ΜΑΡΕΑ

Rippled Beach Sand and Water

Η άνοδος κι η πτώση
Ποτέ δεν το ΄χω μετανιώσει
Αειφανής αστερισμός ας με προδώσει
Εμπρός κραυγάζουν τόσοι

Σκόπελος και ύφαλος ο ίδιος βράχος
Δε θα παραδοθώ αμάχως
Στης παράλλαξης το λάθος
Ούτε φοβάμαι πια το βάθος

Νηνεμία και κυκλώνα
Αντίκρισε το μάτι κάθε Ροβινσώνα
Εσύ άγρια Αμαζόνα
Εγώ γιος του Ποσειδώνα

Αληγείς άνεμοι φυσήξτε
Διώρυγες πλατιές ανοίξτε
Μηδέ τους κάβους σφίξτε
Κι αν όλα παν’ στραβά εμένα επικηρύξτε

Μαρέα το θυμικό μου μπλέκει
Σα βλέπω τη φιγούρα της να στέκει
Αχ θα πάρω ένα ντουφέκι
Είτε ξαστεριά είτε αστροπελέκι

Ξημερώματα Τετάρτης
Απατεώνας όποιος χάρτης
Δε θα γίνω τώρα ψευδομάρτυς
Αλλά της λευτεριάς αντάρτης

Α.Δ.

Posted in Collection, Ελληνικά, Original, Poetry | Leave a comment

The Dog of the Dark Knight

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One of the rather unknown parts of the Dark Knight is the story about his dog. Once his beloved parents shot themselves in a shadowy alley, he received then a dog in memory. He grew along with this dog. He was a kid and the dog was a puppy. The Dark Knight learned how take care of the dog, he developed diligence and responsibility through the process. They would spend countless hours together playing catch-the-stick, attacking random strangers, running on the streets, ripping furniture apart, barking in the middle of the night. One would say they felt happy with each other, they were friends in the absence of friends.

Years past, the Dark Knight was no longer a kid and the dog was no longer a puppy. Life got busier by fighting crime or more frighteningly fighting one’s criminal self. And yet they didn’t lose their affectionate connection, the morning routine remained the usual one although sometimes it was slightly shorter. The dog got gradually older and feebler but the master always abides until the very end. A cloudy day the Dark Knight buried his dog in the park where they used to stroll leaving their favorite toy on the dirt grave when a stray dog took it away and feverishly kept chewing it as light drops of rain touched the ground.

People though become curious why the Dark Knight didn’t shed a single tear for his dog after they had lived so intimately. Was he transformed into a heartless monster showing no sign of sorrow? Was he ashamed of being seen weeping? However, he never got another dog. Maybe he didn’t even carry any emotion and all was just a provisional distraction from the dreary reality.  There was no clue for comprehending his behavior that day. The Dark Knight later explained himself, “It would be disrespectful towards her, she taught me how to battle my tears from the first moment we met while I was still shuddering with grieve. She was a good teacher you see. That was her duty.”

Α.Δ.

Posted in English, Original, The Dark Knight, Thoughts | 5 Comments

Comedy from the Second Balcony: Episode Chris Rock

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It’s been a while since I enjoyed some decent comedy but this one came at the perfect moment, at the culmination of a stress-infused semester. Chris Rock is star judging only by the reaction of the crowds at the Bass Concert Hall of UT Austin. The adoration he received from the audience was for my eyes unprecedented -always watching from the second balcony. Right after the 2-hour show was over, people were stacking on the front of the stage to cheer him, trying to shake his hand. And he did stay to greet them. This is what we call a near-messiah experience.

I feel acquitted for paying the price to see his performance, it was well worth for a comedy icon. Unlike some other of his colleagues his humor was pertinently political without reducing to populism. Once again, the racial wounds of America were exposed. I guess that unfortunately they will never heal. Chris Rock’s take was hilarious though, let me quote: “As a black man I first think  FAWCK THE POLICE but then I remember I have some property”. One more favorite: “The school needs bullies, I repeat, the school needs bullies, you don’t want your kid to become 30 to realize that bullies are all over the place. They need to learn how to deal with them early on, otherwise when they do show up they won’t know what to do. That’s how Trump got elected. He was a real bully and no one could handle him. We need bullies at school man”. 

 The final part took a bit more personal turn. Chris narrated in his own satirical way several aspects of his private life, namely his divorce. I imagine that life is hard living together with comedian, that’s why most of them, see Louis CK, got separated. As a punchline of an older stand-up eerily goes: “Women are like THE POLICE, they might have of the evidence in the world, they still want you to confess“. For the voice, for the jokes, for the appreciation of black culture, I’ve been immensely entertained by the Total Black Out Tour and unequivocally recommend it. Chris Rocks!

Α.Δ.

