπτό. Η κατάστασή της χειροτέρεψε με τη δολοφονία του Στέλιου, του αδερφού μου. Δεν κλείστηκε στον εαυτό της. Δεν έκλαψε ποτέ μπροστά σε άλλους. Έγινε επιθετικότερη και απλώς ανυπόφορη. Στην αρχή την δικαιολογούσα, όμως μετά κουράστηκα με την καραμέλα του αδερφού μου. Αστυνομικός. Σε ανταλλαγή πυρών, σε καταδίωξη στο Πικέρμι. Τέσσερις σφαίρες τον βρήκαν πισώπλατα. Ούτε εγώ έκλαψα μπροστά σε άλλους. Όποτε όμως βρισκόμουν μόνος μου, άκουγα τη φωνή του, δυνατή και καθαρή, να μου μιλάει από το πουθενά, πρώτα με κοφτές κραυγές και έπειτα με ολόκληρα απολογητικά κατεβατά, για το πώς ακριβώς έπεσε νεκρός, για το πώς έπρεπε να προσέχω την Πριγκίπισσα, για το πόσο με αγαπούσε και του έλειπα. Έκλαιγα με λυγμούς. Και σήμερα ακόμη, δύο χρόνια μετά το συμβάν, η ένταση εκείνων των ημερών παραμένει ισχυρή. Συνέρχομαι λίγο όταν καταλαβαίνω ότι η φωνή που ακούω είναι μόνο της φαντασίας μου και ότι δεν τρελάθηκα από το χαμό του. Τον πρώτο καιρό βέβαια νοσηλεύτηκα. Με τάραξαν στις ενέσεις. Έλεγα ασυναρτησίες, και όσο περισσότερες έλεγα τόσο περισσότερα γιατροσόφια γέμιζαν συνταγές επί συνταγών. Ο Στέλιος και η Κλειώ παντρεύτηκαν τρεις μήνες πριν γεννηθεί η Πριγκίπισσα. Δηλαδή μόνο για αυτό παντρεύτηκαν. Για την Πριγκίπισσα. Για να πάρει το παιδί τα αυτοκρατορικά τους ονόματα. Σχεδόν δεν την ήξερε τη γυναίκα του. Φασωθήκανε ένα βραδύ στην παραλιακή, βρεθήκανε να 100

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πηδιούνται στο αμάξι και του το σφύριξε το παραμύθι με το παιδί. Δικό του; Κανένας μας δεν την πίστεψε. Όχι πως ο αδερφός μου ήταν το μάννα εξ ουρανού, αλλά για την Κλειώ παραήταν καλός. Αστυνομικός στα τριάντα του αυτός, τίποτα στα τριάντα της εκείνη. Κλισέ ελληνικού κινηματογράφου, αλλά τύλιγμα σε κάθε περίπτωση. Δεν ήταν και πολύ συνηθισμένος με γυναίκες ο αδερφός μου, εγώ τουλάχιστον δεν τον είχα δει ποτέ με γυναίκα, μπορεί να ήταν και η πρώτη του φορά μαζί της. Τον κατάφερε με συνοπτικές διαδικασίες. Έμεναν με τη μητέρα μου, οπότε οι καυγάδες και οι υστερίες ήταν καθημερινό ρεπερτόριο. Μέχρι που γεννήθηκε η Πριγκίπισσα και προστέθηκαν και πολλά κλάματα. Μετά το θάνατο του Στέλιου, η Κλειώ τα χρειάστηκε με τη μητέρα μου. Στα χαρακώματα συνεχώς. Ερχόταν συνέχεια σπίτι μου με την Πριγκίπισσα για να ξεφύγει. Ερχόταν όμως και χωρίς την Πριγκίπισσα για να ξεδώσει. Στην αρχή είχα τύψεις για τον αδερφό μου, στη συνέχεια όμως έγινε ρουτίνα. Βιολογική ανάγκη. Εγώ ήμουν άνεργος περίπου ένα χρόνο, εκείνη έτσι κι αλλιώς δεν δούλευε, είχαμε άπλετο χρόνο και οι δυο μας. Οι ώρες του παιδικού σταθμού για την Πριγκίπισσα, ήταν οι δικές μας μεταμεσονύχτιες, οι δικές μας άκρως ακατάλληλες δια ανηλίκους. Μέχρι που μας έπιασε στα πράσα η μητέρα μου. Δεν ήταν πως είχε καταλάβει κάτι, απλώς ήρθε στο διαμέρισμά μου για να καθαρίσει. Με το που άνοιξε την εξώπορτα του σπιτιού μας πέτυχε στο καλύτερο. Κυριολεκτικά στο καλύτερο, αφού αισθανόμουν ότι θα ήταν η πρώτη φορά που η Κλειώ θα τελείωνε μαζί μου. Πρώτη φορά. Τουλάχιστον μαζί μου. Φυσικά δεν ξαναγύρισε στο σπίτι της μητέρας μου. Πήγαμε μαζί μια φορά, όταν η μητέρα μου απουσίαζε, και πήραμε τα πράγματά της. Ζόρικα πολύ στα σαράντα τετραγωνικά και η Κλειώ δεν μπορούσε να αντέξει ούτε μια ημέρα. Κανόνιζε από


καιρό με κάποιους συγγενείς που είχε στην Αυστραλία για να φύγει, και τελικά το έκανε. Μου άφησε προσωρινά την Πριγκίπισσα μέχρι να προσαρμοστεί στη Μελβούρνη, να βρει σπίτι και δουλειά. Θα επέστρεφε να την πάρει. Μόνο αυτό δεν χρειαζόμουν. Εγώ μόνος με ένα πεντάχρονο. Αξιολάτρευτα για μισή ώρα το πολύ, κουραστικά για ένα απόγευμα, αλλά καλύτερα να τα σκοτώσεις αν είναι για περισσότερο. Τελικά δεν την σκότωσα την Πριγκίπισσα, όμως μας πήρε αρκετό χρόνο μέχρι να βρούμε ρυθμό μεταξύ μας. Το βασικότερο ήταν ότι ήμουν άφραγκος. Για τιμωρία, η μητέρα μου είχε σταματήσει τη χρηματοδότηση. Σαράντα χρονών και βρέθηκα να μοιράζω καταλόγους για ντελίβερι τις ώρες που ήταν στο σταθμό η Πριγκίπισσα. Αστεία λεφτά. Υπήρχαν μέρες που δεν έτρωγα τίποτα, για να της πάρω ψωμί και αβγά να φάει. Δεν κράτησε για πολύ η τιμωρία. Μας μάζεψε κοντά της. Πήγα τρέχοντας χωρίς δεύτερη σκέψη. Πώς έφτασα σε αυτό το σημείο; Να μην έχω να πάρω της Πριγκίπισσας λίγο ψωμί; Να ζητιανεύω στους φούρνους; Ήθελα να τινάξω τα μυαλά μου στον αέρα. Αργότερα έμαθα ότι η μητέρα μου μας δέχτηκε μόλις έμαθε ότι ζητούσα τζάμπα φαγητό σε μαγειρεία και σούπερ μάρκετ. Έλεγα στον εαυτό μου πως είναι και αυτό μια πώληση. Όπως όταν πουλούσα ασφάλειες ή παπούτσια. Σιχαινόμουν αυτό που έκανα αλλά το κατάπινα. Δεν είχα και άλλη επιλογή. Ο Στέλιος τα κατάφερε και πήγε στην Αστυνομία, εγώ με το ζόρι τελείωσα το Λύκειο. Για τα επόμενα είκοσι χρόνια πουλούσα πρώτα ασφάλειες, μετά παπούτσια και προσφάτως ζητιανιά. Όσο

και αν προσπαθούσα να πείσω τον εαυτό μου ότι είναι και αυτό μια πώληση σαν τις άλλες, δεν μπορούσα. Γιατί δεν ήταν. Από την ημέρα που μπήκα σε εκείνο τον φούρνο στην Κυψέλη και ζήτησα λίγο ψωμί, τράβηξα μια κόκκινη γραμμή με την υπόλοιπη ζωή μου. Διέγραψα όλες τις προηγούμενες αναμνήσεις μου. Δεν ήταν πλέον δικές μου. Ήταν κάποιου άλλου. Ήταν σαν να έχωσα το κεφάλι μου πίσω από την αυλαία μιας παράστασης, που κανονικά πρωταγωνιστούσα εγώ, αλλά στη θέση μου ήταν κάποιος άλλος, που ζούσε και αγαπούσε, ότι έζησα και αγάπησα εγώ. Εγώ ήμουν κοκαλωμένος, με το δεξί μου χέρι σε θέση επαιτείας. Δεν υπάρχει δουλειά ούτε για αστείο. Φίλοι λένε να προσπαθήσουμε να κάνουμε κάτι δικό μας. Ακόμη μεγαλύτερο αστείο. Φθηνή δικαιολογία: αφού είναι αδύνατο καλύτερα να το αφήσουμε. Από τη μία προσπαθώ να πείσω τον εαυτό μου να μην απελπίζεται, από την άλλη δεν βλέπω προοπτική στο να κάνω κάτι. Με τη μητέρα μου και την Πριγκίπισσα ζούμε σαν οικογένεια. Νευρωτικό αντρόγυνο με υπερκινητικό παιδί. Έχω πειστεί ότι το μέλλον μου θα είναι μίζερο και απογοητευτικό. Έχω όμως τις κυριακάτικες βόλτες με την Πριγκίπισσα στη Σταδίου. Την κρατάω από το χέρι, εκείνη δεν σταματά να με ρωτά για τα πάντα. Την κυνηγάω έξω από την παλιά Βουλή, γελάω με τη ψυχή μου, και πιστεύω πως η ζωή είναι ωραία. Την κοιτάζω στα μάτια και το επιβεβαιώνει και εκείνη. Στο δικό μας χορό των τρελών δεν χωρούν υποσχέσεις. Χωρά μόνο ζωή. Ζωή ανυποχώρητη.

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I

’d lift Princess in the air, her hair dancing in an incomprehensible rhythm, her laughter restoring meaning to everything, to breaths of air, to thought, to the beating of my heart. She’d remind me I had to stand up straight, strong, and give that girl everything life had deprived her of. Temporarily or permanently. Both mother and father. Her mother had departed for Australia and her father, my brother, had departed for the other world. Her eyes would change a thousand colors, while containing inside them countless images, happy ones (I’d see to that). They brimmed of the bright lights of Stadiou Street, the ones still left there, and mirrored them even brighter, full of the hope they’d keep on dancing in her own rhythm, her own magical motion. Princess loved our Sunday evening stroll so much, she’d keep asking me all week if the day for the stroll had come yet, if the time had come to go to the “dance of the crazies”. That’s what she called it, God knows why, and she followed up with the necessary ritual of multiple gyrations, strange noises and knockings. Luckily not against my person, but in her playacting, sending them flying toward the most improbable corners of the apartment. “Improbable” is a manner of speaking, because an apartment of forty square feet, doesn’t allow for many improbable corners. My late father, god rest his soul, had bought it after one of his endless stints at sea. Three, four years. We kept on forgetting what he looked like. We’d get confused every single time. Who was he exactly? Only the heavy scent of the cologne would confirm his being my father. Some time would pass and then we would say goodbye to him again. If it weren’t for my father and his voyages, I wouldn’t have the apartment. I would be living with my mother, two short blocks down the street. I would have started using drugs. I doubt anyone could stand her for

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more than half an hour. It might be me who’s the peculiar one, but strictly speaking, I don’t think that there’s a person able to stay with her, or anywhere in her vicinity, for more than half an hour. She starts on an interminable lament about everything: about the weather, about money, about medicines, about Princess, about me. Now, with the situation as it is, she has reached new levels. She needs no priming, nothing like the words another person might provide. As soon as anyone comes into her sights, she plunges into a passionate tirade, one that all the trendy politicos might envy, those who just by snapping their fingers will make all our problems disappear. Problems? Poof, up in smoke. Myself also, poof, up in smoke. I can’t stand her, not for a minute. Her condition became much worse after the death of Stelios, my brother. She didn’t retreat into herself. She never cried in front of others. She became more confrontational and simply insufferable. In the beginning, I tried to make excuses for her, but later I got tired with the fairy tale story of my brother. A policeman. In an exchange of fire, during hot pursuit near Pikermi. He got four bullets in the back. I didn’t cry in front of other people either. But whenever I happened to be all by myself, I would hear his voice, loud and clear, speaking to me out of nowhere, first in short screams and then in a long apologetic harangue, about how he died, how I have to take care of Princess, how much he loved me and how he missed me. I’d be crying my heart out. Even today, two whole years after the event, the intensity of those days remains undiminished. I can somehow pull myself together, when I realize that the voice I hear is only in my imagination and that I haven’t gone crazy by his loss. In the beginning of course I had to be hospitalized. I was speaking nonsense, and the more I did the more the cures increased, prescriptions upon prescriptions.


Stelios and Clio got married three months before Princess was born. That is, they got married just for the purpose. For Princess. So that the child could inherit their imperial names. He almost didn’t know his wife at all. They fell into the groove some night on the Coastline Road; they ended up making it in the car and later she dropped on him the story about the child. Was it his? No one of us believed her. Not that my brother was manna from heaven, but he was way too good for Clio. He, a thirty-something career policeman; she a thirty-something nothing. A Greek cinema cliché, but he had definitely been duped. My brother wasn’t that much used to being around women. I for one had never seen him with a woman; it’s possible it had been his first time with her. She got the best of him with summary procedures. They lived with my mother, therefore the quarrels and the hysterics were everyday occurrences. Until Princess was born, and then a good deal of weeping was added to the repertory. After Stelio’s death, Clio felt cornered by my mother. In constant warfare. She kept coming to my place with Princess, just to get away. She would also come without Princess, though, to unwind. In the beginning I felt guilty for my brother, but later it became routine. A biological need. I was out of work for about a year, she was not working anyway, both of us had plenty of time on our hands. The hours of day care for Princess had become our own night time, ours of course a strictly x-rated version. Until my mother caught us in the act. It wasn’t that she had suspected anything, she just showed up at the apartment to do the cleaning. As soon as she opened the front door she caught us in the best part. Literally the best, for I was feeling that this time Clio was about to finish at the same time as I was. For the first time. At least with me. Naturally she never went back to my mother’s house. We went back only once

together, when mother was out, to collect her belongings. Things were very tight in the forty square feet and Clio couldn’t stand it even for a day. She’d been setting up her departure for some time with some relatives she had in Australia, and she finally did it. She left Princess with me, temporarily, until she had the time to settle down in Melbourne, to find a house and a job. She would come back and collect her. That was the one thing I didn’t need. To be left in charge of a five-year-old. They’re adorable for half an hour tops, tiresome for an afternoon, but it’s better if you just kill’em if it’s going to be for longer than that. In the end I didn’t kill Princess, but it took a long time for us two to hit our stride. What’s more to the point I was penniless. As a punishment, my mother had stopped funding me. Forty years old and I’d found myself distributing menus for take-out joints during the hours that Princess was in day care. Ridiculous pay. There were days I had nothing to eat, so that I could buy some bread and eggs for her. The punishment didn’t last long. She finally put us up at her place. I went back running without a second thought. How did I ever come to that? To be unable to buy a little bread for Princess! To be begging around the bakeries! I felt like blowing up my brains. Later I learned that my mother deigned to put us up when she found out I was begging for food at diners and super markets. I would tell myself that this too is a form of sales. Like when I was selling insurance or shoes. I was disgusted with what I was doing but I just swallowed it. I had no other choice. Stelios had been able to start a career in the Police force, I’d been barely able to finish high school. During the next twenty years, I first sold insurance, then shoes and most recently I took up begging. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself that this also was a form of sales like all the others, I

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couldn’t. Because it wasn’t. The day I went in that bakery in Kypseli and begged for a little bread, on that day I drew a red line over the rest of my life. I erased all my previous memories. They were no longer mine. They belonged to someone else. It was as if I had stuck my head behind the curtain of a theatrical performance, in which I was supposed to be the star, but where someone else was playing my part, one who was living and loving all that I had lived and loved. I had been frozen, with my right hand in the position of begging. There’s no work not even as a joke. Some friends say let’s try and do something by ourselves. An even bigger joke. A cheap excuse: if it’s impossible, better let’s forget about it. On the one hand I try to convince

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myself not to despair, and on the other I see no prospects on doing anything. With my mother and Princess we live now like a family. A neurotic couple with a hyper child. I’m convinced that my future is going to be miserable and disappointing. Still, I have the Sunday strolls with Princess on Stadiou Street. I hold her by the hand; she never stops asking me about everything. I chase her outside the old Parliament, we have lots of laughs, and I believe that life is beautiful. I look into her eyes and she also confirms it. In our own dance of the crazies there is no room for promises. There’s only room for life. An uncompromised life. � Published in To Vima


FICTION

Courtship BY HARRY MARK PETRAKIS

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have this memory of first seeing Diana we rode the trolley east together. She Perparos, the girl who would become ascended the trolley steps before me, her my wife, in the second or third grade of our dress hiking up well above her knees. I was church parochial school. In my recollection, treated to the sight of her slender, shapely she appeared skinny and a little awkward. legs in silk stockings and, pressing against What I recalled most vividly were her large, the light shimmering fabric of her dress, the sparkling and intense dark eyes. contours of her stunning buttocks. A period of years passed from that time In a story written many years later, I until we met again in our teens. One Sun- described one of my female character’s day while attending church, I saw Diana buttocks as “contrapuntal” beauties. I first again, and I was astonished at how the girl thought of the word that Sunday with I remembered had bloomed. She was about Diana. I confess that to this day I’m not sure my age—sixteen or seventeen then, with a whether the word can sustain any coherent flawless complexion adorned by her great application to the female anatomy, but the black eyes. Those were unchanged. What was true meaning of the word is less important different was the disappearance of any skin- than the mellifluent way it captures my first niness or awkwardness, her figure filled out impression. into an alluring slenderness. Her raven-black We began to date, sharing casual evehair was also longer, tumbling from her tem- nings at the Reader’s Drug Store on 60th ples across her shoulders. Street near the Midway and the University The season must have been summer of Chicago, where we lingered over cherry because she wore a light print dress, high cokes. We also patronized Fluky’s on 63rd heels and a broad brimmed straw hat that Street to while away the time while eating framed her lovely face. their savory hot dogs. In between dates, we The only faint marring of her beauty conducted lengthy phone conversations, lastwere the braces she wore on her upper teeth, ing 45 minutes to an hour. For the life of me, braces not evident unless she laughed. As if I cannot recall what we spoke about during she were conscious of them, when she did those calls. Since I had five siblings in my smile or laugh, her hand fluttered to her face family, each one with their own social calenin a self-conscious effort at concealment. dar to be fulfilled, I was heatedly berated for I cannot remember the words we “hogging the phone!” exchanged at that initial meeting. Since Diana had graduated from Hyde Park we both lived in neighborhoods east of the High school and had moved on to study church, she in Hyde Park and I in Woodlawn, secretarial skills at McCormack College 2014 | VOICES

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in Chicago. She would have wished to have morning and evening, I was daily reminded gone to a regular liberal arts college to con- of my shortcomings. At the time, I still had tinue her education, but her father, John a head of bushy dark hair. Below the hair, Perparos, had his shoe repair/cleaners my eyes were small and deep-set, my nose totally destroyed in a fire, with the loss of all oversized with a hawkish curve, my lips thin. his stored clothing and racks of shoes. His The most disappointing part of my anatomy insurance agent assured him that he would remained my large and unshapely ears, one be well within his rights to repay his custom- a half inch longer than the other, giving my ers a small percentage of their claims, but head a lopsided appearance. In addition, John Perparos insisted on repaying what his both ears had lobes so large they might have customers told him were the full cost of their provided another pair of ears for a more lost garments. conventional head. I found scant consolation “These good and loyal people brought in that Abraham Lincoln and Buddha had me their business!” he said fervently. “They similarly oversized ears. When I compared trusted me! I won't let them down now by my appearance to that of Diana's loveliness, cheating them on the price of their clothing!” we seemed an incongruous couple. The result of his effort to be fair was that I would travel to the Wilshire restaurant after all the claims were satisfied, his busi- in the late afternoon, waiting for Diana to ness hung at the edge of bankruptcy. finish work so we might ride the bus or IC Diana’s older sister, Maria, who was train home together. On one of those visits, I as lovely as Diana and had more than one met her principal admirer, whose first name suitor, was working as a manager in an I cannot remember, but whose last name was upscale restaurant on South Shore Drive. ‘Thorman.’ The marauder was taller than I Feeling her family’s financial needs was by at least two inches, blond-haired, required precedence over her own desire to flawless-eared, with a smile Diana described attend school, Diana found work as a host- as ‘nice’ but which I was positive had a seress/cashier at a restaurant in South Shore pentine allure. called the Wilshire. To my dismay, when she entered the Desperate to find a playing field on which I workplace she also came to the attention of could compete, I drew upon the fertility of other men who found her as lovely as I did. my imagination to keep Diana entranced. I I was outraged when she confided to me the described ordinary daily experiences to her disgraceful attempt of the restaurant book- with dramatic flourishes. A visit to a grocery keeper, a married man in his sixties, to steal became an odyssey in which I ran into varia kiss! While that lout was easily repulsed, ous colorful characters. My tales about them for the first time in our two-year relation- produced the desired appreciation and laughship, I found myself confronted by rival ter from Diana. suitors. When enhancing my experiences I had grown bigger and older since I first became insufficient, I invented imaginary saw Diana. I don't think it boastful to say encounters with friends and neighborhood I had a pleasant temperament and a good characters. I also shared with her my excitesense of humor. However, I felt these weren't ment about books I had read. I gave her enough to compensate for the lamentable Martin Eden by Jack London and The Gates disparity in my features. Because I was of Aulis by Gladys Schmitt, two books that forced to look at myself in the mirror each had an enormous influence on me. 106

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I confess now to an even more lurid example of my creativity. Having admired the flashing swordplay in adventure films starring Tyrone Power and Robert Taylor, I had begun taking fencing lessons at Hermanson’s Fencing Academy in Woodlawn. I began sharing with Diana stories of the people I met and fenced with at the Academy. The year was 1940, Europe was engaged in a war that most Americans were anticipating the United States would join. One of the fencing students at the Academy was a youth of German extraction whose first name was Helmut. I had a minor altercation with him, and in relating the experience to Diana, I added a few frills. Her genuine concern that I might get into more serious trouble with Helmut nourished my propensity to storytelling. Anxious to provoke further evidence of her solicitude towards me, I invented more serious disputes occurring between Helmut and me. He had shoved me in the locker room and I shoved him back. We had fenced in a duel against one another and after a heated, violent contest, settled on a draw. I found myself trapped in my own exaggerated storytelling. In order to heighten the drama, I had to keep inventing more and more colorful details. One night, in desperation to keep the suspense mounting, I told Diana that Helmut and I had a violent confrontation. We resolved to fight a duel with our foils stripped of their rubber tips. That lethal confrontation meant that I might incur a mortal injury. The effect upon Diana was all I could have hoped. I told her the duel was set for the following evening at midnight after the Academy had closed and the fencing academy was deserted. With tears in her eyes, she pleaded with me to refuse to fight the quarrelsome German. I kept insisting that, for honor’s sake, the duel had to be fought. The evening preceding the contest we spent together, Diana was tearful and solici-

tous, and more loving than she had ever been. I basked in the glow of her concern and, as we parted that night, I pledged I’d phone her first thing in the morning. Before retiring that night, I walked in front of the closed fencing academy, seeking to absorb some of its ambiance as I contrived a way to resolve the imaginary duel. The outcome I preferred was to claim I had slain the villainous Helmut. But that would have required explaining how I had disposed of the body. Nor was I certain whether or not Diana would wish to continue dating a killer. I decided on a less lurid outcome. I slept fitfully that night and rose at dawn to use our family bathroom before my siblings rose. With the bandage and tape I had purchased, I affixed a sizeable piece of gauze to my chest. I stained the edge of the bandage with a little iodine to represent blood. When I phoned Diana, her apprehensive voice answered almost at once. She told me she hadn’t slept all night. Even as I felt a twinge of remorse at my fabrication, I told her that an exhausted Helmut had conceded defeat. But in achieving my victory, I had sustained a minor wound. Diana insisted I come see her at once. I traveled to Hyde Park and to her apartment where she greeted me at the door. She insisted on seeing the wound and I removed my shirt to show her the bloodstained bandage. The moment was a glorious one in which I basked in the warmth of her solicitude and her tears. Several years earlier, not long after we had first begun dating, I had tried to kiss Diana. With what seemed genuine regret she stopped me, saying she feared her braces would be an obstruction. I had no way of knowing whether that would prove true or not but for the following few years while we dated, fearful of embarrassing her if the braces proved an obstacle,

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I made no effort to kiss her again. We did hold hands, sometimes shyly caressing one another's fingers. Then at the beginning of our fourth year of dating, soon after the episode of the duel, sitting on a bench under the shadow of the Museum of Science and Industry one summer evening, our faces close together, we kissed. The sweetness of that long-delayed kiss deserves a poem and not a mere sentence. When the kiss ended, we stared at one another with the delight of children who had discovered unimpeded access to a jar of cookies.

“We spent our time together in pensive silence, each of us poignantly understanding that we had become those star-crossed lovers destined to be separated by war.”

Beginning that night and each time after that we were together, we petted fervently, going beyond kisses to caresses, my hands freely poaching under her skirt. Both of us were apparently eager to make up for the years of intimacy we had missed. That added intimacy brought us still closer together, into a kind of physical and emotional bonding that we accepted would someday bind us in marriage. In the meantime, with the outbreak of war in Europe, and the relentless advance of the Nazis across France, my feelings about war had changed. The emotional influence on me of the book and film, All Quiet on the Western Front with its condemnation of any war had been replaced by a fear and revulsion of Hitler and his Nazi armies. These emotions 108

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were further sharpened when the armies of Italy invaded Greece. Instead of swiftly defeating that small country, the Fascists were driven back into the Albanian mountains. Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England, said of the valorous Greeks, “We no longer will say Greeks fight like heroes, but rather that heroes fight like Greeks.” For a while, my Greek heritage gained me a certain enhanced persona in the environs of our neighborhood. By early 1942, following the attack at Pearl Harbor, and America’s entrance into the war, newspapers printed stories of the fall of France and of the valiant struggle the English people were waging against the Nazis. London was being bombed and our English-speaking allies huddled every night in bomb shelters. My own view of the war matched the evolving mood of the country. All these events spurred my patriotism and sharpened my desire to play my part in that epic struggle. In my own South Side neighborhood, one of my closest friends, Jack Murray, had just been drafted into service. Two other friends had just been discharged because of warincurred injuries, Hance Taylor from the Army and Chuck LaMotte from the Marine Corps. Chuck had been among the Marines who landed on the island of Tarawa, and his recounting of that bloody landing and the fighting that followed spurred my outrage and admiration for our soldiers. I was ready and eager to join and do my part as my buddies had done. When my classification became 1A, I awaited my induction into service with enthusiasm. All the war films so popular then, with their star-crossed lovers playing out their human dramas against the backdrop of world conflict seethed in my head and heart. My evenings with Diana were shadowed by the prospect of my eventual departure to play my part in the great conflict. I confess


I played the part of the warrior soon to be separated from his beloved with high and poignant drama. That day came during the summer of 1943, when I received a notice to appear for my induction into the military. In those final days we spent together, Diana and I shared a series of emotional rehearsals for our ultimate separation. She was solicitous and loving, each of our nightly farewells tender and tearful. Her other admirer, Thorman, despite the splendor of his naval uniform, had been banished backstage while I occupied the proscenium of the theater. Diana's small but fierce-spirited mother, from the beginning of our relationship justifiably suspicious of me as a suitable suitor for her daughter, even appeared to relent. Once or twice as she bade me goodbye, I noticed a tear in the indomitable little woman's eye. My only knowledge of war had come through books. I was most fascinated by ancient battles, which pitted warriors against one another in single combat. I had read and reread the Iliad, swept up by the spectacle of ships sailing to battle on storm-tossed seas. After the landing, the onslaught of mighty armies, the heroism of champions clashing in single combat. Some part of me must have known that none of these reveries had anything to do with modern warfare, but my romantic temperament fused them into a pageant of heroics. The night before my induction, Diana and I walked in the balmy summer night. By this time, we had spoken all the words of farewell and love we could muster. We spent our time together in pensive silence, each of us poignantly understanding that we had become those star-crossed lovers destined to be separated by war. Our final farewell in the stairwell outside her apartment was lingering and tender. Even as I felt some apprehension at what the war might bring for us, I could not help savoring the tears

that stained her lovely face. I envisioned myself as Robert Taylor or Tyrone Power bidding his beloved farewell. The following morning, my family and I engaged in a series of endearing farewells. Naka, my mother, and my sisters all wept. One of my brothers, Manuel, was already in service while my oldest brother, Dan, had been granted a work deferment. My younger sister, Irene, was flying in the Civil Air Patrol. My mother had two gold stars in our apartment window and that morning added a third star for her youngest son. Finally, my father gave me communion and all our family shared a prayer. I left the apartment building warmed by their love and their tears. I joined a group of about a hundred youths my age at a local American Legion hall for a breakfast hosted by veterans of an earlier war. We listened with frequent bursts of applause as several speakers expressed the gratitude our country felt toward us for our valorous response in its time of need. Following breakfast, we were transported by busses to the induction center where we began a series of medical tests, every part of our bodies probed and measured, screened and assessed. While I wasn't a great athlete, I had held my own in running and wrestling contests. A regimen of weightlifting had also enlarged and strengthened my muscles. In looking around at the other inductees, I was grateful to appear to be among the strongest. The screening process moved at a steady pace, until at the end of a long day, we lined up for final approval. I reached the desk staffed by a corporal who took a draftee's medical papers and motioned him right or left. When I reached the desk I greeted the soldier with a broad smile intimating we would soon be comrades. He stamped my papers and handed them back. I looked down and saw a large and glaring “Rejected4F� at the top of the first page.

