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2003 - Saloni M swims East


Helena Spyrou

Helena Spyrou
ís writing has been published in a number of literary journals and magazines, including Meanjin, Going Down Swinging, Visible Ink and Inside Indonesia. She is an organiser and publicist for literary events, human rights fund raisers and conferences. In 1999, she organised an event to raise funds for Indonesiaís economic crisis and East Timorís independence, with over 200 people in attendance.

She co-ordinated and performed in Saloni Mediterranean (1999) and Saloni M goes South (2000).

For the Saloni M swims East event on Friday, December 5, she presented:

two short pieces of writing, Syntagma, Athens 1983 and Syntagma, Athens 1999.




Syntagma, Athens 1983

Taxis seething with rage, strip footpath, scrape duco, scream horn, and weave through a city engulfed in smog and traffic jam. Trolley buses stretching the limits of their electric tentacles pull over and spill the load that bruishes past the new lot coming in.

In sidewalk cafes golden medalion men with hairy chests brazen their way towards foreign girls with golden skin and gleaming singlets. With an offer of frappe, sweet frothy nescafe and milk and with unreserved ego, gorilla like, they test their new tongue - me - you - fucky fucky??

© Helena Spyrou 2003.

Syntagma, Athens 1999

My theia Anthi left her flat a month ago. She took a taxi across Athens for some tests and never returned. She left her flat in that everyday mess of someone who has just popped to the shop for some milk or cigarettes (B&H were her brand). Her shopping list and unpaid bills sit on her desk. Clothes wait on the ironing board and clumps of dust gather on the floors.

Three days before she dies, the doctors prescribe further investigation. A brain scan to determine the cause and she's taken in an ambulance from the hospital to a clinic across town. It's December and the rain is heavy. The ambulance observing protocol sounds its siren but the din of the city deafens it. My theia Anthi, lies on a stretcher in a flimsy nightgown, oblivious to the world. As the ambulance approaches Syntagma, the driver realizing that we will not get through this traffic decides to wheel her along the footpath for the two remaining blocks to the clinic and I walk along beside her, holding an umbrella over her head.

© Helena Spyrou 2003.

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