Sunday, May 31, 2015

Van Damme Unchained


 In ports, along with....
                   [some hooker or stripper,
      next to our half paranoid skipper,
      dog Van Damme

                    was constantly chained....

      One day it seemed to me
                          as if he complained
      for his own ten-year brutal captivity.
      and about the captain's insensitivity....

      The unhappy dog showed love for me,
      an unknown feeling to me, long at sea.

                 SOMEWHERE IN FAR EAST

The fierce clash of our ship
was for the psychopathic

            [captain his last trip.
At the next port

   [they fired the bastard home anyhow.

In the morning we saw

                     [with surprise at the bow
Van Damme abandoned and chained...

I was very very distressed and pained
because the ship owner

      [decided to repatriate all the crew
and the news that the dog

  [would be euthanized would be true...

He looked as if he understood the situation.....
I could not take anymore,

                          [and decided his salvation.


     I think,  I suppose,  I trow
     that Cathy does not know,
     which one

           [of Van Damme's two eyes
     she likes most.....
                        but she really tries..

     It's almost certain

                      she loves the black
     but the other,
the blue,
                       [makes her whack.


Quietly and as he trained
an evening where it rained,
to annoy me refrained,
and in the sky
he regained
the right  to live unchained.. 

* Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work // page c43 // e-mail: //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//


* Heterochromia: Eyes of Different Colors in Dogs
'Heterochromia' is a term used to describe variations in the color of the iris, the colored portion of the eye. 'Heterochromia' is also used to describe a multi-colored iris within the same eye, or two eyes with distinctly different colored irises. This condition can occur in dogs and cats. Individuals with irises of different colors are common in many dog breeds including Siberian Huskies, Great Danes, Dalmatians, and Malamutes. Vision is completely normal in these individuals and heterochromia is not considered a medical problem but rather a normal variation in eye color.

  the tales of a greek sailor  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Drop dead gorgeous

956 AD Eastern half of the Roman Empire

    Drop dead gorgeous, green eyes, long hair curled,
        Theaphano, the most beautiful woman in the world ..

        Romanus, the son of the emperor Constantine the seventh,
        fell in love again, this time it was the eleventh ...

        Theophano was a Greek name...
        (Recent centuries in the Empire the Greek language formal became).

Troubadours praised the beauty of the bride in the whole territory.       956 AD
Unfortunately this is a drama, not a love story.

Soon her beauty dominated the palace. 
Soon everyone suspected that she was hiding ambition and malice ...

The emperor was assassinated by unknown poison.                              959 AD

Only you had motive, there was no other reason,
said unto her, Romanus the successor,
who in a few hours would be crowned new Emperor ..

                              TWO YEARS LATER

Glorious general Phokas re conquers Saracen Emirate of Crete...
The triumphal procession passes in front of the street,
and already Theophano devises new scam (how to cheat).

Like all men around her, General Nikephoros Phokas soon fell in love. 

Soon Theophano poised her husband, another one rid of.                   963 AD

Violent Fhokas becomes emperor and then,
unrivaled beauty, gorgeous Theophano, is a bride again...

                              SIX YEARS LATER

Her beauty had begun to leave,
when that fateful Christmas Eve
she first met her one great love....
General John I Tzimiskes...
    [a nightmare or a gift from heaven above?   

Soon the two lovers organized a kind of coup
and murdering Phokas accomplished what they                                                           [pursue.     969 AD

After a while Tzimiskes became the new                                                                          [emperor....

He never loved Theophano, to him it was an                                                                   [adventure.

To calm the people who blamed them both for the                                                                      [murder,

Theophano was sent to exile on his own order ...

                              A FEW YEARS LATER

   But the beautiful and equally intelligent had a hidden player..
      Her son, the conqueror, known with the name "the Bulgar-slayer"..

      Soon he became emperor and made sure
      his criminal mother, no justice for the people, a detour.

Though the western half of the Roman Empire crumbled    
and fell in 476, the eastern half survived for 1,000 more     
years, spawning a rich tradition of art, literature and          
learning and serving as a military buffer between the states
of Europe and the threat of invasion from Asia.                   
The eastern Empire finally fell in 1453, after an Ottoman   
army stormed Constantinople of Constantine XI.              

Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

Νο: 42

* The language of the Byzantine Greeks since the age of Constantine had been Greek, although Latin was the language of the administration. From the reign of Emperor Heraclius (reigned 610–641), Greek was the predominant language amongst the populace and also replaced Latin in administration. At first the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character, but following the loss of the non-Greek speaking provinces it came to be dominated by the Byzantine Greeks. Over time, the relationship between them and the West, particularly with Latin Europe, deteriorated.
Relations were further damaged by a schism between the Catholic West and Orthodox East that led to the Byzantine Greeks being labeled as heretics. Throughout the later centuries of the Byzantine Empire and particularly following the coronation of Charlemagne (reigned as king of the Franks 768–814) in Rome in 800, the Byzantine Greeks were not considered by Western Europeans as heirs of the Roman Empire, but rather as part of an Eastern kingdom made up of Greek peoples. However the Byzantine Empire could claim to be the Roman Empire, continuing the unbroken line of succession of the Roman emperors.