Posted in Comedy, English, Review | Leave a comment

The Fall, a Dramatic Monologue

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Some were dreadfully insulted, and quite seriously, to have held up as a model such an immoral character as A Hero of Our Time; others shrewdly noticed that the author had portrayed himself and his acquaintances. … A Hero of Our Time, gentlemen, is in fact a portrait, but not of an individual; it is the aggregate of the vices of our whole generation in their fullest expression.

—LERMONTOV

The ominous excerpt in the very beginning.

The rise and fall of a civilization, of a city, of a family, of a person, I am persistently absorbed in the notion of this inevitability. Camus in his third and last complete literary text narrated -incessantly first person- the gradual decline of an eminent lawyer of Paris, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, to a self-proclaimed judge-penitent in a decadence Amsterdam bar, Mexico City. Guileless we are left to listen to his alluring monologue while crossing silently the misty capital of the Netherlands whose concentric canals resemble the circles of hell.

I dearly advice you my fellow reader, do not go gentle with our hero for surreptitious are his ways.  He will ask you “May I Monsieur offer my services without running the risk of intruding?”. He will keenly buy you a drink because the grotesque bartender does not speak your language. He will lay his elaborate confession on you which will make you subconsciously challenge your own choices. Cunningly though attrition he will entrap you with his enticing words when you suddenly realize you were the one who has been confessing all along. Trust me dear reader, remain wary of the perils this path entails.

His definition of the occupation of his contemporaries is narrowed in just two passions: ideas and fornication. He entertains the notion that in all things we are in a way, in a way cultured, in a a way sophisticated, in a way bourgeois. In a way though you will not fully comprehend his enigmatic personality, where this strange one-sided conversation is leading, or why did he not cross the bridge with you? What is a judge-penitent? Where is the eerie laughter he heard at Pont des Arts coming from? What is that object that the police is fiercely searching for? Most importantly, how are all these questions related to his unavailing fall from grace? Ironic is a way as it might become later clearer.

You will have however first to follow his story as a charming, by getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question; immensely popular lawyer, familiar when it was appropriate, silent when necessary capable of free and easy manner as readily as of dignity, all in harmony; marked out yet humble by birth, with no religion but somehow with his happiness and merits were authorized by a higher decree; never feeling comfortable ,except in lofty surroundings, even in the details of daily life, always above, always in impunity; modest and generous in all aspects of his professional, social, private life, feeling constantly something of a superman.

Two incidents then occurred that indelibly changed our noble’s hero shortsighted perspective. The first was a trivial altercation during heavy traffic. Jean-Baptiste attempted to play the big boss but was utterly ridiculed and he obediently returned to his car. Afterwards he goes on a thorough explanation on his views upon women and romantic relationships, how he seduced women with his eloquence, how conquering them was only a matter of selfishness. He unabashedly generalizes his views about individuals:  in order to live happily it was essential for the creatures he chose not to live at all for they must receive their life, sporadically, only at his bidding. His subsequent reaction at a woman committing suicide over a bridge -an irresistible weakness he called it- on rainy winter night may nonetheless indicated the contrary.

This is the critical point of collapse. Afterwards Jean-Baptiste decides that is it time to face the unavoidable: his own self. Debauchery, frivolity, gambling, alcohol, cynicism and the little-ease, I will now leave the suspense part of his fall although enjoy the moments of ruthless contemplation sprinkled thought the monologue.

No man is a hypocrite in his pleasures.

That the way man is, cher Monsieur, he has two faces: he can’t love without self love.

To be sure, I occasionally pretended to take life seriously. But very soon the frivolity of seriousness struck me and I merely went on playing my role as well as I could. … I was absent at the moment when I took up the most space.

Martyrs, cher ami, must choose between being forgotten, mocked, or made use of. As for being understood—never!

No one, ever again, would know the truth on this point, since the only one to know it was precisely the dead man sleeping on his secret. That absolute murder of a truth used to make me dizzy. Today, by the way, it would cause me, instead, subtle joys.

Each of us insists on being innocent at all cost, even if he has to accuse the whole human race and heaven itself. You won’t delight a man by complimenting him on the efforts by which he has become intelligent or generous. On the other hand, he will beam if you admire his natural generosity. Inversely, if you tell a criminal that his crime is not due to his nature or his character but to unfortunate circumstances, he will be extravagantly grateful to you. 

Since, in the waking state and with a little self-knowledge, one can see no reason why immortality should be conferred on a salacious monkey, one has to obtain substitutes for that immortality.

Moreover, we cannot assert the innocence of anyone, whereas we can state with certainty the guilt of all. Every man testifies to the crime of all the others—that is my faith and my hope.

In order to cease being a doubtful case, one has to cease being, that’s all.

People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.

Dante accepts the idea of neutral angels in the quarrel between God and Satan. And he puts them in Limbo, a sort of vestibule of his Hell. We are in the vestibule, cher ami.

