Tasos Livaditis – Poems, Volume II


Oh, my good old comrades, hastily buried, as if one

          had only one more night to live:

the uninteresting Elias, Thomas with the stolen

fur and the most unfortunate, Amen, the over-religious;

when he died we sat next to him, his pants ballooned

           because of his hernia,

unfortunate Amen had never been with a woman since

            the years of our First Fathers.

My good old comrades you passed so simply like

the uneducated villager who repeats an indecipherable

           Oh Lord our Father

although the smoke still rises.

Sometimes I think that our true life is unfolding behind

            the wall

and the first killing was premeditated; the promise

wasn’t absent nor was the pale tenant, nor the silent

            road with the closed stores;

miserable people they’ll never find out what was written

            on that primeval seal

and that an umbrella is but a ghost that doesn’t ever


My friends with who I talked night after night about

            the fate of the world

and among the small interruptions of our talks was

what we left behind for the others, impossible to

            survive and so familiar

that you may pass by it without noticing.

Years passed this way. The sick waited for the opening

            of the old carpentry

I preferred to go up to the attic; the blind man with the

            threads stayed there

while the other tenants lived downstairs imagining that

            they truly lived;

“You may lay me”, the ugly woman said “but place a napkin

            on my face”

dark, impenetrable, moist from top to bottom like a

            great meaning and when

Chryssostomos smelled because of the gangrene

she stood at the door and scare away the dogs; one

night, in fact, but what can you call them “thieves”

            I yelled,

people passed by, cried, or made bets since there was

always a black horse where you couldn’t see anything

and alcohol has its stony wing too.



Wheat Ears – Selected Poems

Sixth Hour

A sudden emptiness in my gut

unexpected pain I taste

for the missed kiss desired and

the silence of the black shroud is

conferred unto the freshly dead

Trickling night forgets

the name of the first slayer when

in His capricious mania

Jehovah trowels ephemeral glitter

applying it with shining colors of

sun and afterglow of

lovemaking before raining it

down to the net strands of

virgin life when

shit hits the fan and new

concepts announce themselves with

appellations of rich-richer

hungry-hungrier unfortunate-less

orphan with

layers of fat under the skin

guiding He divides Earth

into lavish and dirt floor worlds

never daring to name exiles

whose homes are razed as a favor to allies

or filth in their hearts – those who have one

who never dare name multinationals

dark corridors of minds and agencies

commanding obedience preacher

commanding kneel obey

pay and counting as I cry in dismay

at the sight of full coffers and stomachs

before long the answer comes

from the lips of the faceless

corporation: who cares?