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I was stunned! My second reaction was that there had to have been some error in the processing, some misstep on the part of one of the many doctors and technicians who had examined us. I returned to the desk with my query. The corporal referred me to another office where I met a grizzled Army sergeant who reexamined my papers. To this day, I don’t accurately recall any precise diagnosis for my rejection. The sergeant himself had no explanation except that in some way, it related to one of the examining doctors finding scar tissue on my lungs lingering from my childhood tuberculosis. I made my plea to the sergeant, assuring him that for years I hadn’t any problem with strenuous exercise. My legs and arms were strong, my breathing good. He seemed sympathetic to my appeal “You really want to get into the army?” he asked gravely. “Yes, yes I do!” I said earnestly, and then, with blustering bravado added, “But not into a desk job! I want to serve in a combat unit!” The sergeant led me down a corridor to the office of a lieutenant who, the sergeant told me, had the authority to countermand the rejected classification. The WAC at the desk told us the lieutenant was at lunch but was due back shortly. The sergeant and I sat and waited. From time to time, the sergeant looked at his watch. After about a half hour, the WAC apologized, telling us the lieutenant was usually very prompt in returning from lunch, but that day, for some reason, he was late. The sergeant told me he had to return to his duties and couldn’t wait any longer. He suggested I call back in a few days and he'd see whether he could arrange for me to see the lieutenant. I left the induction center that day still struggling to accept the trauma of rejection. I delayed returning home until later in the 110

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evening, struggling for a way to tell my parents and siblings, my neighborhood friends, all honorable veterans of the war, that I had been rejected. Above all, remembering our poignant farewells, star-crossed lovers facing a hazardous future with fortitude, I was mortally ashamed of having to carry that message of rejection to Diana. When I finally went home, I bought some time with still another lie that I had been asked to return to the induction center in about a week for some special assignment. I never returned to the induction center to find the sergeant and to try to see the lieutenant. I feared my chances of being reclassified were slim and I would have to undergo being rejected and humiliated a second time. For the following few days, I struggled with a potential course of action. By the end of the week, born of my desperation, I devised the most expansive lie I had ever concocted. I informed my family and Diana that I had been chosen to be among a select group studying at a special school for the Diplomatic Service. Our ultimate assignment would be to serve in the occupied countries after the war ended. Because of my knowledge of Greek, my probable assignment, I told my family, would be to my parent's homeland of Greece. Needless to say, my family was not only impressed but also pleased that I'd have the chance for the first time to visit Greece. What aided me in this deception was the secrecy that wartime required. Whenever I was asked a question I had difficulty answering, I was able to invoke, “I can't say anything. You know … security.” I informed everyone that I had been sworn to secrecy, not even able to tell my family where I would be taking my training. For several weeks, I struggled to formulate my plans, which everyone was waiting anxiously to hear. My family, my friends


and Diana asked the question everyday. I could not delay any longer but had to make the decision to leave. I decided the town I would use to conceal myself was Urbana, Illinois, site of the University of Illinois. I had spent almost a year there with my brother and knew the campus and the town. Since many residents rented single rooms to students, I knew I could find an inexpensive room in some private home. Meanwhile, since I would not be able to write directly from Urbana. I found a contact who could help me, a young woman living in Urbana named Marjorie Hissong, whom I had met a few years earlier while I lived in Urbana. I got in touch with Marjorie, telling her the same falsehood, that I was being assigned to high-level classes for the government at the University, but that I was forbidden to communicate directly to my home. The generous-hearted Marjorie agreed to be the transfer point for my letters home and, in turn, to pass on to me those letters written to me from Diana and my family. When I left Chicago for Urbana, the farewells were all any prospective warrior could hope for. Wherever I went, I became the focal point of attention, a young man chosen for some highly secret and important service to our country. The night of the last dinner I spent with Diana's family had her mother and sister embracing me tightly and crying unabashedly. As for the farewell between Diana and myself, never had lovers parted with so tender and gratifying an outpouring of emotion. With my ability to reconstruct and enhance the core of an experience, I actually began to believe that I was departing for some mysterious and immensely important realm of service to my country. My farewells with Red, Jack, Chuck and Hance, my cronies at the liquor store, were just as heartfelt. My shoulder was slapped

and my hand shaken numerous times. Chuck and Hance, brave, wounded veterans, warned me that whatever the assignment, never to volunteer out of false bravado. I had purchased my train ticket for Urbana and told my family and friends that it was forbidden for anyone to come to the station to see me off. In Urbana, I took up rental residence in the commodious home of a gracious family named Van Doren. I had a spacious attic room with bay windows looking out across the campus. The Van Dorens made me feel part of their family, allowing me to share meals at their table. In my room, I set up my writing table, determined to begin working on some poems and stories. I’m no longer sure how many weeks I spent in Urbana living that charade, writing letters almost daily that I gave to Marjorie Hissong, which she in turn sent on to Diana, my family and friends. They in turn mailed their letters for me to her. In the beginning, Marjorie was my only friend in Urbana and it was she who began to take note of my misery. The deception was beginning to wear thin. I missed Diana, missed my friends and family. The absurdity of what I was doing began to dawn on me. The hours I spent each day reading, walking, trying to write, passed slowly and tediously. I began to consider seriously whether I should abandon the whole deception. Yet the immensity of my lie and the consequences that would ensue when everyone found out what I had done overwhelmed me. I did not have the courage to make that decision. Then an opportunity presented itself whereby I might indirectly end the masquerade. I ran into a family friend who worked as a dining car steward and whose mother was in the same Red Cross volunteer group back in Chicago as my mother. I could have easily sworn him to secrecy, as well, because if I didn't, I knew he'd tell his mother who

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would unquestionably tell my mother. I think by that time I wanted to be exposed. Less than a week later, I had a letter from Diana sent through Marjorie Hissong telling me my residence in Urbana had been revealed. Everyone was sorely confused. That same night I phoned Diana. We agreed that she would travel by train to Urbana. I promised her I would explain everything to her then. Two days later, she arrived in Urbana with Naka as a chaperone. We all had dinner with the Van Dorens, and afterwards, Diana and I alone in the Van Doren living room, I confided to her my deception. I was grateful when she showed understanding and sympathy with the intensity of feelings that had driven me to the enormous lie. In that moment, both of us in tears, I asked Diana to marry me. I'm not sure why I asked that momentous question at that instant. Perhaps, it was an effort to pile drama on drama or an effort in some way to make amends. Whatever the motivation, I was delighted and grateful when she accepted. We resolved to marry the following year. I left Urbana and returned home, telling all my friends that the special unit to which I had been assigned had been disbanded. The war in Europe ended in June of 1945. On the 30th of September that same year, Diana and I were married by my father in my father's church. By wedding standards befitting the somber times, we had a small wedding with only thirty to forty people in attendance. The wedding that was to immediately follow our own united a bride and groom from two prominent and wealthy Chicago families. As our marriage ceremony ended, the church began to fill with people attending the large wedding. We started our wedding ceremony with a handful of people and finished with a church packed in every pew. 112

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Our wedding reception was in an anteroom of the church, a table set simply with Greek pastries baked by both our mothers. Diana changed from her wedding dress afterwards, and our best man and his wife drove us to the Palmer House downtown. Although the war had ended, hotel space was still at a premium. However, through the efforts of a Palmer House hotel security officer I had met in the liquor store where I worked, we were able to get a room for the weekend. In the middle of the night, my friend Red called, urged by our mutual friends, he said, to ask if everything was going all right? I told him to reassure my friends that all the requirements of a wedding night were being met. The lame conversation ended. In thinking back through the years when I courted Diana, I find the memories dominated by the immensity of my lies. I try now to reconstruct my motivations. What amazes me is the ease with which I slipped from reality into falsehood. I also confess I cannot honestly recall feeling any remorse after the lies were exposed. The fact that I was able to conceive and follow through on the lies gave them, in my eyes, some moral justification. I justified those falsehoods believing that a more beneficent result could be produced by my lying. As a youth, I had performed in a number of the Greek tragedies. I had played Orestes and the Kings Oedipus and Creon. The roles I performed in my deceptions seemed extensions into plays of my own. In addition, I rationalized that I spared my family and friends the distress of learning I had been rejected for service. They not only felt better for me, but also felt better themselves. St. Augustine wrote that God gave humans speech so that they could make their thoughts known to each other. Therefore, using speech to deceive people was a


sin because it was the opposite of what God intended. But St. Augustine also believed that some lies could be pardoned, those which did not harm anyone and which benefited others. Thomas Aquinas felt that while all lies were wrong, there was also a hierarchy of falsehoods and those at the bottom could be forgiven. He distinguished between “malicious” lies and “helpful” lies. How many times have we spoken falsely, “You look wonderful …” or “I'm happy to hear from you …” or “I'm sorry I can't make it, I'm busy that night.” I tried to rationalize my deceptions by recognizing that all of society is rampant with lying, “This product will get your wash 99% clean,” “This car has only 20,000 miles on it,” “I'm sorry, he's in a meeting.” Yet when all justifications and excuses have been submitted, a lie remains a lie and a society in which lying is acceptable behavior would be a society in which nothing would be believed. A simple phrase, “I love you,” would be suspect.

At this advanced stage in my life, reviewing the decades since my prevaricating adolescence, for the most part I can't recall telling any lies of the magnitude of those I told in my youth. There is one exception, an infamous lie that looms over my head like the sword of Damocles. I will write of that lie in the chapter on my mother. As for the lies committed during my efforts to woo Diana, I cannot in all honesty feel any remorse. If I hadn't lied, I wonder whether she and I would have married to have our sons and to live almost seven decades together. The lie about fencing and other mythical adventures kept her enchanted and our destinies linked. And when my great diplomatic service deception was revealed and she traveled to Urbana to join me, in the emotional turmoil of the revelation and our reunion, I asked her to marry me, and she accepted. Without those lies, would the imposing blond Viking, Thorman, be calling her his wife now? �

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Ο θίασος (The Troupe) by Odysseas Anninos.


FICTION

The Way Things Are BY WILL MANUS

“P

olice? I want to report a crime. My car has been stolen.” “Why are you calling us?” “What do you mean? You're the—” The voice at the other end of the phone was blunt, matter-of-fact. “If you want to get your car back, put an ad in the paper, giving your phone number. It's your only hope.” That was it, end of conversation. So he took the policeman's advice, paid for a classified ad in Athens' largest daily. A few days later the phone rang. It was the car thief, also sounding blunt and matter-of-fact. He named the price he wanted, to be paid in cash, of course. “What's the condition of the car?” he asked. “What kind of question is that?” Now the tone of voice changed and became edgier, angrier. "I do business in a correct way. The car will be exactly as I found it—even better, because it was quite filthy inside. You ought to take better care of a fine vehicle like that.” The thief was waiting for him, late at night, at the designated meeting place, outside the Panathanaikos football stadium. He was a nondescript fellow, small, sallow, in his 40s or 50s, wearing shabby clothing: the kind of man you usually ignored in life. He said his name was Kostas, and he pointed to the car proudly. “See? It's just as I told you it was. I even had it washed on my way here.”

Kostas counted the money and nodded his thanks. Then he handed over a set of duplicate car keys and said, “It's been a pleasure dealing with you.” A few weeks later the phone rang. It was Kostas. “Everything all right? No problems with the car?” “The car was exactly as you said it would be.” “Good, I'm glad to hear you have no complaints, because I have a favor to ask of you.” “A favor?” He heard his voice becoming tight. “Yes. Would it be all right if I gave your name as a reference?” Kostas explained that the latest man whose car he had "borrowed" was a very mistrustful fellow. “He doesn't believe that he won't be harmed when we meet to complete the deal. He thinks I will take his money and hit him over the head, without giving the car back. Can you reassure him, tell him that I do business in an honorable way?” For a moment, he was tempted to lash into Kostas, call him an ugly name, slam the phone down on him. But just as quickly he regained his equilibrium and heard himself saying, with nary a hint of sarcasm, “I'll be happy to speak to him, Kostas. Tell the gentleman to call me.” �

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CREATIVE NON-FICTION

About My Mother BY IRENE SARDANIS

I

resisted being Greek, hated it in fact, or anything like my dowdy, pudgy immigrant mother who could not read or write English or Greek. Maybe that’s why I turned out to be an over-achiever and went on to get a Ph.D. in Psychology. She would talk to herself, walking around the house wailing, “Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison,” God save me, God save me. She wore those old, right-off-the-boat, drab dresses, grey, down to her ankles. Then for no apparent reason, she’d start crying, and head for her bedroom where, quite honestly, that is the place I remembered she stayed at most of the time. She rarely left the house, except to go down to the front steps of the Bronx tenement we lived in. She would sit there and talk with some other Greek women from the neighborhood. I wanted to shake her, change her into an American mother, like my other friends had. I can admit I also felt sorry for her. My mother always seemed a bit crazy, but after my father left, she became even more so. She would go into uncontrollable rages for no reason and lash out at me. To survive her unpredictable moods, I avoided her at all costs. Whenever my mother spoke to me in Greek, I would be defiant. “Don’t speak to me in Greek,” I’d say to her. “I’m an American.” She was determined to maintain a Greek household, being super religious with icons of Christ on the cross, she knelt to pray every night at an altar in her bedroom.

Against all resistance, I was forced to go to Greek school where I learned grammar, Greek religion and history. I hated every moment of it. Years later, when I went to Greece and met my relatives in her village, I was grateful that I could speak to them in their native language. I did not want to be Greek. All my friends had mothers who spoke English. I envied them and wished my mother spoke English too. My fantasy was that if she could only speak my language, all my problems in communication with her would disappear. I wanted to belong, to be just like all my normal girlfriends. In truth, I was ashamed of my immigrant mother. At age 15, those hormones were raging inside, and I was boy crazy. I had a crush on all the Puerto Rican and Cuban guys in our Bronx neighborhood. Every week I had a new boyfriend. I met Alberto at the library. He told me he was a senior in High School and was planning to go to Columbia University to study Microbiology. His family was from Cuba and he had that bronze tanned skin, tall, black thick hair just below his neck, and a great smile. He was the most intelligent guy I’d ever met. Most of the boyfriends I’d had before were interested in their appearance, sports, especially baseball games and the New York Yankees. Alberto was interested in many other things, like music (he played guitar). He introduced me to Fla2014 | VOICES

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menco dance, and took me to see a Jose Greco concert. He took me to see Broadway plays. He opened my eyes to a cultural world I was not aware existed outside our street. He also had a part time job at a local deli. Every date was an adventure. He opened a whole new world for me, one that was far away from the tenements of Trinity Avenue in the Bronx. And he was interested in me. He always had a book under his arm and encouraged me to read more, and plan for college someday. We had no books in my home, except the Greek Bible, so his gifts of poetry, music and art, all whetted my appetite to expand my small, narrow mind. There wasn’t anything I felt we couldn’t discuss or analyze. I was in love. We talked about my mother, the problems I had getting out of the house, her explosive rages. He didn’t get it. “She’s from the old country,” he’d say. “Don’t worry so much. I’ll be polite and she’ll see I’m a nice guy, not like other ones.” No, he didn’t get it. It happened as we were walking home from the library one evening. I turned around and saw my mother following me a half block away. I quickly grabbed his hands and said, “Run. It’s my mother. She’s following us.” He dropped me off quickly at the stoop of my apartment, and ran across the street to avoid a confrontation with her. She intercepted him and grabbed his arm. “You no talk my daughter no more,” she said sharply, “I call police,” she threatened. I could have died of embarrassment watching her shake her fist at him. By this time, the neighbors had opened their windows, some watching the Greek drama as they walked by us. This was a poor neighborhood. In those days, the 50's, most of the people could not afford a television. The entertainment was a good street fight, and that night, my mother was the star of the show. 118

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Years later as an adult, I took my first trip to Europe. I had no intention of going to Greece, but at the very last moment, I decided to visit my mother’s village on the island of Mytelene. When I arrived at the Athens airport, everyone around me was speaking Greek, the priests with their black robes down to their shoes, the “yia-yias,” the mothers with their children, the men, everyone surrounding me with the Greek language I’d heard from childhood. It was as though a thunderbolt hit me. All the time and effort I put into fighting my culture collapsed in a brief few moments as I stood there. I groaned and uttered to no one in particular, “Holy shit. I really am Greek.” When I finally arrived at my mother’s small village, I realized with another shock to my system, that she never really left her childhood home. Here I was at this charming sea-side village with friendly people, small, cozy, white stucco homes, colorful doors in bright blues, greens, and everything one could need within walking distance—the bakery, church, produce store, the tavernas, cafes—everything. How could anyone leave a close loving community like that? And go to New York? The Bronx? To marry (it was an arranged marriage) a man she’d never met? My mother may have physically taken herself to New York, but emotionally she brought the whole village with her. She raised me exactly as she was raised. Her village was like an extended family to her. Now I could accept her reluctance to assimilate to American values and a foreign culture she could not identify with. Because of all my childhood resentments, it was difficult to give my mother credit for anything. Abandoned by my irresponsible (read in alcoholic, gambler, womanizer), father, she lived on a shoestring, making ends meet with very little money.


Αγάπες στην άνοιξη (Love in Spring) by Odysseas Anninos.

It became clear to me that her strict way of raising me was her way of preserving my reputation, keeping it pure so some “good Greek boy” might marry me in the future. It hurt like hell being raised that way, but I now know she really meant well. She knew no other way. Many years later, I can admit having more appreciation for her ability to create something out of nothing, like making soups and stews. Despite her depression, she still came into the kitchen and cooked. I can still remember her opening the refrigerator and softly singing some Rebetik bluesy song from her youth—as she started chopping the onions, garlic, zucchinis, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, olive oil, adding the oregano in the iron skillet, and humming away, talking to herself, as she put a hearty soup or lamb stew together. It was those moments, sitting with my elbows on the chipped white porcelain table, watching her put a meal together, that I felt closest to my mother.

As a child, I remember my father putting on the Victrola, (a wind-up record player) and putting on some “Rebetika”—Greek blues. Rebetik music came out of the 20's when the Turks took over Greece. It was called “Kleftiko”—or hidden music, underground music, with men, drinking ouzo, playing an instrument called an oud, someone singing a sad song—all in dark basements, late in the night, forbidden to be played in daylight in outside cafes. This was the kind of Greek blues that comes out of deep sorrow, frustration, loss and despair. My father would belt down a couple of glasses of ouzo (a potent 90 percent proof alcohol drink), light up a cigarette, place it in his mouth with one hand, and with the other holding a glass of ouzo, he would move around the room, as though in some kind of trance—snapping his fingers, leaping like a wild animal, slapping his feet, with the music taking him to some other state of consciousness. This Rebetik music I grew up hearing was down-and-dirty Greek blues. Usually, there is an oud, a big-bellied stringed instrument, in the music, and when played the sound of that oud, sweet Jesus, just reaches down into your rock-bottom insides. It makes a strong man dance his sorrow, get drunk, fall down and weep, as the vocalist laments that “my woman left me for another man, that rotten bitch, but I still love her and want her back in my arms”. It is the kind of blues we hear after the bar closes and someone gets up and sings their sad story of misery and despair. Now I think of her as I start many unplanned meals the same way my mother did. What’s in the fridge? I ask myself. And slowly I start taking things out at random, almost allowing her spirit, and all the Greek village women before her, to give me creative inspiration to concoct some savory dish from a few vegetables and memories.

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Music is as much a part of preparing the dish for me as the dish itself. If I am preparing a Mexican chili, then I play Latin salsa music. But if it is a Greek pastitsio, a layered pasta dish of onions, chopped meat covered with a bechamel sauce, then it is definitely some Greek bouzouki (a stringed instrument) kind of music that I play. With no one watching, I dance freely around the kitchen, snapping my fingers high in the air like my father, and those crazy Greeks breaking plates I’ve seen at Athens nightclubs. And if I am quiet, and listen, I can almost picture her in our old kitchen, hear my mother humming one of those Rebetik songs from her village. I am more like my peasant Greek mother than I ever imagined.

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My mother is long gone now. Each Greek Easter, wherever I happen to be, I seek out a Greek Orthodox Church. That holiday was the holiest of holy for my mother, as it is for most Greeks. She would fast for weeks before the Easter service. Afterwards, there was much celebration with food—the roasted lamb, rosemary potatoes, salads with feta cheese to go with it, and baklava for dessert. I light a candle in her memory at the church, and silently thank her for all the gifts she has given me. Instead of rebelling, I now embrace my cultural heritage. I am proud to say I am Greek. Thanks, Mom. �


CREATIVE NON-FICTION

Return to Symi BY RICHARD CLARK

I

t had been some 28 years since I had last The price was good, and lower than visited Symi, and my memory of that trip expected, but in our experience, that was not had made me determined to return. Some- unusual in these cash-strapped times. The times it takes courage to revisit a place after next day was a Sunday, yet our new friend so long, especially when it has engraved was insistent that we arrive at the jetty no such a perfect picture in the mind’s eye. On later than 8:00 a.m. and ask for him, and him that last visit, we had been lucky enough alone, “Only ask for Michalis” he regaled us. to visit the island on our own terms. We “And don’t be late,” he insisted with an unuhad sailed there aboard a beautiful clas- sual emphasis on punctuality. I assured him sic carvel-built Bermudan sloop owned by we’d be there, and he wrote us out a receipt some friends who lived aboard in Mandraki as I parted with the cash. harbor. This time there was no such luxury; At the time, we were staying in Lindos we had to seek passage aboard one of the and thought an hour for the journey to Rhomany tourist boats that now sailed from des Town the next day would be plenty of that same harbor. An easy task you’d have time, and it would have been, had I learned thought, and so did we. We strolled along to master the alarm on my cell. We were left the bustling quay, passing the fishing boats, with a mad dash through the breaking dawn bareboat charter hires and polished gin pal- avoiding early starters weaving their way to aces to the moorings where a mish-mash of work on bikes. We had no problem parking craft lay at rest, stern on to the sea wall, in at that time and arrived on the quay with serene contrast to their crews touting for minutes to spare. Michalis had not materibusiness from passing trade. alized, so we sat down on a bench to wait. We stopped astern of one such boat, a Time ticked on, and for someone who had sturdy “καϊκι” with planked, caulked decks been so insistent that we were punctual, and varnished topsides and the ubiquitous Michalis was a little tardy. white hull with blue trimmings. Its crew After waiting twenty minutes, the cabin hosed down the decks and carried crates of door on the caique moored next to us Coke and beer aboard to the rhythm of Lady opened. Yawning, a crewmember emerged GaGa playing through the wheelhouse sound on deck, putting a cup of coffee down on the system. A man sitting at a folding table, cockpit table and stretching. He appeared under an umbrella advertising Alpha beer, to have the demeanour of a man who was stopped flicking his worry beads to assure going nowhere soon, so I asked him what us his was the best boat, at the best price for time we were leaving for Symi. I think I knew Symi the next day, just as we wanted. the answer before he replied. It was Sunday, 2014 | VOICES

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and his boat was not going anywhere today. lacklustre, vessel, Proteus. We were deposI asked which boat was going and he said ited with undue haste some yards from the he didn’t know, and what’s more had never craft, which puffed and panted as it idled heard of Michalis who had been selling tick- on its isolated mooring. “This is your boat,” ets for the trip beside his boat. shouted Michalis, as he sped off leaving us At that moment, a screeching of tyres bemused. I had a bad feeling about this. The announced the arrival of said Michalis. He day was not shaping up to be a sun-kissed leaped out of the most decrepit, tiny car I voyage on a small traditional craft to revisit had ever seen and started berating me for the island of our dreams. Undeterred, I talking to the man on the boat. The fact he approached the stern of the boat where crew was half an hour late and that no boat was in white uniforms sat on bollards smoking. going to our island destination seemed to It didn’t take long to realize that Proteus escape him. was a car ferry. Such workhorses plied their “You must come with me,” he said, bun- way between the islands, carrying people, dling us into the back seat through the vehicles, food and other cargo, which was the driver’s door, the only one apparently that lifeblood of the smaller communities. I profopened. He let the clutch out and the car fered my tatty receipt to one of the crew, who jumped forward—and stalled. He turned the smiled knowingly and told me I had to go to key and we caught the last deathly gasp of a small kiosk on the other side of the quay a dying battery. “This has never happened to exchange it for tickets. I did as I was told before,” he shouted, although I was surprised and traipsed across to the kiosk, which was the car had not been consigned to the scrap closed. A notice declared it would open at heap some decades ago. He jumped out onto 10 o’clock. Returning to the ship I asked what the quay and summoned the crewmember time they set sail and was told 11 o’clock. from the caique, along with a couple of pass- They left dock later as it was a Sunday. ing pedestrians, and inveigled them to push. Proteus was well named after an ancient Michalis released the clutch with aplomb, for god of the oceans, who Homer described as a novice, and the car spluttered into life. “The Old Man of the Sea.” Our ship was cerAs if afraid to take his foot off the gas, tainly old, with rusty tears dropping from he ploughed through red lights as we sped eyes beneath which hung two hefty anchors. south along the coast road. “Today we go But the boat revealed itself to be truly profrom the big ship harbor,” he informed us tean, and our voyage turned out to be all the as we left picturesque Mandraki where our better for being that of the everyday Greek car was parked behind, travelling past the who visited Symi. ancient city walls on our right to the more One of the crew took pity on us. He industrial setting of the town’s outskirts. invited us to sit on board until the ticket We turned through some gates onto a booth opened, and put out seats for us at the dusty path in a boatyard where cruisers, small impromptu café they had set out to yachts, fishing boats and other sundry craft the side of the car deck. Here, among boxes stood beached on trailers, blocked up or of tomatoes, crates of water and shrinkpropped in various stages of disrepair await- wrapped toilet rolls, their urn bubbled away ing the attentions of the boatyard staff. and we were given coffee and a plate of sweet Through another set of gates, we entered white grapes to sustain us. At 10 o’clock one an empty car park beside a quay to which of our new friends insisted on going to colwas moored a lone, workmanlike, if a little lect our tickets, and on his return, we were 122

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ushered upstairs to the saloon of the ship, with its comfortable chairs and tables, a bar selling drinks and snacks and multiple TV sets all tuned in to an animated post-election debate. As the time ticked on towards 11 o’clock, the room started to fill up. A party of children with teachers on a day trip to the Monastery of the Archangel Michael at Panormitis Bay; an elderly couple with a minute Chihuahua, its head poking out of a Burberry handbag; workers on a pilgrimage with men looking uncomfortable in Sunday suits, their wives in large patterned floral frocks; an eccentric, chanting lists of English football teams as he searched bins for discarded food before being given a meal by the galley staff; a cross section of Greek life was aboard and we were the only foreigners. The thudding of the engines grew louder, and the deck floor began to vibrate as the lines were cast off and we headed out to sea. As soon as we edged out of the harbor mouth, the swell took hold of the vessel, rhythmically pitching and twisting us as we progressed towards the northern cape of the island, before steering a northwesterly course leaving Rhodes behind. Proteus felt at home in this significant swell but, as the cloud came lower and the sky darkened bringing with it more than a hint of a breeze, I began to be thankful we were aboard this Trojan vessel. As the coast of Turkey loomed ahead, the wind abated and the rain began to fall almost vertically from the sky. Our approach to Panormitis was in sharp contrast to that which we had made all those years ago by yacht. The unrelenting rainfall made the bay look smaller as we inched towards the jetty beneath the monastery. Crewmen shouted instructions at each other to make themselves heard over the reverse thrust of the ship’s engines and the excited chatter of the schoolchildren.

