Shotgun in the mouth, Junk in the vein

high school kids smoking in the corner    feeling grownups for breaking a stupid rule

we drained a fifth in an hour    cracked another    we were sober and the pain was real

a way out    it wasnÕt there  all windows sealed doors locked   hail the four deaf walls

empty nights cold mornings harsh words exchanged day and night       we fucked on the floor

cried in her sleep    every fucking night     I drank and wrote    nonsensical existence and

I still breathe

 

devoured babies cry in the stomachs of beasts

armies raised to conquer the world      imposing new norms new rules new morals

the gods continue their chess game while sinking scotch and smoking cigars

one junkie died last night     there was no one to cry

monsters chase virgins in every forest of the world     babies born future rulers

there was nothing left to be said      a single kiss     going 200m/h high on coke

slowing down    the bottle     the junk      LEAVE ME ALONE the eternal scream of the

night

 

burning down jungles breaking down barriers     weÕre still alive despite the nukes

bombing cities plundering villages     everywhere thereÕs a new place to conquer

virgins raped viciously by pious priests     the squads in every alley shooting down the dreamers

a nightingale sings    cannibals throw it in the boiling water

a million black turtles emerge from their underground lair

dope fiends in every corner     dreamless sleep under collapsing bridges

enemies all around    friends dead        the end is nigh and the smile is genuine

emptying guns on still bodies     shooting junk every hour to maintain some sanity

falsifying degrees  work 9 hours and pay for the privilege      madness in the streets

sanity in the asylums

 

once more empty words     false promises     lies         modernity and the gods guffaw

BANG      breaking the silence of the night      BANG      I canÕt die  immortal

a shot in the arm       numbness       BANG   BANG     BANG    

failure once more           BANG        and IÕm refused the coveted ending

 

 

Yet another sunrise

and nothingÕs ever changing;

 

staring outside the window—

bourbon in my hand, a joint in my lips—

 

and the thoughts run wild, traveling to the Bar I once

glimpsed, to the endless nights of suffering within

four dead walls haunted by whispering ghosts

of past, present, and future.

 

the voices are loud, demanding, accusatory,

 

and I drink them all away, trying

to regain the magic of the dance.

 

the keys attempt to move, nothing shifts,

 

a blank page mockingly stares back at me;

 

the nightingale clears its throat,

no songÕs produced. the crackling of the pipe

the only sound of the dawn.

 

the night guard inspects the office complex, checking for break-ins

and vandalism, then he leaves on his electronic, soundless bike

and I toast him for

 

he has nothing left to live for, either.

 

I drink to his health, and to my death.

 

the blue smoke rises, window flung open and IÕm smoking

rock; no one seems to care, no one understands

what the glass-pipeÕs for

and I think of Emily in her grave,

Christine on a foreign bed,

the nameless strangers that once lay down on my bed

hoping itÕd mean something more than a night long affair.

 

it never did;

the page is my only true love,

booze and drugs the real companions of a life in the mist,

 

escaping wolves and carnivorous sheep.

bourbon washed it all away: the fears, the dreams,

the hopes and promises from a past buried deep under the scorching sand

of the desert of time and broken hearts.

 

she rises from the grave, coming to get me.

itÕs time to drink Satan under the fucking table

and claim the realm we were once promised.

 

the bottle is emptied, breaks on the floor and is added

to the sea of glass I cross every hangover afternoon.

 

itÕs alright.

 

I have another drink, another drag.

I dip the rolling paper in hash oil and fire up the ganja;

 

edgeÕs taken off; I take a step closer

toward the Edge,

 

once more too terrified to go over, to embrace

the darkness and the monsters lurking within it.

 

one more sunrise witnessed,

one more day survived.

medical wonder, some will call it.

I know the true answer:

 

Hell will be Paradise compared to reality.

 

 

 

Swan Song for the Dead Phoenix

 

remembering, late at night,

a night from back in 2015, JanuaryÉ

Greek elections, everyone (almost) excited

for SY.RI.ZA—Coalition of Rootbreaking (thatÕs TsiprasÕ translation for ŅradicalÓ)

Left—

 

and three years down the road they proved to be

worse than the worst possible scenario of pessimistic analystsÉ

 

walking down the streets of Athens, meeting somber faces looking

at the pavement,

their pockets empty, their houses—bought with sacrifices

often from their parents and grandparents—now in the hands of

greedy bankers who once facilitated the recession and

everyone rushes to help the bankers and let people perish homeless

in the streets.

