The Traveller by Afrodykie

T is for … Thank you
THANK you for the music, the songs I’m singing … nah, way too cheesy, even for an Abba fan.
Thank you, Milou, for the washing machine, that’s what you want to say.
Milou? It’s Snowy in French. You know Snowy, from the Tintin comics?
The name is on the wall of their building, just metres from the sand and sea, in Skala Eressos.
Milou Bed And Breakfast
The kindness almost made you cry.
How sweet was that, to respond to a request on Eressos Connected, and to offer the use of their washing machine – and drying space?
It’s the warmest Eressian gesture you’ve had the privilege of appreciating — the second time in three months that anyone has invited you anywhere, and been nice to you!
You like soft landings…
And it was very soft at Milou.
Yonca added stuff to make your washing come out more delicate and someone, you don’t know who, pegged your laundry to the line.
You went for a swim and bought some vegetables and fruit while the sun lapped up its wet.
On Sunday, it was the day of the Big Full Moon.
You finished your online work and called Babis – you’re always calling Babis — to drive you to the beach.
You told him you’re getting a car on Thursday.
Ne, he said, and dropped you at the cantina.
You hitched your rucksack onto your shoulder and kicked off your slip slops.
The paddle ski cost E5 to hire for an hour.
And off you went, out into the Aegean, and around The Rock.
We call it the island, said the bloke who told you the do’s and don’ts of ocean rules.
The sea was choppy and the wind pushed you this way and that.
Around The Rock you paddled and then, boy o boy, you had to stop and plan.
The current pushed you back; the wind too.
You dug the oars deeper into the heaving sea, and still you didn’t move.
The beach looked very far away.
OK, don’t go straight into the wind, cut across it.
Phew. You could see the buoys again, and hear Parasol’s music pump.
Your plan had worked, and you paddled, sure and strong.
You went in and out of the shiny slipway in to the setting sun.
The church bells banged across the sea and the water splashed across the bow.
The ski slapped bumpity-bump, it clouted little waves, surly restless swells came at you.
You passed Da Luz then paddled back again.
The ocean was turning into silky oil, colour changing in the receding light.
You were ready for your swim, a lovely swim, and you found a sand bank.
Teens were playing Marco Polo there, and it made you smile, their carefree friendly joy.
Families, friends, they laughed and sprawled their happiness on the sand.
For once there were empty tables at the Blue Sardine.
You faced the sea waiting for your mountain tea.
It was soothing and warm. Like Milou.
And the moon smiled, and spilled its big bright light on you.


The Traveller by Afrodykie

S is for … Scribble

NESTLE into the neck of a nice quiet page, with no words on it, no thoughts, no humour, no pain.

Listen to what it says, its whisper calls you.


It beckons.

It’ll shout if you don’t respond, that page, it’ll pull your face in, close.

Love me, it says.

Clothe me in prose.

You too can write and tell a story. It doesn’t have to be a funny one.

Just do it, please.

Blank pages were made for you to fill, black on white, the drug, the addict.

You get your fix.

They lure you, these pages. The pimps, they pump your fingers up and down.

Fingers melt into the keyboard, dance fast intensity; they move relentless, unguarded words on their route, the road rambunctious to god knows where.

They spring uncalled, the bastards, they burst and gasp grasp the letters, settle them from a swirling well.

They swell, and barge into the light, and then they cringe.

Disclosure, the glare, it dazzles them.

Daunting scrutiny startles, scares them, these words on a page.

It’s a sentence, to write.

Every word elicits a verdict, the reader’s on the bench.

Percipience, they plead. Sagacity.

Off with their heads, shouts the judge. The gallery roars: let them live.


We’re just words, they say, cowering on the page.

They’re stripped of mirth.

They recoil. They beg to flower, these words.

It’s all in the gaze.

Their meaning draws emotion from a subjective haze, yes.

And they hope, yes they do, these silly little words, they want a more soulful day, a day when they can play, and laugh, and throw a joy onto the page.

They bask in carefree innocence, an innocence dressed in buxom banter.