Hawsers were heaved ashore and secured around hefty bollards as the ship’s ramp was lowered and we and the other passengers poured ashore. The monastery still retained an undoubted air of grandeur, but with the rain dripping down its walls and polishing the chessboard marble stones of the courtyard, it held us in a melancholy thrall. Water dripped off the leaves of the potted chrysanthemums, off the brims of hats and hoods and down the backs of shirts. Unabated, the children ran hither and thither between the buildings, while the devout leafed through their guidebooks whispering to each other. We struggled to relive the memory of our first visit, inwardly disappointed that the weather did not allow this magnificent spot to give off its best. If the rain had presented us with a clammy, uncomfortable feeling, and lackluster picture for the eyes, it was compensated for by the aroma the soaking had released from the hills behind the monastery. Wild arugula, sage, thyme and celery made their presence felt as the rain subsided and the ground began to steam in the watery sunlight. The smell of herbs aroused the taste buds and we had to be strong to resist sitting down to eat, which we intended to do in Symi Town, our next port of call. As Proteus edged out of the bay, leaving the small village behind, the sun began to dry us out and projected a beautiful rainbow arching from the sea over the monastery to the mountainside beyond. Making short work of burning off the mist and cloud, the sun reestablished its dominance almost as sharply as it had previously been undermined. We settled down hugging the shore bound for Symi Town. Buffeting a slight swell we eased our way to the southern tip of the coastline before skirting around the small island of Sesklia, its stark landscape inhabited only by seabirds, including pinkfooted shearwaters. At times, seals languish

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here, but today they were hiding. This is part of the coast that made Symi famous and was the source of much of its wealth in the past. The steep shelving rocks, which dive into the sea, were the ideal place for sponges to grow and the local population were second to none in their skill and bravery in harvesting these natural wonders. Since the time of Homer, their renown had been widespread in the eastern Mediterranean and, apart from the direct riches diving for sponges brought to the island, it also endowed the people with a unique bargaining power, which they used to good effect when threatened by the expanding territorial ambitions of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th Century.

“The climb up the kali strata is steep and every step moves us further back in time. Small pathways feeling their ways between lime-washed and pastel colored homes, blue doors open and matching shutters closed in the afternoon sun.”

The pragmatic islanders sent representatives to the sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent. They proffered gifts of their best sponges and promises that, if allowed to trade freely in both sponges and in the fast and sturdy ships their craftsmen constructed, they could be of great use to the Turks—Suleiman assented. They enjoyed such privileges until 1830 when, after the islanders joined the struggle for Greek independence, their rights were curtailed. Prior to this, the Symiots enjoyed freedoms unknown in the rest of occupied Greece. For the price of some nominal taxation and a yearly gift of the most extravagant sponges to the Harem of 124

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the Sultan’s palace in Istanbul, the islanders were allowed to carry on trading much as normal. And trade they did. So much is obvious by the wealth exhibited in the wonderful architecture on display as we enter the protective arms of the natural harbor of Symi Town itself on the northeastern coast. The withdrawal of certain privileges by the Turks following the Symiots ill-fated alliance with other Greeks in the 1821 revolution was the beginning of the end for the wealthy sponge merchants and shipwrights. Much of the skill and bravery involved in diving for sponges was superseded with the invention of diving suits. Prior to this, the fishermen used to dive naked, being aided to the seabed by a skandalopetra. As the “petra” in the name might suggest, this was a specially shaped stone weighing around 30 lbs, which was perforated to reduce water resistance. The stone would be tied to the diver with twine and by a rope to a boat on the surface. Holding on to the rock, the fisherman would quickly descend to as deep as 100 feet below the surface where, for up to four minutes, he would harvest sponges before cutting himself free from the stone and returning to the surface. The crew of the boat then hauled up his skandalopetra. The danger and skill involved made the sponges an expensive luxury, but the advent of more sophisticated sub aqua equipment meant that sponges rapidly became over fished and fishermen had to go deeper and deeper to find them. This in turn hastened the end of the trade. Many divers died due to their ignorance of the effect of water pressure on the human body and the resultant bends inflicted by resurfacing too quickly. Honey, sand and terracotta pastel shades unveil themselves through the rain-rinsed skies as this gem of a town reveals itself, stepping backwards up the steep hills and making an amphitheatre around the long, narrow harbor. The buildings are mostly


neo-classical, built in the 18th and early ancient acropolis. This was the preferred 19th Centuries, the heyday of Symi’s trad- way up the hillside until the kali strata steps ing, when their access to the vast Ottoman were laid in the 19th Century. markets made merchants rich beyond imagiThe houses that line the route are imposnation. The town’s beauty is a legacy of a life ing. Some have seen better days, their flakey no longer sustainable, and today the small exteriors disguising their past grandeur. local community survives mostly from the They stand testament to the halcyon days earnings from tourism. when the island’s wealth from sponges, shipDisembarking, our spirits lifted by the building and wine production supported a sunshine, it didn’t take long to find a suit- lifestyle that was the envy of other islands in able taverna where plenty of Greeks were the Dodecanese. But the town’s history can sitting down to tuck into their family Sun- be traced back much further. day lunch. I settled down to bread dipped The island is said to have been named in oil and vinegar with a black olive paste. after Syme who, according to the 2ndThis was followed by grilled mackerel, its century AD rhetorician Athenaeus, was the tiger stripes burnished with lemon juice and daughter of Ialyssos the King of Rhodes and crackling sea salt, served with a ramekin of Dotis. The sea god, Glaucus, a fisherman mustard sauce glistening with the freshness who, if Ovid is to be believed, achieved deity of golden eggs, vinegar, mustard and butter by eating a magical herb, abducted the poor and heavily scented with sage and thyme. girl. He brought her to the deserted island, The white wine was chilled to within an inch which then took her name. Glaucus himself of its life. Served in a copper jug, echoing the was imbued with many of the skills that the steely edge of the wine itself, it cut through island later became famous for, being one of the oiliness of my fish as though every indi- the shipwrights who built Jason’s ship, the vidual grape used in its making had been Argo. As a god, he swam in the waters surgrown just for that moment. It would have rounding the island, ensuring safe passage been easy to idle away the remaining couple for sailors and rescuing fishermen in distress. of hours just sitting there in that waterHomer wrote that three ships sailed from front taverna, maybe eating an ice cream or Symi to join the Greek fleet at Troy and indulging in another carafe of wine. But the the island’s king Nereus, who commanded narrow streets that led away from the harbor these ships, perished in the campaign. The were beckoning and overcame any more syb- subsequent history of the island is inextriaritic intentions we may have held. We paid cably linked to Rhodes itself, Symi being a our bill, and reluctantly brought ourselves satellite held by the comings and goings of up to ambling pace and headed away from the powers on the larger island. The Dorithe quayside. ans, followed by the Romans, held sway here The town is split into two areas. The low before the island became part of the Byzanlying port, Yialos, and the old town of Horio tine Empire. that looks down on it from the hills to the The climb up the kali strata is steep and south. Just away from the bustling south- every step moves us further back in time. west corner of the harbor side is a flight of Small pathways feeling their ways between about 400 steps. These connect the low-lying lime-washed and pastel colored homes, blue commercial center of Yialos with the older doors open and matching shutters closed in settlement of Horio, and replaced the older the afternoon sun. The Knights of St John kataraktis footpath, which runs up to the built a castle on the top of the acropolis on

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the site of a Byzantine citadel, which had Kampsopoulou Mansion where, on the also taken advantage of this site with its 8th of May 1945, the Germans made their magnificent views of the harbor. formal surrender of the Dodecanese to the The medieval fortress remained intact Allies. Nearby is a war memorial hewn out until the last century, when it was used as of the mountainside. Its inscription reads: a munitions dump by the occupying Ger- “On this day freedom whispered to me. ‘You man forces during the Second World War. twelve islands, no longer be downhearted’.” When they realized the game was up, the Sailing out through the headlands of the retreating troops blew up their stash pile, bay, we stood on deck enjoying the breeze destroying most of the castle, surrounding created by the ship making its way south homes and the Church of the Assumption again. As evening draws in the island will that was enclosed within the walls of the for- turn back in on itself, its population of little tress. The remnants of the castle walls are all more than 2,000 reclaiming their tranquilthat is left, but a new church has risen on the lity. We watched from the stern deck as Symi hill to replace that destroyed by the Germans. fell slowly under the shadow of the Turkish Each Sunday as its bells ring, one of those coast, and we headed back to Rhodes. A that tolls serves as a reminder of those dark chilled sweet Samos Muscat wine from our days, as it is forged from the nose of a mas- cool bag made the perfect accompaniment sive German bomb. to a pile of Loukoumades coated in honey Back on the north side of the harbor and dusted lightly with cinnamon to see us front, where Proteus was readying herself through until dinner time. � for departure, is a place that serves as a reminder of those times. What is now the Excerpted from RHODES – A Hotel Les Katarinettes was formerly the NOTEBOOK by Richard Clark

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CREATIVE NON-FICTION

Journey to a New Reality BY DENA KOUREMETIS

A

s the Greek Line’s Queen Anna Maria chugged over the Atlantic, shimmied through the Straits of Gibraltar, and paused for a breath in Lisbon, my time became filled with exploring the vessel as well as adjusting to what might lie ahead. My two cabin mates were as anxious to reach their destinations as I was, but in the meantime, we managed to learn a bit about one another’s root-bound cultures. My knowledge of Jewish customs was limited to having seen Fiddler on the Roof repeatedly—one of the few movies I could relate to in assessing my own sheltered life. I sympathized with Tevye’s three daughters and how, like me, they yearned for their independence, yet loved their father for his hard work and nurturing protectiveness. I could relate to how ethnic culture, social life, and religion could all be intertwined, since Greeks in the U.S. congregate similarly. Even the story’s music, with its Middle Easternsounding minor keys, felt familiar to me. I was delighted, then, to learn more about everything Jewish. Newly-married Rachel was from Brooklyn, the daughter of a Lubovich rabbi but perhaps a bit of a rebel. At the time, Lubovichers were a fairly new Hasidic movement in Orthodox Judaism, but shared the tradition in which women cover their heads—if not with a scarf, then by cutting their hair short and donning a wig. Rachel had long, blond tresses that fell into a perfect loose

flip at the ends. I had no idea the hair was not her own when we first met, so when she removed her mane on the first night of our voyage it was difficult for me to mask my surprise. Underneath was a hairnet smashing down closely cropped stubble. She also wore mini-skirts, a bit incongruent with other traditions of Orthodox Jewish modesty. It was never explained to me what was permitted of married women in her sect of Judaism, and which parts of her appearance constituted her own personal acts of nonconformity. Her father was a rabbi, so she may have changed elements of her clothing the moment he was out of sight. A chain-smoker, Rachel spent countless hours in her top bunk anxiously puffing and wringing her hands over the prospect of her wedding gifts being destroyed in the ship’s hold as the vessel swayed and lunged through the waves. “Oi ... I can just picture all my new sets of dishes broken by the time we get to Haifa,” she lamented in a heavy Brooklyn accent as she waved her cigarette. She would explain kosher dietary laws (separate sets of dishes for dairy, poultry, etc.) and many other customs of her faith to me. She even invited me to an Oneg Shabbat celebration, a pre-Sabbath gathering, where we line-danced in the opposite direction of the Greek tradition, sang Hebrew songs, and ate Kosher food. My other cabin mate, Cheryl, was from Michigan. Cheryl was more laid-back and 2014 | VOICES

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closer to my age. A reform Jew, she did and security I may have taken for granted. not observe dress codes or other personal I would miss my pretend-torch-singing sesappearance restrictions, and she proceeded sions with my brother John, as I held up the to participate in all the on-board youth- imaginary microphone, belting out songs as oriented activities. Cheryl seemed to make he accompanied me on the piano. I’d miss friends easily, as if she were preparing to Aris’s infectious laughter and hearty appestay in touch with them once she arrived in tite. I’d miss my mother’s voice and sweet Israel. I admired her gregarious spirit. We naïveté as she covered the dinner table with attended a talent show together where, as her trademark meals. I’d even miss the sound fate would have it, one of the acts was from of my father’s voice in front of the TV set on Fiddler on the Roof. Two teenagers sang the a Sunday afternoon, when he would comhusband-and-wife number “Do you love me?” plain loudly about how a St. Louis Cardinal The girl had a heavy scarf tied around her missed a perfectly good pitch. head while the boy sported an old top hat, My private performance ended, and my spectacles, suspenders, dangling sideburns, mind riveted back on the present. Never havand a prayer shawl. They both had incred- ing learned the entire score, I exhausted my ibly talented voices and the crowd raved with memory and sat at the keys, hesitating. A approval. Having been such an aficionado of burst of applause rang out from a far doorthat particular musical, I naturally knew all way, where seven or eight Jewish kids had the lyrics. evidently stood transfixed. I got up, redOne boring afternoon I solitarily roamed faced and shaking, shocked that anyone had the ship, trying to figure out where a few heard my flawed efforts. Admittedly, my interesting-looking hallways led. I soon insides were smiling. found myself in a deserted lounge where a grand piano sat unattended. In the dim light, When all else fails, stay in one place I made my way to it and sat down. I began playing and felt as if it had happened on a By the time the ship pulled into Piraeus, I secret place. For a moment, it seemed to was beside myself with excitement. But me then that everyone else on the ship was despite how much my parents prepared me held captive, and only I had been liberated for my arrival in Piraeus, I was truly woras I sat at the familiar instrument. During ried. It had been five years since I’d been to my high school years, I managed to learn Greece, and I was not at all certain I could parts of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and remember the faces of the relatives I had now began coursing its syncopated phras- complained about having to visit when I ing in amateur fashion—never at the speed was younger. On the flip side, how would intended by the composer, who was no doubt they recognize me? The last time they saw turning over in his grave. Still, I loved the me I was short, awkward, had braces on sometimes seemingly dissonant, jazzy sound my teeth, and an unruly, wavy head of hair. of this masterpiece, no matter how haltingly Now, teeth-straightened, long-haired, and I played it. eighteen, I liked to think I had metamorThoughts of home began filling my head. phosed since then, like a butterfly emerging My mind wandered to a vision of my laven- from a cocoon. I imagined that my relatives der room at home with its San Francisco would have to query every girl around my posters. I knew with each day I was getting age that waited on the dock in order to find farther and farther away from the laughter the right one. 128

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The Queen Anna Maria carefully slipped into the girdle of docks at the industrial port of Piraeus, a city near Athens that wasn’t particularly postcard-perfect. It was here in Piraeus that the famous prostitute character, played by Melina Mercouri in the movie Never on Sunday, strutted her stuff. In the story, she tries to figure out the meaning of life, trying hard to give up her life of debauchery. In the end, she realizes that it isn’t as much fun to be a “good girl,” and gleefully returns to her adoring public. After what seemed like hours of Greek customs and over-the-top bureaucracy, I claimed my behemoth suitcases, flopped my guitar over my shoulder, and searched the throngs of people greeting passengers as they disembarked, all the while attempting not to look terrified. I couldn’t recognize a single face. I finally plopped down on one of my bags and waited,

thinking I might look exotic through my Foster Grants. The dock began to empty of passengers and luggage and there I sat, shifting my crossed legs every fifteen minutes or so. My attempts to appear intriguing began to exhaust me. After a while, I imagined an aerial view of myself like a scene from a movie, left all alone like an immigrant waif in the middle of a big city harbor. I had no idea how to use a Greek telephone, nor did I have any Greek currency, so I had no choice but to hope I would be discovered before it turned dark. “Dee-nah? Dee-nah too Men-DOO?” a man’s slightly whiny, singsong voice called out—presumably for me. Greek names can be made feminine or masculine as well as possessive with the change of a syllable, but I had never heard the altered version of my own. Then I recognized his face. “Uncle Stathi?” I said. But I said it in Greek: “Theo Stathi?”

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“Neh, neh, peh-THEE moo.” (Yes, yes, As we drove away from the port, Theo my child.) Greeks call even older adults “my Stathi continued to talk, gesture, and puff. child” as a sign of affection. Affection is eve- Soon the sights and smells of Athens went rywhere in Greece. flooding by as we neared his apartment Among Greeks, any adult you’re related building. Images and aromas from my preto becomes your Thea or Theo. This shows vious family visit to Greece consumed my respect for an elder, even though you may senses. I was to stay with relatives for ten or may not feel close to them. No, it doesn’t days until my dormitory was able to receive make sense. (“But it’s a tradition! And how students, and judging by my ability to comdid this tradition get started? Vell, I’ll tell municate it was going to be a very long ten you ... I dunno.”) It occurs to me now that my days. Still, I was here ... in Athens ... by myself. parents made us do all sorts of things as children we never really questioned—like kissing Athenian Apartment Dwelling 101 icons and doing the sign of the cross before dinner. But the worst one was being forced Theo Stathi and Thea Vasiliki had two chilto accept sloppy cheek-kisses from everyone dren: Marina, about five years my junior, considered family (anyone who was Greek)— and Elias, a five-year-old. They lived in a even the crustiest, most un-kissable people. modest collection of rooms with marble In reality, Greek-American kids have dozens floors, an efficient kitchen, and a small bath. of Theas and Theos, but only a handful of By Athenian standards, they lived fairly well. true aunts and uncles. We also learned how Stathi was in the imports/exports business, to lightly kiss them back on each cheek, and and Vasiliki took care of things at home. had this kissing thing down by the time we They were warm, animated, welcoming, and reached adulthood. extremely curious about me. Stathi, married to my father’s first My mother had armed me with gifts for cousin, Vasiliki, began laboriously trying my hosts, courtesy of Avon having called. I to fit my gargantuan luggage into his tiny offered a wrapped package of fragrant moisEuropean car. He kept testing my ability to turizer for TheaVasiliki, and manly cologne comprehend his nasal comments and ques- for Theo Stathi. Vasiliki was delighted, but I tions, but soon realized it was a lost cause. managed to infer from Stathi’s reaction that My few memorized phrases in Greek, such real men did not need anything to mask their as, “pass the meat and the cheese,” did not natural aroma, making my token gift rather have reason to come up in the conversation, dismissible. Remembering the aromas of and I became increasingly frustrated. What many unwashed armpits from the crowded he could not fit in the trunk occupied the Athens buses in 1965, I couldn’t begin to back seat, looking like fat passengers. None- fathom the idea that Athenian women found theless, he chattered away in Greek as an pleasure in men’s natural scents, however. unfiltered cigarette bobbed and dangled preVasiliki asked easy and thoughtful cariously from his mouth. questions about the family, while Stathi’s I desperately feathered the tiny pages of questions seemed more curious. my Greek-English dictionary to find single “DEE-nah. PEZ mou,” he said in the words I could use to convey answers to ques- nasal voice many Greeks seem to use. “Kaptions I thought I understood. By the time NEE-zees tsi-GAH-ro?” (Tell me, do you I came up with something to say, he had smoke cigarettes?) He gestured to convey moved on to another topic. his question, feigning having a cigarette in 130

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his hand, adding a verbal singsong at the end commute that created an ungodly smog in of the query. downtown Athens. It was no wonder the Skeptical, I couldn’t figure out where Parthenon was deteriorating at a record rate. he was going with this. “AW-hee,” (No,) I I spent those hours reading magazines I’d responded. Had he seen me break out a pack brought from home or writing in my journal. of Marlboros? The time crawled by. “DEE-nah. For-AHS tah MEE-neeSince Greeks routinely spend more skirts?” (Do you wear mini-skirts?) What evenings outside their homes than inside, was this all about? lounging furniture is scarce, making one In time, however, I am sure my Pollyanna think that they place little value on comfort ways proved to be quite uninteresting. Still, in their own homes. Hard-bottomed sofas he strolled up and down the long balcony out- and chairs sparsely populate their apartside my room, puffing on his tsigaro, no doubt ments, and drapery and area rugs are rotated, thinking up other curiosities to pose to me. gathered up, and repositioned by season. Evenings with Stathi and Vasiliki were They also tend to remove their shoes upon spent pleasantly, taking long walks or din- entering a house or apartment, shuffling ing out with friends or other family members around in slippers on their marble floors. I until long after most Americans would be thought about our wall-to-wall carpeting snug in bed. We visited with Theos Vasilis, at home—something I was to see little of in my father’s uncle, several times over the Greece, or the rest of Europe, for that matter. next week. He took great pride in speaking Greek television in the 1970s was limited. katharevousa (formal or academic, literally Programming took place during evenings only, “cleaned up” Greek, as compared with eve- and Vasiliki looked forward to the variety ryday conversational Greek)—the language shows with an excitement that was infectious. of Greek newspapers with heavy words that Sometimes five or six male and female Greek contained three prefixes and as many suf- torch singers would perform in succession. fixes. Somewhere in the middle of each long Vasiliki would rave of their talent and tell me word, the root that unlocked the meaning of gossip about them gleaned from local enterit was hidden. All I could think about as I tainment tabloids. She was quite surprised smiled and nodded and stumbled over non- their faces and names were entirely unfamiliar grammatically correct Greek was how many to me, assuming that if they were so famous in days remained until the dorm opened. Greece, they must be famous everywhere. Accustomed to showering each day, I Then I nearly burst a Greek bubble. I was deemed a wasteful Americaneetha. My explained in broken Greek (with the help hygiene habits forced my hosts to turn on of my dictionary) that the singers with the bathroom hot water more frequently no microphones on this huge sound stage than usual, and I was given instructions to weren’t really singing live. They were merely give them plenty of notice so the hot water mouthing the words. device had time to rev up. I was also unacVasiliki looked at me as if I were insane. customed to “siesta time,” lovingly called “OH-hee! EH-kah-nehs LAH-thos, reh pehtahapoh-yevma, from around 1:00–5:00 p.m., THEE moo. THEN ee-nehsoh-STOH.” (No, when the whole of Athens would close their my child, you’ve made a mistake. That’s not businesses, vacate their offices, and either go correct.) home to nap or go to the beach in the midI realized at that point that my relatives afternoon, causing a massive twice-daily could not get their heads around the idea

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that modern-day recording equipment lent a hand in such cases. In their minds, everything they saw on the screen was happening live, despite some obviously bad lip-syncing. They simply attributed the delay of mouths to words to a weak television signal. It somehow reminded me of my grandparents back in Muncie, Indiana who thought the commercials that accompanied movies on TV were a part of the story, and that Big Time Wrestling was just another act on The Ed Sullivan Show. What compounded my confusion regarding the little Greek I understood was the fact that I learned a flawed version of it nearly all my life. As a child, I heard my mother use words for things that I accepted at face value, as most children do. An ashtray was a tah-SAH-kee—a dustpan was a fah-RAHsee—and a little trash was skoo-PEE-thee. It sounded something like this: “Dena, will you go get the broom and the fah-RAH-see to clean up the skoo-PEEthee from when the tah-SAH-kee fell on the floor?” These and words like them were included in everyday speech surrounded by English words, so as child, my interpretation was seamless. To an outsider, however, they must have wondered from what planet we had been deposited on Earth. Items of clothing had their own names as well. I was ordered to put on my pah-POOchah (shoes) and KAHL-tsehs (socks), bring my fah-NEH-lah (sweater) if it got cold and I was sent on my way. It’s no wonder I mixed up the words kahPEH-loh (hat) and koh-PELL-ah (girl) in front of Theo Stathi, turning red-faced after saying, “Meenkah-THEE-sees ah-PAH-noh teen kopella,” (in an attempt to say, “Don’t sit on top of the hat,” but coming out, “Don’t sit on top of the girl.”). Just as amusing were Greek-influenced American words stuck in the middle of sen132

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tences that usually included an extra syllable tacked on the end. This was a habit originated by Greek immigrants assimilating into American culture. A cake became a KEHkee, a car was a KAH-roh, and a carpet was a car-PEH-toh. To this very day, I fall back on these American corruptions of the Greek language. Still, my favorite moment in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding came when the Greek immigrant mother had a tough time understanding what a Bundt cake was. Another Greek took one look at it and remarked, “EE-neh KEHkee, moh-REE” (It’s a cake, you idiot). My stay with my father’s cousin’s family ended with a Sunday picnic in the Penteli Mountains near Athens. They insisted I play my guitar under the olive trees and sing what Greek songs I had managed to learn phonetically from a few Greek record albums I had back home. My little cousin Marina spoke just enough English to do some rudimentary translations, and told me what the lyrics meant. Little did I know what passionate phrases I had been crooning. In one, I sang of a man who was reclining, cigarette in hand, after having made passionate love to his woman. The scene had been put into lyrical words that implied meaning to those who spoke the language fluently, but totally escaped my limited interpretation. The next day, Stathi deposited me in front of the main gate of the campus of Pierce College, high on a hill overlooking the Athenian suburb of Aghia Paraskevi (“St. Friday”). He made me promise to stay in touch and then sped off, leaving me gazing up at my home-to-be. � Excerpted from the eBook CLIMBING ST. FRIDAY, a coming-of-age memoir chronicling a year in the author's life spent at the American College during the military occupation of Greece.


CREATIVE NON-FICTION

In a Tragic Split Second The Story of Sue and Her Siblings BY MARY PRUITT

I

grew up in a small town with thirty-five Greek families. Some of these families were from Greece; others, like my own, had one parent from Greece and the other a Greek-American. Most of the families owned restaurants scattered throughout the valley. Even though it would be years before a Greek church would be established, the community was very close. Most were members of the AHEPA family. The Daughters of Penelope chapter eventually purchased a small Methodist church, hired a retired Greek priest from New Jersey and established a Greek Orthodox community. Prior to that, my family was one of the few who attended the Syrian Orthodox Church, which was only three blocks from our house. The Syrian priest lived on our street. So it was no surprise that when the retired Greek priest and his wife moved to our community, they lived in an apartment in our home. Even before there was a Greek church, Greek traditions were observed. For example, my family hosted an open house on New Year’s because my brother’s name was Basil. We celebrated both my dad’s (in May) and my name day (in August) as well. I loved having two “birthdays” a year: receiving gifts on my name day and the day I arrived on earth. I taught my non-Greek husband to continue that tradition for many years. Growing up

Greek was mostly fun: dancing, traditionalmusic and family house parties. And of course, not so much fun was Greek school on Saturdays. My teacher was a teenager from one of the other Greek families. Her parents were both from Greece and maybe Peggy had been born there too. It was not the Greek school teacher but a slightly older Greek girl who haunted my dreams. I cannot remember which sister was named Sue. But their story was a tragic one. The younger one was my sister’s age, and they were both in junior high. The older sister was in high school. She was beautiful— tall, thin, with a perfect face, glistening eyes and soft flowing hair. She bordered on our town image of a Greek goddess. Her father was very strict, but her mother allowed her to go to school events behind his back. The family lived in an apartment above their restaurant, which was a coffee shop open for breakfast and lunch. Rumor had it that one night the daughter was meeting a boyfriend to go to a game. She and her mother, holding her very young brother, were in the restaurant waiting for the daughter’s date. Suddenly the father appeared with a gun, shouting that he suspected the daughter was going out behind his back. He was going to kill her. The gun went off. The mother with the young baby in her arms stepped in front 2014 | VOICES

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of her daughter. The single bullet that killed the mother did not harm the baby but devastated the teenage daughter. The father went to prison for life. The members of the Greek community helped run the restaurant until it could be sold and the proceeds went to the children. The older sister managed to graduate from high school and find a job. She moved with her sister and baby brother to an apartment near where she worked. It was far from the Greek community. She became the mother and father to her two siblings. She soon married, maybe to her high school boyfriend, and put everyone through college.

