Poetry from 2008
THE BIRTH AND DEATH OF THE I – A Poem in four Acts
THE GREEKS IN ITALY (ROOM 73), BRITISH MUSEUM – ACT I
An unsteady stalk drowned in visitors’ waves, I see the past blooming in terracotta, leaves of gold, coins, plates. There must be a reason for these human floods pouring their sweat, aching limbs, half eaten sandwiches into the doors left ajar to worlds dead, their virgin sex plundered, their treasures vomited into the cauldron of modernity, its gigantic amphora spilling their timeless time into the epicentre of time disappeared, nibbled at by deadlines, commitments – the mummies awoken by the double-decker’s horn. The orgiastic present, the feast, the whirling, the high-speed trains through the catacombs of London – all halts here, all stares at the armless Parthenon.
There must be a reason, I say, for such explosion of corpses fleeting the frenzied winds of HERE-AND-NOW-ONLY, slipping in between hours closing, hours opening. Everyone here is hunting for himself.
-‘Trade and search for new materials, especially
Metals, first brought the ancient Greeks to Southern
ITALY and SICILY. Sometimes this led to
permanent settled outposts and eventually
These colonies were organised as independent
and brought Greek language, writing, arts, craftsmanship
to ITALY. A wide range of objects on display
in Room 73,
including pottery, jewellery and coins, demonstrate the many
Seafarers, philosophers, artisans, mathematicians, astronomers, sculptors – their chromosomes pieces of my I-dentity’s jigsaw-puzzle, floating over the epochs as their ships over the sea.
Everybody here is hunting for himself. On the fragment of an oil jar the fingerprints of an ancient mother invoke memories – raising like fogs – of things unseen, unheard.
In glass frames, the pebbles on which mankind stepped towards this day, breathed-life-into by historians, to whom I ask: can you tell me if I is?
WHO ? I
I ridicule the I. In the exact centrum of the pupil of solitude stands a spark of schizophrenia – the perception of belonging to, the reassurance of resulting from – we are all sons and daughters of these relicts of history – a window suspended on the where-we-come-from, where we are going to.
Everybody here is hunting for himself. The roots, the womb, the conception, the origins, the genesis – we identify with each and every single object with each and every single land our hands are their hands – these rooms hurling our past in our face, WE ARE, WE ARE, EACH of us is EACH, EACH with his story, EACH with his faceless fathers and mothers. No confusion, no melting of blood into another’s vein – I AM ME AND NOBODY ELSE, THIS IS MY VOICE, THESE ARE THE BRANCHES WHICH NURTURED MY LEAVES. MY OWN MY OWN MY OWN. I BELONG TO ME.
MY I IS MY I IS MY I
Dizzy we stagger towards the exit. Our identity is confirmed, the fence of our individuality raised. Everybody here has found their selves, History delivered the verdict.
I am dead to such perceptions. In my flesh no country. The land which spat me out: raped by Mycenae, Athens, Rome, Carthage, Byzantium. These are my cities. I am scattered like pollen over the fields of I – hard to say where I came from. I have swirled and whirled from town to town, from state to state, from galaxy to galaxy, until I succeeded in not being. Everybody here – is in a hurry to find out who they are. I believe the true end will be not knowing anymore, losing consciousness, join the fire –
the point here being there are as many Is as Yous and Is as Is – the point here being, in fact, that We is I.
To these rooms I came to KNOW. To KNOW in order to BE. All living life stretches towards the apple, towards the segregation, towards the duality – towards solitude.
To these rooms I came to NOT KNOW. UNKNOW in order NOT to BE. To these rooms I came to kill the I which has plagued me, erected towers of consciousness, confined me into the cloister of self(ish)ness.
ACT II – ORPHEUS
The Bacchants have dismembered my solitary lyre. It lies mute, its seeds floating in the wind. It once caused the elements to dance, I thought I could melt them as colours into the piping pot of eternity. But it was MY voice singing. As a tyrant, I let ecstasy whirl on notes which belonged to me only, I erected the illusion of inter-penetration of souls and essences, but it was ME they were dancing – as, in the orgy, they tried to get rid of their selves, I made them become ME. I deafened the silent conversations between each and every thing, shouting it out loud – my songs led enchanted populations towards the splinters of the exploded core. I made sure the image of the vase rested in its fragments, abolished glue, composed the deepest loneliness.
They followed ME and flowed into ME – I was all there was in the world. My words did not try to shake off the yoke, they did not reach out further towards the ecstatic humanity which longed for the final liberation – I, I, I was, I, I, I is, I, I, I would be –
But the Bacchants nailed their claws into my solitary lyre, and it now lies mute, its seeds floating in the wind.
I once had tears, printed on the page, conquering the space between the will and the hasn’t-happened-yet. My I, atoms and dust, fed the pale leaf with personally personal pronouns, possessed possessive adjectives. The bricks of grammar were awaken and piled up to build I-shaped towers and borders between consciences-the drawbridges burned, I sang of myself, and my self only. And the words became powder thrown in anybody else’s eyes – So, mute, I spoke to me, and ignored other languages, ignored other voices, only to get myself high on well-known chorals of black depression and stare at myself in a blind mirror, which turned my desires into grey crows bloated with solitude.
I spat blood as empty as water, blood I only could see. Chained into my self, I almost dissolved into the fogs of self-consciousness, until the Bacchants tore my solitary lyre, which now lies mute. Its seeds float in the wind.
ACT III – A GEOMETRY OF NOTHINGNESS
I AM LAND, I AM WHAT
I AM WHAT I AM IS WHEN I AM NOT.
NATIONS IS ME, LAND IS ME, WINDS ARE ME,
BILLIONS OF VOICES WHISPER THROUGH THE PORES OF
MY SKIN, THEIR SKIN, OUR SKIN. LET ALL FLOW THROUGH ME AS
NEEDLES OF WATER, BURN DOWN THE ISLANDS. A NEW TOWER HAS RISEN: BRICK BY BRICK BABEL IS RESURRECTING, ALL
LANGUAGES RE-ABSORBED, RE-ASSEMBLED
RE-MEMBERED. WITH ONE VOICE AND
ONE TONGUE WE CARVE
I DO NOT SPEAK – AM SPOKEN THROUGH
THE FACELESS SHOUTS OF MASSES STOMP ON MY HEART
BEATING DRUMS IN MY LUNGS –
WE HEAR OUR VOICE THROUGH YOU.
ACT IV – ONE MORE SONG OF MY SELF or DIONYSUS’ TRIUMPH
Cured by the demon of the I,
Rescued, redeemed, filtered,
Filtering, contained, containing. Pandora’s Box filled up
with unheard voices, scattered, shattered, by the winds transported
into the womb of soon-to-bloom flowers, the hypocrisy of divided
consciousness abolished, the connection between all living elements
re-established. There is just one continent of skins, breaths
and wounds. There is just one voice through which
all voices are amplified, a crossroad in which
all pasts, and presents and futures meet.
Whatever direction the eye chooses,
It is Dionysus’ empire it
Rises and empties itself on the surface
Of the earth, each breath the echo of another, in endlessly resounding
Gregorian harmonies. The body, still oozing threats of the I-dentity’s return, is slowly swallowed by the sands, as each of its molecules dances in tunnels of light projected onto our limbs’ crumbs by the glasses over-looking the fields of Redemption.
 From the British Museum website, (http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/galleries/ancient_greece_and_rome/room_73_greeks_in_italy.aspx)