The Traveller by Afrodykie

R is for … Rock
SKALA Eressos, besos – calientes!
Hot kisses, yes, if you know where to find them.
No, silly, not under a rock … that’s not what this R is about.
Ok, this R is for … did you say, um … Rock?
More specifically, the Skala Women’s Rock Group at Little Buddha, as it’s named on Facebook.
It’s fun swimming with the wimmin at the harbour end of the beach, a Blue Flag beach, mind you.
Miss F and Miss T are there every single morning of the glorious summer, and part of spring and autumn too.
They get their little ducks ready steady go all in a row, and it’s splish splash to The Rock, a tiny island 314 metres off shore.
If it’s 10am, it must be swim time.
The daily dip is as much part of Skala’s lesbian culture as the appropriation of Sappho’s sexuality, and the tourism industry that has grown around it.
Yes, Sappho, the lyric poet — Plato named her the Tenth Muse, bless him —she was born in Eressos.
She died here too, but of course nobody knows if she swam to the rock.
Could she swim, with that stylus poised in front of her lip, and a writing tablet glued to her left hand?
She’d have been hamstrung, that’s for sure.
You can’t imagine her emulating the strapping lass who sliced through the sea in 4mins 10 and, on reaching The Rock, turned round to see hapless heads and arms bobbing in her wake.
Generally though, The Swim to The Rock is a social swim.
Miss F told you last year, as she paddled along next to a gasping and unfit you, that she and Miss T started The Swim to add to the spectrum of activities for the women in Skala.
Her swimming cap was turned up at the ears.
It is a chance to exercise, she said, have fun and to do something that doesn’t result in a hangover, a babalas as we say in RSA.
When you’re a first timer, and you’ve finished your swim, Miss T will line you up with the other swim virgins, and someone – everyone, goddamit, it’s the digital age – everyone will take a photograph.
You’re standing there dripping and Miss T lowers a medal over your wet head.
You bow to accept the Sappho Siren Award for Excellent Swimming, a laminated square of paper hanging on a piece of cotton.
There’s that picture of Sappho on it.
You got yours during the Sappho International Women’s Festival in September last year, and you don’t know if every new Rock Star gets one.
But you do recall the words of Miss F during your first swim.
When’s it going to end, you panted, treading water and catching your breath.
She smiled, and uttered words as sweet as a kiss: “As we say, this swim isn’t a race … it’s all about the journey we take, together.”

The Traveller by Afrodykie

Q is for … Quiz … and other delightful things
SKALA Eressos is not only about bodies, booze and bonhomie.
Oh, no. It’s also about brains!
Take the Monday night quiz at the Flamingo Beach Bar, for instance.
Miss Whiplash is in charge. Very strict, you’re told, and domineering.
She has tats on her scalp, and a raised eyebrow that sends shivers down your spine.
Nobody messes with her. They don’t dare.
By day though, she’s the Crazy Cat Lady.
She feeds rescue kittens and loves it when their little ears flap as they suck on a tiny bottle teat.
They sleep in her neck, and she holds them there.
Quizzes are close to her too. She’s been compiling questions for a long time.
Last week there were about 50 people in teams at Flamingo, she says.
They gather at half past nine and start promptly at ten to vie for the grand prize, a bottle of tequila.
No brain, no gain?
That’s island style for you.
Libation, a lubricant.
It was yours too, not any more.
You’ve been sorting your life’s work and only yesterday 1. made Facebook contact with one of the friends you shared a flat with in the 1980s, and 2. on the same day found a note you had sent to her, with words on it beginning with … yes, you guessed it, Q.
Quenelle … seasoned ball of pounded fish or meat
Quern … hand mill for pounding corn (quern stones too)
Quetzal … (not to be confused with pretzel) birds of a striking colour, and tralala, the currency of Guatemala
You wrote in the note that you were sucking a paper clip in between editing stories at a newspaper in Port Elizabeth.
You also mentioned that you’d smoked three cigarettes and eaten an apple, banana, rice and two peaches. Oh, and a tomato too.
You added quidnunc to the list; someone who wants to know the latest gossip, a skinderbek we call them in Afrikaans.
And won’t you be my Quiche (open tart)?
Your request was Quashed.
Oh, the Quixotic nature of unreQuited love.
This Quest for Quim, it is a Quandary indeed.
You wonder … Miss Whiplash, do you know the answer?

