by N.N. Trakakis

Published in Issue No. 247 ~ December, 2017

On the side of darkness, infinity;

on the other, a sixty watt bulb.

Paul Hoover, “Darkness of the Subjunctive”


January is misbehaving:

The stars cough all night

Cold fragrant air

Rows of mean little houses

In subdued light

Peeking through the keyhole of her mind

into a stranger’s house

Her seduction gives way

to his destruction

Dissipating into happiness

The kind known from hearsay

Smiles and sighs follow one another

He the mind of winter

She: silent angular

A presence withdrawing

Still incalculably potent

The eyes:

A charm offensive

Dark so dark

Always a ‘yes’ hidden in them

Women of easy virtue and difficult vice:

They make a desert, and call it love.

How does he manage to get by

with only one sense of humour?

She asked

With all her soul in her eyes

Moving her lips

with vibrating intensity

as though reading a prayer secreto

He didn’t finish his answer

but the yearning of her look finished it for him

And nothing in the world stirred

But their own hearts

His pre-emptive emotions

And nuclear trigger

Worsted as the years went on

Always afraid of going away

Hugging and hating the solitude

Of his overcrowded mind

Measuring his days by nights

But even the night was never night enough

Lovers of half-shades

Her natural malice

His imaginal present

Lingering, tasting, digesting

Her vaginal future

Feeling the farewell

Could never really tell, because

Yes and No are lies

Believe it, make-believe it

I can’t choose! I can’t decide!

We might not suit one another.

If we do — then

And all the thrill lay in that then

All in the hope

The tremulous hope.

We do not know what we want

And we do not want what we know.

Like shadows hanging in air

Their threads of reality unravelling

Absenting themselves from the world:

She said time erases life,

He said let’s be timeless.

She said it would be dark,

He said he hated daylight.

She said it would be lonely,

He said he prostituted his mind talking to people.

She said he is mad,

He said may God preserve him from sanity.

She said: God will.

And God will.

account_box More About

N.N. (‘Nick’) Trakakis is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University, and also writes, edits and translates poetry. His publications in the area of philosophy include ‘The God Beyond Belief’ (Springer, 2007) and ‘The End of Philosophy of Religion’ (Continuum, 2008). In the area of poetry, he has edited ‘Southern Sun, Aegean Light: Poetry of Second-Generation Greek-Australians’ (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2011); he has translated from the Greek Tasos Leivaditis’ ‘The Blind Man with the Lamp’ (Denise Harvey Publications, 2014); and he has published several collections of his own poetry, the most recent being ‘After Life’ (2016).