Darkness

Suspended


light-in-the-darkness

Suspended by Maria Fokas

Sweet scented air,

In that flawless darkness.

Forever blazing wild;

Across the marauder sky.

A pulse in the break of quiet,

Of summer sadness hum.

Sweet scented air,

Between the folds of game.

Cities with dimmed lights,

Fading away.

Sweet scented air,

In my suspended hour.

© Maria Fokas/January 13th 2017/All Rights Reserved –

Photo by: light-in-the-darkness | Source of Inspiration

Underwater Waves [3]


Harry Fayt

                                           [Flash Fiction Chapter Three]

Underwater Waves by Maria Fokas

The waves pursue your thoughts; they call you their master; their muse. They use words like, unique and genuine. They say, your beauty is rare, and your kindness is precious. Wild with fervor, they play with your mood in the dark of the night. They wet their lips with the thought of your aching needs; they tell you stories, claiming to have seen in the depths of your eyes. They captivate your essence in your every sigh; they wait for you to come in their dreams; they absorb your every gesture. They listen to the rhythm of your breathing; they tell you to let go of everything you knew to be true.

When your eyes turn away, they plead with you to not fear their erotic whispers; they tell you to close your eyes; to feel their energy as they caress your weaknesses. They promise to never harm you; they want only to protect you. They count your every smile; while you thought you only had one, they tell you otherwise. “Trust me, and succumb to your needs,” they whisper in the moonlit world they’ve created for you. You feel their pain, and promise to stay.

When you have proven your loyalty to the waves . . . to him . . . he begins the subtle questions; like, “Do you want me?” You say, “Yes.” Then he wants to know more;“but do you need me?” That question frightens you at first. You explain how important your freedom is to you; that expectations hinder love; that you don’t want to think about the future; only the now exists. This idea ignites a craze in him. He tells you that it will all turn into a need; and you must allow it to happen.

And as you lose bits and pieces of yourself each day, consumed and mesmerized by him, you become vulnerable to his every need. Soon enough, you’ve lost the power to protect yourself from all the things that make no sense. So you stop questioning the chaos and the weirdness, and succumb to his passions; Now you lose your moral values. You stop asking about the other woman he was playing with before he found you; the one he called “mad with fury”. You don’t question his games with women when you have to disappear; nor do you ask for explanations when you return. He tells you that all the others are merely a means to communicate with the outside world, and nothing more. Then he tells you stories about obsessive women he had to throw out of his sea.

 

To be Continued . . .

 

© Maria Fokas/May 16th 2016/All Rights Reserved – Photograph Credits: Harry Fayt

 

Underwater Waves [2]


 Harry Fayt 2 new                                           [Flash Fiction - Chapter Two]

Underwater Waves by Maria Fokas

Every time you attempt to bring yourself out of that deadly rest, the waves entice you to stay; and you fall back into the depths of their darkness. And with each fall, you lose more and more of who you are. Then you lose some more; first your time, then your friends. You begin to isolate yourself from everyone who loves you. They don’t understand how beautiful the waves are. You keep telling them how much the waves need you, and how you need them; and that if you ever left, the waves would be destroyed; words whispered to you in moments of passion, and times they feared you would disappear. But your friends are reluctant; they disapprove. They are unwilling to understand the beauty that you feel; the alluring-moonlit world you have fallen into; the taste of ecstasy. They cannot savor that soft melody of sadness of the waves’ soul, yearning to survive from madness. Your words are lost on them. You hope some day they too will know. But you will not let them take away this gift from you. You build the strongest walls to keep them away, and succumb to your waves as they move according to the moon, and the melody of the winds.

 

To be continued . . .

© Maria Fokas/May 15th 2016/All Rights Reserved – Photograph Credits Harry Fayt

Underwater Waves [1]


paco peregrín photography 22                                      [Flash Fiction - Chapter One]

Underwater Waves by Maria Fokas

How long can you stay under water before it is the end of you?

Can you get used to the pain to the point where you don’t feel it anymore?

As long as there is hope that you will breathe again, you struggle to survive under the waves.

You know that if you stay too long you will suffocate, but you fall into a trance.

You numb your lucid voice which tells you that you will never survive the waves.

If you wait too long, you will never swim back up to the surface.

 

To be continued . . .

 

 

© Maria Fokas/May 13th 2016/All Rights Reserved – Photographer Credits: Paco Peregrín

 

Hamartia


Earth Day

Hamartia by Maria Fokas

An eternity of holding onto the edge of her thoughts –

She leads me into her sorrows beneath her celebrated joys.

We play in the waves of her mood with the changing of her seasons.

I lose myself in her cries, when old scars hinder her needs.