The Traveller by Afrodykie

O is for … Oops … and P is for … Plateia
YES, you don’t post Wednesday’s blog, oh oh oh oh dear.
You do try though, to write it, sitting on a step in Mytiline, your feet on the pavement, your back against a glass door.
The motorbikes race by, and the words stick somewhere you don’t know where.
The trip to the harbour city, Lesvos island’s capital, is cacophonous and cruel.
It’s a jolting journey into mayhem.
Chaos. Bustle bustle. The tarmac bites your feet. It swallows your soul.
Up and down. Shopping. Waiting. You sweat in silence.
The pollution, the gypsies ragged and menacing, they trawl the car park, their long fingers itch — itch to crawl into crime any crime they can grab and devour.
Their eyes burn bright in dark faces, eyes that flit from side to side, even the children’s eyes slide quick non-stop into a perpetual seeking seeking.
Unkempt hair, matted rods of dry neglect, they poke the heat.
You carry your computer in a rucksack. Scared.
A rent-boy emerges from the morass and slings a bag over his shoulder.
His hair is neat, coiffured into a catwalk style.
The brand on his underpants peeps over the belt of his fashionable shorts.
He strides determined focused to his job.
Shirtless is good in the body business. He doesn’t look back. Not once.
You prefer the village, your village, Eressos.
Where the plateia, the square, it offers generous respite.
You’re sitting there. You get a whiff of the sea.
That’s unusual, 4km from the ocean.
You turn around and see a big bag of round sea urchins, their black spikes protrude, a halo of danger if you’re not careful.
There are about five men at a table, at Kafene.
Maria, they shout, and Maria brings ouzo in little bottles, and bread in a basket.
They slice off a third of the needled shell with a kind of clamp, a silver tool.
It smoothly executes the animal, the sea hedgehog.
Then they wipe out the orange pink strands of the star shaped flesh inside the glistening light-striped shell.
They capture the meat with the bread, or a finger that removes it all in a twirl.
One of them pours the juice of the creatures into his palm, to slurp the aphrodisiac.
You want to try, one man asks.
You eat five, ten of these and two men won’t be enough for you.
You wish!
The plateia.
You go there when your transport to collect your desks falls through.
Two men at Portakali help you.
One, two, three.
They organise a car and helpers and within an hour you have a comprehensive work space at home.
The plateia is like that, the networking nub of the village.
It lights up at night, magic under the huge plane trees. It twinkles.
Vento your hunting dog loves going there too.
She runs around and wags her tail and gets bones and food from the people at the tables.
She likes Sam’s. That’s her favourite place.
You’ve written your telephone number on her collar, just in case.
But nobody phones anymore. She’s part of the plateia now, your Vento, the wind of your heart.

The Traveller by Afrodykie

The Traveller by Afrodykie
N is for … Nice
IT’S for nipples too, those twin towers of titillation, the edifices of the erotic.
They give a point to a breast and remind you of a story from the 80s.
There you were having an affair with a married woman who’d recently given birth.
She had a nice bed, one of those four poster things, and lived in a house with big sash windows and creaking wooden floors.
The passage was a long one, thank God.
And the front door at the one end of it was a monster, huge.
In its swathes of wood there was a lock.
It needed a six-inch key to be jiggled around in it, before it would open.
For this you are eternally grateful.
She made sure it was securely shut, and unbuttoned her blouse.
She winked at you, and giggled.
Her husband was at work. The baby was gurgling dreams in his cot.
We looked at each other, but not for too long.
Clothes flew, like popcorn jumping from a pot.
It was a great opportunity for some rumpy-pumpy, yes it was, on the ample marital mattress.
The baby didn’t budge but boy, did we sweat the fuck fandango.
Her breasts were sensitive, all that feeding.
No chance to tweak them, or to roll them between your fingers.
Nipping and nibbling? NO!
Suck them, she gasped, and stroked you hair.
Her hands anchored your head and your lips, your murmuring mouth, it clasped her teats, again and again.
It was sublime, that mother’s milk. Tasty, sweet.
You nearly said mama but a key rattled in the door.
You jumped out of bed and grabbed your clothes. The milk ran down your chin.
Your underwear hung from your hand.
You reached for the window and it went whoosh — just as the door banged open onto the wall.
You tiptoed, a love thief, down the side of the house, outside.
Your heart raced as you clambered over the garden fence and scoured the pavements for a witness.
You hadn’t said goodbye.
So what?
Hubby liked to work a lot!

