Glimpsed from the enjambment of my desk
against a fifth-floor window of the daily press,
the slum-dwellings of yesteryear leer
into shabby alleys: grimy terracotta tiles,
arthritic balconies; ashen walls homogenised
within a greyly toxic pall.
Somewhere beyond jumbles of sad buildings,
tawdry neighbourhoods that house
dejection’s pimps and whores,
the mitred tip of Likavittos, crested by
St George’s church, shades to violet from lilac,
lit by a Rose Madder sky.
Evening waiting in the wings
releases arcs and loops of bats,
Escher-stencilled silhouettes of owls,
the city’s epic sigh, disgorging the nocturnal
tide of pleasure-seeking locust hordes –
scavengers and streetwalkers and overlords.
Note: Kathimerini – meaning ‘daily’ – is in fact
the leading daily newspaper of Greece.
For decades it was housed near a seedy
inner-Athens precinct known as Omonia.