Marion Cerquant is a French playwright and actress living in Paris France. She is the granddaughter of Henriette Nizan, a fascinating woman of letters and of heart, as well as a mentor for Karine Leno Ancellin.
Marion Cerquant acted in the movies, White Lies (1998) and La dilettante (1999). She has recently authored a one woman play for young audiences THE DREAM OF THE OWL that she also performs, and is currently touring in France. The play is scheduled at the Gennevilliers Festival, on February 10th, 2021.
Helene TZATZIMAKI was born in Athens in 1986 and studied literature at the University of the Sorbonne (Paris IV). She is a poet and a singer and has published 4 collections of poems at Melani Editions, The Magic of Ascent in 2009, Post Adulthood in 2012, Who does a story belong to? in 2015 and The paradox of the twins -a poetic transcription of George Winter in 2018.
Sabeen Thomsen lives in Brussels. She is a traveller and writer. She also paints and is a photo texter, and teaches languages. She has a passion for Indian spirituality and culture.
Julie Tsimpidis was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. She studied Political Sciences and History at McGill University. She lives in Athens where she works as a senior official for the Ministry of External affairs. She is a versatile artist. She writes essays, short stories and poems and she also has a lifetime involvement with the visual arts, as she draws and paints.
Nido Uwera is a dancer from Rwanda, who has been living and working in Paris for many years now. Nido Uwera is also a choreographer and an actress and has performed with Elsa Wolliaston, Pierre Doussaint, Robyn Orlin, Yoshi Oïda and Karma Tsultim. Her dance center MPORE is a place where anyone can come and learn to dance Rwandan style and share ideas.
Jannis Kininis was born in Athens. He worked as a lawyer. He plays the flute and has played with many rock and jazz bands and published numerous CDs. His latest work is ‘Strovili,’ a jazz band. He cycles all over Athens and loves mountain treks. His children fill his life with the purest joy.
POEM, ESSAY and MORE
reads a poem by
Origin creates a bond between us and water. On this planet, it is all-consuming. Information about it and all it carries is stored within our cells. We know. Water is like a wet strand where everything settles. We start to recognize that water is a conveyor belt of information, so, whatever you put on it, you receive on the other end. We hear that water researchers investigate it and its ability to hold radio waves and thus possess a memory. We then come to understand that water in body fluid operates as a metric element in the lab and out, whereby human beings can measure the extent of their health, their progress and achievements. We cannot deny its message when it tells us where we are and where we need to go. For, it constitutes our body and organs, our fluids and mass, and measures within and without. And it doesn’t judge. It is rec…eptive.
I see a bird’s eye view of mother earth, and I view the pattern of the water element flowing along her curves. I consider: water is rained upon us; in our world, it comes from above and fills our lakes and swells our rivers. At the same time, we drink this element that we use to wash, clean and hydrate ourselves. We enter it as it enters us. And we consume food and beverage that contain it, to sustain ourselves. This same element pursues us from when we begin our life in amniotic fluid, until the moment we end our life, dropping our lost treasure through a wet tear to those left behind.
Remember our urge to stay mesmerized over a gulping sink tube? My brother and I used to believe as young children, that there was a water creature in the siphon blinking crudely up at us. Whatever we thought of it, it became, and didn’t disappoint. This scramping, stretching and hard bending over into the kitchen sink was a moment of self-evaluation, whenever we assumed enough courage to do so. At times, the gulping, blinking ‘entity’ would be vicious and, other times, solely indifferent. It had become the protagonist of the kitchen. The moments of ‘investigation’ and ‘investment’ in discovering some truth were clothed in intense emotion. Truthfully, the blank, neutral instances seemed to be very few, especially during those childhood years. Even today, it appears that mankind swerves between extremes.