*The story   is based on the Kostas Kyriazis book "Theophano" 

*The Greek historical fiction writer Kostas Kyriazis (b. 1920) wrote a biography called Theophano (1963), followed by the 1964 Basil Bulgaroktonus on her son. As depicted in these books, Theophano was indeed guilty of all the killings attributed to her in her lifetime, and the heritage of a mother who killed both his father and his stepfather caused her son Basil to distrust women and avoid marriage himself.

*Basil II  (Greek: Βασίλειος Β΄, Basileios II; 958 – 15 December 1025) was a Byzantine Emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025. He was known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his supposed ancestor, Basil I the Macedonian.

The early years of his long reign were dominated by civil war against powerful generals from the Anatolian aristocracy. Following their submission, Basil oversaw the stabilization and expansion of the eastern frontier of the Byzantine Empire, and above all, the final and complete subjugation of Bulgaria, the Empire's foremost European foe, after a prolonged struggle. For this he was nicknamed by later authors as "the Bulgar-slayer" (Greek: Βουλγαροκτόνος, Boulgaroktonos), by which he is popularly known. At his death, the Empire stretched from Southern Italy to the Caucasus and from the Danube to the borders of Palestine, its greatest territorial extent since the Muslim conquests four centuries earlier.

 the tales of a greek sailor

Friday, May 15, 2015

The tarnished stars above the names...

                                                  Jennifer Jones in "Duel in the Sun"

But on his grave they can't explain    
the tarnished star above the name.... 
Lorne Greene       

The cowboy Alan Ladd,
the punisher.. of the bad...               *movie : The Big Land
The invincible Apache
Burt Lancaster,
              [the scratchy.  
The bounty hunter*
            [Steve McQueen,                 *Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV series)
the fast Ringo,
          [the Lorne Greene.

The dueller in the sun,
Gregory Peck*,
         the number one.                     *Duel in the Sun
The man with true grit,
John Wayne,
           (they all admit).                     *'True Grit'

With those,
from Athens to Texas, flit,
even today with my whit...

Those of my childhood heroes,
those of my imagination

      Now in the time of computers,
      those old friends,
                            [those shooters
      are back
             with memories of faces
      in a large number of places. 

As a kid I wanted to be a cowboy ...
My mother smiling was saying...
                               [surely my boy,
but you need to go to Texas for it,
and it's not someone I would permit.

I responded to her that I had friends,
cowboys and Sheriffs,
                               [grouped in tens
and another hundred will help....
Children's innocence
   [and intelligence of a whelp..

   When I grew up I left my home
                               (a camper trailer)
     and became a professional sailor.
     I visited dozens of ports
                                 [and one day
     we anchored in Galveston Bay.

     Mother I'm in Texas I cried...
     but to find my friends
                          [in vain I tried.

     Her voice came from heaven sad.
     Sorry son,
          [but the news is bad, very bad.
     All your old friends are here
                                          [in heaven above
     Alive is only you and the dream you love ..

* Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work // page c41 // e-mail: //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//


Classifying Jennifer Jones has always been a problem, for feminists in particular. Duel in the Sun inspired Laura Mulvey to re-examine some knotty issues of gender identification, while Molly Haskell has written that Jones was unreal, “a confirmation of women’s worst fears of men’s most lubricious fantasies.” For Haskell, in other words, she was a man’s woman.
But what exactly does it mean to be a man’s woman, in the particular way that Jennifer Jones was? She’s neither tomboy nor career woman, and she couldn’t be further from a Hawksian sport. But, at least in the first half of her career, neither did she play a mother or sister or wife. Her gender role is formless, pure floating femininity—ungraspable, sometimes inadvertently smothering, but also prone to reverie, and teasing us with the possibility of transcendence. She apparently embodied these qualities in life as well. “Jennifer was able to merge her identity with the man she was with,” notes an unnamed friend in Edward Epstein’s Jones biography. “Her femininity was such that she allowed a man to feel more masculine.”


the tales of a greek sailor

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Born in the same year

     Both of us were born in the same year ...
       Both after four years,
                [in the action of war we premiere.
       She had the ability to sail and to fight.
       I could walk and I could fear the night.

Soon she gained such fame
that the whole world
                   [knew her name.
She was the protagonist of the Pacific
and the younger
         [regard her as something mythic...

She was the hostess when
       [an empire signed submission,
while I was still a child in transition.

In the sixth year we first met.
I approached her,
   [with a boat an idea to get.

The glorious and famous battleship,
stopped for a few days of her trip
and came into the port of Piraeus*             *port of Athens
                                  to visit and refuel.                  
Βoats surrounded the Pacific winner,
                         [the winner of that duel...

The captain did not allow visitors to board
Very few boarded,
                    [I was small and was ignored.

