A Poem by Marios Chatziprokopiou

11.02.2019

Marios Chatziprokopiou

Luna de miel

When father “passed on” — as they say —
I returned from the tropics myself.

And we left
forty-one days later
on a honeymoon
with mum.

The rooms-to-let would not contain
the orphaned one. It was still the beginning of
May. And the only customers
were retired women from the North.
All of them, accompanied by their husbands
who were still alive.

We left
We set off

We found ourselves in the middle of a flatland.

The three girls came

grandmothers made of earth
—with hair in plaits—

They uttered their predictions for our lives.

The whole world came
— very kind of you, stranger!
in the space of a hitchhiking sip.

We sang sunsets

That very evening, at the mobile home
I dreamt
of a sooty fireplace
myself, the wet wood at fault
and a Saint George-Dragon
jolting me.

(disposing of me) to sparks
I was reduced.

Since then, whenever and if
I see dad in my dream
he either smiles at me
or he embraces me,



Luna de miel I

honeymoon […]
μήν […]
mensis […]
month […]

Translated by Theodoros Chiotis. First appeared in T. Chiotis’ anthology Futures – Poetry of the Greek Crisis (Penned in the Margins, London, 2015); here reprinted by permission, and with a few subsequent changes by the poet.

~

A queer valentine from a son to his mother (and father) is how one might be forgiven to pitch this poem for February. An imaginary honeymoon during which the ‘couple’ meets the Three Fates (or Macbeth’s three witches?) is to be expected from M.C.’s pen—a poet whose writings often upturn clichés in a playful and highly inventive way.

In a similar vein, an important work of his is in the form of a mock-scientific dissertation titled “Faggotry and Ululation: Selections from the Occult Songs of the Greek People”. There, M.C. presents the concocted story of the ‘lost’ son of Nikolaos Politis (1852-1921), the founder of modern Greek folk song studies and a major anthologist. This son, “Alexandro Polites (1892-1974)”, supposedly discovered a file of queer Greek folk songs hidden among his father’s records—which M.C. himself has written, of course, as a pastiche of known folk songs and motifs. Alexandro Polites steals the songs when he is kicked out of the family house and, as he travels across the globe, these songs are transmitted to and adopted by many local peoples, to eventually become their own. The whole 'presentation' (especially in M.C.’s performance of this material) is thrillingly believable at first, but soon the flights of fancy it takes become both quite formidable and incredibly funny.

Clearly, the levels of irony and ‘queering’ here are far too many to comment on. Suffice it to say that a similar complexity and humour runs through the poem published here, “Luna de miel”.

Marios Chatziprokopiou (b. 1981, Thessaloniki) has studied and worked in Spain, France, Brazil, and the UK. A poet-performer and performance studies scholar, he is currently living and working in Greece as a teaching fellow at the Department of Theatre Studies, University of Patras, and a postdoctoral researcher at the Greek Research Centre for the Humanities. His poems have appeared in several reviews and edited volumes, and have been translated into English and French. He has presented his performance work in numerous cultural and academic institutions in Greece and abroad. His first poetry book, Local Tropics, is in print from Antipodes Editions, Athens.

More by M.C. in English: https://nicesdv.wordpress.com/nice-txtseng/marios-chatziprokopiou/

Pictured: An artwork by Yorgos Maraziotis, currently exhibited as part of the artist's solo show at Nitra Gallery.

✍ Translated by Theodoros Chiotis. Commentary by Panayotis Ioannidis.

Part of the und. Poetry series.

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