The Traveller by Afrodykie

M is for … mmmmmm
THERE is a lot that makes you go mmmmmm.
You can’t help it.
Blue night moon rise, stars shadow brown eyes.
Pink slinks across the sky. Ah.
There’s oily water, with people in it, splashing or floating about.
The round ripples grow, bob, fade.
The life of ripples is short. Even in the Kalloni Gulf.
They sink without a sound, embrace deep eternity; they melt into the warm depths then disappear.
You’d never know they’d lived, if you hadn’t seen them.
She orders for you, in Greek.
What’s going on?
It’s those things you like, she says.
You limp across the wet tiles to choose your fish.
Your toe hurts, the big one on the left foot.
A brick smashed into it – a huge brick — from a dizzy height. It split the skin, and bruised or broke the bone.
You don’t know.
The music is loud. Some men are swirling around broken plates, bending forward.
Their arms wave in their air behind them.
Octopus arms it seems, floating in a sea of culture.
Some lovers, in the distance, they face each other.
Their big stomachs touch as they stand, feet secured in the sand.
You can hear their hearts aflutter, you feel their lips burst with promise.
Gosh, there’s the arrow of desire aiming for a kiss.
The meal is tasty and plentiful, shared.
The fresh oysters (that’s what you like, she knows) they wince when you squirt lemon juice on them.
Little oysters in scallop shells, the shells you collect.
You want to put them on the wooden window frames you two found at the stinky rubbish bins, beautiful in the sunset of a Sunday.
She encourages you to be creative.
And you like that.
Today your toe is sore, and you feel tired.
You want to lie down.
The cleaner must come so you can rest on your pillow and know.
Love can last forever in a memory.

The Traveller by Afrodykie

L is for … Love
THE songs make you feel as if you could fall at her feet, hug her legs and put your face in her … her knees.
Why you thought of knees, heaven knows…
Maybe because its hands knees then the boompsie daisy!
Never mind.
Here is a compendium of some of your work about love.
Look up at the tree
Its branches full of leaves
Do you think it worries
It’s bending in the breeze
It’s succoured in the centre
Where truth will rest its head
It’s best, it says, to blow about
Than to live sore, half dead
It doesn’t strive for reason
It has no dread to trounce
The tree breathes its mysteries
Subtle and sure, its glories mount
Its heart it does not flounder
In the eye of wicked storm
It’s succoured in the centre
Where true true love is born

Wretched heart
Replays moments
Tender torn
Tears flood wounds
Gaping wounds
Puke pain
Sickly sorrows
Claw me cry
My heart
A desert
Bleak and baleful
Stinging sands
Please Bury
My doleful, my dreadful aching desire

Maelstrom madness
Sinks sweet heart
Love shaken
Depth for Chains
Wings clipped frightened bird
Soars sinks
Broken dreams
Nothing where you once were

I’m thinking that love is not about absolutes eg: we are made for each other.
It’s about nuance.
And if it were about absolutes marriage would be a thing that lasts forever.
And that’s where I think a lot of marriages go wrong: absolutely.
Nuance allows for growth, reaching out, drawing back.
It’s elegant, and sound.
It’s confident. Warm. Loving.
It’s mature. It ripens. Love ripens, darling, slowly.
Yes, I submit without guarantees, to the sound in my heart.
I believe in love, for love’s sake, a beautiful burgeoning.
I hold it close to me, treasure it; this little thing.
It draws my gentless, weeping, terrified as it manifests, a glorious brave love; all-encompassing.
A deep deep love stirs within.
You don’t want to lose your heart in vain. You don’t want to lose your heart to pain.
And nor do I, my darling. We do it to gain.