Those gestures that delay her sleep, I can never change.

“What burns inside your heart today?” she whispers in the morning bask.

And I am grateful for her generous touch;

In all the memories of my todays,

Knowing she will never miss me –

In the chaos of her tomorrows.

 

Dedicated to the Earth Day

PicMonkey Collage TREE and DAD

At the foot of my father's birth place stands a one thousand-year old Tree. 

© Maria Fokas/April 25th 2016/All Rights Reserved –

Escape


Giovanni final 2

Escape by Maria Fokas

Surrendering,

The heart believes

Reflections in deceit;

Piercing into a mist for truth,

Redemption comes with a kiss.

 

© Maria Fokas/April 3rd 2016/All Rights Reserved – Credits: Photo © Giovanni del Papa

Everything and Nothing – Day Two


eternal love 2

Thought of the Day by Maria Fokas

A Stolen Childhood 

Does life repeat itself? In the news this morning, I heard that bullying is now a criminal offense, but in the States, all those years ago, it wasn’t. No one likes talking about having been bullied. Sharing moments of being degraded is seldom comforting. Maybe it’s difficult to talk about things we believe we have no control over. Hearing the news brought back a memory; not as cruel in comparison to many stories out there, but to a nine-year old, there is no such thing as a comparison to a worse story.

My story has to do with a clan of three, and stones. For a long time, walking home from school was terrifying. When those stones hit my body, it would feel like bee-stings; I even pretended that they were – but what stung the most was their mocking giggles. They wanted me to cry, but I never gave them that. So many times, I wanted to turn around and face them, to ask them why, but I never did. And when I’d arrive home, my mother would always ask me the same question, and my reply would always be, “Fine” – And on random days, I wondered; which part was my fault.

Most people describe their childhood as the golden years. Does such a time exist? For me, it was a time I wanted to escape from; and although I went on to Junior-high, to become an all-star athlete, those detrimental moments built walls which never came down.

To a child, the first years of their life seems to drag on forever; We cannot assume that they’ll eventually ask for help. Children are not a miniature version of us; they live in a different world, which they eventually grow out of. And if you believe that their future is essentially determined by the University they’re accepted into, I beg to differ.

Catalytic moments: Go back; a child is creating sentences to discover meanings in an overwhelming world. Go back; a child can only feel their worth by looking into the eyes of others. Go back; your child cannot find the words to tell you that they are ashamed.

So it’s not when they’re choosing the majors of their University degrees which determines their future; it’s when you’re holding their hand as they’re struggling to belong to a world they don’t understand.

– Life doesn’t have to repeat the parts that are broken.


© Maria Fokas/March 9th 2016/All Rights Reserved –

The Massacre of Kalavryta


The Massacre of Kalavryta

[Republishing with additions due to requests. A heart-felt thank you to all who asked for a longer version of this story. I'd also like to thank every single one of you for your visits!

The Massacre of Kalavryta by Maria Fokas

– I will feel my way into it again, as I do every time I recall her story. We sat on the deck of her summer beach home, with the endless sea stretched out before us. A vintage white table set between us, covered with a fragment of a past time; it was a delicate ivory laced tablecloth her grandmother had knitted in her youth. The soft ocean hushed between the faint melodies of singing birds. I could feel the sea air caressing my skin. She smiled and then gestured to the tray on the table; homemade cookies and iced-lemon-tea filled the air with a scent of hospitality. “How many times I’ve told my grandma’s story,” she whispered, as she picked up her tea, “and still it is difficult for me to bear her words,” she sighed.

– Tell me like she told you, I said, eager for her to share her story with me. I had no idea where she was about to take me; in her attempt to show me what WWII had taken from her family. The melody of singing birds and gentle ocean waves disappeared, after the first words into her story. She began:
“It was an icy cold morning, that black day, when the Germans captured our men. Every single home in the village was hammered. One by one, our men unlocked their doors, only to be dragged out into the black cold streets with their sons, while their wives pleaded for mercy. ‘Wait!’ I begged a soldier, ‘please, let me give them their coats’, but no German head turned to acknowledge me. We watched in terror, as they violently pushed our men into a line; pawns; for a game we were to lose; and as we cried out their names, they disappeared into the cold black night. The soldiers who had stayed behind, gathered all the women and children, and we were taken to the village school. They locked us in, and commanded us to keep silent. We waited in the pitch black room holding our terrified children in our arms. We knew punishment was unavoidable, since the Resistance had killed seventy-eight Germans in their attempt to free our village. My husband left the village three times with my son, so as to escape from the inevitable, but he kept coming back. I told him, not to worry, that we’d be fine as long as he was ok, but he kept coming back. In a time where one German life was equivalent to a hundred Greek lives; we should have known.