So it happened one early evening. I was in the process of doing one of my usual face rituals. Deep cleansing with a foaming cleanser, then application of a mild scrub on a damp face, then careful rinsing with lukewarm water. My hands scooped the water alternately. The left hand on the left side of my face, the right hand on the right side of my face, caressing lightly downwards to rinse off any leftover scrub. My ear turned down, sideways over the tap and tube. I heard the disarray of urban life stretch up in cascades. A rush of somber images played on the screen of my mind. The dark web of intranet and human interaction, of peoples’ interchange and relations in everyday life, of an urban environment that is toxic and consuming. Compassion and congestion pressed inside my head. There is no escape from the long hours with minimum returns, from a state of no reward in any form of leisure.
Here, in the prolonged ‘now’, Ioanna comes to mind. She, like a sponge, seemed to absorb all discord she encountered in passing through city blocks hosting clusters of urban life. She repeatedly sought to escape these, and travelled solo in taxis to and fro through the city centre. The ride in her everyday commuting, had become the trial of a rat race, circling round her woes. Then she escaped the physical plane altogether and travelled solo into the light.
She absorbed all nuances in innuendo mode. Ioanna, a conveyor belt of information. She could have been investigated into at cell level by water researchers and virologists, offering scientific groups a scope. Luc Montagnier’s dreamy composure, sharp casting eyes, dressing a clear up toned voice, come to mind: “One day we will be able to cure cancer using radio frequencies”.
She keeps teaching me, although no longer present. Radio-frequencies arrive from afar, I sense. They jostle my mind, and oxygen feeds my swimming cells when I still my members. All she neglected while alive, she insists on now for me. She shows me limit, health and tolerance for a balanced existence in the city. And she always gives in to a humbled lowered gaze. All this coming and going which exhausts the thinking mind, the woman who questions, the man who lays down his arms, while they ride the bus, the everyday train, among the crawling hungry. Ioanna reminds me how urban life stings with its pleading. Limited space, confined identities press against the walls of our being. We escape from metal casements only for awhile. Eventually, we get encapsulated, only to discover ourselves years later, as shriveled deceased of a bygone age.
She picks the ends of the threads of thought from inside my mind, now intent on extracting them. She wants me to reach the sky with her. The river of cloudy existence recedes below me, and, once again, I am lifted into serenity. Instantly, my present circumstances are altered. I have changed vehicles, means of transport. Nothing stands still anyway, I say. All is river, and I too flow on. I have no time to judge. I am directed into unfamiliar space. Its strangeness tastes vast at the ends of my eyelashes. And then, a feeling of comfort envelops me. I sit still in movement, on a transporting cart, in the eternal present. I suspected it would take me to an all-knowing state, yet it has enriched me in the unknowing state. Radio-magnetic signals do their job. The physical body is home to the wisdom of the macro-world, which forever has sought my cooperation. Peace resides beyond the physical, even beyond the elements, in amniotic fluid and finally breath. For as long as it is available, so long as it exists, it educates me in finding my place in this raging world. When my time comes, it lifts me out of my encasement and I evaporate to another form of existence. Mother Earth, my witness.
The hedgehog’s dilemma
The hedgehog’s dilemma (or porcupine dilemma)
Refers to the inevitable friction
Caused by human contact.
We can’t love each other without pricking each other
Hence, not even hurt is possible without love.
We participate in this experiment of nature
Sometimes less victorious and sometimes less vanquished
But pain doesn’t await the victor
And the one who loves more
Is more hesitant in love
and retracts at the point of impact
begging that his defeat be declared
so that at last,
he may be free to hurt.
Το δίλημμα του σκαντζόχοιρου (ή ακανθόχοιρου)
Μιλάει για την αναπόφευκτη τριβή
Που προκαλεί η επαφή των ανθρώπων.
Δεν μπορούμε να αγαπηθούμε δίχως
Και να πονέσουμε.
Ως εκ τούτου ούτε κι ο πόνος είναι εφικτός δίχως
Σε αυτό το πείραμα της φύσης μετέχουμε
Άλλοτε λιγότερο νικητές κι άλλοτε λιγότερο ηττημένοι
Όμως ο πόνος δεν περιμένει τον νικητή.
