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Nobel because of artlessness Translation: Mirka Zakinthinou Copyright ©: Dimitris E. Soldatos, 2009 Neochori, Lefkada 31084 Greece Email: Elias Kontogeorgis Publications Copyright ©: 2008 for Greece and worldwide Elias P. Kontogeorgis “ta Nea tis Lefkadas” Efstathiou Zakka 44 Lefkada 31100 Greece Phone: 0030 26450 21494 Fax: 0030 26450 29494 Http: Email:

In the veins of real art flows zero negative: It gives blood to everybody and takes only from itself

PREFACE OF THE TRANSLATOR The Greek writer Gregorios Xenopoulos (1867-1951) said that“translation is like a woman: if she is faithful is not pretty and if she is pretty is not faithful”. When you’re dealing with a language as rich as Greek, this gets even harder, especially in this book where even the title itself is a game of words. Translated into Greek the title “Nobel because of artlessness” means something “artless”, but if you say these words together you hear “Nobel Prize in Literature”. This book is full of contrasting words. In almost every phrase in each verse you find high technique satire given with the simplest of means even in the sonnets that they require quite a condensation of meaning. Apart from that, a characteristic trait of the poet’s writing is that “he judges life’s misery with an imposing truth”, to guote Shelley, that he is said to have inspired Alfred Nobel. In the magazine “DIAVAZO” No 487, page 86, Kostas Kanavouris writes: “Disrespectful and sacrilegious, with that underground tenderness that satire has, merciless and yet straightforward, Dimitris E. Soldatos wipes everything out”.

Mirka Zakinthinou

NOBEL BECAUSE OF ARTLESSNESS Of the poetry Muse lover if you are, don’t fondle – strike! Even if you are not regarded as poet – without a scarf, without a pipe! The chabbering of everyone makes my stomach sick. And my proud posture affects my verses so much that I stand out because I stand up where the others bend. That’s why I won’t bow to critics of art, in order to be regarded as an artist but straight away I will be self-proposed for a Nobel because of artlessness. Sour I will get reception in the circles and the unions with lemon showers which is the best thing for my upset stomach. But even if all these “bury me” I will be absent from my funeral taking the title of the poet poetic licence!

SHORTAGE OF WATER We have no wells, we have no springs, just a few cisterns, empty as well. G. Seferis

The Muses became nuns and the art in the rocks that was spout, that was spring, now it’s a wound. In the cisterns, that have all gone dry, frogs croak. There they are, at the corner of the road the poor artists – because they’re deaf, because they’re blind think they’re Beethovens and Homers.

REVERSED SONNET Before gangrene reaches reach the ends by walking, otherwise you will be mutilated by the contaminated average.

The years have given the spirit and the ephemeral became eternal. I bring up viruses for your computers. I break satellite dishes for my fun. In order to pay your heavy taxes I give back to you the blood of the wars. In the glamorous nonsense of the fashion I oppose my worn cloak. Using money instead of kindling wood I will burn the stinking rich, so that wealth acquires a meaning. In the supermarkets nectar and ambrosia, but I will reach Olympus mountain on foot. Turtle a Ferrari – don’t make me laugh! – in the formula that imagination races.

PROFESSIΟNAL ORIENTATION Two handfuls of rice per three in China. The blacks have become fly eaters. The days of the white are black, so cry! I’m telling you, the prostitutes and the undertakers they will not starve from hunger. If you want to spend your time well and swell speedy education begin – study with the shroud makers. My child, be awake and alert. You win life, if you slaughter your soul like an animal is being slaughtered by a blade. I also wanted from a young boy to become a slap on people’s cheek – don’t laugh! – but from all the slaps I got “I have seen stars”.

POSTS A lifetime you’re looking for a post. Convenience is your lust and laziness. You’re waiting from the clouds to fall so you can sit comfortably, a chair. A post at the P.O. of your neighbourhood and the fine little salary when it comes will send your dreams registered to their fulfilment, when before the unfulfilment was their receiver. A post of the big plans worthy – a little post for you to possess inside the conscience of the others. Since you have no more self-esteem take two posts: one in the office and one in the public cemetery!

