London based Greek-English-Irish poet and playwright Konstandinos (Dino) Mahoney, won publication of his collection TUTTI FRUTTI, in the Sentinel Poetry Book Competition 2017, and is winner of the Poetry Society’s 2017 Stanza Competition. He is also part of Dino and the Diamonds (shortlisted for Saboteur Award, 2018) a group that performs his poems as songs. He teaches Creative Writing at Hong Kong University (visiting lecturer).
Recent poems have appeared in Perverse, Butcher’s Dog, Live Canon, The New European, The High Window. His Mediterranean themed poems draw on his Greek heritage on his mother’s side and his love of Greece. He divides his year between London, Hong Kong and Porto Heli (The Peloponnese).
Gently lowering his hands
she floats suspended
between earth and sky,
a conjuror’s assistant,
a lifetime of
clinging to the shore,
Stunned by the mid-August sun,
weak from fasting,
she lets him coax her in
right up to her breasts,
tilt her gently sideways
off her feet,
rests her horizontal
on his fingertips.
Glittering sea pup,
the son dives under her,
looks up at the keel of her back,
arms open like wings,
down at the rippling crucifix
of her shadow.
Eyes closed, face framed
by a blinding halo,
she is ready.
From the shore drifts
a pulsing chant of cicadas,
the fragrant scent of pine.
In Greek Orthodoxy, The Dormition of the Theotokos, August 15th
celebrates the ‘falling asleep’ of the Virgin Mary,
her bodily resurrection before being taken up to heaven.
A wrong turning leads me to this patch
of nowhere, parade of abandoned shops,
bare shelves behind dirty windows.
I park outside the only open store,
step out into drilling heat, walk around
a shaggy stray collapsed in shade.
At the counter with a bottle of mineral water
the shopkeeper says, There’s bread, disappears,
comes back with a crusty loaf.
I touch its warm cheek, smile, nod.
She swaddles it in rustling tissue paper,
presents it to me with a midwife’s honest hands.
Mountains in darkness
glimpse of a moon silvered sea.
Friends under the sky –
wine, ripples of laughter.
a citronella candle’s oval flame.
A frantic rustling of leaves,
alien shrieks, raucous gibbering,
husks rain down on them.
They run inside, gather on the balcony
kick up a cacophony
saucepans whacked with serving spoons,
a tin tray with a tenderiser.
The raiders, binging on ripe oily kernels,
till tree stripped of almonds,
blunt snouts, gristly tails
they flow back down the trunk,
a scampering of scratchy feet
tapering into silence.
Swimming to Euboea
Clothes abandoned on the sand
he swims out with scything arms
towards the isle of Euboea.
His stroke breaks on a dolphin’s
snout, the creature, clicking,
slides against his skin, slaps him
with a playful tail, spirals down
beneath his peddling feet, rises up
with flowing hair, presses pert breasts
against his pounding chest, pokes
a probing tongue into his mouth,
corkscrews down beneath his feet,
rises with a bearded grin, barnacled
cerulean skin, gorges on his seafood lips,
drowns him in a Titan’s kiss.
Summer heat builds.
Boys backflip off rocks,
sprawl under pines,
above a rumpus of cicadas,
tell lies about girls they’ve kissed.
At night you can hear things grow – trees,
goats, boys, a shepherd tells him.
He wakes up longer than he was the night before,
feet jutting up at the end of his bed.
In the bathroom mirror
a naked stranger lets him touch him.
One night, under the stars,
he rubs against a friendly fisherman,
bursts into seed,
collapses into dust.
return to the classroom
where he sits bronzed legs splayed
either side of a shrunken desk.
On the balcony sipping Mochofilero
they drink in the view – incarnadine sea,
streaked flamingo sky, Mount Parnon
rising to eclipse the bloodshot Sun.
Somehow they miss it, the pine seed‘s
patient rise. When finally they notice –
too late, Arcadia masked behind a needle
wall of green. How did they miss it?
What could they have done, trees
ring-fenced by environmental law?
It crept up on them like time, things
taken for granted, taken away.
Poetry in this post: © Konstandinos Mahoney
Published with the permission of Konstandinos Mahoney