the body issue

Being thin and flat chested

I felt like the Other,

walking, mumbling

merely existing on the margins,

trying to hold on, to remember

how it felt to be me beyond my

non-feminine existence

-distorted

 

My body never belonged to me,

it was always their property

to look and to devour,

to judge and to despise,

always not feminine enough.

With a thin, awkward body,

a tomboy,

the never belonging aura

hovered above my existence for

decades to come.

 

A wall kept growing around me,

till my heart turned into cement,

and hardened,

cold, grey and barely living

full of self-hate bricks.

 

Years passed,

my body swayed

back and forth,

in time’s soothing breeze.

The wall blossomed

with colorful flowers.

My body gained strength and

I managed to break the cement

with my bare hands.

The insecurity bricks were destroyed,

allowing the light of real beauty

to shine through.

 

Photo: Pentax P30, 35mm with Pentax-A 50mm F/2 SMC Lens. Kodak Gold film 200. The Netherlands, 2014.

Celestial Connection

Millions of worlds apart

and thousands of words

are missing

between the space

we created for ourselves.

 

We stop conversations,

mute or misuse them,

while the big ice rocks fall apart,

like our lives when we refuse

to listen to ourselves.

 

This world is scary,

full of angry people,

but Earth remembers

and promises to color

our dreams and hopes

with gold dust extracted

from the deep, dark, daunting

place we call space.

 

And right into that moment

we glow furiously;

full of celestial body magic,

we dive back into the blues

and the greens of our reality,

the worlds we build

and the ones we destroy,

conquering one more day

from the eons that await us.

 

Photo: Livraria Lello, Porto, Spring of 2019, Portugal. Minolta Hi-Matic S, Rokkor lens, Kodak Portra, ISO 400, 35mm film.

 

Spring Haikus

Dandelions fly,

birds chirping vigorously

on heavy tree branches.

 

Duck lands on water

disrupting the park’s silence,

bumble bees humming.

 

Small buds, big buds

under the yellow sun

wait to fully blossom.

 

As night follows day

the sun sets between the trees,

a full moon rises.

 

A soft wind whistles

between the thick green leaves,

spring is finally here.

 

Photo: Porto, Spring of 2019, Portugal. Minolta Hi-Matic S, Rokkor lens, Kodak Portra, ISO 400, 35mm film.

Breathing

I open some windows

to escape my fate,

find birds and talk to them,

find trees and smile at them.

But every breath of air

transforms through me

into pure pain.

 

Sometimes,

I breathe pain

out of the air particles

that flee the house.

Pain I can’t escape,

pain I can’t explain.

The pain men

remind me of being

the weakness of my sex,

so deep and irresistible,

it diminishes

my very own existence

(me).

 

I close the windows

and shut the curtains,

while I breathe air in.

I close the doors

and hide the mirrors,

while I breathe pain out.

The room is finally dark.

 

Photo: Kozani, Summer of 2015, Greece. Minolta dynax 7000i, Kodak Gold, ISO 200, 35mm film.

One line a day

One line a day,

I promised myself to write,

even if it is bs.

 

One line a day,

to exorcize the evil spirits,

to de-demonize my heart,

to clear out the air of the room.

 

One line a day

might not seem enough

or good enough,

but it’s there,

written,

engraved out of the soul’s depths.

 

One line a day

is all I need to start over

fresh,

anew

like an explorer in a strange land,

but this time,

I’ve been invited over

to sit and talk

with its people.

 

One line a day,

as I wake up at dawn,

alone in my chamber,

like a maid whose

day’s work is daunting her.

 

One line a day,

as I go to bed at night,

after working hard

on earning the food

that’s waiting for you on the table.

 

One line a day,

for the pain,

the misery,

the world around me

I can’t explain,

the clouds,

the forests,

the lakes,

the dead flowers in my yard,

the travelers,

the workers,

the family,

the friends,

the light in the morning,

the darkness at night.

 

One line a day

for the words buried in me,

haunting me,

and the ones that came before me.

 

One line a day,

for tomorrow,

our dreams

and Hope.

 

Photo: Walking in Stadspark, Groningen, NL. December 2018. Minolta Dynax 7000i (AF 35-105mm). Earl Grey Lomography Film 200, 35mm film.

In Dreams

[The reality of a dream

swallows every possible outcome

of real happiness]

 

Dreams are made of fire and dust,

sweat and old stories.

In dreams, we see ourselves

as they should be,

we see our beloved ones

as Gods and devils

playing a game

for our sake.

 

In our dreams

we laugh

when we want to cry,

and we cry

when all else fails.

We have wings

and we can fly,

we achieve

what is meant to be achieved,

and we die

without feeling any pain.

We survive cataclysms

and all sorts of disasters,

we lose the sense of time

and we dive into

unknown seas.

 

But dreams,

dreams lead us through the tides,

when the moon forgets to sleep,

and our eyes flicker restlessly.

Dreams make our hearts flutter

while we wet our pillows.

 

Dreams are dreams and nothing more.

 

And as the morning sun

dries our night fears,

dreams will always hold

the moment we thought

we could be our true selves.

 

Photo: Flowers and Lights creatives session. 

death is everywhere

Death is everywhere,

the faded moon smoothly hides

behind the red-bricked buildings;

it, too, is ashamed.

 

The sky is empty of stars,

they faded,

as did so many souls

covered in ash and dust.

 

The sky turns red

without the flames

or the blames;

it reminds us of the death

we all hide in our hearts.

 

<Do not blame each other, help each other>

Photo taken a long time ago in Kozani, Greece

The Trilingual Poem

 

Blocked_

out of fear of comparison

the moment language transforms

into literal particles of the self.

 

Unblocked_

out of love for creation

the moment language is transformed

into the words of the life of tomorrow.

 

Patterns_

of lexical chunks

growing out of me.                                                                                         {English}

 

Signs_

of forgetfulness

glowing inside me.                                                                                         {Greek}

 

Symbols_

of identity

slipping out of my breath.                                                                              {Dutch}

 

[or else, the perks of being trilingual]

 

(Photo: The Triad of Languages. Leek, Groningen, NL. August 2017. Minolta dynax 7000i, Kodak Gold, ISO 200, 35mm film.)

The Wall

I look at the wall in front of me

white and long

I stare.

There is a gap

– that numb in between –

crisp air particles

and words unspoken.

There is a whole world

that separates

the voice within us,

plain white

like Fear himself.

My voice is strange,

like the flowers I plucked for you.

There is a wall in front of me

and I stare.

Hazy blue waters

down my feet

and grey clouds

– monotonous –

cold wind caresses my face,

touches my fingertips.

Whiteness everywhere.

There is Silence

and Fear in us

– palpitations –

I try to move,

but I have the wrong

set of feet,

so I stare at the wall

with eyes closed.

Then I heard the cracks of the soul opening.

[Acceptance]

 

(Photo: Groningen, the Netherlands. January 2018. Lomo Instant camera, Double exposure. Instant Fuji Film.)

At the window [Triptych “The Light”]

Those white moments flee

out of me

they fly in the sky

swinging among silences.

Sometimes my windows

define a square prison

dressed in sunlight and

straight lines.

The year of struggle seems vague.

The moments of solitude empty.

And my coffee is cold

waiting for me on the heavy desk,

life inside it has seized

arousing something more important

than a broken circle.

(Photo: Groningen, the Netherlands. January 2018. Lomo Instant camera, Instant Fuji Film.)