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We didn’t see much of them as no one had a car. Occasionally, my sister would see Sue at non-Greek events and report how they hugged and said they missed seeing each other. When I was in high school, I read in the paper and saw that their father lost his parole appeal because the children testified that they still feared for their lives. I am sure he must be dead and forgotten by now, but I suspect the mother who sacrificed her life for her daughter is not. Nor in my mind is the daughter who saved herself and her siblings from further harm. �


CREATIVE NON-FICTION

An Extraordinary Man and Friend Yanni Posnakoff BY STEPHANIE QUINN

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et me tell you now about this extraordi- kling. We were introduced, and he told me nary man and friend, and how our lives I looked like a young version of his favorite intertwined. actress, Jane Fonda, and immediately started It was 1986, a brisk autumn evening in courting me. Carmela whispered in my ear in New York City. All I knew for sure was that a voice that sounded almost like a warning, it was time for me to take my gifts, and be “His name is Yanni Posnakoff.” of service using music for world peace. I had Yanni waited until the crowd dissipated, workshop ideas, which had come to me in and as I was about to leave, he invited me dreams, dreams that also included instruc- for Greek coffee at the Symposium Greek tions on who to contact each day. Each new Restaurant, which was next door to the person led me to another, and another and Hungarian Pastry Shop. Both of these the quest became clear. I was going to Israel. landmarks are legendary for Greek warmth Why? Jerusalem was the logical place to test and hospitality and the sort of place one this new modality, using music and tones to would find intellectuals, visionaries, and bring people in conflict to deep understand- artists who would linger over Greek coffee, ing of each other. My friends arranged many and talk into the wee hours of the morning. ‘rehearsals’ and invited the public to each one. Yanni created the Symposium in 1968 and They were held on Sunday evenings, and then in 1975 he partnered with a Hungarpublicized as ‘Song Circles.’ After I finished ian and started the Hungarian Pastry Shop. a Song Circles demonstration at a church in Across the street was and is the Cathedral of New York City, I attended a party. While I St. John the Divine, at Broadway and 111th was chatting with Israeli artist Carmela Tal Street. As we entered the restaurant, everyBaron, I noticed a man dressed as a Balinese where I looked, on the walls, hanging from dancer. His tunic top and loose pants were the ceilings, painted on light fixtures, above white, and wrapped around his hips was a doorways, were paintings and sculptures of brilliant turquoise and violet long wrap, with angels. The faces were amazingly expressive; sparkling tassels, and woven with glittery I was struck with the vitality and strength threads. He made his way through the crowd, of these images. I felt myself becoming one with his arms circling and turning himself with each angel when I allowed their eyes around like a peacock, and landing in front to penetrate my soul. In the background, I of me. His face was radiant and his eyes spar- heard Yanni. He was born in Thessaloniki, 2014 | VOICES

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Angel Card by Yanni Posnakoff.

Greece, and moved to Serres, the only child of a family of Russian ancestry. At age 13, he lost his mother, and at age 14, he lost his father, and he was all alone to figure out his life. Since the age of four, he'd been drawing angels, and believed if he prayed, angels would help him. “Angels come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and I used to see them as a child. Even now I see them in some people.” he said. “Yanni, I love your paintings, and I hope you’ve been published. Have you?” “Have you ever seen the books, Children's Letters to God? It’s a best-seller which has been translated into seven languages. Or have you seen, Ask Your Angels or Children’s Letters To Santa Claus? I have many drawings and collected quotes from children and filled the books with their sweet words.” “Yes, I saw them at Rizzoli’s, you know, on 57th Street, near Carnegie Hall. I didn’t read them.” “I think you would enjoy them. Did you ever want to perform in Carnegie Hall?” “I already did, a few years ago.” 136

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Panagiotis Binioris, Yanni’s business partner, came to our table and told Yanni someone was here to see him in the other room, and asked if I would like a pastry. He sat down. I inquired, “I just met Yanni, could you tell me more about him?” Panagiotis casually replied with hisgenuine Greek accent, “He’s a goot man, and graduated from dee Advanced School of Marine Engineers, and he’s been in the America since 1954 when he won a Fullbright Scholarship and grant from dee Doris Duke Foundation and dee beeg Greek ship owner, Marcos Nomikos. Ah yes, he also was a student to the U of C, Berkeley for two years, and theeen grabbed a scholarship to MIT, where he graduated in 1958 … as a naval architect.” I was confused. This description made no sense to me. “Are we talking about this man I just met, Yanni Posnakoff, the angel maker?” “Yes ma’am,” and he quickly departed. Yanni returned, and sat down.


I demanded an explanation. “Panagiotis just told me you went to MIT? To Berkeley? A marine engineer? A naval architect? Where did you come from, another planet?” “Well maybe. Compared to New York, it feels like another planet. You see, I just flew into JFK from Bali.” That night my dreams were filled with angels and choir music. I awoke to the phone ringing and it was Yanni, inviting me to supper, as he had some people who wanted to meet me about my upcoming trip to Israel. We had long discussions about my project to go to Israel. Suddenly, Yanni was speaking as though he were telling me a sacred secret. He once met an Indian man in SoHo, who read his palm, and told him he would have three important loves in his life that he would never marry. One of them would be his ‘spiritual wife.’ I told him, “If only you were 15, or even 10 years younger, I would marry you tomorrow!” He accepted it. We were both sad, and we pushed forward and continued working together on the Jerusalem project. Yanni was most helpful to me as I prepared to go to Jerusalem with my workshops and help bridge emotional gaps between the Jews and Palestinians. He had an infinite amount of energy, and I don’t know when he slept. He designed the flyers I would post, authored good wording for the invitations, complete with an angel playing the violin on each one! His mind and heart were always so open. I trusted him with the mysterious dreams I had every night. He helped me understand the content of them by sharing with me the spiritual and psychological teachings he studied. One of the teachers he most admired was George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Γεώργιος Γεωργιάδης, born in the Russian Empire in 1866 to a Greek father and Armenian mother. Yanni and I had many discussions about the various situations I might encounter in Israel,

and how I might face them prayerfully and with right thinking, how I might be a “peaceful warrior” in Jerusalem, and so forth. Every time I visited his properties, I noticed on the street many homeless people begging, since their locations were across from the largest cathedral in the world. Whenever Yanni saw them, he handed them a broom, and suggested they walk up and down the street, cleaning up the sidewalks in front of the stores and apartment buildings. He sometimes moved out of his apartment, so homeless people could stay for a while in the winter time. He always fed them, and gave them a little money, if they were willing to use the broom. Always ahead of his time, today there are several movements in New York City, to provide money and housing to the homeless by putting them in programs to keep the sidewalks clean. The Doe Fund created the 86th Street cleanup project, for example. The more l learned about Yanni, the more I understood what a powerful impact he had on American Culture, spirituality, and of course, the intellectual scene in New York City. In 2010, he was on a film festival tour with Cybela Clare, director of the movie he stars in, entitled Bird’s Eye View. We were able to meet briefly in New York City, where I was appointed to perform in Carnegie Hall. As soon as I saw him, I burst into tears of joy. After several decades in America, he returned to Greece. I remained in America and every Valentine ’s Day, Yanni would call me up on the phone and propose to me. I adored these calls because they kept my hope alive that one day I would marry someone closer to my own age who would offer me the happiness I enjoyed with him. One day, I met another man from Greece. Because my Greek friend Yanni was so good with me I gave this Greek man a chance. We are now married. If you go to Greece, please stop and visit Yanni Posnakoff! �

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ACADEMIA & SCHOLARSHIP

On Being Greek in America Identities BY DAN GEORGAKAS

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pon arrival in the United States of America, Greek emigrants immediately become Greeks in America or American Greeks. How long that identity remains in place is a matter of individual psychology. More often than not, the American Greek, consciously or unconsciously, continues to prioritize Greek culture, only accepting whatever American cultural demands are deemed necessary for an acceptable lifestyle. Again, more often than not, this American Greek identity slowly morphs into a Greek American identity in which American rather than Greek culture becomes prioritized. Less common are those American Greeks who immediately seek to aggressively embrace assimilation, which means discarding Greek culture and Greek identity as quickly and completely as possible. A fourth option, and easily the most complex, is that of identifying as simultaneously Greek and American, a dynamic relationship between the two cultures without fixed cultural ratios, boundaries, or priorities. Grammatically speaking, the aggressive assimilation view makes American a noun; the American Greek view makes Greek a noun and American an adjective; the Greek American view makes American a noun and Greek an adjective; and the Greek and American view makes both Greek and American

nouns. Although one or another of these identities may dominate any given period or place, all are always present and all are constantly evolving to meet changing social realities. Each time period also contains significant variables. The two most important are differences between recently arrived immigrants and established immigrants and the differences between the American-born and their immigrant forbearers. The four categories just outlined are not necessarily consciously evoked by even the majority of the Greeks in America, but, as will be demonstrated, they are the identities evident in community and individual behavior. These differences regarding ethnic self-identity are more than historical categorizations; they profoundly shape the nature and fate of the Greeks of America.

The Assimilationists Community publications and Greek Americanists rarely deal at length with the aggressive assimilationists for the obvious reason that by definition, the assimilationists have left the community. Consequently, if one’s focus is on Greeks in America, the assimilationists no longer exist. Nonetheless, we certainly want to know how numerous these aggressive assimilationists may be. Do 2014 | VOICES

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they come from a particular region? Are their numbers significantly greater or lesser in any given time period? Are they more or less numerous than their counterparts in other immigrant groups? This is an area that might be of more scholarly interest to students of the global Greek diaspora than to scholars more involved with emigrants who sought to retain their Greek identity to one or another degree. Aggressive assimilation primarily pertains to the immigrant generation. The American-born Greeks who opt for American culture are simply embracing the culture into which they are born and schooled. In that sense, they are best thought of as passive rather than aggressive assimilationists. That said, there are a considerable number of the American-born who consciously reject Greek culture with some vehemence, rather than simply seeing it as irrelevant. The most dramatic choices to reject Greek culture are often found in accounts written by Greek women rebelling against traditional households.1 One might imagine that in the pre-1880 period, when there were so few Greeks in America that the number of aggressive assimilationists would be high. This is not the case. In many cases, being distinctively Greek during a period when Classic Greek culture was revered was advantageous. The pre-1880 period was also a time when a small number of elite families remained decidedly Greeks in America with meaningful family and financial networks tied to Alexandria, Smyrna, and Constantinople as well as Greece proper.2 The exact opposite of the aggressive assimilationists are the rejectionists, those 1 A collection of such experiences is found in Constance Callinicos, American Aphrodite: Becoming Female in Greek America (NY: Pella Publishing, 1990). 2  Accounts of such connections are featured in Michael Contopoulos, The Greek Community of New York City: Early Years to 1910 (New Rochelle, NY: Aristide D. Zaratzas, 1992). Includes an informative foreword by Constantine G. Hatzidimitriou.

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emigrants who opt to return to their homeland rather than stay in America. Their motives can be any combination of dissatisfaction with American culture and longing for the homeland culture. These may be thought of as failed or disillusioned birds of passage. Also not to be overlooked is that some may, in fact, have simply filled their objective of earning enough money to finance a better life in Greece.3 Making a count of such persons is difficult. Due to the way records were kept, the same person, going back and forth, might be counted more than once. There is the additional problem that many emigrants who considered themselves to be Greek carried passports from various Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean governments. U.S. Department of Labor statistics indicate 198,000 persons self-identified as Greek departed from the U.S. in the period 1908-1931.4 Immigration statistics in that same time period referring only to immigrants from Greece proper show some 400,000 immigrants. Thus, the number of returnees could be as low as 25% or as high as 50%. Even the lower number would make the return rate of Greeks among the highest of European emigrants.

The American Greeks In contrast to the positive reception Greeks had enjoyed in post-revolutionary America, the time known as the Greek Fever, the Greeks of the massive migration between 1880-1924 were treated with suspicion and hostility. As Greek communities formed, strategies for dealing with this hostility merged with ideas of how best to survive as a Greek community in America. One option was to remain American Greeks, Greeks who happened to reside in America. This 3 A pioneering study of returnees was written by Theodore Saloutos, They Remember America (Berkeley: University of California, Press, 1956). 4 Cited by Saloutos, They Remember America, p.31.


view in its various nuances dominated the early period of mass migration and for decades afterwards. Considerable evidence for this sense of identity is found by examining the Greek press, Greek Orthodox Church culture, Greek cultural organizations, and Greek intellectual life in America. The two major Greek-language dailies, Atlantis (1894-1973) and Ethnikos Kyrix (National Herald, 1915-present), published articles regarding life in America, but their major focus was on events in the homeland. Rather than reporting on the Republican and Democratic parties, Atlantis was a voice for Greek monarchists and Ethnikos Kyrix a voice for Greek republicans. Even the left wing press was written almost exclusively in Greek, which isolated its pages from American-born Greeks who had not mastered their parent’s language. Dozens of other newspapers functioned during this period, almost all pretty much following in the mode of Atlantis and Ethnikos Kyrix. The Greek Orthodox Church in America was another citadel of the American Greek orientation in the first forty years of the twentieth century. One of its primary thrusts was stern disapproval of marriage with non-Greeks. Nor was the Church particularly welcoming to converts. Its principle social outreach was to promote and support Greek language schools. Federal agencies would note with some alarm that when priests spoke of the motherland and the mother tongue, they meant Greece and Greek, not the United States and English.5 That view apparently was shared by some ten thousand Greek men in America who returned to Greece to fight in the Balkan Wars. Many fewer volunteered for service

in the American military in World War I. This American Greek identity was not ideologically defined. During the Spanish Civil War, Greek volunteers from America usually fought in brigades with other Greeks rather than with the American volunteers mainly concentrated in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.6 The Greek American Progressive Association (GAPA), founded in 1923, used Greek as its organizational language and was launched as a rival to the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) whose organizational language was English. GAPA’s major priority was to support Greek language schools and generally promote Greek language culture. Through to World War II, GAPA remained a viable organization that was sometimes stronger in specific geographic regions than the more successful AHEPA. The lodges of the much smaller leftist International Workers Order, an ideological rival of GAPA and AHEPA, was also organized on an ethnic rather than a class basis. The clearest artistic expression of American Greek identity was in music. The very popular nightclubs that sprang up in New York City in the 1920s were built around individual singers such as Marika Papagika. Her repertoire and that of other singers were not limited to Greek, but included songs or passages sung in Turkish, Ladino, and Armenian. The predominantly male audiences for the cafés were not just Greeks but immigrants from various parts of the Near East and the Balkans, making the ambiance of these cafés multicultural. The nightclubs would remain viable through to World War  II, and remnants of that world would hang on until the 1970s.7

5  Constantine Yavis, Report on the Greek-American Community, Department of Justice, April 21, 1944. Reprinted in Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora V. XIV, No. 1 & 2 (SpringSummer 1987), p. 114 contains a list of attitudes about identity promoted by the Greek Orthodox Church.

6 Stefanos Tsirmakis, Lefteris Tsirmakis, No Pasaran (Athens: Slynchorni Epochi, 1987). 7 Steve Frangos, “Marika Papagika and the Transformations in Modern Greek Music” in Spyros D. Orfanos (ed.), Reading Greek America (NY: Pella Publishing, 2002), pp. 223-2439.

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The major writer in the American Greek A Chronicle, 1948-1958, an account of her tradition was Theano Papazoglou-Marga- years in a post-Greek civil war concentraris. Although active in theater and politics, tion camp, appeared in English.10 she became famed for her short stories and Greek language theater was largely concolumns in Ethnikos Kyrix. Her work won fined to semi-professional companies that international recognition in the Greek- performed irregularly and often collapsed language world and her To Chroniko tou after a few years. The only known profesHalsted Street (The Chronicle of Halsted sional company to perform regularly was Street) won the 1963 Greek state prize for the Lemos Theater, founded by Adamantios literature, making her the first writer living Lemos in Athens in 1944. The troupe gave outside of Greece to be so honored. Another its first American performance in 1956, writer who made an international impact and for the next ten years used New York was Maria Economidou, who wrote The City as a base as it traveled a circuit from Greeks in America as I Saw Them (1916). Chicago to Boston. Although it mainly Unlike contemporary American muckrak- played in church auditoriums, small playing journalists, Economidou’s expose was houses, college venues, and ethic centers, not aimed at swaying American public opin- the Lemos Theater also staged plays at New ion, but at mobilizing the Greek elites and York’s Carnegie Hall, the Fashion Institute the Greek government. of Technology, the Barbizon Plaza Theater, Taking a different road was Demetra and the Broadway Theater on 42nd Street. Vaka Brown, who authored fifteen books, The theater collapsed in 1967 with the most of which were written in English.8 advent of the junta in Greece and has had Vaka Brown became the Greek writer best no successor. 11 known to the general American public, but The most extreme form of the American her focus was life in the Ottoman Empire, Greek identity involved Greeks who vaguely not life in the United States. One of her most imagined they could emulate the Greeks of widely read books, Haremlik, for example, Egypt, who had retained cultural autonomy has as its subtitle: Some Pages from the Life for nearly two hundred years. Egyptian of Turkish Women.9 Greeks lived in Greek neighborhoods, were Nicos Calas, a literary figure of interna- educated in Greek language schools, and tional renown, lived in the United States for enjoyed a measure of self-government. many years, but continued to write his surre- Many Egyptian Greeks never learned to alist poetry in Greek. Less well-known poets speak much Arabic and their contact with such as George Coutoumanos and Takis Egyptians was often limited to matters Tzortzis also published in Greek. Regina 10 Regina Pagoulatou, Exile: A Chronicle – 1948-1950 (New Pagoulatou carried on this tradition of pub- York: Pella Publishing Company, 1999) with a translation by Theony Condos. Pella published most of Pagoulatou’s poetry lishing in Greek to the end of the twentieth books as well. Characteristic of these bilingual editions was Pagoulatou, The Angels (New York; Pella Publishing century. Many of her chapbooks, however, Regina Company, 1988). Translation by Apostolos Athanasakis with appeared in bilingual formats, and her Exile, collages by Yanni Posnakoff. 8 Yiorgos Kalogeras discusses the authorship issue in his introduction to a new edition of Demetra Vaka Brown, Haremlik: Some Pages from the Life of Turkish Women (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2004). 9 A consideration of Brown’s sense of identity and how she was perceived by the American public is found in Eleftheria Arapoglou, “Vaka Brown: The Historicized Geography/ Geographic History of an Immigrant,” Journal of Modern Hellenism, N. 21/22 (Winter 2004-2005), pp. 82-103.

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11 For a history of the theater see Athena G. Dallas, “First First Legitimate Greek Theater in America published in the Twentieth Anniversary catalog of the Lemos Greek Repertory Theater, 1944-194 published by the Lemos Theater. This booklet contains some fifty pages of information about the theater and will be deposited in the U of Michigan archives in the near future. Since the demise of the Lemos Theater, there have been a number of short-lived efforts to the present Greek plays in translation, and in the Astoria section of Queens, New York, they have been semi-professional companies in the postjunta era who perform in Greek.


of commerce. This situation was possible largely due to the colonial status of Egypt. Similar autonomy in America would have been far more difficult, if not impossible. Nor would it have been much easier to be part of a cosmopolitan multi-ethnic culture such as that which thrived in Smyrna. With the passing of the years, keeping Greek as the basic identity with American as a modifier became increasingly difficult, particularly as the majority of the community became American born. Nonetheless, even in the twenty-first century, there would be isolated neighborhoods or individuals who remained American Greeks. Poetry, fiction, and memoirs written by Greeks in America invariably speak of a relative or neighborhood elder who had lived in America for decades and had never learned to communicate in English or function outside of ethnic society. Whether scorned or admired, such persons are always cited as exceptions to the dominant culture of the Greek community.

The Greek Americans Given that American society offers no viable means of success except through assimilation of one kind or another, the transformation of American Greek identity to Greek American identity was all but inevitable. That trend grew stronger with the end of mass immigration in 1924, was strengthened by the courtship and protection of the foreign-born by the New Deal of the 1940s, and was dominant by the post-World War II era. Capping this process was the education of Americanborn Greeks in the public school system and an outmarriage rate that rose to at least 80%. Emblematic of the organizational shift in national identity was the steady growth of AHEPA, which was launched in 1922 primarily in response to harassment of Greeks by racist organizations such as the Ku Klux

Klan. One of AHEPA’s goals was to facilitate Greek entry into mainstream America, which meant familiarizing Greeks with the laws and culture of the United States. Another priority of AHEPA, from its inception, was to identify the Greeks in America as heirs of the Classic Age of Greece rather than as Ottomanized quasi-Europeans or even as descendants of the Byzantine Empire. Although challenged throughout the 1920s and 1930s by GAPA and other groups, AHEPA grew steadily in membership and influence. By the end of the 1950s, AHEPA was the premier secular organization of the community, a position it has retained to the present time.

“Given that American society

offers no viable means of success except through assimilation of one kind or another, the transformation of American Greek identity to Greek American identity was all but inevitable.”

A measure of how Greek identity had waned even in the first fifty years of mass immigration is that in 1907, when the total number of immigrants from Greece proper in the preceding two decades totalled a bit over 180,000, the Pan-Hellenic Union, the largest lay organization of its day, had a membership of 20,000 in 150 chapters. More than thirty years later, in 1939, when the total number of immigrants from Greece proper was approximately 426,900, AHEPA had 25,000 active members in 365 chapters.12 12 James Nestor, “The Greek Church in America” (Evanston, IL: PhD Dissertation, 1940) published in Paul G. Manolis, The History of the Greek Church of America: In Acts and Documents (Berkeley, CA: Ambelos Press/Livani Publishing, 2003), V. III, pp. 2353.

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At the conclusion of World War II, AHEPA politically identified with the aims of American foreign policy. In practical terms, this meant taking a strong anti-Communist position during the civil war in Greece. This included support for the military interventionist policies of Harry Truman during the war and the Marshall Plan afterwards. During the 1950s, AHEPA did not question the harassment of Greek American leftists during the McCarthy era, and it remained relatively silent about the murderous conditions in the concentration camps the monarchists in Greece operated following the civil war. Later, AHEPA would give de facto support to the junta of 1967-1974 during its earliest days, when the dictatorship enjoyed open support by American politicians such as Vice-President Spiro Agnew. This is not to suggest that AHEPA was an ideologically conservative organization in all its efforts, but simply that in regard to foreign affairs, from the 1940s-1960s, it was an uncritical supporter of American policy in the Eastern Mediterranean. AHEPA became more politically agile in foreign policy matters following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, which was set off by the attempted coup against Archbishop Makarios by Greek junta leaders in Athens. AHEPA now often criticized American policies regarding Cyprus. It also challenged America’s tepid support of Greece in the FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia) name controversy, America’s ardent support of Turkey, and American positions regarding other problems in the Eastern Mediterranean. In all cases, however, AHEPA acted as an American organization wishing to correct errors in American foreign policy and not as an American megaphone for policies dictated by Athens or Nicosia. AHEPA publishes the voting records of 144

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American politicians on Greek and Cypriot issues, but it does not publish rankings or positions of politicians in Greece. AHEPA often works closely with the American Hellenic Institute, whose mandate is to influence American foreign policy by lobbying politicians in Washington and educating shapers of policy such as scholars, Congressional aides, and journalists. Speaking at the Clergy-Laity Conference of 2008, Archbishop Demetrios, present primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, declared the Church was no longer an immigrant institution. With that statement he signaled that a strictly Greekcultured Church was a thing of the past. The Church now sponsored proselytizing campaigns in Africa, fostered Hellenization of non-Greek spouses, and welcomed converts, including clergy. The Archbishop’s statement was not an abrupt change of heart, but a result of an evolution in Church thinking that had been developing for some forty years. Archbishop Athenagoras (1941-1948), Archbishop Micheal (1949-1958), and Archbishop Iakovos (1959-1996) had all worked to Americanize the Church. The most obvious change was to accept the given that outmarriage was unavoidable, it was wiser to see the non-Greek spouse was an addition to the Church rather than seeing the Greek spouse as a loss. As the twentieth century ended, it was not uncommon for Hellenized spouses to hold prominent Church offices and for converted clergy to be in charge of a parish. Through to end of the 1930s, Greek Orthodox priests in America were still exclusively imported from Greece and Greekspeaking diaspora communities. The Church recognized that many of these priests did not have a comfortable relationship with their parishioners. It also recognized that a viable Church in the United States must produce its own priests. These concerns were laid out


in a statement in 1934 regarding the found- Greeks are illiterate in Greek. Seeking to ing of a seminary in America.13 Change meet their needs, Ethnikos Kyrix launched an came slowly and minimally. The first class English-language weekly titled the National of fourteen American-trained priests would Herald in 1986. The National Herald and not graduate until 1939. The lack of clergy, other weeklies continued to report on events particularly American-born clergy, has in Greece, but the majority of their pages remained a constant concern. In the first were given to news of Greek America. In the decades of the twenty-first century, there 1970s, Ethnikos Kyrix also published Greek were not enough priests, even with con- Accent, a slick-paper popular monthly. After verts, to regularly service the Church’s five that journal’s demise, its cultural space was hundred parishes. Moreover, numerous filled by the still-publishing independent parishioners complained that their priests Odyssey. Populist journals of various kinds often either did not speak Greek or did not continued to appear throughout the first speak Greek fluently.14 decades of the twenty-first century. These Individual parishes often sponsored include Greek Circle, Ethos, and the Greek activities such as organized athletics, youth American Review. The predecessor of these clubs, retiree groups, and cultural socie- English-language publications was Athene: ties in a manner more like Protestant and American Magazine of Hellenic Thought Catholic parishes in the United States rather (1940-1967) which offered a blend of history, than Orthodox parishes in Greece or Cyprus. literature, and social commentary. American prelates never attend partisan A landmark intellectual event of the gatherings in Greece but are often guests at later twentieth century was the creation in the Republican and Democratic presidential 1974 of the Modern Greek Studies Associaconventions. The Church also became active tion (MGSA), an organization primarily of in ecumenical organizations such as the North American-based scholars who took World Council of Churches and the National modern Greece as their scholarly focus. Council of Christians and Jews. Archbishop Although research by the MGSA was mainly Iakovos was particularly visible in such out- on modern Greece and the modern diaspora, reach efforts and was featured on the cover the organizational language was English as of Life when he marched with Dr. Martin was the language of its biannual symposiLuther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama. In ums and its major publication, the Journal addition to reaching out to non-Orthodox of Modern Greek Studies. English is also Christians, Iakovos sought to find a means the language of the other academic Greekto coordinate all Orthodox entities in the oriented journals that continue to publish: United States, and raised the possibility the Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora, the of moving the Ecumenical Patriarchate to Journal of Modern Hellenism, and the Washington, D.C. Charioteer. American publication of books Although Ethnikos Kyrix continues to in Greek has virtually ceased with the exceppublish daily in Greek, its publisher read- tion of instructional texts, dictionaries, and ily acknowledges that most American-born some poetry collections. The later often have facing-page English translations. The last 13 A full discussion of this issue is found in James Nestor, The Greek Church in America, pp. 2342-2351. major academic work in the United States 14 The Future of the Greek Language and Culture in the published in Greek was Ellines tis Amerikis: United States: Survival in the Diaspora, a report from the Archbishop’s Commission on Greek language and Hellenic 1528-1948 written by Bobi Malaforis.15 Culture deliver to Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, May 27, 1999, published by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, p.1.

15 (New York: Isaac Goldman printer, 1948).

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Artistic expression by Greeks of the United Sates became overwhelmingly rooted in American culture in the final five decades of the twentieth century. Numerous Greeks became associated with the best in American art; Elia Kazan and Maria Callas immediately come to mind. In the literary world, Harry Mark Petrakis wrote passionately about Greeks in America. Some of his novels became best-sellers, some of his stories were adapted for television, and one of his novels became the basis for a Hollywood film. Similar success was enjoyed by Nick Gage with his Eleni, which became an international best-seller and was adapted for film. Olga Broumas won the Yale Younger Poets Award (1977), the first non-native speaker to be so honored, and Jeffrey Eugenides won a Pulitzer Prize for his Middlesex (2002). George Pelecanos emerged as one of the nation’s top mystery writers, and Helen Papanikolas became known for her sharply edged fiction. At a popular entertainment level, Telly Savalas became a television icon with his creation of Kojak, a highly sophisticated and appealing Greek police detective in charge of an important police unit in New York City. John Aniston became a fixture on daytime soap opera, and his daughter Jennifer Aniston starred in one of television’s most successful night-time comedies. John Cassavetes and Gregory Markopoulos would be idolized by the avant-garde film world while My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), written by and starring Nia Vardalos with Rita Wilson, another Greek American, as producer, would become the highest grossing, low-budget Hollywood film in American film history. The list could go on for pages. What is unassailable is that Greeks in America interested in the arts did not aim their work at Greek Americans but at the general public. They most certainly were not American Greeks, and many were less Greek Americans than Americans of Greek descent. 146

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The impact of the Second Wave of mass immigration (1965-1980) on the trend to Greek American identity has not been systematically studied, but that impact appears to have been fleeting. Unlike the immigrants of the Great Migration, the Second Wave immigrants, who numbered approximately 200,000, tended to have a much better formal education than their predecessors and came from urban culture. They also often had the help of relatives already resident in the United States, and the United States, rather than regarding them as undesirables, as had been the case at the turn of the century, now considered Greeks to be model immigrants. Financial well-being came far more quickly for the Second Wave immigrants than it had for Greek immigrants in earlier periods. The annual listing of the fifty wealthiest Greeks in America, published by the National Herald, for example, shows that 20% of that group are Second Wave immigrants and another 5% are post-World War II immigrants.16 At the cultural level, a highly disproportionate percent of the faculty in the Modern Greek Studies programs are Second Wave immigrants. Second wave immigrants have also been successful at the Main Street level of commerce. On the Atlantic coast, many of them became proprietors of pizzerias and donut shops. Their advent also marked the entry of the gyro as a new staple in America’s fast food menu. Another strong indicator of success is that the U.S. Census of 2000 indicated that the Greek community in America as a category was one of the most affluent and highly educated ethnic communities in the United States, and that it was decidedly more like than unlike other Americans.17 16 Special supplement of the National Herald (March 2, 2013) has biographies of these individuals and their net worth. 17 Anna Karparthakis, Dan Georgakas, “Demythologizing Greek American Families,” Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora V. 36 , N. 1 & 2 (double issue 2010), pp.45-61.


