IN TWO ARCADIAN WAYS FOR APHRODITE
I should have thrown my hairpins in the fire
From the word go
Cut my hair for you
That arriving on a damp night
You’d catch sight of my shadow from afar 5
If I make you come from the waters
you’d have sleeky hair
If I make you come from the cafés
I’d smell their smoke in the air
Ah, yes! I’ll picture you to myself 10
alighting beauteous from the motorail at night
the station lights extinguished
And you looking for a porter, for assistance
thus delaying your arrival
I’ll make the wind rumple your skirts
the strewn leaves over the tiles
I’ll play records on the gramophone
I’ll hang sheets over a high window
“Hey, you with the bags down there,” I’ll shout, 20
up the stairs
What are you doing here this time of night?”
I, a forlorn hairdresser
in these villages
these submerged harbours,
where can I find the money to carry through my plans?
Ladies with unnatural hair come to me
They prattle on, dead and they don’t know it
make themselves comfy
leaf through magazines
and entrust me with their heads
One wrong move
and off they’d be
Now that my clients arrive 35
unrecognizable beneath masks
- unrecognizable even to each other-
in what square, what cinema of what capital city
can I stand and shout:
“You, headless bodies, why do you insist on having your hair
My latest styling involved
two or three hairclips,
the hair tied back with a ribbon
I said to her: “Go back to your fields, my girl. 45
What on earth are you doing here?
Why come to me
for a new look?
Having lost the one you had,
what hopes do you have acquiring another?”
Around Good Fridays he left me
“I’m off to Zagreb,” he said
I saw him for the last time in the mirror
He was smoking and gently waving
to the men across loading friges, rugs and spices 55
I stood before the mirror till the noise
of their motors stopped
That evening I flung hairclips, powders, combs and peroxide
to the ground
I hung coathangers around the walls
Switched on the radio
My dear departed Aphrodite
show yourself in the mirror
and bring me as before my drowned
When she emerges in front of the chairs,
among the room’s metallic objects, let her come and lie down
on the floor and chide me wearily as always:
“Enough of your carryings-on. 70
Find yourself a husband.
Be done with dyes and perms”
Appear in this my broken mirror
and bring me as before Evdokia
Into this moneybox I drop coins
Here I place my earnings
and my savings
Take it and give it to her, buy her whatever dress
whatever nightie she fancies 80
I don’t want to end up alone
Today I went down to the craggy slopes
there where boulders scan the sea
and saw inscribed thereon
this magically-turned phrase:
Friend Aphrodite, for her benevolence. Maarcos. ORBIUS.
And I sat aside thinking
what did Aphrodite ever do for me?
Did she come to my door in the guise of a fisherman
a tinker, a workman
or an artisan? 10
Or did she think the mirror mother left me
And such merchandise as is displayed in shopwindows were
Has she a place among us any more?
Has she a face, a telegraph at home
Is her shape woven on wharfs?
Does rain drench her
In the streets, at stations?
What doors does she find open?
Does she visit those girlfriends of mine 20
in the manner of pandemos Aphrodite?
Does she find shoes to wear?
Is her body clad in taffetas?
And I said: “Yes, she visits
in the manner of a man who knocks off at twelve
return home alone
and gets his own back by hitting me-the newspapers are full of
And I said: “Yes, Aphrodite knocks on men’s doors only
Soils their clothes with oils
Smears lime and mud on their hair
Hangs chains round their necks” 30
And looking left and right to make sure no one was coming
I walked to the place fenced in by the Municipality
with a No Entry sign on the gate
and using paint
-prepared by combining lampblack, incense and boiling water 35
by our Martha, the easiest lay of all-
Friend Aphrodite, for her mavolence. Stella. Fotini. Varvara.
YORGOS CHRONAS 99 POEMS ' 99 ΠΟΙΗΜΑΤΑ
Selected ,translated , introdused by Yannis Goumas http://www.odospanos-cigaret.gr/