V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





When you arrived in Athens
you discovered the Acropolis 

was never named after a diner
down on Second Avenue and
the Parthenon could never fit in
your hand the way it always did
with coffee to go in a paper cup.
Your hotel was just blocks away.
At night you sat on the roof staring
at the ancient ruin, lights shining
on it—lit up like an old man
on good wine.

The next day you toured the Acropolis
so amazed you kept taking photos
of the Berilie gates, a few
columns, next the east cella, another
of a blonde in tight shorts.  You pick
up a stone to put in your pocket
as a souvenir and to weigh you
down against the wind that kept
knocking your cap off like a bully
from the grammar school near plaka.
Below the east pediment stronger
gusts blow dust off the ground
spinning it into a statue of Athena
who stares into your face until
another gust blows her way.

In the Acropolis museum
a young statue of a sixth century
boy holds onto a calf that is
draped over his shoulders like
a sweater.  You admire him since
you were never able to hold onto
anything for that long in your life.
Near him is a maiden with the kind
of curves in her stone you couldn't help
noticing.  Even with her hands missing
along with a bit of nose, she still
looks hot and hasn't put on an ounce
of marble around thr hips for centuries.

Outside you look down at Athens
that in the distance under the bright sun
looks like a path made of white pebbles
and beyond it the sea.  You decide
to go for a swim and now
that you are convinced it takes more
than one god to run a universe,
you are able to jump up on a wall,
step down on rooftops and stroll
all the way to the Aegean.   

© by Kevin Pilkington


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