Second wave immigration, of course, brought new energy into ethnic organizations and increased the use of the Greek language in America. One example of language revival was the creation of Proini (Morning, 1976-1990), a new Greek language daily published by a Second Wave immigrant from Cyprus. The new paper took a center-left editorial stance while Ethnikos Kyrix, following the demise of Atlantis, became more center-right. In 1986, Proini also began to publish the GreekAmerican, an English-language weekly whose very title had no space or hyphen between the two capitalized national identities. The GreekAmerican received considerable support for its non-traditional way of looking at Greece and Greek America. Among the topics it addressed were Greek Jews, Vlachs, homosexuality, feminism, and other subjects not covered by other newspapers. The new wave of Greek speakers sometimes created rifts in Greek Orthodox parishes. The American-born had increasingly been asking for more English or English-only in Church services, and many advocated a union of some kind with other Orthodox bodies in America. The newcomers were strongly inclined to want to retain the Church as they had known it in Greece or Cyprus. They wanted more, not less, Greek, and felt closer union with other Orthodox groups would likely result in a dilution of their Greekness. In New York, the largest Greek center, the tensions slowly abated, but in Chicago and elsewhere, the tensions persisted for a considerable period of time. The New York pattern generally has proved to be more common than that in Chicago. A startling example of the language rift occurred when a Chicago public school proposed including Greek in its bilingual curriculum. The established Greek Americans vigorously opposed the proposal on the grounds that it would hamper the

Americanization of the Second Wave Greek immigrant children and would stigmatize Greeks as having the same cultural assimilation problems as the children of recently arrived Spanish-language immigrants. In contrast, the Second Wave parents supported the program as a means of retaining Greek sensibility for their children while simultaneously helping them adjust to a new culture. The Second Wave immigrants did not necessarily identify as American Greeks, but the established community clearly prioritized rapid Americanization for them, even though the proposed program would have strengthened the Greek identity of their children.18 Some thirty years later, the views of most Greek Americans on this topic had altered. Having realized that Greek was a dying language in America, most Greek Americans had become advocates for charter public schools with Greek language components, the study-in-Greece programs of various durations, and other initiatives that would cultivate a sense of Greekness and develop Greek language skills in their children. Americanization had been a de facto priority in pre-World War II, but keeping Greek culture alive increasingly became the top priority as the century came to an end.

Greek and American The most problematic and less common identity of Greeks in America involves persons who considered themselves bicultural or transnational Greeks. Bicultural identity in the United States as an acceptable, much less a desirable self-image is a relatively recent cultural phenomenon. The traditional American view has been that the United States should have a monolingual common culture to which immigrants had to assimilate 18 Discussed by Charles Moskos in The Greek Americans (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Press, 1989 revised edition), pp. 83-84.

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as quickly as possible. At its crudest level, this led to the infamous melting pot metaphor and chronic hostility to non-Europeans and non-Christians. A considerable body of literature has examined how the concept of “whiteness” played into what was and was not acceptable in mainstream culture. Yiorgos Anagnostou has made an extensive study of how this analysis might apply to Greeks in America.19 Nevertheless, in the wake of the civil rights movement, the changing global economic order, and mass immigration from Spanish-speaking nations, the traditional American cultural givens had significantly weakened by the onset of the twenty-first century. Being Greek and American could conceivably have a place in an America comfortable with biculturalism. Also affecting Greek identity in America were cultural changes in Greece. For the first time since the founding of the modern state, Greece had become a destination for immigrants. As of the second decade of the new century, immigrants made up more than 10% of the total population. Many of the immigrants only used Greece as an entry point to Europe, but a considerable number, particularly those from neighboring Balkan states, considered their relocation as permanent and educated their children in the Greek public school system. Thus, an Albanian immigrant can become the parent of a cultural Greek. In a related phenomenon, many young Greeks have gone to study, work, live, and marry in other EU nations. They are still citizens of Greece and identify themselves as Hellenes. Whether they eventually return to Greece or not, whether they outmarry or not, and how their children will culturally indentify is unknown. A related development is that the skepticism of homeland Greeks regarding the degree of Greekness

of those in the diaspora has waned to some degree. An American-born Greek has been elected Prime Minister and another American-born has been elected mayor of Athens, electoral outcomes that would have been as impossible in the Greece of the 1950s as an African American being elected president of the United States. This complex of new social realities suggest that to be Greek in the twenty-first century will likely have much less to do with genetics and geography than culture in the broadest sense The most common expression of Greek bicultural identity in the United States has been the attempt to combine the most attractive features of Greek culture with the most attractive features of American culture. In actuality, however, such an embrace often means finding some Greek root for an American practice. A number of writers have advanced a more complex view. An example of such thinking is Dean Kostos’ introduction to his anthology featuring the work of more than fifty Greek American poets:

19 Yiorgos Anagnostou, Contours of White Ethnicity: Popular Ethnography and the Making of Usable Pasts in Greek America (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2009).

20 Dean Kostos, (ed.), Pomergrante Seeds: An Anthology of Greek-American Poetry (Boston: Somerset Hall Press, 2008), pp. 17-18.

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Although it may no longer be fashionable to use it, I am interested in the hyphen that traditionally linked Greek and American because of its value as a metaphor—a bridge between two worlds, two identities. Do we traverse this hyphen leading us to divide our time like Peresphone, between two worlds? Are we Greeks in America and Americans in Greece? Instead of the either/or, perhaps another option exists, the hybrid identity ... we have partaken of both cultures, and have grown roots in both terrains. These roots have entwined with the words we write.20


Entwined cultural roots are a feature of many of the poems in the anthology Kostos edited. A similar view was voiced by Yiorgos Anagnostou in his review of The Journey: The Greek American Dream, a documentary film by Maria Iliou, “the Greek American journey toward inhabiting two worlds—the dream of inhabiting the hyphen—ultimately inspires awe and wonder.”21 Biculturalism may also be defined as bypassing or negating the spaces between the two cultures and embracing each as a totality. The goal is not balance but a symbiotic dynamic. Thus, which culture is dominant in any given moment or how this cultural coexistence functions in daily life remains highly individualistic, as does the relative weight of each culture. Bicultural identity is often evident in academics and intellectuals whose work directly involves Hellenic issues. Scholars in Modern Greek Studies programs may use English when teaching, at professional gatherings, and in journals, but their scholarship requires an intimate relationship with Greek language sources and venues. That a considerable percentage of Modern Greek Studies scholars in America were reared and educated in Greece makes them intimate with both cultures on a very personal and fundamental level. Not all American artists with Greek heritage identify with Hellenic culture or have Greek language skills, but bicultural artists are not rare. Elia Kazan, for one, is a figure at once almost quintessentially American yet with a fundamental Greek sensibility he called the Anatolian smile. Maria Callas is another example of a meshing of American and Greek culture, even if the Greek aspects are mainly evident in her personal life rather than in her art. A less ambiguous example of a bicultural artist is dancer/ 21 Yiorgos Anagnoustou, “The Journey: The Greek American Dream,” a film review in the Journal Of Modern Greek Studies Volume 27, N. 2 (October 2009), p. 455.

choreographer Athan Karras, who became famed internationally for his mastery of traditional Greek folk dance. Karras danced in Broadway musicals, directed an important dance studio for Hollywood stars in Los Angeles, established various dance societies, and trained dancers at American universities, but he was also a star dancer in Dora Stratou’s legendary National Dance Ensemble, which championed Greek folk dancing in Greece itself. Karras also assisted Stratou in locating authentic regional costumes and steps. Filmmaker Valerie Kontakos is not as famed as Kazan, Callas, and Karras but she is indicative of a later generation of Americans at home with both Greek and American culture. Her first film was in English made in the United States about Greek American visual artists. Her second film about baseball in Greece has a soundtrack mainly in Greek, but has obvious interest to Americans. She continues to work with the same sensibility. The point here is not to establish a roll call of artists who might be classified as bicultural, but to indicate the kind of activities such artists undertake.22 Another pathway to biculturalism involves individuals and families who retain close ties to their native region in Greece or Cyprus. Greeks are famed for their tendency to form topika somateia (societies based on regional and even civic origin). Many of them are informal but the plethora of such organizations indicates a desire of many 22 One could also speak of a related phenomenon in Greece. Maria Iliou’s feature film Alexandria has Greek dialogue. Her documentary The Journey: The Greek American Dream is a study of Greek Americans that is primarily in English although debuted in Greece at the Benaki Museum. Her second documentary Smyrna: The Destruction of a Cosmopolitan City was made with Greek funding and had a massive release in popular cinemas but is primarily in English. Alexander Kitroeff, a Greek American, was the historical consultant for both films. Other films of this kind would include Buzz, a film made for Greek national television by Spiro Taravaris about A.I. Bezzerides, a famous Hollywood scriptwriter of Armenian and Greek heritage. Most of the film is in English and Greek Americans served as consultants. Whether this will develop into one of the trends of Greek cinema or is just an anomaly remains to be seen.

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Greeks in America to retain an intimate contact with Greece. Maintaining such ties with the homeland is more common with Second Wave immigants and their immediate offspring than in earlier cohorts of immigrants and their children. Not only is the Greek origin more recent, but new electronic technology makes maintaining family ties far easier than at any time in the past. The new technology, in fact, is a significant factor in making the bicultural option viable. Greeks can work with Greeks anywhere in the world on joint projects with an ease and at a cost unimaginable even twenty years ago. In previous eras, individuals who did not live in areas with a large Greek population did not have ready access to current Greek newspapers, films, radio, television, or cultural events. Today, even high-level Greek language instruction tapes are easily accessible on the Internet and computer programs. In sum, the advent of the Internet allows individuals to be as Greek as they wish to be, whatever their geographic location, whether their focus is in business, art, family affairs, or politics. Contact with Greeks anywhere on the planet is only a fingertip away. The potential number of Greeks in America who might be considered bicultural is not large. Of that group, the vast majority are Second Wave immigrants and their children. In that sense, an immigrant who begins as an American Greek can refuse the evolution to Greek American by opting for some form of biculturalism. Depending on the emotional and cultural environment in which they were reared, second generation Greeks whose parents are both Greek might also find biculturalism appealing, particularly if they have experienced trips to Greece or Cyprus at a formative time in their life and/or have studied modern Greek culture in a university. Second generation Greeks of mixed ethnic parentage and subsequent generations of multi-ethnic heritage are 150

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not precluded from identifying as Greek and American, but the cultural probability is much lower. Such a choice on their part would have to be deliberate, a conscious choice among many alternatives, including biculturalism that does not have a Greek component. Australia, Canada, and other nations offer governmental support for biculturalism that is largely lacking in the United States. Consequently, any building of bicultural institutions has to be a project of the Greek community. Although a number of Greek organizations have energetically sponsored study abroad programs in Greece, these efforts have involved very little follow up and often simply result in deepening symbolic identity rather than changing its nature. Enormous amounts of time, energy, and funding have gone into efforts to maintain the Greek language in America, but these efforts have failed to produce many Greek-speakers in the third and fourth generations. Unless that pattern alters, the bicultural option is doomed to involve only a tiny fragment of the community. One can be a phil-Hellene or a Greek American without direct access to Greek language sources, but one cannot be bicultural via translation.

Twenty-first Century Prospects What the course, pace, and nature of bicultural identity in America might be in the future is unknowable. Even if biculturalism becomes one of the American norms, it would seem that it has come a few decades too late for the Greek community. Most of the foreign-born are deceased or aging; and their offspring are showing the same assimilation patterns as previous Greek immigrant generations. Even if an unexpected Third Wave of mass immigration should take place, there is little reason to believe its sense of


identity would take a course significantly different than that of the Second Wave. The Greek community presently lacks a cultural base for biculturalism, and there are no wellfunded projects designed to create such a cultural infrastructure. The pattern of other European immigrant groups in America is that once mass immigration ebbs, successive outmarriage marginalizes and then eliminates the homeland culture. The advantages of becoming mainstream Americans are so overwhelm-

ing that passive assimilation becomes the fate of both those who seek it and those who do not. Greek Americans are quick to proclaim that they are proud to be Greek, but there is dwindling support for ethnic organizations, presses, and cultural projects. Despite well-attended ethnic parades, lavish banquets, award ceremonies, and Orthodox festivals, being Greek in America is increasingly a symbolic rather than an existential identity. ďż˝

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Cold Fire by Annamarie Buonocore.


ACADEMIA & SCHOLARSHIP

The Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles BY FOTI JEAN-PIERRE FOTIU AND LAZAR LARRY ODZAK

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or nine years, 447 to 438 BC, Hellenic craftsmen constructed the Parthenon— an architectural and artistic masterpiece—on a hill called Acropolis, visible from all parts of Athens. It was built on the site of an older temple that had been destroyed by the invading Persians. The Athenians completed the structure during the time of Pericles to celebrate the victory of Athenian democracy. They then dedicated this magnificent edifice as a temple to the goddess Athena. The Parthenon was a great work of art, as well as an engineering marvel. Its Doric pillars supported marble beams to which metopes (sculpted marble panels) were attached high on its four upper-level walls. The frieze was a series of brilliant sculptures, depicting various periods of Greek history. It was carved into existing marble walls, and represented the finest examples of classical art. During its 2,500 years of existence, this architectural and artful treasure saw glory as well as danger. The building has been damaged from time to time, following occupation by numerous armies including the Ottomans as well as the Venetians. In 1687, Italian General Francesco Morosini bombarded the Acropolis, which at the time was being used as a weapons armory by the Ottoman troops. One of the shells landed in the Parthenon and did extensive damage, blow-

ing off the roof and destroying everything inside. The frieze however, remained largely intact. The greatest losses and destruction to the sculptures occurred over a five-year period, 1801-1806, when during the Turkish rule, the British Ambassador to the Ottoman government sawed off a large number of the sculpted metopes and nearly half the frieze and transported them to England. In 1799, Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin, was appointed British Ambassador to Constantinople, then the seat of government of the Ottoman Empire. At that time, elite British society, cognizant in arts, knew that classical Greek antiquities were the highest expression of art in the history of civilization. Initially, Lord Elgin intended to bring back drawings and molds of the Parthenon marbles, to decorate his ancestral country home. In addition, copies of the Parthenon sculptures, when brought back to England, would inspire the people and raise their interest in art and culture. As the British Government refused to finance this endeavor, Lord Elgin decided to carry out the work at his own expense. On July 6, 1801, Lord Elgin allegedly received permission, called a firman, from the vizier, the relevant Turkish authority. The firman supposedly allowed a crew of workmen to enter the Acropolis, erect scaf-

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folding at the Parthenon, draw, copy, and make molds as they wanted, and be free to take away anything of interest. At this time, Lord Elgin’s intentions changed—instead of copying the sculptures, his workmen hacked, sawed and carted away 56 panels of the frieze (of the original 115 panels). They removed numerous metopes and huge pedimental figures, as well as parts of columns and other pieces. Lord Elgin claimed that the firman, obtained from the Turks, had given him the authority to do so. Doubt has been cast on both the legitimacy and the existence of the firman. Moreover, there was the following excerpt taken from Lord Elgin’s correspondence: “It was not a part of my original plan to take with me anything else but molds …” And in another letter, he wrote: “… the Turkish government absolutely denied that the persons who have sold these marbles to me had any right to dispose of them.” These statements confirm that even if the firman was issued as claimed, it could not have sanctioned the wholesale removal of sculpted marble panels from the Parthenon or the damages caused by the seizure. Sawing off the sculpted pieces of marble from the metopes and the frieze caused irreparable destruction to the marble masonry and the magnificent cornice work. Nevertheless, in 1816, the House of Commons Select Committee held that the sculptures had been properly acquired and recommended a purchase price of 35,000 English pounds, less than half the expenditures claimed by Lord Elgin. The British Parliament debated the issue of ownership before finally deciding to purchase the sculptures, and the transfer of title was completed. In time, the British Museum displayed the Parthenon sculptures with the care and dignity they deserved. On arrival to the museum in 1817, the marble pieces were housed in a prefabricated gallery until 1832, when a permanent ‘Elgin Room' was 154

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constructed. The collection remained there until the Duveen Gallery was built. This gallery was funded by Lord Duveen, and was specially designed by architect John Russell Pope to house the Parthenon marbles. Nearly completed in 1938, the building was damaged during World War II, repaired, and finally received the marbles, opening in 1962. In June 1998, parts of the Gallery were completely refurbished and now include a video display, using computer graphics to explain the positioning of the removed sculptures on the Parthenon itself. The issue of ownership of the Parthenon sculptures has vexed politicians, museum curators, and the public for many decades. On the one hand, one would think as a matter of course that the superb sculptures, carved in classical Athens by Greek artists and an integral part of the Parthenon, the most preeminent building of Greece, belong to the Greek nation as part of its rich cultural heritage. The marble sculptures originated in classical Greece—they were the work of genius that imbued ancient Hellenes. They formed an architectural beauty that represented freedom and democracy, as well as the best in politics, philosophy, arts, and science—the zenith of human concepts. The world undoubtedly understood the importance of these irreplaceable historical treasures, which belong to the country where they originated. Justifiably so, they should and must be repatriated to Greece. On the other hand, as a matter of clear historical record, the Parthenon sculptures have been in possession of the British Museum since 1816, under the authority of the House of Commons. Legal advice available to the British government held that as far as international law was concerned, a challenge to Britain’s title to the Parthenon marbles would not succeed. The return of the marbles, then, remained essentially a political matter to be resolved between the British and


Greek governments. There are salient arguments that the marbles should be repatriated on moral, aesthetic, and technical grounds. An increasing number of distinguished citizens, as well as professional organizations, have taken a position sympathetic to Greece. One such strong supporter of repatriation is the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), headed by former British Member of Parliament, Eddie O’Hara. In 2012 he stated, “The Olympics are a four-year reminder to the world of all we owe to Greece … We must remind the people in London and throughout the world, that there’s one debt to Greece that will never be paid until those sculptures in the British museum are returned.” Another influential supporter is the well-known author, Christopher Hitchens [author of The Parthenon Marbles, 2008]. Persuasively working on reunification was also the Melina Mercouri Foundation, which continued the work started by Ms. Mercouri in the 1980s when she was the Greek Minister of Culture and raised the subject of the marbles’ repatriation. Her contemporary, the Australian Minister of Arts, Heritage, and Environment, Barry Cohen, agreed with Melina when she said, “I hope that I will see the Marbles back in Athens before I die: but if they come back later, I will be reborn.” Lately, the discussion has advanced from resolving the legal question of which nation has ownership of a specific item of cultural heritage to the recognition that some items represent the cultural heritage of our whole civilization, of our common world. Instead of arguing about ownership, one must then ask how best to preserve, maintain, and display such items of common cultural heritage. Accepting that the Parthenon marbles are such a cultural heritage of the whole civilized world, the British Museum maintained that the Greeks have really no way to preserve and display the marbles.

However, by 2007, the new Acropolis Museum was completed. This $200 million, 226,000 square foot facility was built at the very base of the Acropolis, and is specifically suited for the display of artifacts from the site, including the Parthenon marbles. There was now an ideal opportunity to restate the case for the reunification of the marbles: not only could they now be next to the temple itself, but they could also be seen in the Attic light in the impressive space especially reserved for them by the architect, Bernard Tschumi. Now that Athens had a world class, state-of-the-art museum in which to house the marbles, there was no longer any justification for assuming that London is the best place to preserve them and have the people of all nations enjoy them only there. Working on the political side, the Australian Hellenic Council called on the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia to adopt a resolution supporting the restitution of the Parthenon marbles to the new Acropolis Museum. Similarly, the policy of the BCRPM states that the campaign for the reunification of the sculptures of the Parthenon should emphasize cultural and ethical arguments and not encompass any litigation over proprietary rights. In fact, George Papandreou, former Prime Minister, Greek Minister of Culture, and the man in charge of the Parliamentary Committee for Culture and Education (1989-1993), has also put aside the question of proprietorship and instead invited colleagues at the British Museum to join Greek efforts to reunite the sculptures in one place: in the Acropolis Museum. In return, he pledged that the Greek government would make sure that the Duveen Galleries would always host Greek antiquities on loan for any exhibitions, and that Greece would be prepared to send rare and even newly discovered antiquities at the Galleries request.

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Although the Parthenon marbles are considered part of the civilized world’s heritage, the widely held opinion remains—that these works of art should be maintained and displayed in their place of origin, in Athens where they were created 2,500 years ago. Numerous organizations and individuals throughout the world continue pressing for the return of the Parthenon marbles to their rightful home in Athens. The most recent such campaign was the International Colloquy on the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, held in London, England in June of 2012. The Colloquy was jointly presented by the British, American, and Australian committees for reunification of the Parthenon marbles and drew supporters from all corners of the globe. Held at the London Hellenic Center, the event was aimed to promote open dialogue about repatriation of the

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Parthenon marbles and timed to coincide with the third year anniversary of the opening of the new Acropolis Museum and the occasion of the 2012 London Olympics. Members of the American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association (AHEPA), with thousands of members in chapters throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia, strongly believe that public support and pressure by many groups and individuals on the relevant British institutions and the British Parliament remain pivotal in changing attitudes for the return of the Parthenon marbles. AHEPA will continue to work on aligning the political, moral, legal, and artistic perspectives so that justice may prevail; so that the Parthenon sculptures may be returned to their original location, in their Hellenic homeland. �


ACADEMIA & SCHOLARSHIP

Embracing the Humanities and the Arts A Cultural Renaissance in Greek America? BY YIORGOS ANAGNOSTOU

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ow does one best understand Greek America? From what angle does one capture its complexity? One way to approach Greek America is to illuminate its simultaneous constancy and change: The longevity but also adaptability of its institutions; the retention of a hyphenated identity more than a century since the era of mass Greek immigration; the struggle to slow the tide of language loss; the interest to understand how the next generation connects with their Greek and American affiliations; the effort to preserve the past. There is, of course, an alternative, even if neglected, line of inquiry: to chart new developments, and ponder on their significance. They could serve as milestones, in other words, to contemplate future directions for a community. A single, yet powerful, development makes this kind of exploration worthwhile. A considerable sector of the Greek-American “next generation� (second, third, and beyond) embraces the humanities, the arts, and the social sciences, to produce fascinating accounts about identity and history. If the immigrant generation, understandably, adopted by and large a pragmatic view on

education as a means for mobility, the offspring, many entrenched in the middle class, turn to creative pursuits. It is of interest to chart this landscape and imagine its future potential as a way of celebrating this anniversary. Greek American studies presents itself as a promising point of departure for this discussion. The increasing output of scholarly work on Greek America has prompted the initiative to compile this corpus and make it available to the public. The result is a web resource, The Greek American Studies Resource Portal. If you are interested in learning about the experience of GreekAmerican youth visiting or settling in Greece, Greek immigrant women, or the history of Greek Orthodox liturgical music in the U.S., the Portal helps you locate informed analysis about all aspects of the Greek-American experience. Established under the umbrella of the Modern Greek Studies Association, it is available at mgsa.org/Resources/port.html. The Portal does not merely feature scholarly work. It includes all kinds of Greek-American writings and performances produced outside the academy. It makes a point to list the latest work by comedians,

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novelists, amateur historians, filmmakers, bloggers, artists, documentary makers, and autobiographers, among others. For those who appreciate Greek America’s letters, enjoy its popular culture, or wish to start exploring this terrain, the Portal is an ideal resource for navigation. The site is updated twice annually. I wish to draw attention to a particular development that stands out in the midst of this vibrant scene. In what could be seen as a promising literary trajectory, a new generation of authors writes about Greek America or Greece, earning great acclaim both in the United States and Greece. An early example of this trend is George Pelecanos’s highly praised crime fiction. Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Tryfon Tolides won the prestigious 1998 Yale Younger Poets prize. Most recently, Natalie Bakopoulos’s The Green Shore enjoys critical attention in both sides of the Atlantic. A new anthology of Greek-American poetry is now available (searchworks.stanford.edu/ view/7516863), and a young Greek Californian has launched the Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, a web literary venue (www. voicesofhellenism.org). Universities now hold readings of Greek-American Poetry. We are witnessing an explosion of literary and scholarly interest in Greek America. Is this a lasting phenomenon, a cultural renaissance of sorts with some enduring power? Or is it merely the climax of fleeting fireworks

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to only dissipate once they dazzle us? History teaches against predictions. Who would have expected during the era of 100 percent Americanism, in the 1920s, that ethnic festivals would be the mainstay of American society in the 1990s and beyond? The longevity of cultural and artistic achievements depends not only on the energy and commitment of the individuals who make them happen but on a variety of factors, including supporting audiences and institutions. The future does not just happen, we have a saying in steering the direction of its happening. It is the fragility of this process that makes the following question urgent: What is the place of Greek-American arts and letters in our lives? There is no way to tell without discussing these issues with Greek Americans themselves; without eliciting their point of view. But one thing is for certain. The visibility of arts and the letters leaves its stamp in national culture, adding yet another layer in the ways we imagine our future as Greek Americans. The arts and scholarship are arduous endeavors, laborious pursuits that require perseverance and long-term commitment. In supporting them, a reader extends one of the most precious gifts that the community of artists and scholars longs for: An audience that participates in the unfolding conversation of what it means to be a Greek American in the twenty-first century. �


ACADEMIA & SCHOLARSHIP

Strange Prisoners A Philosophical Comparison BY CHRISTINE SALBOUDIS

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he fundamental concerns and principles of our Hellenic ancestors continue to play a significant role in the way we interpret reality today. In a series of academic group discussion held in New York City in the Fall of 2012, my students and I drew several comparisons between Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” (Republic, Book VII) and the use of popular forms of social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. The goal of the discussion was to determine whether we base our understanding of the world on what we come to know through direct empirical experience or whether we rely too much on the information fed to us by the myriad of online venues, which are regulated by media/ marketing specialists. The comparison was offered in response to mixed feedback about an article we found in Cosmopolitan Magazine, “Is Facebook Bumming You Out?” (Knolls, 09/01/09). The central question posed was whether the material posted on Facebook represented an accurate portrayal of the person’s life or if it was merely an illusion—possibly an idealized reality they wish to convey to others—and how the information posted affected the viewer. Many of the students provided specific examples: The friend who tells all his unemployed/struggling viewers about his global travels and posts pictures

and a narrative of every bistro or piazza he’s visited, no matter how gritty or insignificant it might be in reality. The friend who informs all her single friends about her latest trip to the Bahamas with her wonderful new boyfriend, complaining about how hot and boring it is in all the sand and sun and how she wishes she was back home with them ... The picture I’m painting isn’t very flattering for the authors of these pieces, but it’s the viewer’s perception, not the author’s intent, that we’re really trying to investigate. The group agreed that while viewers will generally be happy for their friends, there was a little spark of envy, most likely related to the fact that the story being told is exactly the opposite of the viewer’s immediate experience (e.g., the viewer who reads about the Bahamas’ vacation while he’s huddled in a cold apartment trying to get over a cold). To help illustrate my point, I create the fictional example of being a “typical” New York Facebook viewer at 5 a.m. on a chilly Monday morning. If the best thing I can post on Facebook is the status of the early-morning Frappe I picked up in Astoria—which didn’t make it down the block to the local N without spilling on my good shoes—I will either choose to post something with an upbeat yet sarcastic tone to it or I will refrain from posting since I presume no 2014 | VOICES