“WOMEN” Women with dollars in their eyes. Long hair – short brained and pretty. Lovers of the Vain, forever passionate. Affectionate mothers for every lie. Women that epicentre and topic like to be in the parties stealing Miss Stupid’s crown. Young ridiculous and mature fatal. Women-tombs, shouting like morons, filling their empty inside them space with Gucci orgasms and Fa Cad’ oro. Women that the word woman don’t deserve they don’t even worth you becoming a misogynist. Respect your saliva – do not spit on them!



With how many lights will you decorate your sadness this year? (sprayed on a wall)

In the butcher’s polythene bags the turkeys are buried. And the slaughtered innocent little trees they shroud with lights. This year the red balls are in fashion – no others. And the blood from Palestine chants “Peace on Earth”. In the supermarkets with coupons you win presents – happy shopping! On the Coca-Cola tin can Santa Claus appears like a little bear. And the old year the granddad with lifting looks younger. Times full of emptiness. Seasons greetings, Christianity!

THE GLASS PLANET You push a button and you travel hardly having walked at all from your couch that you slouch still, like a log, like a tree. You push a button and you make fun of the ones you want to be alike. And from all those you get slapped you spit on them in front of the screen. You push a button, a little one and the world shrinks into a tiny window that faces all the Earth, and no one can see you. You push a button – how simple – and bombs explode in your living room. In this war remain fearless, nobody is going to kill your fears. Button after button you have undressed it all. I leave you in naked TV viewings along with violence and erection that fill you up with sperm and blood.

I WANT TO CHANGE MY LIFE I want to change my life Means the life I lead is no longer good for me But it’s easier to change the size If the shoes are too tight Than change your life Even if you have become a number You probably estimate it less than your feet You need your feet to run When you chase the bread of every day To eat or not to be eaten When you run run run When they betray you or when you betray When you run run run To aim the aimless by moving You need the legs to open them And lift them high Every time you fall And the hands to point at yourself in the mirror When you put on a smile when you go out When you go out of your face To be liked to those you don’t like Only but To plant a bullet in their skull And because you can’t, you take your revenge By loving them like you love yourself I want to change my life means That the deeds do still respond to words If they don’t To want to change my life doesn’t mean a thing

I HAVE NO STYLE Stilus (in Latin)

I have no style Style have the dolls and dummies At the fronts of the shops I broke the front – where to enter? After all I’ m not a doll I have no style Style have the sailors and the builders I turned the sea into ink And the making of verses isn’t regarded as work I have no style Style have the Athenians and the country politicians I consider the language the capital That doesn’t have periphery And the “cross” – in the voting slip – I’m entitled I think I’ll keep it for my grave… I have no style Style have the movie stars And the footballers I was but a shooting star That was kicked about I have no style Style have those who believe in something Or nothing I was the something and thereafter the nothing That once dreamed of everything I have no style Style have the many and not what expires Style have the sellers of ideas And the idealess citizens Style have the years that jump off the balcony So I don’t live them. Style have the anniversaries of the national holidays And the unjustified death of the heroes Style have the grandfathers and grandmothers When they tell fairytales And their grandchildren when they buy them Style have the machines That grind coffee and meat and sometimes Those that grind people – But never those who made them I have no style Only a dagger (stil-etto) up my back And a pen (stil-o) to poke my eyes out

ABOUT DISGUISE When the Carnival is over one and only favour I’d want: nobody removes their mask – wear it on throughout the year. And the citizens and politicians of this land less are disguised when they hide their face.