Our bodies were now numb from the cold, and the cries of our children had turned into weeping. I saw a faint light through the cracks of the locked door, and then smoke. It was coming in fast, making it difficult to breath; and in that devastating moment of end, an Austrian soldier took pity on us, and unlocked the entrance door. I felt a hand grab my arm and pull me out of that room. It was him! He came into the fire to guide us out. I saw his face. Out into the street we could now see the school burning in flames. I took his hands into mine and thanked him; I wanted to know his name, but I did not ask him. I will never forget his smile; that blessed man saved us; but it cost him his life.

By the time we arrived back to our homes, they were all up in flames. There was nothing left to do to save any of them; we were too late. Then one of the women noticed a faint red line on the ground. It was like a thin stream. It was coming down the dirt path from the hill, where they had taken our men. We followed that path and found them. There were piles and piles of bodies on the ground; wrapped in blankets. I found my father first; his glasses were on the ground, near his head – I knelt down beside him, and gently took him in my lap. I wanted to caress his face, so I pulled the blanket off his face, and that’s when I realized what they had done to my father. His skull had been axed . . . his brain fell into my lap. “

– She paused to take a breath, and I tried to hold back my tears; there was a knot in my throat; lost for words, I did not speak. She looked straight through me, into that serene sea. There it was again, the sweet hushing melody of the gentle waves. I shut my eyes, and I could now see the casualties of war, the misfortunes, the endless counting of men killed or crippled for life, in their attempt to save, or protect; to what end, and for what true purpose; men bound to a forced idea of heroism, and after their first farewell, not knowing whether they would ever see their families again. How noble an end to be torn from the fabric of life? Was this the generation gap I had been feeling in my bones every time I’d look deep inside the eyes of my father, or my grandfather? They never spoke to me of war. Maybe it was not the years between us that created the gap. Maybe, it was the tragedy they endured; those hidden stories they chose to spare us – Yes, the touch of war, which time cannot forget.

– She took a sip of her tea, and continued:
“Days later, we found out what had happened, my grandmother said. Our men were lined up and shot dead; an execution by firing squad. They called it a military justice. After the act, the squad began to head down the hill, but one of our men barely moving, reached out his hand, and in a cry of anguish pleaded for his life, ‘Please,’ he wept, ‘don’t leave us here to die, I have family in Germany.’ And that was when the soldiers took hold of their axes.”

– She paused; to wipe a tear from her cheek, then with a subtle smile, she said, “One thousand, one hundred and one men were executed in our village. Over seven hundred of them were axed on the hill that black day. Thirteen survived; having been fortunate enough to be hidden beneath the piles of corpses. My grandmother lost her father, her husband, her brother, and her son, on the 13th of December, 1943. The only family spared to her, was her three-year-old daughter; my mother. It took her years before she could speak of that day. And when they would ask her, “What did the Germans take from you?” . . .  she would say,

“My sleep . . . They took my sleep.”
© Maria Fokas/March 6th 2016/All Rights Reserved –

Featherless Wings


Mother Nature

Photograph by Maria Fokas

Featherless Wings by Maria Fokas

The branches dare to disturb;
Moving in a motion that tangles their world.
Their whispers; in the winds of passing seasons –
The fear of triumph is absent,
They are alive, that is their quest –
Conversations of love do not break their delicate wings.

Trees have wings?
Wings without feathers; fly by the scent of their leaves.
They capture the day, and stir the night.
No words to torture their souls –
They reflect on prolonged possibilities;
And drink from the songs of passers-by.

 

© Maria Fokas/ Feb 17 2016/All Rights Reserved

The Massacre of Kalavryta


kalabrita

The Massacre of Kalavryta by Maria Fokas

– I will feel my way into it again, as I do every time I recall her story. I sat on the deck of her summer beach home, with the endless sea stretched out before me. One could only hope for that moment of tranquility to last forever. A vintage white table set before me, covered with a delicate ivory laced tablecloth her grandmother had knitted decades ago; a fragment of a past time. She stepped out onto the deck to join me; holding a tray with homemade cookies, and iced-lemon-tea, filling the air with a scent of hope. She sat across from me, and smiled. We light minutes pass to listen the the soft ocean before us between the faint melody of a humming of birds. And then she spoke.  “How many times I’ve told my grandma’s story,” she whispered, as she picked up her tea; ” . . .  still difficult for me to bear her words,” she sighed. “Tell me like she told you,” I asked, eager for her to share her story with me. I had no idea where she was about to take me. WWII had left a permanent scar beneath many smiles – the past had slashed the roots of endless families; what could have been, had been hacked by unsurpassable war crimes, but her taking me there to see for myself . . . I had no idea. 