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one will care about the status of my now Frappe-scented footwear. In the meantime, I get a prompt on my smartphone from a friend who is taking a moment from her warm vacation paradise to complain that her cruise ship is too warm and she had to stay in the jacuzzi all morning; she’s posted a picture of herself looking like a movie star ... Now I’m remembering that a Frappe has way too many calories and I need to get to the gym, lose the stubborn five pounds that snuck up on me in the winter months, I’m wishing it wasn’t so cold out, that it wasn’t a work day, etc. While I am happy for my friend, I am now self-conscious about my own postable status. I may start checking other friends’ statuses to see if anyone else is available to commiserate with my current status (spilt coffee, ruined shoes, crowded subway, and the magical odor that assails the senses at the Times Square station). What I, as the viewer, don’t see on Facebook is what this (fictional) friend of mine has concealed about her actual life status: the fact that her luggage was placed on the wrong cruise liner, that her marriage is breaking up, which is why she’s on the cruise to begin with, that she used the last of her life savings to buy the ticket ... The unrecorded reality of this friend’s doubts and anxieties don’t usually make it to the page. All I see is the illusion that she has posted on her wall—the tan, happy couple smiling on the sunny deck, pictures taken at each port, a story about dinner with the captain ... In each of these cases, what the viewer sees and responds to are the illusory forms posted on the author’s cyber wall, which is very similar to the shadows projected on the wall in Plato’s famous Cave Allegory (Republic VII, 514A-521C). There are so many examples of the viewer who is fixed in the world of illusions rather than reality: The friend who can sit for hours, eyes and mind transfixed to the screen of his beloved 160

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iPad, his smartphone hovering a mere centimeter away to enable a Wi-Fi connection. This is his intellectual and social habitat. Every task and interaction is a silent transaction, with only one question to pose to the live person: Where is the Wi-Fi connection? Even I have shifted from collecting print copies of assignments to having assignments posted on the virtual (Blackboard/WebCT) classroom to cut down on the number of things the students and I need to carry. In one instance, we even worked with a virtual tour of a field-trip venue due to poor weather conditions ... Was the online experience equal to what the live experience would have been? I would argue that it wasn’t, but it certainly proved to be a useful and convenient option. The empirical experience of communicating and processing information always feels as though it has changed so drastically—shifting with the never-ending creation of new systems and technology— and yet ... it relates to ancient questions about the nature and value of truth, reality, and perception. For those who are not familiar with the Allegory, Plato’s philosophical narrator, Socrates, describes a cave in which several prisoners are chained down to one place since childhood, deprived from any access to the outside world, only able to face a wall upon which shadows of real objects are cast, “like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets” (514A-516B). This collection of “strange prisoners,” as Gloucon calls them (514A-516B), builds a common pool of knowledge and communication based on the World of Forms to which they are exposed—to the reality they are offered (514A-516B). Only the prisoner who is liberated of his shackles and forced to face the light, discovering the deception of the World of Forms, going out to face the real world alone, understands the true value of


the deceptive illusions that his peers had we test and determine the accuracy of our referred to as knowledge. assumptions? Are we brave enough to engage After experiencing a time of pain and the empirical world when the modern-day confusion, the liberated prisoner is able to world of forms—and all the toys affiliated distinguish between the mere shadows of an with it—is so seductively pragmatic? In order object and the object itself, in reality. While to overcome the temptation of online reality he is initially only able to experience reality the individual viewer must be strong enough indirectly (their shadows or reflections), as to break free of the shackles of social media his eyes grow accustomed to real light, he in general—an issue that precedes the advent is able to perceive things more clearly, to of online platforms such as Facebook. behold objects directly and gain empirical Today online platforms are available for knowledge of the world around him. He is everything from maps to common purchases, even able to look at the sun itself rather than from job hunting to making major investat its mere reflection (516B-517B). He is ments, from planning dream vacations to naturally attracted to reality in all its dimen- finding and planning a date—with social sions. The implication here is that when given media directing our path based on who/what the choice, a philosophical observer will be we have chosen to “like,” “friend,” or “follow”. naturally drawn to truth (reality) and be dis- Things that are completely foreign to us are satisfied with reflections of truth. In order to presented in their most attractive, most develop or even recognize such a desire, how- simplistic, least critical forms—as points of ever, the viewer would have to be exposed to sale to attract the viewer and encourage an both and given the option to choose. investment (of time, energy, resources, etc.). Consider, for a moment, that we engage The gimmick tends to work, especially in in this very process on a daily basis. We today’s rushed cosmopolitan society. It only behold, assess, and communicate online, takes seconds to complete a virtual tour or actively choosing whether to embrace the view a profile, and accept or reject a person information we are offered on screen or the or service. If we pass judgment on somereality that is actually in front of us. The dif- thing in what we consider to be a quick and ference is that we feel as though we control efficient manner, based on what we consider our decisions since we possess the wall (in our knack for assessing reality, we develop our case, the iPad, the Laptop, the smart- a sense of pride—as do the prisoners in the phone, etc.). We are, at once, the puppeteers cave—and we scold or mock those who take and the prisoners of this strange and illusory longer to contemplate and research a thing world, detached from empirical perception before casting their judgments (516B-519C). of those with whom we communicate. Similarly, when we turn to Facebook to Consider also how many “friends” or view one another’s profiles, we engage in the “connections” we have whom we have judged observation and processing of the “attracand accepted but never met in person. Also tive” version of the person whose page we’re observe how quickly we cluster people into viewing. categories on our Facebook or LinkedIn con"The language used to describe the sun tacts lists. How often do we ignore a vendor was particularly interesting to our discusdown the street in exchange for the vendor sion group because of the way in which the we can book online? What is the basis of our sun is personified in the translation used: assessment? How often do we misjudge real- According to Socrates, the freed prisoner ity because we embrace illusion? How do “will be able to see the sun, and not mere

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reflections of him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is” (516B-517B). What is the value of seeing a person or object in reality rather than simply beholding the illusion presented in taking it at face value? For the most part, pages tend to be upbeat. Even negative “blooper” stories are told with a positive spin, usually to gain a few “likes” from commiserating viewers and, perhaps, to make the page look a little more realistic. The inclusion of such stories is meant, perhaps, to imply that the author offers his audience a full disclosure of his life, but the philosopher knows that the only way to come to an accurate understanding of the author is to step away from the wall and get to know the real person, not the reflection. The group discussion falters at this point, as we do tend to rely on what we see/read online in our daily decision-making process. Research, friendships, and purchases initiated through this online venue are all based on a hit-or-miss assessment process. How often do we allow ourselves to pass “from divine contemplations to the evil state of man” (517C-519C)? My group proceeded to ask what the value of the shadow was—how strongly we can rely on connections made online—and who is qualified to determine the value of either the reality or the illusion ... In our daily virtual tours, we friend, connect, like, follow, Tweet/re-Tweet, reply, delete, etc. information that is seemingly intriguing or valuable, but who is qualified to sort through the collective data to decide what is truly valuable to people? One student commented on the computerized systems that are currently available to provide assistance in this process, but it was determined that this was a sort of Catch 22 ... using automated data-mining to assess the value of information floating around in cyberspace. Further 162

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reading and research was suggested to investigate possible means of objective assessment. In the end, we concluded that there is a hidden meaning to the allegory—a testimony to human resilience, for regardless of whether we are bound to the cave or allowed the luxury of exploring reality directly, we are able to survive and make something of ourselves; we are able to build upon what we think we know, even if our knowledge is imperfect or our perception is flawed. As far as the role and place of the philosopher, whose awareness and sensibility to this so-called reality surpasses—and countermands—what his peers claim to know ... We might say that the philosopher’s duty is to strive to be a responsible mentor to those dwelling in a state of incomplete knowledge. His initial inability to blend in and function within the mainstream community after his empirical ventures makes him seem feeble in the eyes of his peers. Not only is he presenting information that seems untrue or irrelevant to them, he has missed several cycles of the vernacular and social cues that they have developed amongst themselves in his absence. He is literally out of the loop, and tagged as a sort of oddity to be pitied, rejected as a fool and ultimately despised by those with lesser experience, who feel empowered as members of a hierarchical community, rewarded within the limited scope of their common knowledge, without reference to the reality to which the philosopher clings (517C-521C). In the end, we pondered whether people are more likely to desire the illusion of those things and persons we encounter online— looking at the reflections of the sun rather than at the sun itself—or whether we will ultimately desire the reality above all. Will the philosopher still be obligated to transition from his beloved reality to the baser world of illusions simply to perform his perceived responsibility to his community?


In both instances, it seems that the philosopher’s destiny is to cross between both worlds, to understand each “reality” as much as possible, and to act as a mediator for those who are willing to accept guidance in transitioning from one reality to the other to acquire what we might finally consider true knowledge. �

Suggested Reading Boyd, Danah. “Is Facebook Destroying the American College Experience?” LinkedIn (03/01/13). www.linkedin.com/today/post/ article/20130301160528-79695780-is-facebookdestroying-the-american-college-experience (Retr. 03/01/13).

Chang, Emily. “Do you care if Facebook is hiding posts?” LinkedIn (03/05/13). www.linkedin.com/ today/post/article/20130305195227-69683898are-you-having-a-facebook-identity-crisis (Retr. 03/05/13). Hartwig, Elisha. “6 Things to Do Before You Delete Your Facebook Account.” Mashable (03/01/13). mashable.com/2013/03/01/deleteyour-facebook-account (Retr. 03/01/13). Knoll, Jessica. “Is Facebook Bumming You Out?” Cosmopolitan 251. 3 (Sep 2011) library.villanova. edu/Find/Summon/Record?id=FETCH-proquest_ dll_24566892011 (Retr. 05/16/13). Plato. “The Allegory of the Cave” Republic, Bk VII (516A-521C): classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.8.vii. html (Retr. 05/16/13). Salboudis, Christine. “Reality and Illusion.” Philosophy & Literature. Lecture and Group Discussion. NYC, 09/07/12-05/21/13.

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About the Kalamata Earthquake Photo Essay BY ELEFTHERIA LIALIOS

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arrived in Greece as a Fulbright Scholar in Photography for the year 1986-87 on Tuesday, September 9, 1986. That week, Saturday, September 13, 1986, at 20:23 local time, a 6.2 earthquake on the Richter scale hit the town of Kalamata in Messinia, Peloponnesos, Greece. 70% of the city was destroyed, 10,000 were immediately homeless, 25-30 people died, dozens were missing, and hundreds were injured. A city of 45,000 was covered with concrete destruction. Many families stayed with their belongings, and with what was left of their home. Most of the city lived in tents with their families. There was no question whether I should go to Kalamata when the catastrophe hit. I had to meet the people, hear their stories, take their photographs, and try to get further help from other resources, such as Greek-American organizations who could assist their families. After seeing the damage and talking to the people, the same story came up in conversation again and again. Money was coming in, but going into the pockets of city politicians instead of the people. Corruption and theft became widely known by the people. When I heard this, I called my Uncle Ted Mezinis, in San Francisco. He knew the right people to contact and get help to the people themselves, without the possibility of theft because of 3rd or 4th hand distribution systems. And help he did. I was there long enough to see specific people and communities get blankets, food, and clothes in areas that were being ignored. With a Canon F-1, around 50-55 rolls of Kodachrome 64-35 mm daylight slide film were taken. Because of my undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology, I truly felt this was my calling, and that God had placed me in Greece at a moment where my actions

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could indeed bring about visible change. Where photography would be used as a tool for immediate action, as well as documentation of a historical moment. Nothing was ever moved or arranged to be photographed. People were not placed in situations. I found them as they were. Stories were told by everyone I met and asked to photograph. One of the most memorable was an old woman who lived near the village of Eleochori (Old Woman with the Prophetic Story). Her house was entirely destroyed and she was living in a small tent in front of it. As I approached her, she came up running, telling me the story of how the Panayia saved the entire village of Eleochori. A village that was completely leveled. Because most of the village was in the center open square for the dedication of a Panayia icon, only three people died. Otherwise, hundreds of families would have lost their lives. Families that lost children were inconsolable, and had to be left alone. Women and men were cooking outside, washing, socializing, trying to laugh, trying to achieve normality for their children and families. Mostly everyone wanted to be heard, to be helped. An aura of survival surrounded me at 33, one that is still with me at 60. These experiences are embedded in my skin. They are described in simple sections: the people, the churches, the landscape, the destruction, the hope. This work is dedicated to my Godmother, Panayiota Georvassilis (1930-2013), who was born in Kalamata. Numbers are approximate. From the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs. September 15, 1986.


Καταυλισμός Sept.13.1986 � Camp Sept.13.1986

Στεναχωρημένη με δίκαιο � Upset with Law

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Εκκλησία 'ενα � The First Church

Εκκλησία δύο � The Second Church

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Δύο Δωμάτια στο βουνό � Two Rooms on the Mountain

Κρεβάτι και κουζίνα � Bed and Kitchen

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Φωτογραφία γάμου � Wedding Photo

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Φωτογραφία στο τοίχο � Photo on Wall

Γάμοι και οικογένεια � Weddings and Family

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Η Γιαγιά με την ιστορία της � Old Woman with the Prophetic Story

Το σαλόνι των παιδιών � The Living Area with the Children

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Γυναίκες με τη γάτα τους � Women with their Cat

Οικογένεια στην κουζίνα τους � Family in their Kitchen

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BIOGRAPHY

Biography of Pythagoras Caravellas (1890 – 1934) BY JOHN B. VLAHOS

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ythagoras Caravellas was born in 1890 in Greece, on the small island of Samos, off the coast of Asia Minor. He was the son of a tobacco and cotton merchant and the youngest of four children. At the age of 16, he completed his preuniversity education at the gymnasium in Karlovassi. His schoolmasters, impressed with the young man’s curiosity and studious inclinations, recommended him for further study at one of the Greek teaching-monasteries. For many centuries, the monasteries had been the centers of learning in Greece. During the 400 years that Greece was subjugated to Turkey, the education of its people had been in the hands of the priests and the monks. It was traditional, therefore, that male students of exceptional promise were placed under special tutelage of learned monks. The young Pythagoras was cloistered in the mountain monastery for a year, applying himself diligently to the assigned subjects: religion, science, and the humanities. Perhaps it was the humility with which the monks had imparted their wisdom to the young scholars that influenced Pythagoras to cherish learning. This inspiration was to follow him always. While Pythagoras was studying under the tutelage of the monks, the Metropolitan

of Corfu, Alexander, paid a visit to the monastery. The hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Faith has always taken a personal interest in the education and development of their youth. Alexander was no exception. A man of deep perception, he was to become, some 20 years later, the first American Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church. Although his visits to the monasteries caused the students some trepidation, they were also looked forward to with great expectancy. Whenever time would allow them to be away from their studies, the young men were found eagerly awaiting their meeting with His Eminence. A few requested and were granted private audiences. But in private or in groups, the topics that generated the most interest were the students’ personal aspirations, the preservation of the ethnic culture and traditions of Greece, and the growth and spiritual strength of the Greek Orthodox Religion. During one of his private conversations with the Metropolitan (whom he had known since childhood, through the religious affiliations of his family), Pythagoras expressed his secret hope to continue his education in the United States and perhaps establish his permanent home there. Expecting a small admonishment or to be dissuaded from his ambition, Pythagoras was pleased to receive instead approval and encouragement. 2014 | VOICES

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Portrait of Pythagoras Caravellas (1920s) Greek Historical Society of the San Francisco Bay Area

Not yet certain of which career he would pursue, the student and the Metropolitan discussed several. His Eminence expressed his deep concern for the many Greeks then in America and the many more who would be joining them. He was distressed by the lack of Greek Orthodox Churches necessary to perpetuate the faith and the language in a distant land and to stimulate appreciation of the Hellenic culture, traditions, and ideals. The full impact of this meeting was not to emerge for 12 years, but its immediate result was that Pythagoras entered the Seminary in Karlovassi to study for the priesthood. After a year, he was uncertain as to the wisdom of his action and decided to enroll in the University of Athens. During the next four years, he earned his degree and received his teaching credentials. He also found time to tutor a few students, work for a tobacconist, and take additional courses in English. He even managed to make occasional visits to his family in distant Samos, in the town of Karlovassi. 174

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In 1911, he definitely decided to go to the United States. He went to Middleboro, Massachusetts, where a small colony of Greeks had settled, to live with his two brothers, Nicholas and Theodore, who had immigrated there two years before. The two brothers were proprietors of a successful restaurant left to them by Nicholas’ godfather. They made a place for their younger brother, Pythagoras, but were soon convinced that he was not interested in the business world. They encouraged him to enter Harvard University and offered to help him financially. Before leaving Greece, Pythagoras had already resolved to become a physician. Realizing how many long years of study lay ahead, he preferred not to accept his brothers’ generous offer. He considered ways in which he would attend school, allow sufficient time for studies, and still manage to earn an income adequate for his tuition and living expenses. He decided to rely chiefly on his knowledge of small business accounting for his earnings and soon had a number of shopkeepers and restaurant owners as his clients. During the summer months, he also gave private lessons, teaching the Americanborn children of Greek immigrants their mother tongue. The perpetuation of the Greek language had become a prime concern of the Orthodox priests and the community leaders, since it was felt that unless the children learned Greek, the church would lose them. Thus, through his language teaching, as well as in other ways, Pythagoras participated in Greek Church and community affairs. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in medicine in June of 1917. Shortly thereafter, he became engaged to Evangeline Constantine, the sister of a Greek friend, John Constantine. She and her brother and younger sister, Julia, lived at home with their widowed father, the tailor and civic leader, Hareleos Constantine.


Greek families encouraged their children to associate with others of the Greek heritage in an attempt to ensure their marriages within the Greek community. They felt, understandably, that unions based on a common religion and language, and on common customs and traditions, would be lasting and happy ones. It was customary for these marriages to be arranged by intermediaries in behalf of the parents, but the marriage in November 1917 of Pythagoras and Evangeline was a romantic exception. Pythagoras’ work as hospital intern offered some degree of fulfillment, but he was restless. He was much disturbed by the world war, which had engulfed Europe. More and more he turned to the church, seeing it as the major institution for the salvation of humankind. The burgeoning Greek Orthodox Church, he felt, would one day become a great spiritual force in America. Recalling his year at the monastery and his communication with Archbishop Alexander, Pythagoras sent a letter to the Metropolitan, asking for his guidance. The sincere simplicity of the Archbishop’s reply and his words of encouragement to enter the church convinced Pythagoras to give up medicine and complete his studies for the priesthood. Through further correspondence with the Metropolitan, Pythagoras learned of the need for Greek priests in the western part of the United States. As the waves of Greek immigrants moved westward across the new continent, they were dependent upon a small group of itinerant Greek priests for infrequent church services and the administering of the religious rites. More Greeks lived and worked in the western states than the number of churches would suggest. Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church was extending the scope of its activities in the United States, organizing churches wherever possible, with the ultimate objective of uniting

members of the Orthodox Faith, regardless of nationality or race, under the jurisdiction of the Russian Church. They were successful, for example, in San Francisco where the Greeks often had to rely on Russian clergy. In 1922, Pythagoras, his wife, and daughter Melissa arrived in San Francisco. Once more the question of earning a livelihood and attending school was of immediate concern. Through letters of introduction and recommendation, Pythagoras became an assistant professor of Greek at the University of California and attended the Pacific School of Religion. He supplemented his income by writing for a Greek newspaper and The Christian Science Monitor. Soon Pythagoras and Evangeline became an integral part of the developing Greek community. Their resourcefulness and command of English attracted the older families. They were often called upon to act as witnesses or interpreters when legal or immigration problems affected members of the colony. Evangeline encouraged the wives to attend night classes and assisted them in organizing weekly meetings at each other’s homes. Community interests were broadened and a base of operations was established for the many newcomers arriving from Greece. The more affluent Greeks were enthusiastic about the qualifications of the young couple and gave their whole-hearted support for the erection of a church, which would have Pythagoras as its priest. After his graduation from the Pacific School of Religion in 1927, Pythagoras was ordained into the priesthood of the Greek Orthodox Religion by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Metaxakis, and Archbishop Alexander, both of whom were visiting San Francisco at the time. The colorful ceremony was held in the new, small white Church of St. Sophia. The presence of these eminent prelates in San Francisco created much interest and

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helped to establish the young Church of St. Sophia as a unified and integrated community. Historical events had brought a special challenge, and also a period of considerable emotional strain for Greek Orthodox priests. Since the advent of the Russian Revolution, the organizational expansion of the Russian Orthodox Church in America had ended. But the royalist-liberal controversy in Greece became a serious divisive factor for Greek immigrants in America. Partisanship in the political war between the forces of King Constantine and Premier EleftheriosVenizelos, which had its beginnings in 1916, was to shake the church communities of both Greece and the United States to their foundation. The reaction in the United States was violent, and reorganization required a degree of cooperation almost impossible to obtain. Nevertheless, Father Pythagoras managed to steer his congregation away from the repercussions of the bitter political battles in Greece and toward the establishment of a Greek-American community whose growth would be a blending of the cultural heritage of Greece and the democratic principles of its adopted country, America. Since coming to San Francisco, Father Pythagoras’ family had increased by two daughters, Helen and Joan. After his ordination, Father Pythagoras budgeted his family very severely. Occasionally, his small salary was supplemented by farmers’ gifts of produce, fruit, and fowl. His parish was a poor

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one, and living became even more difficult during the depression, when many members of his congregation were on the edge of poverty. He administered to their needs unfailingly, with words of encouragement and guidance. He taught their children Greek after their regular school hours. He would officiate at services during his frequent visits to the farming districts. He found time to program social activities for the community in observation of national and religious holidays. He made his rounds at the hospitals, giving communion to the sick, the injured, and the dying. He conducted services every Sunday, every holy day—and in the Greek Church, this alone imposes a rigorous and demanding schedule. In 1931, the physical strain had taken its toll. Father Pythagoras was ill with tuberculosis. He was a patient for three years at the California Sanatorium in Belmont. During this enforced rest and confinement, he continued to read avidly and began work for his degree as a Doctor of Divinity. He looked forward to returning to his church and his congregation. After three years, the doctors told him he was cured and that he could soon be going home. But on December 6, 1934, he suffered a heart attack that was fatal. The Greeks throughout the nation mourned for him, and his body lay in state in the Church of St. Sophia for seven days to afford all of his congregation and his many friends the sad privilege of a final farewell. �


BOOK REVIEW

A Coffee Date with the Soul BY ANNAMARIE BUONOCORE

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nyone who has ever thought about the big questions in life concerning relationships, sex, family, and the almighty social image is in desperate need of a coffee date. We are not talking about a coffee break at a local Starbucks, but rather a coffee date with the subconscious, the soul, the inner being! In Coffee with the Subconscious, B. Rozakis demonstrates this truly creative form of introspection that is as relaxing and enjoyable as a date at a local coffee shop. At first thought, this book may prompt one to think of his or her last coffee date. The occasion likely involved another person—a coworker, colleague, family member, partner, neighbor, or friend. Perhaps, some interesting questions came up during that time, but how many people truly think about these big questions and take the coffee date deep within themselves to the subconscious where they are faced to think about themselves, others, and these big answers? In Coffee with the Subconscious, Rozakis writes about a number of historical and fictional characters who directly face these questions. The slideshow analogy works well since the narratives come diced into small chapters and fragments. Because of the book’s fragmentary nature, Rozakis’ book suffers from an identity crisis. The work sits on the border between prose and poetry. Some of the short chapters could even be described as flash fiction. There are

Coffee with the Subconscious B. Rozakis Self-Published by B. Rozakis www.bettyrozakis.com 172 pages; paperback $14.95

also some interesting elements of autobiography as the author openly discusses her personal journey. The truth is that the book is all of the above. The book has the flowing story line of prose yet the rhythmical and thought-provoking lines of poetry. A very short story is told in each fragmented chapter, making it similar to flash fiction. Each of these chapters builds its effects cumulatively, and each chapter jumps right to the next in perfect poetic rhythm. As a result of this building, unfolding, and lyrical arrangement, readers are unable to set this small book down. Reading this book is much like driving along a picturesque road, not knowing the beautiful treasures that will appear with each gentle bank turn. The book can be opened at random and entered with passion, and in this respect as well as in others, can be claimed by poetry. Even with divided and fragmented chapters, a unified narrative with a single and solid voice manages to emerge. Although the characters’ personalities differ significantly, they all pose similar questions on similar life issues and seek the counsel of a graphologist. 2014 | VOICES

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One may be wondering what graphology is. Coffee with the Subconscious brings forth this new and emerging study that unites arts, humanities, and sciences. As discussed in the book, graphology has its skeptics and critics. One could find it rather shocking and amazing that something as simple and overlooked as handwriting could determine personality and attitude, and as a result, success in relationships and even performance on the job. The up-and-coming narrative that presents the new and fascinating subject can be divided into three parts, or as the author calls them, “three cups”: 1. Know yourself and understand why you make the decisions you make. The personalities of ancient Greeks are discussed. Who was Socrates and why did he choose death over life? This part of the narrative will prompt one to think about his or her own life and beginthe interesting process of introspection. 2. Know your relationships. Now it is time to look beyond the self and think about the connections with others. 3. Know your solution. The book will definitely not leave you hanging. The author often mentions that people do not like to hear what their handwriting reveals. The third cup will help one make decisions as to where to go next with the newfound knowledge that resulted from this introspection. The book is a gentle three-step process that never leaves readers in a dull moment. As mentioned above, the author writes with a distinctive and unique voice, bringing interest and intrigue to the subject of graphology, which is based on psychology, intuitive thinking, and science. The subject and those who study it also critically examine history, and the author successfully states her perspectives on history that make sense to a 178

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modern-day reading audience. She is also able to integrate this knowledge of history with her Greek-American cultural background. Throughout the narrative, she mentions classical Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Plato. Her words are vivid, as readers will picture images of picturesque and scenic Greece. She also makes references to dynamics and characteristics that can often be found in Greek-American Diaspora families that become heavily fixated on the American Dream and the image that encapsulates. “In the agora at the foot of the Parthenon ... Socrates lingered, approached, and questioned the aspiring young men of Classical Greece. Did Socrates impose himself on these ambitious young men that Plato wrote about? These aspiring, impressionable young menknown as Sophists?” The short paragraph, that could also be thought of as a stanza when poetry gets its way, poses a thought-provoking question that stimulates the mind beyond everyday, shallow thinking. The next pages examine the life of this instrumental Greek figure in a way that is unexpected and controversial. The author expresses her perspective on the Socratic method that is strongly supported with wellresearched arguments based on historical facts. She delves into the personal life of this historical figure that truly prompts readers to think. In a later chapter, she takes the works of Mark Twain and Flannery O’Connor to a personal level, and she admits that this once made her fellow book club attendees somewhat uncomfortable. The author has an authentic voice and a bold spirit that brings intuitive and introspective thinking together with scientific and historical data to create an interesting narrative. Personal stories also make this book a must read.


“It was a bit more complicated. It was Molly’s character. She was stuck. Her individual life force was emotionally stuck in her inner turmoil.” In this chapter, the author tells a story of a woman whose handwriting she examined. Like all of the other stories in the book, it is a fictional story that can trace its roots back to an actual experience in the author’s journey of studying and practicing graphology. The character’s fictitious name is Molly Forthright. The name is suitable because of Molly’s forthcoming personality and willingness to share her thoughts with the graphologist. Going back to the part about Socrates, the author does the same thing with Molly and seeks to examine her past relationships to gain insight into her behavior. In the practice of graphology, the graphologist examines a person’s handwriting in wet ink. The handwriting sample cannot be photocopied, scanned, or turned into the graphologist via electronic means. The examinee is also asked to turn in four drawings of a tree. The graphologist is then able to evaluate the samples based on pressure points and sharpness in the letters. He or she will then determine the Hippocratic Temperament of the handwriting: melancholic, bilious, sanguine, or phlegmatic. Some examinees are classified into one type while others are a combination of types. This is the core character of the individual. The melancholics often doubt themselves and can become far too occupied with dry, abstract speculation. The bilious is a more positive fighting spirit. The phlegmatic lack introspection. Last but not least, the sanguine have an outlandish and unescapable confidence. It is almost as if they are hungry for blood. The examiner discusses the qualities and sub-categories of each type.

The book is easy to read and concise to understand. It is geared toward an adult audience as it mentions topics of sex and suicide, but could also be interesting for the teenage audience to gain a jumpstart on life. The author fearlessly writes about her experiences with her family and her quest to become a graphologist after years of introspection and self-discovery. Her openness creates a sense of ease for those uncomfortable discussing topics of sexuality and relationships. Her word usage, vocabulary, and writing structure are excellent, and her content is educational and entertaining. The Greek-American experience also comes by like a gentle sea breeze.

“Reading this book is much like driving along a picturesque road, not knowing the beautiful treasures that will appear with each gentle bank turn.”

