On the Banks of the Eurotas

Golden Greek Warrior

Oh waters that I shall never see --
the gleaming eye, crystalline iris --
the two great kings, the branded helots --
square monuments and grey olive leaves
the dry heat stills my bones.
My cracking knees pin my felt cloak
as I crouch near a boulder from the sun,
much the dawdling shepherd.

Image of Greek Warrior

Light stench of parched earth...

Zeus the betrayer!
How have I savaged thee?

My heart crushes itself.
My nails scrape against my brandished scars --
my right hand twitches as I remember...
How could I count the bodies --
puffed faces, bloated guts,
roasting in the sky’s bizarre flame?
But I did find my friend,
and washed his shit smeared thighs.
I brushed the horse hairs on his helmet.
His broken spear lays next to him,
and now he strides immortal in Attic stone.

Greek Warrior in Stone

Harsh Rhetra, I cannot equal thee!
Tyrtaeus, your lost words would silence me.
Listen! The rivulets rile the shore,
the slight collapsing crush snapping
like blood-bubbles out a skewered trachea.

No walls, not for Dorian hegemons...

My index tip retraces the protruding lip
of my dull brown water cup.

How can I care?

As we pass from anxiety to regret,
so the Eurotas scars the plain.

I remember too, his body glowed
the olive oil and clay dust gleamed
in victorious light at Delphi--
he shone like Apollo! Delight!
His spirit leapt to the cheering mass
as his Doric rival writhed in his
dark and broken fingered shame.

Image of Greek Warrior with Spear

How can I cease to care?

Though the rill rends dry,
the naked shores remain.


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