UNDERAGING You reach to an age When you think you have settled – The most dangerous The age of certainty – The most uncertain To the age of the incalculable calculations – The most unreasonable Suddenly you love mathematics You hate literature You pass in the class with average degree And ignore that you know just about anything You read the ephemeral in huge titles And the huge in small letters Stuck in the armchair in your pyjamas Aware of eternal sleep You think you’ve matured Which means you are at a stage before rotting You reach to an age When you think you have settled In your ideas your wishes and your beliefs I have no idea what I want and what I believe If I had I would be at an age Where I should review

MEMORY PAVED WITH OBLIVION All is forgotten – remember this! It fades like a colored picture With black and white people Slowly the yellow fades It gives its place to the white That pretends innocence For its criminal apathy Sometimes high Sometimes low, life And never love in between Between only emptiness (vacuum) The vacuum of air that I inhaled When your breath got away Shades undefinely familiar Like eyes that we first saw As if we knew them from another life In the nights they speak to me With a sweet singing from birds on embalming trees While there’s time yet I revoke the thrills from the silky skin When a hint of touch could Dazzle the “doesn’t last” of every certainty Numerous times In the prairie of the voracious ephemeral With the hyperaemic poppies And the anaemic anemones The eternal grazed Inexperienced, I too bled it In every lie transfusion What so simply died Reminds the farewell of two shaking hands That slipped like electric eels In love with mud… “Eli, Eli” “The Place of the Skull” wherever you are not And a “lema sabachthani?” From Good Thursday crucified Spinkles me with blood – why did you abandon me?

My eyes The whole world can drown in one tear only And with one tear to float When the impossible consents Nevertheless Like everything newly-made Like Adam and Eve Love has its fall It doesn’t have a fig leaf Only Judas’ rope On naked branches hanged Judas is missing Since Judas could anyone of us become Now, allow me to wash my hands In the oblivion of times For you to be acquitted For all the crimes I’ve done As for example that I love you

ATHENS ACADEMY AWARD She was begging right next to the Polytechnic School Serbian woman dressed in black around seventy Holding a sign with misspelling Hiding her face behind it Maybe out of shame from begging Or maybe from despair That nobody showed her any mercy She was crying silently It was that same day that I was getting my award From Athens Academy for my poems Being happy I gave in to her sorrow Handing her 2 euros I would give something more If, the last moment, didn’t think That perhaps the whole thing was a roguery She took the coin with tears in her eyes She kissed it and made the cross sign As if she was thanking God for her daily bread Then I went back and patted her hair Like a Serbian poet would probably do To my mother who would beg in his country The same evening in the Academy When the president handed me the award I held it in my hands full of emotion And I kissed the parchment Making the sign of the cross That God – the good luck – helped I remembered the Serbian mother And thought that sometimes When need be A coin in the hand of a hungry woman Is equal with an Academy Award In the hands of an ignored poet

_________________________________ This poem is not included in the Greek edition. It was published in “ta Nea tis Lefkadas”, number 941.

MARATHON RUNNER POET Poetry is the marathon you run with your hands. The marathon is the poetry you write with your feet… The (Greek) poet faces 24 letters. The marathon runner 42 kilometres – You just reverse the number. They both need a sense of rhythm Step by step Till the last verse is complete And till the last metre is finished, On the lines of the copybook and of the road. Step by step Solitude accompanies The poet in the labyrinth of the phrases And the runner of the long distances. The tradition wants the messenger to be anonymous* In Athens uttering “we have won” he passes away Hinting that the message Is more important than the messenger Like the poem must be More important than the poet. The marathon has to contain poetry As poetry also has to be marathonian Otherwise we are all “defeated”.

____________________________________ This poem is not included in the Greek edition. It was published in “ta Nea tis Lefkadas”, number 1007. * After the Marathon battle between the Greeks and the Persians in 490 B.C. a soldier messenger ran all the way to Athens to carry the message of victory. Upon his arrival, according to tradition, the only words he managed to say before he died were “we have won”. The marathon was consecrated in the first Olympic Games of Athens in 1896, in memory of this event. Although later historians tried to guess his identity, the name of the messenger remains unknown.

ΝOBEL because of artlessness, 2008  


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