   We met a second time...
                                    [with mediator Tommy Lee Jones,
     in the film "Under Siege", with well-known actors,
                                                       [and some unknowns.

The years went by, they went fast...
I became a sailor,
 [both our lives at sea was passed.

One thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight.
Both tired and aged... we had a common fate ...
Both in the same year, we retired from the action.
Coincidence...? madness...? imagination..?



* Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work // page c40 // e-mail: //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//


Missouri was ordered in 1940 and commissioned in June 1944. 
In the Pacific Theater of World War II she fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and shelled the Japanese home islands, and she fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. 
She was decommissioned in 1955 into the United States Navy reserve fleets (the "Mothball Fleet"), but reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, and provided fire support during Operation Desert Storm in January/February 1991.
Missouri received a total of 11 battle stars for service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf, and was finally decommissioned on 31 March 1992, but remained on the Naval Vessel Register until her name was struck in January 1995. In 1998, she was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association and became a museum ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

tales of a greek sailor

Friday, May 8, 2015

Come and take it

 Molon labe (come and take it)
In college football, the Michigan State
Spartans football team wore alternate 
jersey featuring the phrase (Molon labe) 
their 2011 rivalry game with 
the Michigan Wolverines.

               An Ancient Ultimatum

  We Greeks are patient to a fault,
     but to your ultimatums we say no, it must halt
     as we have shown in the centuries of our history..

     In the Second World War, four years before the American victory,

     we answered no, in the ultimatum of the Germans, and we fought.

Leonidas monument 
at Thermopylae
   We Greeks in such moments have only one thought,
     the "Molon labe” meaning "come and take them".
     The Molon labe of Spartans to barbarians, is our eternal gem....

     For the sacrifice of the brave three hundred
     and of their king Leonidas, humanity often wondered,
     why since the Greeks knew they would be killed, just hand it over?
     Leonidas like a king had the option not to fight the Persians moreover.

  We Greeks, if we were saying that the commands 
                                                                     [of our ancestors are voided,
     the sacrifice of seven hundred thousand Greeks could be avoided,
     during the Second World War, but this historic phrase
     for twenty five centuries in our hearts stays..

Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

Νο: 39

* "Molon labe" is the motto of
United States Special Operations
Command Central (SOCCENT).



* The expression "Come and take it" 
was a slogan in the Texas Revolution.


* The words ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ as they are inscribed on the marble of the Leonidas Monument at Thermopylae

Molon labe (Greek: μολὼν λαβέ), meaning "come and take them", is a classical expression of defiance. When the Persian armies demanded that the Greeks surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae, King Leonidas I responded with this phrase. It is an exemplary use of a laconic phrase.

The phrase was reportedly the defiant response of King Leonidas I of Sparta to Xerxes I of Persia when Xerxes demanded that the Greeks lay down their arms and surrender. This was at the onset of the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC). Instead, the Greeks held Thermopylae for three days. Although the Greek contingent was defeated, they inflicted serious damage on the Persian army. Most importantly, this delayed the Persians' progress to Athens, providing sufficient time for the city's evacuation to the island of Salamis. Though a tactical defeat, Thermopylae served as a strategic and moral victory, inspiring the Greek forces to crush the Persians at the Battle of Salamis later the same year and the Battle of Plataea one year later.

The source for this quotation is Plutarch, Apophthegmata Laconica, 51.11. This work by Plutarch is included among the Moralia, a collection of works attributed to him but outside the collection of his most famous works, the Parallel Lives.


* Replica of the Gonzalez Flag at the Texas State Capitol
Molon labe has been repeated by many later generals and politicians in order to express an army's or nation's determination not to surrender. The motto ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ is on the emblem of the Greek First Army Corps, and is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT). The expression "Come and take it" was a slogan in the Texas Revolution.

In the struggle for the independence of Cyprus , Molon labe has been used once again in Greek history, on 3 March 1957 during a battle in Cyprus between members of the EOKA organization and the British Army. After someone had betrayed his location, the British forces surrounded the secret hideout of the second-in-command of EOKA, Grigoris Afxentiou, near the Machairas Monastery. Inside the hideout were Afxentiou and four of his followers. Realizing he was outnumbered, Afxentiou ordered them to surrender themselves whilst he barricaded himself for a fight to the death. The British asked Afxentiou to come out and surrender. He replied with the phrase Molon labe, imitating the ancient Spartans. Unable to get him out, and after sustaining casualties, the British set fire to the hideout, and he was burnt alive. The British buried his body in the yard of the central jail of Lefkosia, where it lies today.

In the United States of America, both the original Greek phrase and its English translation are often heard from pro Second Amendment activists as a defense of the right to keep and bear arms. It began to appear on web sites in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In the Second Amendment or firearms freedom context, the phrase expresses the notion that the person uttering the phrase is a strong believer in these ideals and will not surrender their firearms to anyone, especially to governmental authority. Challenge coins similar to those used by military service members have been created with the Molon Labe text and firearm images.


the tales of a greek Sailor