all those times no one’s ever around
“how can you breathe in here?” she once asked, curiously
all the moments lasting an eternity at some other plane of existence
countless empty bottles decorate an apartment soon to be abandoned
can we find each other once more
let me explain
apologize for the first time
old flames reignited in the distance
black smoke in the air
the forest is finally devoured
an earthquake swallowing up the town
surrounded by an infernal wall and nothing else
from afar visible the airplanes of the enemy approaching fast
are we ever to discover sanity?
it was lost inside a bottle our love
cockroaches in beer glasses
drinking nonetheless for there’s no money for more
ants swimming in bourbon bottles
drowning insects and they’re gulped down
we escaped the tears
through the phone sorrow voices and sobbing eyes
never there to catch your tears in
bottles of wine swimming ashore
coming moans from empty beds
bodies underneath blankets of snow
persistent fights for survival
turtles pissing on nameless graves
dirty needles underneath the couch
bags of blow on the coffee table
nothing but the page
doors and windows locked
nothing but a candle
there was never a way out
only the entrance
“how can you live like this?”
she asked multiple times
she found out the harsh way
a runaway train
BAM the end
it was all over
we fucked it up
and there was nothing we would have done differently
even if it meant
reaching a heaven
that does not even exist
outside an empty
bottle of bourbon
The Mauve Moon
lonely wolves howl at a mauve moon
and marauders raze ancient landmarks.
stare up at the starless sky, the great green mushroom—all gone,
nothing left but the final wails of unborn souls trapped in limbo.
sour grapes turned into sweet wine, bottles emptied horrid taste,
gruesome realities and morbid details, nets made of fire catching
the rational men. eradicate, destroy, rebuild; what a fine writing
on a half-ruined brick wall in the middle of the ocean.
look down, all the towers emerge from under the sea—old homes,
now belonging to fish and mermaids. Ulysses’ sirens reappear,
under the liquor store they swim, amidst the shelves they sing.
if you are, die; if you think, you don’t exist. Voltaire’s ghost
promenades in the ruins, somewhere in the distance
Aristotle’s swilling Thunderbird.
and we’re still around—in the liquor store the clerk polishes a shotgun,
two kids shotgun beer in the back alley.
and the mauve moon howls, its echo shattering what little
remains of the
Hollow Dream from a broken bed
years chasing around the same fantasy,
an impossible dream doomed to remain in its stillborn grave;
every tiny step towards it equals five big steps away from the end of the tunnel,
it’s alright, all these years
chasing the same old dragon, through various means,
some legal, most illegal,
indecency, debauchery, immodesty, everything done by the book
of hell, and yet
all the rulebooks in the world will not provide an answer,
all the libraries on the planet do not contain the one simple answer
so desperately needed.
it’s okay, she used to tell me back when we lived together
and watched wrestling all day and night long emptying cases of beer
and bourbon bottles; we binged ROH, PWG, CZW, WWE, NJPW, ICW, etc. etc…
goes on and on, we lay on the fold-out blue couch, holding hands, her head
on my shoulder, we kissed, watched, smoked, drank… now,
she’s in a nameless grave somewhere in Aarhus, I couldn’t even
go to leave a flower when I moved away.
only the yellow pages I threw on the coffin that fateful Sunday afternoon, I was so
drunk I didn’t even know where I was; I only knew why I was there. all
I needed, after all. nothing else could matter; nothing else
ever mattered since then.
the dream still plagues me while
I look everywhere (in street corners, cheap motels, expensive strip-clubs)
for a pair of eyes to remind me of hers. nothing.
only cheap replacements, cold embraces, fallen angels that only last
from dusk till dawn.
one day I may make it (as long as John Martin’s soul is still alive in some
starving editor somewhere in another skid row) and then I’ll go on with the clichés,
“I never gave up, I followed the impossible dream, struggled yet made it”
and I’ll know I’m lying my ass off; I gave up the day I drew my first breath.
I gave up when she exhaled for the last time. I give up whenever I get a rejection slip.
I gave up when I moved to Aarhus. I gave up when I moved away from Aarhus.
I give up every single second I’m breathing; even now, as I type this poem
that will either remain unread or will be in future anthologies I’ll never see,
let alone curate. and it’s alright, either way. I gave up a long time ago,
and tomorrow I’ll give up again, and again.
and the day after.
the impossible dream; no fuel to keep me going,
nothing to make me push forth. more obstacles,
no strength left to jump over them and reach the finish line.
carry me away, I’ve given up;
wheel me out of the track, of the world, of the universe…
I’ve never started, so I even failed at giving up.
it lives on cocktail napkins of dim lit joints in the worst alleys
where the worst of humanity hides, where they’re tossed to save
the rest from seeing them—lounges are good for dancing, for
meeting that sweet young woman to take your heart and keep it for a while.
a dive, a real goddamn rundown dive that reeks of dried urine and
cheap booze and even cheaper junk cooked down to being genocidal,
is the birthplace of literature, of poetry—sterile classrooms are good
for bestselling lists; in the dive
lines are written with real blood, the sweat and tears are not because
of a malfunctioning air-conditioning unit but from breaking your back
for two green beers
through cheap booze, rough women, and southpaw fighters you discover that
the strongest lines reside in weak loves and cold embraces and prepaid kisses
it’s the dreams that die with the first ray of sunlight that form
the poetry to inspire the real people of the world—poems of
cheap thrills, cheaper drugs, and plenty of booze, for people
living in alleys and under bridges, for those breaking their backs so that
students can rally for their safe spaces and their comfort puppies
and their pronouns it’s a simple world, cry loud enough you’ll be heard,
but build the foundations so the skyscraper don’t come down on
our heads and you can go wither in the dark corner don’t worry you
won’t be remembered no one gives a shit because you’re you
but not special like us
Kentucky rotgut in the lowball pencil on the napkin and someone’s
calling his wife a whore three booths down, somebody else is punching
the walls and two junkies play darts with their spikes.
aspiring heroes give out their first cry under
flickering fluorescent lights, they burn down words
and meanings—come look at the new heroes, they’ll
dig up the old and burn whatever’s left—they’re here
to save us, burning down the towns, shooting down
phallus shaped airplanes, while ships go down, submarines
grow wings—he stepped into the empty dive, ordered
double rotgut, seeking strength to do what had to be done—graphite
shelters get crowded, gunshots over bunk beds—canned beans
used for trade, a fifth of vodka costs a kidney—nothing left, it
all went to few hands, the many lie in dead volcanoes—boats
anchor amidst schools of sharks, away from mushrooms—something
in the air, a mist, a ball of fire—here’s the end! another crazy man with
sandwich plates screams, for once he’s right—villains live, heroes die—it goes
vice versa, too
George Gad Economou holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Science and resides in Athens, Greece, freelancing his way to a new place. His novella, Letters to S., was published in Storylandia Issue 30 and his short stories and poems have appeared in literary magazines, such as Adelaide Literary Magazine, and his first poetry collection, Bourbon Bottles and Broken Beds, is slated for release in 2021 by Adelaide Books.