 – The melody of singing birds and gentle ocean waves disappeared, after her first words into the story, and with those words, a subtle sound of dark uncertainty. She recounted every moment, as her grandmother had shared it with her, so many times before. She began with, “It was an icy cold morning, that black day, when the Germans captured our men. Every single home in the village was hammered. One by one, our men unlocked their doors, only to be dragged out into the black cold streets, with their sons, as their wives pleaded for mercy. ‘Wait!’ I begged a soldier, ‘please, let me give them their coats’, but no German head turned to acknowledge my plea. We helplessly watched in panic, as they were all placed in a straight line; pawns; for a game they were to lose; and as we cried out their names, our men were marched out of sight. Then, the soldiers which stayed behind, gathered all the women and children, and we were taken to the village school, where they locked us in, and told to keep silent. We struggled to comfort our terrified children. We knew punishment was inevitable, since the Resistance had killed seventy-eight Germans in their attempt to free our village, but none of us could have foreseen such outcome. But we should have foreseen it; in a time where one German life was equivalent to a hundred Greek lives; it was inevitable; that was the law which WWII brought to our home.

We waited endlessly with no hope of surviving; then smoke started coming in from the cracks behind the locked door, and more cries. In our devastating moment of end, an Austrian soldier took pity on us, and unlocked the entrance door. The room was filled with such smoke that we could not see. I felt his hand grasp onto my shoulder. He came in and guided us out of our decided death. I saw his face. It was a face of an angel. Out into the street we could now see the school burning in flames. I took his hands into mine; I kissed those hands which saved all our lives. I will never forget his smile. But that blessed act of courage cost him his life.

By the time we arrived back to our homes, they were all up in flames too. One of the women noticed a red line – like a faint stream coming down the dirt path, from up the hill where our men had been taken. We followed that path, and found them. Piles, and piles, on the ground, wrapped in blankets. I found my father first, then my husband, then my brother, and last, my son. My father’s glasses were on the ground, near his body. I knelt down beside him, and gently took him in my lap. I wanted to caress his face, so I unwrapped the blanket they put him in, and realized what they had done to my father. His skull had been axed. His brain fell into my lap.”

– I struggled to hold back my tears; there was a knot in my throat; I was lost for words from the tragedy I had been taken to see. My friend looked straight through me, into that serene sea. There was a moment of silence which brought back the sweet hushing melody of the gentle waves, and I was grateful for that split moment she gave me to take it all in. I had no idea what war was; all the years of stories about the casualties of wars and their misfortunes, and the counting numbers of men killed or crippled in their attempt to save  . . . to protect . . . to what true end, and for what genuine purpose; bound to a forced idea of heroism they lose their lives. Is it for a noble end to be torn from the fabric of life, and to leave behind the tragedy for their wives and children to carry in their hearts until the end of their days? This was the generation gab I had been feeling in my bones every time I’d look deep inside the eyes of my father, and grandfather. They never spoke to me of wars but I could now see why we were so different from the elderly; it was not the years between us – It was the tragedy they had to endure – and it is in the eyes of every family which has to endure such pain. Yes, our experiences make us different but it is not necessarily the years that bring about this gap; it is also the touch of war. Those left behind will never know true tranquility again, and that darkness is hidden in their eyes, and I could now see it in my friend’s as well.

  – After she took a sip of her tea, she continued her grandmother’s story to its final end:

‘Days later, we found out what had happened,’ my grandmother said. Was it martial law, or military justice that took the lives of our men; lined up and shot dead; an execution by firing squad. And there was no doubt about whether the soldiers felt remorse, for after the act, when the soldiers began heading down the hill, one of the men on the ground, reached out his arm, and cried out in anguish, ‘Please, don’t leave us here to die, I have family in Germany’. The solders then took hold of their axes”.

– She paused; wiped a tear from her cheek, then with a subtle smile, she said, “One thousand, one hundred and one men were executed in our village, and over seven hundred of them, axed on the hill that black day. Thirteen survived; having been fortunate to have been buried beneath the piles of corpses. My grandmother lost her father, her husband, her brother, and her son, on the 13th of December, 1943. The only family spared to her, was her three-year-old daughter; my mother, and her one-year old toddler, she had forgotten with a nun for three days after that black day. She said that she had forgotten that she had another child waiting for his mother to come back . . . for three days. 

It took her years before she could speak of that day. And when they would ask her, “What did the Germans take from you?” The only thing she’d say was, “They took my sleep.”

© Maria Fokas/Dec, 13th 2015/All Rights Reserved