 Ah, mon cher, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful. Hence one must choose a master, God being out of style.

When we are all guilty, that will be democracy.

He who clings to a law does not fear the judgment that reinstates him in an order he believes in. But the keenest of human torments is to be judged without a law. Yet we are in that torment. 

At the end of all freedom is a court-sentence; that’s why is too heavy to bear.

What we call fundamental truths are simply the ones we discover after all the others. However that may be, after prolonged research on myself, I brought out the fundamental duplicity of the human being. Then I realized, as a result of delving in my memory, that modesty helped me to shine, humility to conquer, and virtue to oppress.

I’ll tell you a big secret, mon cher. Don’t wait for the Last Judgment. It takes place every day.

And a personal favorite quote which can’t be omitted:

Since then , Greece itself drifts somewhere within me on the edge of my memory, tirelessly.

Α.Δ.

Posted in Books, English, Review | 3 Comments

Beasts of Greece, Third Piece

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First Piece by Shelley – The Masque of Anarchy

Men of England, heirs of Glory
Heroes of unwritten story,
Nurslings of one mighty Mother,
Hopes of her, and one another!

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you 
Ye are many, they are few.

Second Piece by Orwell – Animal Farm

Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the Golden future time.

Soon or late the day is coming,
Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown,
And the fruitful fields of England
Shall be trod by beasts alone.

Third Piece

Beast of Greece, Beasts of Cyprus
Beasts of every mount and sea
Even the pets of bourgeoisie
Cease your irksome murmur
Fathom at last your torpor
And raise your frayed hackles
For you’re still in hefty shackles

Dreams of rebel are antique
Perpetual lesson to the weak
Mankind is not too oppressive
Your hard work is just not impressive
Agents of truth thus have spoken
Past promises must not be broken

Days pass and nights fly
Not much time until we die
No perdition, no redemption
Don’t be fouled by misconception
Here is the only chance to shine
Whilst your footprints intertwine

Ancient glory has long dwindled
But let the weary spirit be rekindled
Unleash the mighty dinosaur in you
And eye man’s worst fear become true
‘Cause the Earth belongs to monsters
Not to a bunch of human mobsters

Beast of Greece, Beasts of Cyprus
Beasts of every mount and sea
Even the pets of bourgeoisie
Let your reign there be

Dedicated to my little beast, Michael

Α.Δ.

Posted in Collection, English, Original, Poetry | Leave a comment

Animal Farm, a Fairy Tale

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It’s a classic along with 1984, it is thoroughly debated long since published in ’45, its quotes pervades everyday language, it’s a powerful and gloomy metaphor for the fate of societies wherever absolute equality was forcefully imposed. I have seen the film and actually roughly remembered the basic plot: A group of animals living in a farm rebels against their human master and establishes a new regime in which social justice has been restored. Events don’t turn out to be as ideal as the auspicious beginning signified. Of course no great surprise, the story doesn’t seek a merry ending or counterfeit redemption for the author is George Orwell.

An enjoyable, swift reading with straight-forward historical analogies, Animal Farm is the perfect bedtime companion. Apart from the most famous phrase -all caps-

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

there are plenty of fascinating details embellishing the narrative. Here is a list with the ones that instinctively struck me first.

The poem Beast of England. I find it just wonderful when poetry is incorporated in the text and these verses infused with romantic expectations of the golden future time ahead are magnificent. Perhaps the band Animals as Leaders got its inspiration from the novel. No lyrics in their case, purely instrumental virtuosity, thus I am only speculating.

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland
Beasts of every land and clime
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the golden future time

Soon or late the day is coming
Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown
And the fruitful fields of England
Shall be trod by beasts alone

Rings shall vanish from our noses
And the harness from our back
Bit and spur shall rust forever
Cruel whips no more shall crack

Riches more than mind can picture
Wheat and barley, oats and hay
Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels
Shall be ours upon that day

Bright will shine the fields of England
Purer shall its waters be
Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
On the day that sets us free

For that day we all must labour
Though we die before it break
Cows and horses, geese and turkeys
All must toil for freedom’s sake

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland
Beasts of every land and clime
Hearken well and spread my tidings
Of the golden future time

The principles of Animalism, their initial version in the form of seven commandments and how they slowly, one by one disintegrated. Orwell is a master of illustrating how demolishing sacred principles is inevitable, how life steadily refutes all we hold dear.

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.

The tragic hero, the industrious, devoted but painfully naive horse, Boxer, who under the authority of the cunning pigs and the Leader, Comrade Napoleon, Father of all animals gave his unequivocal support to the unavailing building of the farm’s windmill. Thus we arrive at a connection with the Absurd. Unlike Camus’ protagonist in The Plague, tough labor towards futility without abstraction could be proven lethally mistaken. Boxer’s favorite sentences “I will work harder” and “Napoleon is always right” have been tenderly placed in my heart.