Jet black eyebrows burn
Streams of sunlight on your neck
Your red lips smoulder

It runs away, fast
Love on its wobbly last legs
It musn’t look back

Sea sore
Silk soft soft
Touch me
Touch tender touch
Your lips hint
of jasmine stars
and mint
fresh mint
dances on your tongue

UNREQUITED love… Before you all start sobbing into your handkerchiefs, and dabbing your tear-puffed eyes with the pointed edge of your sodden hanky, let me tell you this:
Some people estimate that 98 percent of living human beings have had the devilish door of unrequited love slammed in their sunshine faces.
This means you too are likely to have experienced the frustration of an unreciprocated passion.
You know what it’s like to live with those pesky feelings, those relentless upstarts Churn and Yearn. The little tykes, they bounce like popcorn in a hot pot, ready to blast off your lid of resolve; shatter your rational will to forget, to get over it.
No matter what you do, Churn and Yearn, they smirk their rude grins.
They elicit grief, the tyrants!
But Mother Time’s not taking any nonsense from those brats.
She’s there, the great healer, ready to slap them down.
Try telling that to Heathcliff and Catherine though, in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.
This magnificent novel of unrequited love joins many other books, songs, poems and operas in its eloquent elucidation of the pain and torment of a clamped heart.
Of course, unrequited love is also something to be lampooned, because it’s so maddeningly universal and ubiquitous, the cruel joker in this pack called Life.
Happily, I am not alone.

The Traveller by Afrodykie

The Traveller by Afrodykie
K is for … Kiss Kiss and Kiss Again
KISS KISS bliss bliss, you write in your other life as the (unpublished) poet, RMD.
You love the locking of lips, the tease of the tongue; oh the smell of her breath as she aims for amour.
You wanna suck face, babeeeee?
But you’re not the expert, not even after years of devoted and intent practice.
Hugh Morris is.
“When you have made a complete round of the lips, return immediately to the centre bud and feast there,” he writes in his 1936 illustrated treatise, The Art of Kissing.
He knows that Kisses are Preludes to Love.
“Be so close that the rise and fall of each other’s bosoms is felt by one another,” an extract from his book advises on a post in
Kissers take him seriously.
An online customer, in a review of the book, said: “What I found particularly insightful was the overarching philosophy that a kiss is really a poetic piece of art — to be slowly savoured, deliberately dwelt upon, and absorbed by all the senses.”
He was pleased with the results of applying the information he had garnered.
“She’s a goner,” he said.
“I tried to explain to her that since I was far less experienced in kissing matters than she, I should be given another chance. She relented, I read the book, and the last time we were together, I guestimate that we kissed 12 960 times over a four day period.”
Yes, it all starts with a kiss.
It’s a sublime indication of surrender; you succumb to a mutual attraction with a kiss.
Morris’ book mentions many types of kissing, and it’s best to develop a repertoire.
The auto-erotic almost-asphyxiation kiss, the vacuum kiss is one of them.
You suck life’s air from each other’s hot mouths: your lungs just about burst — it’s a kiss that takes trust, trust to create a burning beautiful burgeoning lust.
“In a very short while, the air will have been entirely drawn out of your mouths. Your lips will adhere so tightly that there will almost be pain … But it will be the sort of pain that is highly pleasurable … Pain becomes so excruciating as to become pleasurable,” Morris writes.
The 47 page manual also mentions the spiritual kiss (you think all kisses are spiritual, dammit) and the eyelash or butterfly kiss, that tender and ticklish entwining of the hair on your lids.
But you like to start, sometimes, with the friendly Eskimo kiss: rub noses and please, grow up and resist the mischievous temptation to combine it with the lizard kiss ie making your tongue dart out to separate her lips for better things to come.
Don’t startle her, for Pete’s sake.
If she hesitates, gently take her hand and kiss the back of it. Let your lips become a sort of mist settling on a flower.
You could then embark on a journey up her arm (the inside of her arm, you klutz) and linger at her inner elbow.
Navigate towards her ear lobe and remember, it’s a delicious detour on the way to her moist and marvellous mouth.
No racing!
You’re probably breathing quite heavily now so try not to blow a gale through your nose onto her tympanic membrane.
You don’t want to be responsible for those types of reverberations.
You need her to be still so you can nibble, sort of absent mindedly, on the lobe, the seat of many nerve endings and rushes of blood, like the other erogenous zones of her body: armpits, behind the knees, lower back, navel area — oh the entire skin throbs for touch.
So ferret around her neck too, while you’re about it.
Because you’ll probably want to move on to, thank you, to the piece de resistance, the French kiss, the tango of tongues that’s surely a precursor to the mattress mambo.
While the going’s good, and your tongues need a break, try the single lip kiss.
Take either her bottom or top lip into your mouth. Explore it. You have teeth too, remember. So dowhat you will with that lip, provided of course your biting is one step short of a piranha’s.
Of course, if this is all too much for her, all this arms, legs and boomsie daisy, you can always say: Boogaloo, let’s dance! You’ll slowly draw her closer, and closer, until you’re wrapped in the eloquent and erotic dancing kiss – the hip to hip lip to lip kiss. It’s one way to sway her!

