Alien Light


In Lapithos

Light folds the sea in honey


Drowsy waves wash away the wedding feast.


Three days guzzling, guests crawl in sand like swine

Bulging suns burst at their eyes

Alien light

Ripens sleepers twinned in copper.



Shimmers of liquid glass

Break men in two.


Air lies like wine

Its drunken wafts wrap up the violins


Goats suckle at abandoned flutes

Gate-posts sprout shoots.


Even a priest, would take a wife in Lapithos.


Weighing down his donkey with his charm

Xenofos, ‘catch’ of the village, never caught,

Danced a giant mirror on his knee.

Proudest of gifts, hugged safe.


Framed in flashing glass, Xenofos spun songs to still the birds

Through seasick fields and skies


Rode handsome from Morphou – ‘Omorpho horko’

To be best man in Lapithos.


Lapithos – white tables lined the shore

The mirror set in sand against the tide.


Balancing a twisted handkerchief, matching palms

The groom and best man danced the bride


A fickle rush of cloud teasing the sea.


Mouthing the moon, Xenofos made songs for his friend the groom

Keeper of mad men in Lapithos.


The fiddler stitched them tight.


No one knew how, perhaps the wine had sipped their sight

Third wedding dawn, repeated in the glass

They found the best man with the bride.


Tied backwards to his donkey, drunk

They whipped him home – one week over Kyrenia’s rocks.


The donkey died. Xenofos sang on

Seeing her face daily born in sharp and shining things.


He wept over puddles, wells, cuts from broken glass

Soaking in his bride.


The strange light in his name slipped inside his head.


Ashamed, the father turned his picture to the wall, hung glass in black

Gave him away, to the only place for lunatics he knew


In Lapithos.



Prickly Pears

Prickly pears suited Christos

He too sucked his years from dead ground.


Parents nameless

Nourished by priests –

Who planted Christ in his name

Picked him a wormy wife –

He carried God on his shoulders

Worshipped the scorching air


A sparse-bearded, black-bible man

Riddled with prayer.


His house slept six dowryless daughters

Nothing more


Even when passing barefoot, the tail of his vrakka swaggered

And swept his steps clear.


But cactus crowded his land.


In the cool before sunrise, treading thorns

He fished for fruits with split bamboo.

Balanced in brown paper

Carved into liquid coals.


He stood with the sun at noon

Beside his handcart, selling for two piastres:

“Siga … Baboutso-siga … ”


He burned.

His fruit bathed in a pail.


Life stretched –

Until the night the cutting wind slid down the mountains

Scythed his cactus clean.


Stung in sleep, shrieking thorns

Slammed against glass

Christos stuttered naked into the storm


His mouth vinegar

Teeth clenched skulls


Torrents baptised the barrels of his gun


His forefinger crossed the trigger.


He aimed his soul at some point


Only Christos saw


The twelve-bore

Boomed through God.



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