The grand finale. After fighting for a lost cause, abandoning all hope and woefully accepting their despondent fate the animals witness an staggering revelation. I didn’t remember that part, therefore I will leave the suspense should you decide to take up on reading. Until then “Long Live the Animal Farm”!

Α.Δ.

Posted in Books, English, Review | 1 Comment

The Plague, a Chronicle of a Terminal Spirit Desease in Five Acts

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“Indeed, to some, Dr. Rieux among them, this precisely was the most disheartening thing: that the habit of despair is worse than despair itself”.

The Plague is the second novel of Albert Camus I read right after The Stranger which happens to be his second too. To be honest this was also my second attempt reading it since I could not initially take the reign of terror and the relentless onslaught in the plague-stricken city of Oran. This time though I felt ready to delve into the abstractions of the plague. This is the very idea was first inscribed on my mind. It originally appeared as blame cast to the main protagonist Dr. Rieux by his acquaintance, journalist Rambert, for the doctor’s unwillingness to contribute to that man’s escape from the quarantined city of Oran. He particularly said:

“You can’t understand. You’re using the language of reason, not of the heart; you live in a world of abstractions”.

That is astonishingly true for a plethora of reasons, some of those I will not name lest I spoil the surprise ending. Abstraction is the mechanism that the doctor has employed against the Absurd, vis-à-vis against the horrors of the plague. He wasn’t remiss, he didn’t abandon ship. His attitude epitomizes Camus philosophy, the fact that nihilism should not prevail, however nothing is fixed as religion avows. One though can’t be too emotionally invested at the same because they will simply not survive the ordeals. Nevertheless, it’s not indifference, the universe possesses the benign indifference, not the characters. The characters are mandated by the own accord. They don’t believe that there is an inherent meaning, yet they still act. Does this should absurd? Well, that’s why the school of thought is called Absurdism. This vaguely reminds me of the Stoics, who proclaim to accept the turn of events no matter the personal affliction.

The other element that struck me is the exile or isolation. Plenty of analogies can now be drawn with regard the real word. Let’s play the game of hypothetical questions. What if we all have a shade of plague? What if Earth is like Oran, in exile, isolated from anything else? Do the specifics such as the size of the city or the symptoms of an illness really matter? I think they do not. It is a different perspective in the novel, just a condensed and more dramatic one. I love how at the begging the narrator describes the flavor of  townsfolk’s ordinary life. They follow their humdrum habits, their everyday routines completely oblivious of the pestilence lurking in the shadows. And even when it does emerge many choose to refuse the reality. Slowly, after the grim pass of time they do realize the inevitability of the plague. Darkness and pessimism were instilled in people’s hearts. They didn’t have any expectations, they couldn’t love or make friendship because these values imply looking ahead in the future. As it is wonderfully put about this dismay:

“The silent city was no more than an assemblage of huge, inert cubes, between which only the mute effigies of great men, carapaced in bronze, with their blank stone or metal faces, conjured up a sorry semblance of what the man had been. In lifeless squares and avenues these tawdry idols lorded it under the lowering sky; stolid monsters that might have personified the rule of immobility imposed on us, or, anyhow, its final aspect, that of a defunct city in which plague, stone, and darkness had effectively silenced every voice”.

It is intriguing at this point to observe how specifically the bleak climate shaped one individual, Tarrou friend of Dr Rieux. Near the latest part of the book he makes moving monologue comparing the plague with the death penalty. Camus was vastly sensitive on issue. He was against suicide as well as state issued capital punishment.  Reflections on the Guillotine is an essay Camus wrote analyzing his uncompromising views. The ultimate massage maintains that taking a person’s life is merely contributing to the AbsurdI recollect in my school years when we were studying this debate, whether should it be abolished or not. Different times, different countries have held various positions. Here is something that Tarrou confesses and deeply resonates with me:

“I have realized that we all have plague, and I have lost my peace. And today I am still
trying to find it; still trying to understand all those others and not to be the mortal enemy of anyone. I only know that one must do what one can to cease being plague-stricken, and that’s the only way in which we can hope for some peace or, failing that, a decent death. This, and only this, can bring relief to men and, if not save them, at least do them the least harm possible and even, sometimes, a little good. So that is why I resolved to have no truck with anything which, directly or indirectly, for good reasons or for bad, brings death to anyone or justifies others’ putting him to death. That, too, is why this epidemic has taught me nothing new, except that I must fight it at your side”.

One final note, those rats do the damage once again as in 1984. They initiated the calamity and they are capable of repeating it as the closing sentence sternly warns us:

“The plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city”.

PS: Terminal Spirit Disease is a term of course I have borrowed from At the Gates ’94 album should you ever find yourself in a mood of listening.

Α.Δ.

Posted in Books, English, Review | 4 Comments