The Traveller by Afrodykie

J is for … Joy
Joy is a little word with a big effect.
You know it when it visits for the simplest things become profound.
Take the unkempt sheep that wobble on spindly legs loose at the knees.
Their bells shake out a chorus of tinkles and tonkity tonks.
One has a skirt of raggedy wool that fans out and bobs above its tail when it hops over clumps of grass.
They scuttle along the river bank, this flock of about 40 sheep.
Some jump and stretch their necks to latch their jaws on to a moist green leaf.
The others, more sedate, they bury their faces in the forage.
They may stop a while, and lift their heads to look at you, mouths in a sideways chew, a bit of grass hanging from a lip.
The shepherd flops into a sitting crouch.
He simultaneously steadies himself by clamping a knobbly hand around a long staff that’s solid on the soil.
Ah, he says. Kalimera. He nods his head.
These early mornings with the sheep ….
There they are now, on the other side of the village.
They’re hurtling down the mountain, almost rolling down it they’re moving so fast
They can’t wait to get to the water trough and plunge their faces into the liquid.
Vento wags her tail. Your girl, so pretty, her black coat shines mink in the pink of a new day.
The mountains are stoic in their restraint; they don’t flinch when the sky smashes its Eressian blue into their mottled green.
Sam the showman serves smiles and five languages with his food on the platia.
He’s famous, says Anthony from London.
You’re sitting on the pavement outside Elizabeth’s shop, across the cobbles from the Happy Club, where the walruses lodge themselves and their memories, never smiling on the terrace of Kolones.
The sun sears.
You’re telling Anthony about a BBC documentary, Aristotle’s Lagoon.
It shows that Aristotle – in the 4th century BC — spent two years at the Gulf of Kalloni, not far from Eressos, here on the island of Lesvos.
Theophrastus, the progenitor of botany had invited him, old Theo, who like Sappho the Tenth Muse (thank you, Plato), was born in this village.
Aristotle consolidated his classification of animals there, at the teeming gulf.
And a bust of the genius philosopher scientist will be unveiled at 8pm in the Kalloni harbour on August 6.
Like the documentary, the event will draw attention to Aristotle’s pioneering role in science and the contemporary threat of pollution and overfishing in the gulf.
Anthony laughs.
This history goes so far back.
A car swishes by, almost shearing our toenails.
The Americans think history begins with the Wild West, he says, that Jesse James is their Aristotle!
Anthony and Thelma burn tarmac during their island rendezvous.
They’re out every day exploring but they love coming back to Sam’s.
Lebanese-Greek, that’s Sam.
Yes, says Anthony. A Leek!
You eat there too, when you can bear to tear yourself from your office, Kafene, and this week you taste Revani at Sam’s, for the first time.
You’re with Mr G-Spot. He’s got his lips in an O and he’s looking worried because the oven-baked lamb is HOT. That’ll teach him. He couldn’t wait to fill his mouth with flesh after his meditation at Osho Afroz.
As for you, you’re enjoying your tzatsiki and tabbouleh (piously) – one would swear you were the sanyasa!
It’s de rigueur in Greece that a complementary dessert follows your meal.
You learnt this when madame pointed it out to you on the banks of Aristotle’s lagoon, no less.
In this instance, it’s the revani.
Mr G pats his stomach, then slides his Greek semolina cake with orange syrup across the table to you.
Something sweet, and a friend!
You have a lot of it this week.
Nabakov’s Lolita – your favourite book — on TV in English, you find the library on the way to your new house, there’s the Sappho show on Monday night, a delicious swim ….
You laugh with the Denizens of Debonair, and slap your thigh with the Gallivanting Brits.
You settle into your own place that has, wait for it, a doorbell and a big sunny kitchen.
Vento has her own little cottage and you make plans to go shopping.
Joy. Joy. Joy.
It’s the song in your heart, it’s the light in your eyes.
It’s everything. It’s now.