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
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
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.
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)
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,
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,
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.
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,
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