 

the sunÕs the only thing that still shines upon the

Ņbirthplace of democracyÓ where freedom, liberty, human rights,

and dignity have found a most unmemorable death.

tourists flock down to Acropolis and the Aegean

seeing the good, avoiding the bad,

 

believing Greece to be thriving—only public servants

still thrive, indiscriminately stealing public money, receiving

huge wages for doing nothing, being awarded for being talentless and

brainless, possessing only the skill to kiss the right asses.

 

itÕs how it always worked; back in Õ08 the plasmatic money

ran out, we had nothing left; no heart, no soul, and no cold cash.

 

blame Papandreou from the 80Õs, blame the incompetent governments

of the 90Õs, the corrupt governments of the 00Õs. blame,

finally!,

the people who kept voting con-artists promising them a slight raise,

better living—promises out of thin air using Monopoly money.

 

walking down the streets of Athens you see somber faces,

glances glued on the dirty pavements—people cheated out of their money, houses,

possessions. people living with meager means, young people going from

job interview to job interview, working 14hours per day for 10 euro,

 

their parents voted for the wrong people, their parents burned their money

in ŅbouzoukiaÓ and Audis, now itÕs the children paying the hefty tabs.

 

banks loaned money to everyone, they issued credit cards to dead people;

now, theyÕre whining because no one can pay them back; and IMF and

the governments bail the banks out—why canÕt we let the banks go bankrupt

like any other badly managed company?

 

walking down the streets of Athens,

the spirit of the ancients is long dead.

 

those who could, left. those who couldnÕt,

or refused to leave home,

pay the price.

 

a country descending to Hell in a bucket;

EU, the world, and most importantly Greeks,

failed—another experiment gone wrong.

let the people staying behind pay the price for what

others devised, for what others thought an exciting game.

 

walking down the streets of Athens,

people curse themselves for voting back in Õ15 (twice) for

Tsipras, Varoufakis, and the rest of the incompetent gang.

 

forgive us, Plato;

forgive us, Sophocles;

laugh at us, Aristophanes.

 

we may not be your descendants, and only

capitalize on your names and work when it suits our fancy,

 

but

 

Ancient Greece left behind a legacy of greatness,

while Modern Greece will leave behind a legacy of utter failure.

 

it only takes a stroll down the streets of Athens

to see why.

 

 

 

Lost Dragons

 

when we first breathed in the fire,

 

I should have let you go; itÕs tough

to view love in hindsight, yet

 

how else to do it? the wild moments

of midnight, lost and hopeless yet

 

we had each other—it was all we needed.

the one solace we required, a lighthouse in the middle of the stormy ocean.

 

all taken away, cruel mistress is the needle,

demanding and merciless. and we embraced her,

welcomed her with open arms and broken veins.

 

it was alright, for a good long while; till it came

crashing down, a permanent end to the fairytale.

 

itÕs alright, I wanted to say and think—I couldnÕt.

 

the dragon remains by my side; never going to go away,

I know,

 

no reason to kid myself, or others. the bottles are

empty, increasing in numbers. so do the blackout nights

of bliss. of searching for empty gazes and cold embraces.

 

itÕs funny how many IÕve forgotten—names faces and embraces—

yet, thereÕs one pair of eyes that will

forever haunt my dreams and thoughts,

omnipresent between my poor lines. you are here, next to me,

I didnÕt get a chance to search for your grave; I only had a week

and wasnÕt alone. itÕs alright, I hope. I know you

would never hold a grudge.

 

I dreamt of you last night, we were smoking dope in a new bed,

in a big apartment—we had it made, IÕd won the Pulitzer.

 

it was a dream; back in the Ō60s, we might have made

fantasy come true. now, itÕs nowhere near, no substance in

acid trips. the crocodile smiles,

 

returns with his damn leather suitcase.

 

back on the thorny saddle, riding the same old rocking horse,

returning to the familiar—the destructive.

 

death; here I come, one last time to drink you under the table,

until we both cease to exist.

 

© George Gad Economou