Friday, February 27, 2015

Handful of a man, a mountain

Handful of a man, a mountain

He's sitting in the front row. I don't know how the words sound to him through the hearing aid -- perhaps like the sea, perhaps like winter wind on roof tiles, perhaps like the crystal of stalactite in caves.

He's small, like the old-time people in ancient coffins. He says goodnight and leaves, bones tucked in pants and white shirt.

Salonica, Kozani, Edessa, Western and Central Macedonia; Limassol.

Eptapyrgion, Aigina, Yaros, Kefallonia, Tyrinthos, Averov Prisons. To death, to death, to death.

Dusk swallows the white shirt. The light gets smaller. I see him suddenly, returning from the innards of the night, and he is big, colossal. He carries himself on his own back. On his shoulders, the world is snowing, and the boot sinks in the mud, and the palm is acquainted with the rifle. And there is no gravity, nor night, nor sleep. Beside me, the great procession marches, voiceless. Everyone of them a mountain, on which they themselves ride. Partisans.
Text self-translated. On first encounter with Yannis Drousiotis, 96 years old, Cypriot, fighter with ELAS and the Democratic Army, arrested, imprisoned, tortured, sentenced to death thrice, released through the intercession of his father and the British authorities in colonial Cyprus, brother of Andreas Drousiotis, Spanish Civil War volunteer, killed in action on 19 October 1944. Photograph pictures him first left, in white shirt, on the day I met him, during a KKE presentation of volume on party history from 1949 to 1968, held in Limassol, Cyprus.

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