The Streets of Athens

In Greece on June 2, 2009 at 12:01 am

Archipelagos 049

I’ve needed this for a year – to roam the frantic back-alleys of a decrepit foreign capital, where even the street signs are coded in an unfamiliar alphabet, and men flip kombolói bracelets over their wrists like beaded butterfly knives, and grizzled geezers push shopping carts full of rags past closed hardware stores and kiosks with rack upon rack of nudie magazines. I’ve needed to see window sills that weep down porous cement walls and an orange-lit night sky crisscrossed with electrical wires and sagging laundry lines. I’ve needed the sporadic pools of maroon light that gleam from dangling, saucer-shaped lamps, dim enough to yield larger ponds of dangerous blackness. I’ve needed strangers: In the dark corridors between buildings, silhouettes of strange men stagger and plume with cigarette smoke, just seconds before a bottle is smashed against brick and teenaged baritones shout, “Opa!” – in mockery of their forefathers.


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