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Geraldine Green


my god my god why hast thou forsaken me?


from this station i see a wildness of sugar
and green-crossed shutters
sweet as nightingales burning in forests.
shaded blue of diamonds on water
a hot dancing whore with promise of succour.


my god my god why?

when a pine compromises the ocean
with hair of a woman and teeth of a minotaur

you sugar-cubed offerings of rooftops and swallows
you tonguing beauties and ants on balconies.

a harbour lying like a woman's thigh
with boats moored against strong limbs of land.


skiathos, with your cigarette ends and bins
and your succulents battling with archangels and moses.

eli eli lama sabacthani!
my god my god why hast thou forsaken me?

your aerials of electric goodness and rapid spoken voices
picking their way through groves of oysters.

dionysos sits laughing on top of the clocktower
his hands haul the bells of the hours that haunt me

with oleander beside me and thanatos before me
a surge beneath me and a belief in hunger and hope.


pines are not pines here on this island.
cicadas are not crickets but a calling of madness
that licks the land like a cat in the morning.

your white-tongued ships
slip into the aegean
like a lover's tongue easily sipping
the juice of his honey
like a bed in the sea and a fish and a moment
and a cranking of chains and poseidon is calling

my god thanatos.
my god eros.

in pink confetti and bins overflowing
in the soft slip-slop of sandals and moorings
in the slow sway of gulls that follow behind me
waiting to pick at my bones and my eyes.
i have touched ice beneath the heat
of this island that will always haunt me
with its lamplight and flowers and grasses
dried in a land like a woman's hazed-blue gown of evening.
in dimitrios' hand on the tiller of my soul
i cry for the armies that meet inside me
like a mad dog howling before it snaps at the ocean.


under the composition of pines
under the limbs of gods
beside a pebbled beach
like toasted marshmallows
where sewage and rose petals
float into the water.

in the distance a man lies on a cloud
in the distance
a bird
an aerial
whitewashed houses
blue shutters
ela! ela!
yassou! yassous!

in the insistent burn of the engine of god
a man sometimes touches when he raises a woman
from his hand in a moment of madness

blue heat becomes a blanket of silence that breathes
beneath the incessant cries of
mali achillea!
and the walled-chimes of bells call to the sky
to cool down
cool cool down
cool cool down
cool cool down
cool cool down
cool cool down


doves croon their own song of evening
one answers
one questions
the gratings of geraniums
the notices and orange lotus'd boats.

a man on a bench wears black. reads a book. looks up for his rose. she is there i want to tell him, but am afraid to disturb his longing. it would only offend. an offering from a stranger must be given with caution.

there is a wash of walled sea, here. there is a soothing breath that comes from the pines.

my mouth tastes itself. it has not forgotten the madness of the west. it cannot forget the taste of burnt saints.

a white umbrella leans against a blue table waiting for rain.


now i am at the level of succulents
my body is cleopatra's aloes
a dangerous place this!
a temptation of sap and spines.

a long row of white rocks point like the finger of a ghost
whose knuckles have calcified with salt.

this finger will never scratch its left arm.
this finger will never point at the sun.
this finger is frozen by heat and melons.
this finger is a line of sugar cubes piled by the hands of a god crazed with gripping his mind.
this thumb blocks out the sun.

apollo is setting behind me. the night owls of skiathos will soon surround me.
in a slow wave of squid-inked blue the still heat refuses to go.

there are warnings here nailed like drops of blood cut from a child's finger. rubies trapped in white ironed railings.

they are there to prevent an accident of fate when a pilot is ouzo'd and a man in a small vessel steers his boat home with an unerring foot.


oatgrasses scratch my back.
if i was a horse i would turn and graze
instead i sit scribing words
a pen the extension of my body
as though, a woman, i have grown a penis.

a small boat tugs at its moorings, a dog hungry for freedom.

there is a scaled-down ecstasy of peace here
(if only i can avoid the ants!)
(if only i can avoid parantheses and bites)

a pine
crosses itself

tongues of aloe vera
whose juice heals burns
pierce the sky.

a wastepaper bin designed to look in place
a boy kick-boxes an aloe vera leaf
a van collects waste
on the calcified finger

my back is still scratched.


nine is a fig tree.
nine is not there
it is here.
nine is a configuration of hands
holding unripe figs
green, like a boy's new fallen balls.

through the fig's fingered leaves a glimpse of boats.
to the right, a small yellow broom grows from the rock
like a young girl's hair
her head thrown back to the aegean like a broken melon.
the tongue of god licks this island in the saliva of his sea.


here is a forked tree.
here the oleander's pink talks to me
asks: is the design of plants in the design of a human?

boats thread through small islands
eager to be in a wider ocean.

i am no longer green amber.
i am no longer in the land of a crazed god.

i do not feel the forsaken terror of heat
when the sun tears at my back like a lion.

evening slips into me like a lover.


i am nearly home now
in the fierce shapes of aloes.
i am a reminder of the shyness of swans.
aloes would not grow here without my voice
to remind them.

i am almost home.
i can feel it in the soft wash of foam.
i can taste it in the cappucino of your mouth.
i can see it in the dance of syrtaki'd pines
who stand beneath stars
listening to tourists.

i can hear it in the music zeus has chosen
to play on his juke box.

there are nights in white satin waiting
if i can believe in a twelfth station
here on this island.


the boat remains
in the small bay of laughter
in the tongue of a tower
in the cafeneion beside me a song is ending
and i love you.

a hand rises beneath me as the land does the ocean
and if i never return to this island of shadows
i will remember the agony of sunshine
and the long, slow drop of honey drunk from the thread of wild woodbine.

Geraldine Green 28.6.05


trees are never straight
the always allow themselves
a necessary angle
in order to let the wind penetrate them

why then do they stand
so straight in my mind

when on the hills they bend
almost double
with the struggles of heaven

trees are never so straight
as they appear
marching in sitka-spruced lines
along the margin of my notebook
i call my mind

they are a necessary advocate
on how to live.

Also read Geraldine's news piece at UK e-NewsZine at

View Photos From Skiathos by Linda Graham.




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