When I first started reading this book, I was skeptical. I did not believe handwriting revealed one’s personality traits. The author gently proved me wrong by inspiring me with anecdotes of her personal journey that were combined with well-researched historical and scientific facts as well as her exceptional knowledge of psychology. This unique book makes references to popular works of film and literature, helping the audience relate to each critical point. This self-published work is a must-read for those asking big questions and looking for some humorous yet thought-provoking answers. It is also recommended for anybody looking for an enjoyable coffee break with a soul that deserves to speak out fearlessly and poetically every once in a while. �

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CULTURE

M a n o l i ... ! A dialogue BY GIORGOS NEOPHYTOU TRANSLATED BY ANDREAS NICOLA

(Maria, a woman of about 60, dressed in black and more tired and frightened than old. She enters hurriedly and frightened, carrying some carrier bags full of shopping, which she places on the table in the kitchen of an old house, a table with three chairs. On the table, a brown dress, spread out. Next to it is a basket for sewing and an old jeweler’s box.) Manoli ... puss, puss, puss Manoli ... Manoli! Manoli where are you? Where are you hiding? Manoli ... Manoli ... Manoli ... Ah! There you are. Why don’t you answer when I call you? I’ve lost my voice. I am scared. A thousand thoughts have gone through my mind, you old cat. That boy living opposite is going around shooting with his air gun. There he is, Manoli, do you see him? There. There on the left, behind the tree ... You with the air gun. Stop using that gun! I am going to call the police. Don’t hide, I can see you. God, help you if you hit a cat. Do you hear me? He is going, Manoli, he is frightened. Look, here my wretched, don’t go out because it means nothing to him to fire one at you. Our courtyard, Manolitsi, has seen such things before. Listen to me, I am telling you. When I go out I am going to close you in, Manoli, there is no other solution, until

we see what happens. It breaks my heart to leave you alone, but someone must go for shopping, otherwise both of us will die of starvation in this house. Take it easy ... Stop behaving like this. Is it the smell from the carrier bag ...? Don’t climb on the table ... I’ve told you a thousand times. I don’t want you to climb on the table. Get down, back to your place. Take it easy, I told you. Sit down let me open them first. You behave as if you hadn’t eaten for three days, you greedy puss. It’s only 10:30. Alright, keep quiet, I'll give you a little bit. Just a little taste. I hope you don’t start a new fashion, eh! I will not feed you every two hours; it’s no good for you. It’s mince meat. I said take it easy. Here is a small piece. That’s all. No more till one o’clock when we have lunch, Manoli you will eat at one o’ clock. Look what Mr. Andreas gave me today for you. Two pork hearts! It’s a present! I didn’t pay for them. Don’t make faces, Manoli. What did you want me to do, refuse them? I’ll tell him, Manolis is an aristocrat and doesn’t eat hearts because they are tough. Don’t you worry; I’ll cook them for you till they are soft. And when I cut them into small pieces, you won’t have to chew them ... my Manoli you are old, you can’t even chew. Both of us are getting old. The dentist has advised me to 2014 | VOICES

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have false teeth. I am not going to take his advice, what am I going to do with the false teeth? What I eat I’ll eat without teeth. How much time do I have? Do you know that cats live between ten and fifteen years? If you think about it, Manoli, you with your eleven years must equal my own age. They even say that some cats live to be twenty. In other words, Manoli, if we assume that you too will live to be twenty, now you have reached half way. If you were human you would be ... How old would you be? Nearly thirty-five? Like Manos! No, no this is not for you. Why do you lick yourself? Haven’t you had enough? It is for me, I will boil it with some potatoes and carrots. I bought celery ... the dress, Manoli. We will place it on the chair ... to keep it clean ... away from the meat. If you like, Manoli I will give you some of mine for lunch. It doesn’t matter; you can eat the mince meat tonight. It is too much for me. I always leave something in the plate no matter how much I serve myself. How much can a tiny soul like me eat? Try it. You will like it. When I mash the potato and the carrots in the meat broth, it will be very tasty. Try something different every now and then. You must be fed up with mince meat all the time. Try eating vegetables sometime. The body needs vitamins. Where do you get yours? In the mince meat? That’s why you are so fat ... You are overweight. Your feet can’t carry you. I am sure it is due to lack of vitamins. As if that wasn’t enough, you are shut in here all day. This immobility is bad for you. Manoli, one day I’ll take you with me to the market. You will go out, move a little, get rid of your numbness. But how am I going to carry you? If you were a dog, it would be easy. I would pass a strap around your neck and I would pull you along. But can you imagine a cat on a lead? No, it cannot be done. If I take 182

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you in my arms ... it would be dangerous. If someone pushes us, you will go wild. You are not used to crowds. You will jump amongst the cars and who will catch you then? No, that won’t do. Do you know what I am thinking, Manoli? I’ll take you in Manos’ pram; I still have it. I didn’t give it away. I kept it for the second child, I thought. After my husband’s death, I didn’t have the heart to give it away. You see, in those days, it was expensive. We wanted it to las ... he wanted lots of children. But, Manoli, things turned out to be different. You don’t know these things. Even Manos kept pestering me for a small brother. But, how? Can it be done without a husband? Why don’t you remarry? My mother kept asking. She thought it was easy! I should be lucky, with somebody else’s child, the bride grooms were queuing for me. And then what guarantees did I have that the one I was to marry would want my Manos? Would he love him? Manoli, these are difficult things ... I don’t know. That’s the way I used to think. That’s how I decided. How do I know? Manoli, he’s back again. There he is! Hey you, have you started the hunting again? Stop using that gun or I'll tell your parents, naughty boy. Mrs. Loukia, Mrs. Loukia, control your son. He is continuously shooting at the cat. He will kill us all. Mrs. Loukia, Mrs. Loukia ... he’s gone. Manoli, that’s how they were standing behind the trees. Hiding, with guns in their hands. I’ll go to the police station. I will tell them to have pity. I don’t want them to tell me afterwards that they don’t have the evidence. Evidence, evidence, what evidence do you want? Must they kill in front of your eyes to get your evidence? I am telling you. Here they were holding me, motionless with the gun pointed at me. I heard him coming, I tried to call him but they hit me. I heard the gun shots and I passed out. When I came


around, I found him in the courtyard dead. I only made a step away from them, Manoli They had gone. But I heard the gunshots. I ... and they started. I pity the poor woman, heard them! since her son’s death ... she hasn’t been herCome, now, Manoli, calm down, he’s self. Her nerves have been affected. And the gone. Calm down. Come and drink some other one, it’s the war Mrs. Eleni, that’s what milk, it will calm you down. At lunchtime the war brings. What can I say to them? I’ll I’ll let you go in the courtyard. We’ll both sit turn round and tell them—it’s your mind, in the sun. But first let me finish the cooking. which is affected. You don’t understand a One day I’ll take you for a walk. It’s a thing. How many times do I have to tell you? promise. I am sure it isn’t any good for you MY SON WAS NOT KILLED AT WAR. HE to be kept locked up in here ... but you see for NEVER WENT TO WAR. Manoli, you were yourself what is happening out there. Do you just born then, and you don’t remember all think I enjoy going out? Why do we bother, these things, but I remember, Manoli. I don’t the world has changed, Manoli, it’s not like forget. No, I don’t forget. Your mind is sufin the old days. fering. You closed your eyes and suffered an Come to think of it, it’s a good idea. amnesia attack. I’ll place you in the pram and I’ll push you Forget it, Mrs. ... forget it. We had a war, along. I will also put the shopping baskets an invasion! We cannot do anything about next to you, that way it saves me to carry it. We haven’t got the evidence. Which war them. Tomorrow I will check it out and clean ... which invasion ... are you talking about? it. The wheels might need a bit of oiling. I’ve All these things happened before. All these had so many years taken away. Thirty-six. things which I saw ... is this not evidence? We bought it soon after Manos was born. Has the war done away with them? It’s a laughing matter, Manoli. Imagine So many people were killed during the what they will be saying when they see us. war. Accept that yours was lost during You sitting in the pram and me pushing it! the invasion. All these things which hapMy God, such laughter! I hope it all ends pened before are so confusing and unclear. well! They will be looking with their mouths Who knows the score? I KNOW the score. open. I am sure they will think I've gone I haven’t lost the account. They drive you round the bend. But what do they know? mad and try to confuse you! Tell me, Manoli, It will be fun, Manoli. I’ll do it. As long as is this not maddening? Tell me, Manoli. Eh, you don’t get frightened and jump out of the Manoli answer me. I only have you to talk pram. That’s what I am afraid of. The people to, these days. Who else listens to me? I will be saying things ... as if I care. Anyway, can’t keep quiet. It’s like burying him for a whatever I do, they think of me as mad. second time. Eh, Manoli, they are stupid. All right, I It is a shame, Manoli, that you cannot admit, they have given me their madness, but say something ... so that I don’t talk all the the deafness, where did I catch it? And they time. But, what can you say? You didn’t talk as if I cannot hear them. Yesterday I was have to go through these situations. Tell me, passing outside the school, Eleni was stand- Manoli, you cats, do you have any problems? ing in her front door, you know, the one I am sure you only care about your love living opposite, together with her next door affairs. When you were young, you were out neighbor, Joanna. How are you Mrs. Maria, all night. In the morning, you came home how are you getting on, are you well, we don’t covered in blood with scratches all over. The see you ... and empty talk. As soon as I left, female cats are more difficult to say yes than

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us, the women, Manoli. I think so. I did not say the yes easily to mine. He used to write songs to cajole me. “Maria, marry me, Maria, there is no better bachelor than me.” I made him suffer a lot before I said, yes. But ... you know I loved him. My Manos was seventeen years of age when he fell in love for the first time. He used to stand in front of the mirrors for hours, trying to get his hair to look just right. Yes, just like you when you lick yourself, he was continuously using that comb. What do I say? But, not to want to go for higher studies ... because of her ... well that is too much! I rebelled. I will stay and work, he said, and help you make it easier for me. Excuses and more excuses. Nobody pulls wool over my eyes. The real reason was her. He didn’t want to leave her behind. Have I ever said to him that he was a burden? Who told him that I was tired? As far as I am concerned he was my life. To work, bring him up and help him to study .... That’s life. And when he graduates, yes ... then he can work ... and I can retire. I'll be proud of him and admire him. Fancy that, wanting to marry at twenty ... and what kind of work? Manoli, I was unyielding on that issue ... and I was right! I only gave in on the question of studies. You don’t want to be a doctor, my precious one? That’s fine by me, go and study architecture which you like. But study you will, end of story. And he did. I have no idea if things could have been different, had I send him to study. What could I do? Keep him locked up all day, like a prisoner? Did I bring him up to be an adult and have him tight to my dresses? This is fate, Manoli. You could also say that if he had stayed here, he could have got married and had his own family, he could have been more cautious. Maybe ... his wife could have stopped him. Do you think I said any less to him? Here, I stood in front of this door and I begged him. 184

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Don’t go, son. These things are not for us. What can you do on your own? Keep quiet stay out of trouble. Manolis, he became very angry. He said it's my fault he is the way he is ... why do I want to change him, now? What did I teach him? All I did ... was ... I ... struggled all my life for him and myself. When did I find time to teach him about juntas and democracies? The only thing I told him was to tell the difference between good and bad. Is it not the duty of every mother to do that? To know the difference between just and unjust? I wanted him to be a whole man. Poor me, when did I speak to him about coups and such like? They are murderers, mother, he said to me. If I stay one way or another, they will kill me. An hour after he had gone, they rushed in here like dogs ... They kept going away, coming back, going away and coming back until they caught him. That’s how it happened, Manoli, you were not around. Don’t tell me that’s life and that’s how it is! No, that’s not how it is, Manoli! You give birth to them, you bring them up, you educate them, you marry them, they have their own children, and then you close your eyes content. Now that is life, Manoli. When they kill them and you are left all alone that is mockery, Manoli. That means that life has cheated on you. The other’s mother understands me. I feel it, and she is afraid of me. When our roads cross, she avoids me. She bends her head downwards, pretending to be looking elsewhere. But she understands my pain. She sees the injustice, Manoli ... that’s why she is afraid. Sometimes I have the feeling that she hates me. Why do you hate me, Mrs.? It is not my fault if your son grew up to be a murderer. It is not my fault if your son is free to wander around, unpunished to this day. What do you want of me? To go away? To get lost? To disappear, so that you don’t see me? Noooo! As long as I live, you and


your son will be seeing me. As long as I live, everyday I will pass outside your house. I will pass outside your son’s shop, stand in front of the shop window, so that he can see me and feel ashamed ... himself and yourself and all the others. I will shout loud enough for everybody to hear me, to wake them up. Wake up, wake up, they are coming back. I can see them coming back. I can see it in his eyes, Manoli. When he comes out of his shop’s door and he looks at me, Manoli. He laughs mockingly, Manoli. And I blush. I blush, feel embarrassed and I leave. Manoli, I leave, hastily, embarrassed as if I am the murderer, and he is the victim. Manoli, don’t climb on the chair. Manoli, be careful, you will dirty my dress. Look out, you will tear it. Now, look what you’ve done. You pulled the thread on my dress. Your paws destroy everything they touch. Everywhere you step, you leave stains behind. Why are you looking at me like that? Luckily the thread is not cut. I will pull it carefully and it will go back to its place. Where is the needle? Sit down and don’t you dare move. Of all the chairs you chose that one to sit on. Where are my glasses? Yes, I am angry. What would have happened if the dress was torn? Manoli, you are not even allowed to make it dirty. If the trial starts suddenly, what do I tell them? I am not attending because the dress is at the cleaners? Or do you want me to go in black? Don’t even think about it. There, it looks almost done. It hasn’t exactly gone back to its place. It has become misshapen. I will pass it through to the inside and it will not show. It’s good quality material ... from abroad. Eleven years old and it looks brand new. Not even its color has faded. I will wear it on your wedding, I told him, when he brought it for me as a present together with his graduation diploma. He became angry! For my wedding day I will buy you another one. You will wear it now. I am fed

up looking at you in black all the time. Take them off for goodness sake! Your whole life is spent in black, for whom do you wear them? It is not right, my son, it is not right. It will be strange for me to stop wearing them so suddenly. I got used to them. And then what will the people say? Which people, mother? Why should you favor the people more than me? I haven’t got used to them. I am fed up with them. You will wear it on Sunday and go to church and I want you to wear the golden broach to match it. I told him I am keeping that one for my daughter-in-law. Your daughter-in-law has no need of golden broaches. You will wear it. I’ll give you till the middle of August, when it’s your name day as well; otherwise I will start to wear black, a tie and a black band around my arm. My God, I feel like laughing. He wants to start wearing mourning clothes twenty years after the death of his father. I am sure he would have done it. When he got an idea into his head, he was capable of seeing it through. Before the 15th of August, came the 15th of July, Manoli, and the dress was never worn. At the funeral, they never let me wear it. I explained to them, I cried and I begged them. Nothing. The neighbors brought a doctor and he convinced me. Why was it not right? They even gave me an injection. I wasn’t myself. I didn’t please him, not even at his funeral. It was none of their business what I wore. Do you think I was going to wear it for them? That’s how my son wanted me! It was his last wish. Didn’t he ask me not to wear black? But I will wear it when I go to the court, Manoli. When the case comes up, I will wear my brown dress with the gold broach. I will not wear black. I will buy a brown pair of shoes and a matching handbag. Manoli, I’ll buy them from his shop. When they call me for my evidence at the court, Manoli, I will go to his shoe shop. I will open the door and

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enter inside. He will freeze. He will lose his will get up, I will pay him, I will take the speech. I’ll take you with me, Manoli, so you shoes and the handbag and I will leave. can see for yourself. He never expects me to (She starts to take her clothes off and to wear dare to cross his shop’s door. I will not flinch the new dress.) though. I will go inside and I’ll tell him, I’d like a pair of shoes and a handbag in brown, The next day I will get dressed, just like size thirty-nine. Closed. Classic style, I’ll tell I am doing now, Manoli, like I do every day. him. Traditional. I will adorn myself. I will take the black off. He will bring them, Manoli and he will I will throw them away. I will wash and bend in front of me, to help me to try them, comb my hair, like I used to in the old days and I will tell him, Manoli, slowly, emphasiz- when I used to go to the airport to welcome ing my words and with meaning, I will tell Mano. I will wear the brown dress and the him, I need them to go to the court. Tomor- broach. Where is the broach? And the neckrow is the case. I will give evidence to the lace, Manoli? I will also wear this one. I will court. It is the court case for my son’s mur- take the handbag with me and wear the new der. His head will be bent forward, Manoli, shoes, and that’s how I will go, Manoli. Lady! in front of my feet and he will not dare raise Not like a miserable old woman dressed in his head to look at me. No, Manoli, this time black. No tears on that day, Manoli. No, I he will not dare to look at me or to laugh at will enter the court room with my head high me, not even to talk to me. I will be look- and my shoulders square. I will keep them ing at the back of his neck, bent as it will square, Manoli. My back is hurting, but I be, frightened. His neck will be sweating, will put up with it. I don’t want pity that Manoli, and he will be listening to me. I had day. I don’t want the black clothes to influa son too, I will tell him. If he were alive, he ence their decision. No, I will move forward, would be your age. But they murdered him I will stand in front and I will talk to them. that morning, I’ll tell him. You must remem- Upright and proud, Manoli, like the lawyers ber too. That morning when the country was do. Without a tremor in my voice. Like this! full of murderers! They murdered him in my I am not asking you to feel sorry for me, own courtyard. your honors. I am not asking for anybody to Tomorrow is the court case, I’ll tell him. feel sorry for me. I am asking for my son’s fair They will be prosecuted and I will be a wit- justice. So that his death will have meaning. I ness. Myself. Because I saw them. I saw am not asking for revenge, your honors. I am them. They pushed me into the corner when only asking for the punishment of my son’s I attacked them. Their leader hit me with murderers. It is their punishment I am seeking, the butt of his gun, and he swore at me. I your honors. It is justice I am asking. So that remember, I’ll tell him, to his face. I know things are put ... in their right place. So that ... his identity. He was tall, dark and with a I don’t lower ... I ... don’t lower my eyes when beard. Just like you. Exactly like you, I’ll tell I see them, so that everybody knows what is him. And he will perspire, Manoli, his nape right and what is wrong, so that they don’t ... will perspire. His hands will be trembling. come back your honors ... So that ... they don’t He will be trembling, Manoli, because he will ... come back again. That’s ... how I will tell know. But I will not be frightened, Manoli, I them, Manoli ... So that they don’t come back will tell him. Tomorrow I will tell him that ... That’s how I will tell them, Manoli. That’s the murderers will be punished. And then I how I will tell them on that day. �

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CULTURE

From the Shores of the Aegean to the Edge of the Pacific BY ILIAS CHRISSOCHOIDIS

(a thick-accented voice, calm, and slowpaced “the voice of a man suffering from heart disease”) Good evening. Can I hope someone here remembers this man? (pause) His face perhaps? (pause) What about the eyes, those big dark spheres that sucked in all failure and glory America could ever offer an immigrant? (pause) (with disappointment) I thought so. Well, I died many years ago, a destroyed man who had been framed by his enemies, punched by the public, and robbed of his wealth in the Crash. It’s funny how the end meets the beginning. I started a nobody. Don’t even know where and when I was born. Father said it was an island off the Greek shores. Who can tell? Greece has so many of them. But sure, I was Greek. I never stayed anywhere for long. Cairo, Panama, San Francisco, Dawson City, Seattle, LA. Always restless, always after a new start, a better life. (pause) (animated) And I was Greek because of the sea. Only the sea can make you dream of the absolute, can lead you to the sky if you follow her to the end of the horizon. Oh, I love the sea, I learned from the sea. If you survive her ups

and downs, her murderous storms and shifting currents, you are fit to conquer anything. (proudly) That I did. I built my own ships on the land; they were called theaters. And like Noah, I filled them with the wonders of the world. I spared no effort, no expense. I traveled everywhere to find them and bring them to my palaces. Opera singers, rope dancers, educated rats and learned monkeys, scientists, actors you name it. So I built my empire, the greatest theater circuit west of Mississippi. And that I did all by myself, like a true Greek. (pause) (melancholically) But time was running fast back in the twenties. The flickering pictures in the dark became more animated, more serious, more real. People started paying attention to these illusions and neglected my flesh-and-blood performers. (pause) I tried hard to keep vaudeville alive, but I could also see the end approaching. And then came in the greedy wolves from Wall Street ready to devour anything in LA. (in a nasty tone) I could name one of them if you weren’t so fond of his son Jack Kennedy.

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(increasingly irritated) They wanted it all, here and there. “Give us your price, Pa or get outta business!” They thought they cornered me, the sons of bitches, but I’m the son of Ulysses! I split my assets and sold them separately so these dogs could go on fighting with each other, and I could rebuild my empire. And then (pause) (despondently) then everything collapsed. The Greek who introduced the best entertainment to the West Coast, who made Los Angeles a theatrical Mecca had to pay for his success, his independence, his integrity. Using the ludicrous accusations of a silly young dancer, all my enemies joined hands to destroy my business and stain my reputation. Like Prometheus, I was shackled and incarcerated. I’d built them palaces; they housed me in San Quentin. It took two years to get a retrial and clear my name. Too late. My health was shattered, my theaters gone, and my assets evaporated in the Great Depression. When death came, in 1936, I was ready. (pause) (philosophically) They said I would be forgotten. Little did they know of us Greeks. We belong in time, we survive time. We are the people of memory. Alive or dead, victorious or slaughtered, we stand a lighthouse at the crossroads of history.

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ALEXANDER PANTAGES

And they said I would never return back. (animated) But here I am, tonight, rising from the mist of obscurity to claim what is rightfully mine. And you know it’s mine because a Greek puts his name where his act is. I am Alexander Pantages and you are aboard the flagship of my empire. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my home, the one and only Hollywood Pantages! �


COVER ARTIST Alexis, aka Constantin Alexiades, was born in Piraeus. He is an architect and painter. Alexis attended the First High School of Piraeus and graduated from the First High School of Athens (Plaka). His first painting teachers were the painters Gavrielides, Kokkinos and Joseph Chatzipavlis (his uncle, a painter and set designer). He next studied economics at the University of Athens (graduated). A trip to Paris in 1973 awakened his old passions for architecture and painting. So, in 1974, he moved to Paris and began his studies at E.N.S.B.A. (Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Beaux Arts). In 1979, he received his diploma in Architecture (Architecte D.P.L.G.). While studying architecture he also attended workshops in “Arts Plastiques” (painting, sculpture) with teachers such as Carrade, Marchandour, Corbato and Dalla Valee. During his time as a student (1974-1979), he was also professionally engaged in painting (mainly watercolour paintings and pastel portraits), working at the Place du Tertre. His watercolour paintings and portraits from this period already belong to private collections across the world. He has travelled for business to Europe and America (London, Munich, Stuttgart, Ulm, Basel, Aachen, Cologne, Oslo, Chicago), which has helped him to expand his knowledge and experiences. He worked for many years (1982-1995) as a senior executive in large engineering construction companies. In 1995 and 1996 he worked as an architect consultant on various projects, including establishing an Art Centre in a large municipality of Attica, Greece. Upon his return to Athens, he rekindled his relationship with art, and especially painting. In painting he seeks new techniques and materials through an inevitably personal style, but he avoids—as much as possible—the “standardization” of expression (means–materials–mold–color). He believes that labeling art with conventional terms (–isms) is useless because the role of art in shaping the civilized man is broader and more meaningful. He respects and admires many painters from the past such as Nicolas de Stael, Paul Cezanne, Yannis Moralis, and Yannis Tsarouchis. His work has appeared in the following galleries and shops of art in Attica, Greece: N. Rodopoulos (Gallery “Syllogi”) – Glyfada, G. & S. Kapsioti – Piraeus, A. Sazaklis (“Zygos”) – Maroussi – Pefki, F. & B. Katsikas (“Aigokeros”) – Heliopolis, S. Kavallieratou (“Oltos’) – P. Faliro and T. Kostopoulos – A. Glyfada. Today, after an absence of several years, mainly due to his employment as an architect, he devotes himself to painting again. With new tools provided by digital technology, Alexis focuses again on his favorite themes (mostly Greek landscapes) directly on the screen of the PC. He works mainly through his imagination or memory of the splendid landscapes of his beloved country, using a variety of digital painting software.

Artist’s Statement “Every piece of my paintings is an original and unique work of art. My paintings are digitally painted by me using a variety of digital design and painting software and they are unique and not a reproduction or alteration of somebody else’s work. I work mainly through my imagination (abstract expressionism) or memory of the splendid landscapes of my beloved country (landscapes–seascapes of impressionist or expressionist style) or sometimes I retouch digitally some of my old drawings, paintings and portraits.

For more information, please visit: www.alexcoart.com www.facebook.com/alexidis.constantin

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CONTRIBUTORS Katie Aliferis is a writer from San Francisco, California. Her poetry has been published in 9 Muses News, Voices of Hellenism Project: Voices (Volume I, Number I) and Velvet Revolution Reading Series. When not writing, Katie can be found reading, traveling, sipping wine, savoring artisan cheese and enjoying time with her friends and family. Follow Katie on Twitter: @KatieA_SF and visit her website: KatieAliferis.com.

Despoina Anagnostakis was born and raised on Samos, a beautiful island in the north Aegean Sea. There, right by the royal blue Aegean water, she spent a happy childhood and teenage years. At 18, she moved to the U.S., to Astoria, New York (a Greek community in the 80s), reuniting with her family, who had earlier immigrated there for a better life. She holds a BA from Queens College in Linguistics, and an MA from Columbia University in TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages). She was an adjunct instructor at the New York Institute of Technology, and has been teaching English at colleges and state High Schools in Greece for about 25 years. She has been an examiner for K.P.G (State certificate for English) at all proficiency levels. She loves writing poetry, a creative engagement for self expression during the past four years. She deeply values the works of O. Elytis, G. Ritsos and K. Demoula.

Yiorgos Anagnostou is an Associate Professor in the Modern Greek Program at the Ohio State University (mgsa.org/faculty/anagnost.html). He is the author of Contours of White Ethnicity: Popular Ethnography and the Making of Usable Pasts in Greek America (Ohio University Press, 2009; www.ohioswallow.com/book/ contours+of+white+ethnicity), and the book of poetry, Διασπορικές Διαδρομές (Απόπειρα, 2012; apopeirates.blogspot.com/2012/04/blog-post_20.html). He maintains the following blogs: immigrations-ethnicities-racial.blogspot.com, and diasporic-skopia.blogspot.com. Odysseas Anninos was born in 1951 in Athens. He studied piano and advanced music theory at the National Conservatory of Athens and took painting classes at the School of Fine Arts with Professor Dimitri Hitiris. He later studied at a private school where he earned his degree in 1972 as a designer. In 1974, he presented the first projects in his gallery in Heliopolis Attikis. In 1980, he created Annino Design, a decoration and design office, which still exists and specializes in the areas of housing, food, and medical care center decoration. During the period of 2000 to 2004, he was the president of the Pan-Hellenic Association of Decorators (P.E.D) two times. He is a member of the Bureau of European Designers Association and the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers. During the same period, he was a member of the selection committee for the certification of qualifications of public IEK (education). Between 2002 and 2003, he taught interior design at IEK XYNI (Greek public schools). He has held solo painting exhibitions in Athens, Corinth, and Patras as well as many group exhibitions throughout Greece. In June of 2012, he presented at multiplex “Athinais,” his latest artistic creation titled, “Beekeeper of Angels” with works inspired by the films of Theodoros Angelopoulos. Having the acceptance of the Angelopoulos family, namely his daughter, Helen, the projects will be presented through educational programs in selected schools across Greece. The exhibition will certainly continue to other municipalities throughout Europe.

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Jonathan Beale’s work has appeared in Decanto, Voices of Israel in English, Penwood Review, Miracle Ezine, The Screech Owl, Danse Macabre, Danse Macabre du Jour, Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, The Journal, Poetic Diversity, Ink Sweat & Tears, Down in the Dirt, and The English Chicago Review. His work has been commended in Decanto and Cafe Writers competitions in 2012. He writes about music, art, architecture, history, nature, science, cities, and the human condition. He currently works in mental health in South West London. He studied philosophy at Birkbeck College London; he is currently working on a volume of poems to be published in 2013. He is from Middlesex England. Annamarie Buonocore is the publisher and founding editor of Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, Φωνες, a nonprofit community literary and cultural journal with a Hellenic ethos that serves the global Hellenic community. She is also the publisher of a California wine magazine called California Vine Times, an associate editor for In Flight USA, and is in the process of writing a novel. She enjoys reading, writing, painting, and advocating for Greek Americans and those affected by the current crisis in Greece through various cultural and grassroots organizations. She can be reached at abuonocore@vhpprojec.org. Ilias Chrissochoidis is a scholar, author, composer and pianist. He received a Ph.D. in Music from Stanford University, where he has been teaching since 2005. In 2010-11, he was appointed Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress and a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. A leading expert on Handel and the Greek composer Nikos Astrinidis, he has received over 30 grants and fellowships from world-class universities and research centers, professional societies, private foundations, and the Greek state, and has published more than 50 research articles and essays. He is the author of the novella “On the Trails of the American Dream” and the composer of character pieces, including the collection “Hellenotropia.” In 2012, he launched a campaign to commemorate the 120th anniversary of Spyros P. Skouras’ birth and recently he edited Skouras’ memoirs and two documentary collections from his papers at Stanford. Please visit www.stanford.edu/~ichriss Richard Clark is a writer and journalist, and is the author of three books about Greece. All three are available in paperback or in eBook format from Amazon and other major retailers. The Greek Islands – A Notebook, tinyurl.com/cv3j4jm; Crete – A Notebook, tinyurl.com/6vbdn3a; Rhodes – A Notebook, tinyurl.com/lw5abtk. You may find him on Facebook: www.facebook.com/richardclarkbooks.

