Friday, November 22, 2013

Helen of the Rotten Apples


               The island of Cyprus has always kept its secrets

Guilty words of little kids, sentences of the elder,

in sealed lips they were trapped of sovereign crowds.

The story we are about to tell took place in a Mesaoria village

yet the unmerciful wind that blew along and through

delivered it in handcuffs to all the island’s cape legs.


So here it goes,


A mother and a father both in unity and agreement

Have kept their only daughter jailed

in their long and narrow backyard

In an adjacent barn

This started when she was fourteen, #

indeed an innocent child

she however sincerely fell for the village’s most admired guy.

They eloped in secrecy, to be together away of all

But it was no time until Eleni’s father caught her beat her and all

And in one night from midnight to dawn he.

- oh, really, he -


-hit Sophocles with an axe-
in front of her exploding eyes
and bloodied him
and she saw
she knows she saw

then shouting in frenzy
he beat Eleni to the brink of death

and locked her in the barn
taking out the goats in middle night


 No sooner had it been than

poor Eleni forgot everything from day one,

They even say she suffered amnesia from the hits

And in the barn she knew nothing of who she was

Or why she was there,

Or of her soul’s torment.

The barn had been her little world,

of hay for a nap

Of little food like beans and fried legumes

Of little light from a tiny window

and Bible tales from her mom.

There were no chains around her ankles,

No rinks around her wrists,

Just a half-kilo padlock outside the one-metre door. 

Window on the door and rust had been Eleni’s friends,

And as the rust was coming in, expanding on the inside,

“What are you?”

Eleni’d ask

-But no answer would she get-

She imagined a snug dust of hope.

-But -

the shimming smells of the carnations invading every morning

Were no friends of hers, as they disturbed her gothic fiction.

In her immaculate riddles she always answered back to the world outside

with her smell of the enclosure

Familiar smells, of mold, waste and ammonia.

and methane from the rotten apples in the corner

the cats in the backyard would cut from their only tree

and bring them to her window.

she never liked to eat those apples

yet never threw them out either,

she - someone would argue –

enjoyed the cats’ attention.

So much the methane got her dizzy

that happiness she found in all this heavy prolonged misery

-years had passed-


Then the village newly-appointed priest

started suspecting of all these,

when all the neighbours had known for twenty years

And all agreed -but one- that it was best for all

That she was kept inside.

Sophocles had a trusted friend

Who took an oath for revenge

And that Eleni would be free

To live and love somebody.

He was the one who made the priest suspect

When all the others had been tricking him

about all the smells and cries,

about the secrecy of 13, Acheloou Str.


With him the kids sometimes made up sounds

like the ones Eleni made

But they were always told off by their fathers

And so the story went on,

Until one day eleni heard a passing Caravan

Announcing a children’s play of three acts.










Scene one:

(In the barn, mother outside unlocking the door in difficulty, the padlock is very heavy)

Eleni: (weakly) Mum, is it you, mum?

Mother: Yes, hold on a second to get this lock down, if I break it your dad’s gonna kill us both!

Eleni: did you bring me food?

Mother: Yes

Eleni: and milk?

Mother: yes

Eleni: what food?

Mother: beans

Eleni: again?

Mother: it’s Friday.  We fast.

Eleni: Mum, you know I don’t like beans.

Mother:  You always eat them.

Eleni: I don’t like beans!

Mother: You always eat them and you never complain!

Eleni: I don’t like beans at all! (intensely) I hate them!

Mother: no you don’t!  You don’t hate them!  I watch you eat them every time with such passion!




Eleni: I heard something today…

Mother: What is it with you today?

Eleni: (repeating in internal tone and moving her head back and forth) I heard something today, I heard something today, I heard something today, I heard something today

Mother: Stop it! I don’t see you eat, I’ll go and get you some bread today, drink your milk and I’ll be right back

Eleni: I heard something today, (fading as the mother leaves) I heard something today…


No comments:

Follow me fb