Emmanuel Aligizakis

Emmanuel Aligizakis

Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis) was born in the small village Kolibari west of Chania on the Greek island of Crete in 1947. At a young age his family moved first to Thessaloniki and then to Athens where he was educated, achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Sciences at the Panteion University of Athens. He served in the armed forces for two years, and emigrated to Vancouver in 1973, where he worked in several different jobs over the years. He attended Simon Fraser University for a year, taking English Literature in a non-degree program.

He has written three novels, a large number of collections of poetry, which are slowly appearing as published works. Various articles, poems and short stories in Greek as well as in English have appeared in various magazines and news papers in Canada, United States, Australia and Greece. After working as an iron worker, train labourer, taxi driver, and stock broker, he now lives in White Rock where he spends his time writing, gardening, and traveling. Towards the end of 2006 he founded Libros Libertad, an unorthodox and independent publishing company in Surrey, BC with the goal of publishing literary books.


Nostos and Algos

The poems below from “Nostos and Algos” by Ekstasis Editions of Victoria, BC, Canada 2012
ISBN 978-1-897430-81-1


Even this solemn remnant
of the ancient temple standing
like an anchorite in meditation
by the slope of the tired hill
even this they shall defile

remember it—I said

half-breed men with wide shoulder-blades
and hierodules with exquisite cheekbones
swaying their provocative buttocks
for the amusement of the winds
and for the sea’s virgin salinity
even this they shall defile

remember it—I said

aimlessly before the innocent statues
they shall desecrate and life the whore
they shall call and with stamina
and unyielding persistence they shall
bury the primeval beauty and after
they exhume the ancestral hatred
and guilt, the pneuma they shall imprison
to be guarded by Herculean arms
and theirs the wealth
of the valley and my kin’s reward
blood shed in streets and neighborhoods
where you and I once roamed and played
making plans for exploits and deeds

and you said—

it would have been better if we stayed
obedient to the holy and venerable
half truths brought to our lands by easterners
at least they promised a gleaming Paradise.


Cement cubicles
imprisoned worlds

a smoking barbeque
man holding a spoon
stands next to his shadow
and uplifts his stature
in the glaze of sun taking him hostage

sparrow hops on the railing
hoping for a hopeless miracle
of breeze forthcoming

man begging for direction in
the cacophony of cement declaring
values in cubic meters in this
cement city with eons under its skin

captive of the merciless light
while ghosts of trees meditate
on the value of green and
the man cooks his evening meal
in the endless fortitude that absolves
all matters in the presence of hunger

For other contributions by Emmanuel Aligizakis, please follow the links below:

Poetry in this post: © Emmanuel Aligizakis
Published with the permission of Emmanuel Aligizakis