Brendan Constantine is a poet based in Hollywood. His work has appeared in FIELD, Ploughshares, Rattle, ZYZZYVA, the Los Angeles Review and other journals. His most recent books are Birthday Girl With Possum (2011 Write Bloody Publishing) and Calamity Joe (2012 Red Hen Press). He teaches poetry at the Windward School and iws an adjunct professor at Antioch University Los Angeles. He also conducts workshops for hospitals, foster homes, and with the Alzhheimer’s Poetry Project. Akrevoe Kondopria Emmanouilides’s work (poetry, short stories, articles) has appeared in various Greek-American publications. In her youth, she worked as the secretary on the ENIAC project at the University of Pennsylvania and on the Electronic Computer Project at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Both machines were instrumental in the Birth of the Information Age. She was married to the late George Emmanouilidies and lives in a suburb of Los Angeles.

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Kimberly Cates Escamilla’s poems and essays have appeared in The Red Wheelbarrow, The Huffington Post, 5AM, and other journals. She has taught collegelevel writing and literature in the San Francisco Bay Area for 19 years and is the director of The International Poetry Library of San Francisco. She lives on the coast in El Granada, CA with her husband Michael and sons Harrison and Lazlo.

Fotis Fotiu was born in Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey, and as a youth experienced both wonderful and terrible times in that great city. With part of his family, he immigrated first to Belgium and, in 1962, to the United States. Foti soon joined the US Army and served as a medical specialist at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. After an honorable discharge, Foti attended Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York, and graduated with an AAS degree in X-Ray Technology. Following a stint at St. Peters and Child’s Hospital of Albany, New York, Foti completed his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. To enhance his professional development, he pursued a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at State University of Albany. During his career as the Administrative Director of the Department of Radiology for Bassett Healthcare network, based in Cooperstown, New York, Foti completed several Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs, including one of Cornell University, sponsored by The Johnson Graduate School of Management. Foti and his wife Theresa, both now retired, have made their home in North Carolina. He is passionate in his volunteer work with The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) and with the Greek American Community in Raleigh; he enjoys researching and writing short stories and historical events. He loves music and finds time to play his guitar; he also eagerly maintains his knowledge of foreign languages, which he has learned and cultivated throughout his travels and while living in Europe. Dan Georgakas is best known for his writing about Greek America and Greek film. He is also an active poet. Two of his poetry collections are And All Living Things Their Children, poems inspired by Native American culture, and Three Red Stars, poems related to political events. Poems with specific Greek themes were first published in the legendary Athene and The Coffeehouse. Most recently, his poems have been anthologized in Pomegranate Seeds, a selection of Greek American poetry edited by Dean Kostos. Katherine Hastings is the author of Nighthawks (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014) and Cloud Fire (Spuyten Duyvil, 2012), as well as the chapbook Updraft (Finishing Line Press, 2010). Executive director of the non-profit WordTemple, Hastings hosts WordTemple on NPR affiliate KRCB FM, curates the WordTemple Poetry Series and WordTemple Arts & Lectures in Sonoma County, CA, and publishes the invitation only Small Change chapbook series of WordTemple Press. Her poems have been published widely in journals and anthologies, including The Book of Forms — A Handbook of Poetics (Lewis Turco, ed., 2013); Comstock Review; Parthenon West Review and many others. Calliope Iconomacou is a professional freelance artist from Athens, Greece. She comes from an artistic family, and graduated from Vacalo College Athens Design in 1980 and Athens Superior School of Fine Arts in 1986. She has displayed her artwork in a number of personal exhibitions in various galleries in Europe including: Gallery Pinelo/Istanbul, House of Art Stavrakas Patmos, Gallery Lola Nikolaou, Agathi Gallery, Epohes Gallery, Museum of Minoritten of Graz in Austria, House of Cyprus, the Kydonieos Foundation Gallery, and the Challiot Gallery in Paris. She has also participated in various group exhibitions, including one at the BP Oil Gallery in Brussels

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and another at the Goulandris Museum on the Greek island of Andros. Some of her other projects include illustrating comic books for the Olympic Truce Center and having her artwork installed in Athens metro stations. Her current project involves a series of portraits featuring women of the Greek Diaspora that tell stories of strength, beauty, and wisdom. The painting on our inside cover features a painting from this series. Her paintings are based on her personal experiences of growing up in a family with certain members who left their homeland of Greece for other lands in America and Australia. She uses her skills as a professional artist to convey the emotions many families can relate to concerning the Greek Diaspora. Most recently, her work was featured at an exhibition in Moscow, Russia. In addition to painting, Calliope runs a coffee shop in Athens called BarOMetro with her family. They specialize in specialty coffee and various musical events. Calliope lives in a state-of-the-art modern house overlooking the Aegean in Marathon, Athens, Greece with her husband, two children, two cats, and two dogs. Nick Johnson is a Greek American born in San Francisco, California. Nick has also lived in the Peloponnese, Elias, town of Gastouni, Greece, where he built a house and worked as a cabinetmaker. Currently, Nick lives in Pacifica, California. He is married, and has a daughter and four grandchildren. Nick has worked as a realtor since 2004 with Coldwell Banker in San Francisco, California, where he is honored as a top producer in the President’s Circle and has retained the position of number one agent since 2010. He is an accomplished agent in the sale and purchase of residential and commercial properties. Nick attends Holy Trinity Orthodox Church where he is a member of the parish council and serves as a chanter. Nick has written poetry for many years, and his first short story was published last year in Voices of Hellenism. This year he has submitted some of his poetry and hopes the readers enjoy it. You can find Nick on the social media sites of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, or visit his website: www.NickKnowsRealEstate.com Paul J. Kachoris, M.D. is a triple board certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist in the “original” practice of psychiatry; treating the whole person with both psychotherapy for the psyche and with psychotropic medications for the brain as needed. Dr. Kachoris has been in continuous clinical psychiatric practice for forty years. During his professional career, he has had multiple clinical, educational, academic and administrative positions in inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings. Presently he is devoting himself to his outpatient psychiatric practice and pursuing his many interests in poetry, the humanities, neuroscience, man’s studies and leading men’s retreats. Irena Karafilly is an award-winning writer, journalist, and aphorist whose prose and poetry have been published in several countries. She is the author of five books, including The Captive Sun, a historical novel set on Lesvos, published in English by Picador Australia and in Greek by Psichogios Editions (titled Η ασυμβίβαστη μούσα). For more about Irena, please visit her website at www.irenakarafilly.com.

George T. Karnezis, born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, now lives with his wife Kristine in Portland, Oregon. He attended Miami University (O.), the University of Chicago, and the University of Iowa. He is a semi-retired teacher who has taught mainly at the college level, and is currently an adjunct professor in Portland Sate University’s English Department where he teaches courses in classical rhetorical theory and also contributes to the development of the University’s Hellenic Studies Program. This is his second published fiction, which is part of a novel in progress, Places and Moments, focusing on the lives of Greek-American characters.

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Achillea Katsoros is 37 years old and was born in Ioannina. He has studied Classical Philology in Ethnikon Kapodistriakon Panepistimion in Athens. Trackers of Winds is his first poetry collection. “Caldera’s Happiness” is his first poem in English, and it is appearing for the first time in Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, Φωνἑς.

Akos Kirsch is 28 years old and lives in Hungary. He works in a factory that creates electronic parts for car engines. In his free time, he enjoys travelling, surfing the Internet, watching movies, listening to music, and writing novels. Two of his books have been published in Hungary. In 2001, the novel, A halál ékköve (Jewel of Death) was published and in 2012, A Zeusz rejtély (The Zeus Mystery) made its debut. Since 2012, when his second novel was released, he decided to focus on creating detective stories, thrillers, and adventure stories that take place in Greece. If he can, he usually travels to Greece every summer to spend a few weeks to feel the atmosphere of old myths, the incredible beauty of the landscapes, and the rich culture. This helps him gain new ideas, and he plans to continue this habit in the future. Kathryn Koromilas is a Master of Philosophy candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She is writing a philosophical novel about love and betrayal and an exegesis on the creative potential of fiction as experimental philosophy. She is especially interested in the ethics of a novelist writing stories about her characters. Her first novel, Palimpsest, was published in 2010. For more, please visit about.me/KathrynKoromilas, and www.palimpsest-anovel.com

Dena Kouremetis, a professional freelance writer since the late ‘90s, occasionally breaks free from writing for everyone else and hones her skills telling stories about her adventures in life —especially those flavored by her Greek-American background. She is a professional blogger for Forbes.com, an author, co-author or expert consultant for five books, and speaks professionally to business groups about the importance of a polished online presence. She invites you to visit her website at communic8or.com.

Belica Antonia Kubareli (1958) studied theater and translation in Greece while working in international advertising agencies and doing radio shows. In her thirties, she moved to the UK, got a Master in sociology and a Ph.D. (Bradford-Reading) in social criminology and published the first of her 6 novels. She was writing, teaching and translating incessantly (80 books) until her fifties when she did another M.A. in creative writing at Lancaster. She writes in Greek and English and was voted the Poet of April in the English project ‘Neo-Artists’ 2013. Her work has been awarded in Greece. After 24 years abroad, she is now back home, teaching creative writing and writing poems and her seventh novel. Eleftheria Lialios has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wayne State University and a Master of Fine Arts from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has received a number of prestigious grants and fellowships for her artistic endeavors, including the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Photography in 2009; City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs 2005; Arts Midwest 1990, Kodak Near-East 1987, and Fulbright Scholar Full Year Research Grant 1986, just to name a few. She has also been selected for several one-person exhibitions including the Cloud Walker Exhibition at Zhou B. Center in November of 2008 and Mid-Career Retrospective Chicago Cultural Center 2005, Chicago, Illinois, again just to name a couple. Group exhibitions include “Outside America” at the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Illinois in 2011; “Greek Photographs of the 20th Century”, 2004; Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Greece; and “Day Without Art” at the Chicago Historical

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Society in 1992. Her films have been shown at the Collectif Jeune Cinema, La Clef, 2012, Paris, France; Gene Siskel Film Center, 2001, Chicago; and “The Future of Process and Experience”, Museum of Cinema, 2002, Thessaloniki, Greece. Her work has also been selected for various performances and publications throughout the United States and the world. She has taught at various art schools and institutions of higher learning, including her alma mater, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was a first-year student coordinator. She currently lives in Chicago, Illinois, where she continues her various art, photography, and writing projects. Nick Mamatas is the author of several novels, including Move Under Ground, Under My Roof (a modern-dress version of The Acharnians by Aristophanes), and Love is the Law. His short fiction has appeared in many venues, ranging from New Haven Review to Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Best American Mystery Stories to Brutarian Quarterly. Except for some senryu and radical broadsides, “Landmark (After Hitchcock)” is his first published poem. A native New Yorker from the Ikarian enclave of Port Jefferson, Nick now lives in Berkeley, California. Vangelis Manouvelos was born in Piraeus, Greece in 1979. He currently works as a Risk Analyst at Citi, Greece. Before that, Vangelis worked in various positions, including a relationship manager in investment and commercial banking and as a merchant acquiring officer. Vangelis holds a PhD in European Policy and Economy from Panteion University of Athens (Scholar of the Greek State Scholarships Foundation), and three Masters Degrees, in Banking, Economic and Business Strategy, and European Administration and Policy, from the Hellenic Open University, University of Piraeus and Panteion University, respectively. His Bachelor Degree is in International and European Studies. He speaks Greek, English and French. Vangelis has published short stories in Greek literary magazines (Pandora, Intellectum) and has been distinguished in relative contests. “Princess and I” won a short story contest held by the Greek newspaper To Vima on the economic crisis. Willard Manus is a journalist, novelist and playwright who lived for many years in the village of Lindos, Rhodes, an experience he drew on in his memoir of the Greek islands, This Way to Paradise, Dancing on the Tables. Greece also serves as the background for his young adult novel, A Dog Called Leka, and his most recent novel Love Under Aegean Skies (Amazon e-book). He is the publisher of the online cultural magazine, lively-arts.com. His wife Mavis is a columnist for the Greek-American newspaper, The Hellenic Journal. Thanasis Maskaleris is the Kazantzakis Chair Research Professor emeritus of classics, comparative literature, and creative writing, and the director emeritus of the Center for Modern Greek Studies at San Francisco State University. A well-known poet as well as a translator, he is the author of Kostis Palamas and the co-translator of Russia by Nikos Kazantzakis. Born in Greece, Maskaleris maintains homes there and in California.

Sharon McNeil studied Art and Theatre at Lewis and Clark College in Portland Oregon, where she spent five months in Greece studying the language and culture in Athens and on the remote island of Nisyros in the Dodecanese. This experience filled her with a love and deep connection to the country of her maternal grandparents, which continues to permeate her work. In 2010, she returned Nisyros to capture with a paintbrush the beauty of this mysterious island. This work will be exhibited in June 2014 in Portland Oregon at the Hellenic-American Cultural Center & Museum of Oregon and SW Washington. More of Ms McNeil’s work can be seen at sharonmcneil. com and at sharonmcneil.artistwebsites.com. Ms. McNeil lives in Savannah Georgia, where she teaches at the Savannah College of Art and Design. 2014 | VOICES

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Peter McNeill is primarily a landscape and figurative artist. Relying on oil paint and various drawing media, he is interested in the effects of light, shadow, and more abstract inspirations in the observable world. He lives and works in Walnut Creek, California and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Design from UC Davis.

Dr. Peter Nanopoulos teaches business, technology and communication at universities in Silicon Valley and in Greece. He also teaches Modern Greek and New Testament Greek at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in San Jose, and he has served as the Director of Greek Education and Culture of the Metropolis of San Francisco. He is the founder of Lexis International, a company that offers certified English <> Greek translation, document processing, and technology localization services designed to meet personal, legal, and business communication needs of Greek Americans. Giorgos Neophytou was born in Nicosia, Cyprus. He studied Veterinary Sciences at the Karl Marx University in Leipzig where he also did postgraduate studies. He worked for 30 years at the Department of Veterinary Services in Cyprus reaching the position of the Chief Veterinary Officer. He retired 2007. He has worked in theater in 1984 and has been a member of various arts organizations. He has written several award-winning plays that have been translated into many languages. He has also written for television in Greece. His works can be found throughout Cyprus and other countries. Larry Odzak was born in Anchorage, Alaska, to first generation immigrant parents of Serbian and Greek origin. Christened “Lazar”—in Greek “Lazaros”—he soon became “Larry”. After a number of years in the construction industry, he returned to school, at the University of Florida (UF), and in time completed his degree, majoring in U.S. History, with a minor in History of the Balkans. Larry’s studies concentrated on 19th and 20th century American History, and his doctoral dissertation dealt with American immigration and ethnicity. After completing his studies at UF, Dr. Odzak moved to Durham, NC. and continued his teaching, research, and writing history. Dr. Odzak’s published book, “Demetrios Is Now Jimmy:” Greek Immigrants in the Southern United States, 1895-1965 is based on his doctoral dissertation and received positive peer reviews. In addition, Dr. Odzak has written a number of articles and essays related to American and Balkan history Sotirios Pastakas was born in Larissa, Greece in 1954 and works as a psychiatrist in Athens. He has published twelve volumes of poetry in Greek, as well as translations into Greek of Sandro Penna, Vittorio Sereni Unberto Saba, Alfonso Gatto and many more Italian poets. For the past twenty years, he has been a member of the Society of Greek Writers, and one of 47 founding members of the World Poetry Academy mandated by UNESCO. He has participated in the International Poetry Festival in Sarajevo (2006 and 2011), in San Francisco (2007), in Izmir (2012) and many others. His last participation in Kalam le-l-Shabab International Poetry Festival was in Cairo on 3-7 November 2013. His poems are thoroughly contemporary and provocative as expressions of the lonely rage of Modern Greek sensibility. Pastakas’ articles on poetry and prose appear widely in magazines and newspapers. He is the founder of www.poiein.gr, an international website for poets, poems and poetry (...perhaps), in 2001, and the experimental thraca-magazine.blogspot.com in 2013.

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Steve Pastis has written for the Valley Voice, Greek Accent, Custom Boat & Engine, Baseball Cards,Circus, Rock Fever, Mensa Bulletin, Kings County Farm Bureau Update, South Valley Networking, The Pop Art Times, Parenting Magazine, Cartoonist and Comic Artist, and Cool and Strange Music. His short stories have been published in Signs of Life and Gargoyle. In 1979, he founded The Hellenic Calendar, the longest running Greek-American newspaper in Southern California. He is currently an editor with the Valley Voice. Harry Mark Petrakis has written 25 books that include novels, short stories and essays. He has twice been nominated for the National Book Award in Fiction. The excerpt “Courtship” will appear in a new memoir, Song of my Life, which will be published by the University of South Carolina Press in the Spring of 2014. Andrea Potos is the author of four poetry collections, including We Lit the Lamps Ourselves (Salmon Poetry) and Yaya’s Cloth (Iris Press), both of which won Outstanding Achievement Awards in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association. Her poems appear widely in journals, magazines and anthologies, in print and online. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her family. They are planning a return trip to Greece very soon.

Mary Pruitt holds a BS in Math and MS in Electrical Engineering (EE/CS). She worked in the computer industry for 34 years, starting as a programmer, manual writer, and field analyst then evolving to director of graphics hardware and software. She spent 14 years at Xerox Corporation, and then moved to San Antonio Texas to Datapoint Corporation before returning to TRW in Southern California for 10 years. After retiring from the Industry, she lectured at the University of Southern California (USC) for 10 years in the Information Technology department. Growing up in the computer business was fun and enriching. As a volunteer, she chaired the Salvation Army Advisory Board in Redondo Beach, CA; was a docent at the Music Center in Los Angeles (president from 2007-2009) and volunteered in the library and information desk at Little Company of Mary Hospital for 10 years. She is a member of the Daughters of Penelope, holding many offices in her chapter, has been Lieutenant Governor of the district, chair of the national budget committee and was the Web Master for District 20’s website. Mary currently volunteers in the Education Division of the Music Center of Los Angeles and at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Sunday school and Greek school. Working with young people brings a smile to her heart. Mary has traveled the world, visiting every continent and many countries. Her love of travel supplements her love for learning. Mary is married to Tom Pruitt and lives in Manhattan Beach, CA. Stephanie Quinn has a list of professional credits that spans many pages. She is a free-lance soloist, an ensemble leader and maintains Quinn Music Studio.As a conservatory trained (Eastman School of Music) teacher she is in demand as a private instructor, and a member of Music Teachers National Association and Suzuki Association of the Americas. Her experiences in the Middle East, combined with recording her compositions in the King Chamber of Egypt’s Great Pyramid, inspired her 17 minute orchestral and ballet composition entitled “Saqqara’s Story – Peace Dance of the Ages”. Ms. Quinn’s deepest longing is to see it produced on stage, as it offers hope and expresses humanity’s longing to progress in the evolution from living in instinctual fear to living in harmony and balance with others. Ms. Quinn has been writing her memoires, a group of vignettes, consisting of over 200 pages so far. For more, please visit www.StephanieQuinn.com

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Angelos Sakkis was born in 1946 in Pireus, Greece. He studied design at the Athens Technological Institute. He worked for a time as an assistant to the painter Spyros Vassiliou, and collected the material for Fota kai Skies (Lights and Shadows), a volume on Vassiliou’s work, published in Athens in 1969. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1970. He holds a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. His artwork has been shown in group and one-man shows and is in collections in Greece and the U. S. His poetry has appeared in the Ambush Review and Try Magazine. He has been translating with John Sakkis, the work of poet/multimedia artist Demosthenes Agrafiotis. Their translation of “Maribor” was published by Post Apollo Press in 2010 and received the 2011 Northern California Book Award for Poetry in Translation. Their translation of “Chinese Notebook” was published by Ugly Duckling Press in 2011, and “Now 1/3” and “the poem” by Blaze Vox in 2012. His translation of “When Snow Fell on the Lemon Tree Blossoms” by Leonidas Petrakis was published by Pella in 2012. His poetry collections Memory-of and Fictional Character were published by Zarax Books in 2012. He lives in Oakland, California. Christine Salboudis lives in New York, where she recently established her own professional development mentoring initiative, Philo4Thought, having served as an instructor, mentor and administrator in several higher education institutions since 1996 after completing studies in Philosophy and in Literature at Columbia University. When she is not teaching, grant writing, or tending to her mentoring and administrative responsibilities, Christine actively contributes to several philanthropic and cultural organizations with family and friends. She also loves learning and sharing new information on philosophy, art, music and literature. For additional information about Christine’s interests, please visit Philo4Thought: philoforthought. wordpress.com. Irene Vasiliki Sardanis has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. She was born in New York, and both of her parents came from Greece. Irene has been writing personal essays for the past several years. She has been published in The Psychotherapy Networker, The Sun Magazine, local senior anthologies, and The Daily Planet. During the week, she volunteers at a local Senior Center where she sings jazz standards. She has been married for 25 years to her extraordinary husband and lives in Oakland, California. Phyllis “Kiki” Sembos was born in Hell’s Kitchen during the Great Depression to Greek American parents. The neighborhood and the neighbors, including the old Madison Square Garden, fired her imagination and provided a colorful childhood filled with a cast of unforgettable characters. She started writing at the age of fifteen and has been prolific ever since. Her careers have spanned many areas including seamstress, bookkeeper, cook, artist, wife, mother and writer. Having traveled and lived in Europe, she currently resides with her husband and cat in suburban New Jersey, where writing, painting, gardening and grandchildren take up most of her time. Currently, her articles are featured in a weekly column in the Greek American newspaper, The National Herald. Lee Slominsky has published two collections of poems about the life of Pythagoras, Pythagoras in Love (Orchises Press, 2007) and Logician of the Wind, (Orchises Press, 2012). Lee’s poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, The Carolina Quarterly, Measure, The New York Times, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry Daily, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, and his work has received seven Pushcart nominations. Lee has read his poetry on Katherine Hastings’ (KRCB, Santa Rosa CA) and Jack Foley’s (KPFA, Berkeley CA) radio programs. He is a financial manager as well as a poetry teacher (his New York City workshop is called “Walking with the Sonnet”).

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Anastasia Soundiadi is a teacher-translator born in South Africa, living and working in Greece. She is a graduate of English Literature from the American College of Greece and has an M.A. in Comparative Literature and Literary Translation from the University of Essex, UK. Anastasia has extensive experience teaching English, writing and literature. Her love for poetry inspired her to translate a number of poems as well as short stories and plays in both English and Greek. She has also narrated various documentaries and cultural events for television and radio. She enjoys theater and film, drawing, music, sports, photography, yoga and travelling. Throughout her professional career, Ms. Soundiadi has shown ardent devotion to her students and writes with an intensity of spirit and love. Marika Symenidou has a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Patras, a post graduate diploma in psychology from the University of Surrey, and a Masters of Arts in Child Development from the University of London, Institute Education. She has been working for the Ministry of Education and Religious Education since 2004 and before that, held various positions in special education and rehabilitation. She speaks Greek, English, and French and has attended various seminars on education throughout Greece and Europe. She is a founding member of the National Association of Teachers, Parents and Friends of People With High Learning Skills and a member of the British Psychological Association. She has published a poetry collection as well as a collection of short stories. She currently lives in Athens with her husband and two children. John Basil Vlahos was born in San Francisco, California in 1935. In addition to being a lawyer, a steward of the church, and a scholar, he enjoys the study of Hellenic art, history, literature, and archaeology—from ancient times through Byzantine and Modern Greek eras. He earned his B.A. and teacher’s credential at the University of San Francisco, then continued his education at USF’s Law School, earning his J.D. in 1969. John was a member of the Cathedral of the Annunciation, San Francisco, for 18 years. He held the positions of president of the parish council and chairman of the food festival. In 1994, he moved and became a member of Saint Nicholas Church, San Jose. He was a member of the Archdiocesan Council for several years as well as a Member of the Diocesan Council for 15 years, and served as legal counselor for the diocese for 20 years. He has been a Member of the Board of Directors of St. Nicholas Ranch for the last 20 years and spent one year as its president. He studied Homeric Greek at Stanford University and is author of the article, “Homer’s Odyssey: The Case for Early Recognition”. He has done substantial research on the history of Greeks in San Francisco and has edited several biographies of prominent Greek immigrants. He actively sings in the St. Nicholas Church choir and lives in Cupertino with his family. Stavroula Zervoulakou is currently an MBA graduate student at the University of La Verne in Los Angeles. Originally from Greece, she graduated from University of Piraeus at the top of her class. She is currently a student worker in the business department at the University of La Verne and has held various accounting jobs in the US and Greece. She is fluent in Greek, English, and German and has many talents including music and poetry. She recently published a book of Greek poetry titled, Starring the Life, which her poem, “Moires” is excerpted from. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming and other water sports.

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Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA CHAPTER On October 26, 2013, the 56th anniversary of Kazantzakis’ death, a group of friends, responding to the call of Professor Thanasis Maskaleris, met at the home of Angelos and Anna Sakkis in Oakland to launch the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of The Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis. Professor Maskaleris, in a brief presentation, gave an account of the history and goals of the international organization, now having branches in more than 130 countries. The group then proceeded to vote/establish the Chapter and its officers—then discussed/planned future meetings/activities. The first meeting, on a date to be announced, will be devoted to a discussion of Report to Greco.

THE FOUNDING MEMBERS, PRESENT AT THE MEETING, WERE: Andrew Banis Annamarie Buoncore Elena Dadi Tatiana Drakaki Janine Economides Nicholas Economides Dr. Alexandros Kokkinidis EftychiaKokkinidis George Konstantopoulos Catherine Kanakis-Koplos (secretary) Katerina Kotronakis Nikos Kyrpides Thanasis Maskaleris (elected president) Nico Nicolaides Nickolas Panopoulos Alex Papalexopoulos Angelos Sakkis (elected vice-president) Anna Sakkis

“The work of Kazantzakis is a unique gateway to the riches of Hellenism, the culture of Crete and of the humanistic spirit.” Thanasis Maskaleris


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Copyright © 2013 by Voices of Hellenism Publications All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. Rights will revert back to the authors after publication. Permission to use individual works should be obtained by contacting the respected authors. For requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below. Voices of Hellenism Publications P.O. Box 1624, San Mateo, CA 94401 www.voicesofhellenism.org Ordering Information: Quantity sales. Special discounts are available on quantity purchases by corporations, associations, and others. For details, contact the publisher at the address above. Orders by U.S. trade bookstores and wholesalers. Please contact distribution: Tel: (650) 504-8549; Fax: (650) 358-9254 or visit www.voicesofhellenism.org. Subscriber Services: A single subscription provides three annual issues for three years, $50 in the U.S. and $80 in all other counties. All payments in U.S. Dollars. Direct all inquiries, address, changes, subscription orders, etc. to: email info@vhpprojec.org; telephone: (650) 504-8549; mail: Voices of Hellenism Publications, PO Box 1624, San Mateo, CA 94401. Editorial and Publishing Office: 1040 S. Claremont Street, San Mateo, CA 94402. Postmaster: Send changes of address to Voices of Hellenism, PO Box 1624, San Mateo, CA 94401. Printed in the United States of America Second Edition ISSN: 2330-4251 Volume I, Number II is dedicated in loving memory of Ciro A. Buonocore

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Φωνές | Voices

Φ ωνές Vo i c e s

Volume I, Number II

2014

VOLUME I, NUMBER II

| 2014

WINDOW by Sharon McNeil - Oil on Canvas, 30" x 40", 2004

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Voices of Hellenism Volume I, Number II  

A collection of poetry, works of fiction, academic papers, artworks, and pieces of creative nonfiction, Voices of Hellenism offers something...

Voices of Hellenism Volume I, Number II  

A collection of poetry, works of fiction, academic papers, artworks, and pieces of creative nonfiction, Voices of Hellenism offers something...

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