Sunday, June 15, 2008

There is adolescence, in loss even. (Manos Hadjidakis: in memoriam)

People normally memorize national days, birthdays of themselves and other trivial but beloved beings and forthcoming holiday schedules. Memory is frequently treated like a rusty dustbin. Personally I try to memorize the dates of born feelings, because I need to watch them growing and entering different age groups. Infantile at the beginning, I mean full of strong and genuine impulses. Childish with the uncompromising will to learn and expand their world. Adolescent with the confusion between their newly captured realm and the promising sparkle of dreams. Other stages follow as well. They also go through periods of schooling, of professionalism, of withdrawal, of blank routine.

Such a date is June 15th to me: It is the day that Manos Hadjidakis died in 1994. I will not forget the scene: I heard the news on the radio, probably the "Paratiritis" broadcasting service. I turned on the television, and there on the screen he was, hastily covered with a blanket, on the way of the ambulance to the hospital. The video just confirmed the news. I believe that with the exception of Cavafy, no one took me generously by hand to show me around, to teach, to instruct, to modify me thoroughly, or to make a "me" out of so much common sense that results in people colorless to others and, basically, colorless to themselves. I cried for 3 days in a row, according to heathen and non-heathen traditions, and I got scared: how life would now be without the teacher? It was not only his music, his articles and interviews, but also his strict way in creating quality and uncovering artistic and societal cheapness.
Eventually he has remained with me all along, while I have forgotten most of my academic teachers, even their parodies.
Fourteen years later, I watch the feeling of loss entering adolescence. It becomes better in sports, it recites poems and writes its shivering words in hesitant love letters.
He wrote:
All revolutions end up possessing irresponsible power. It is common knowledge that such power produces a form of Justice far from the aspirations and objectives of a revolution. People that emerge from a revolution have the makings of those who make their exit or are defeated ... You need a sound education to endure the notion of power and success.

…Recognizes only what serves it and adulates it. It always was and still is anti-cultural.

… I got up from the piano and went towards the mirror.
Beaming with satisfaction, I saw my image holding peacock plumes and summer’s fresh fruit. And I said to myself: I am the Heavenly Lottery Ticket Seller. I dole out numbers to fairies and angels. The winning number means copulation. A fluid basis for creativity. And straightaway I embarked upon my greatest undertaking. I distributed my lottery tickets among the galaxies and in infinity. Thus, no one will again be able to recreate, to do good – as they say – or bad. A wasteful decision, but the world is trifling away.
I am saying all this for the young to hear, for them to likewise distribute their lottery tickets wherever and whenever they can. Not to allow the hoi polloi
(the crowd) to profiteer. This way we will make them live in fear of us. Who? Us poets. Since they cannot stash us away in a drawer, no matter what they control or make provisions for, these upstart hoi polloi .
They stand in awe of our refusal to be filed, classified, rated and numbered. They stand in awe of our refusal to join the ranks of those whose hands, when they are sleeping, lie under or over the quilt. Because our own hands, in sleep, are free to paint the winds with the colours and shapes of birds, placing us in perpetuity in the immortal and erotic guise of the Heavenly Lottery Ticket Seller.

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