Κι εκείνος που αγαπάει πιο πολύ,
Περισσότερο διστάζει στην αγάπη
κι αναδιπλώνεται στο σημείο κρούσης
ικετεύοντας να κηρυχθεί η ήττα του
να πονά ελεύθερος.
Rowing in the Fog
Rowing in the Fog
It was in those days, when the inconceivable happened.
One could have predicted it, because the signs were visible before.
But too many movies had made people believe that fiction is not reality.
It were the days, when suddenly men moved away from you in the bus and the scheer distrust was in their eyes as they looked askanse at each other. When hugs and touch became tabu and masks without smile and plastic screens separated people, to avoid spitting the poison from their throats.
Social Distanciation was a more elegant word of the day for ‘get out of my …way’.
It was the time, when children were forbidden to visit their elders, who were trapped in homes for the old, like rats . This made statistics climb in panic heights, not including those, who were tired of their lives…
In silent ghost-cities empty shuttle services reminded Playmobile-parks. High, arrogant office
towers surveyed the cities, useless, because from now on, telework was done from home. Or no work at all. Behind the walls of the houses, anger, emptyness and helplessness grew to thick air.
And again, the ugly face of denunciation appeared behind the curtains. The fear, to be detected, when doing the forbidden, grew amongst citizens.
Borders sprouted between fields and on roads and sealed countries. like in the old days.
The odd word of confinement made a joke of Free Men and Women , and journeys became dream lands. As the big birds of the aviation got dusty on the ground. New this was for many.
In this time, when all was hovering – even time – men and women became accustomed to a new, slow pace of living. There was no answer for the big question marks. Not even from the experts and scientists, who had transformed movie stars and sport champions to shadow puppets. Only the weather forecast seemed to work, and although the barometer was fixed on sunny, all had the impression to be rowing in the fog. Greedily, people absorbed the wild rumours that spread around the globe like fire. Of conspiracy and havoc wreaked by unnamed powers. A new world order seemed imminent.
The virus stood like a wall between men and their uncertain future. A wall, behind which the ghost of economic breakdown was lurking. And many felt bad about the sin of insolent consumerism, the blind frenzy of wasting , trees cannot grow into the sky…
Paralyzed they were by the fear of lacking, of impoverishment. Had they not been seduced to ever accelerated spending by grinning string-puppet players, who measured the well-being of mankind in cold statistics of the economic growth? Certain people felt shame now about their exaggerations and decided to reduce the use of toilet paper. Memories of stories came to their minds of baskets full of devaluated banknotes, black market and speculation. And old etchings of the deluge, punishing angels, and the plague.
Ashamed of that lavish wastefulness, vows were taken to stop this. And ghosts grew in their heads, from memories that the ancient sages always predicted plagues, famines, wars and inflation as being the ugly company of man.
That were the times when suddenly people remembered the Gods, like characters of fairy tales and deemed it useful to prey. But they were not accustomed to it and felt helpless. Yes, they wanted to ask pardon for the Golden Calf. But unfortunately, all religious cult places of the world were closed because of curfew measures.
Anyway, why prayers, when man consciously violates and poisons the most precious he has, his Mother Earth ? Even with blinded eyes, it was no secret that Her destruction was accelerating every day, that stinky foams were vomited into the waters and poison infiltered her skin. The magician scholar had forgotten the magic spell.
However, in those days of the Great Silence and devastating lonelyness, many realised, how much they needed the others. A huge desire to spread their spark of life with an unpreceded creativity wove a jolly thread through the Net. Like virtual wedding parties, work, school, shopping – free virtual concerts and videos were uttered to share the joy of life and the will to resist, with others.
It was in those days of the Great Worldwide Lockdown that the buds of spring swell and exploded in rare vigour and magnificence. In the silence of night, without airplane pollution, a huge carpet of stars illuminated the quiet cities , waters were running clear again and the fresh air healed. Nature was thriving, and the animals joined this huge Feast of Revival of Mother Nature.
This lesson lasted for two months in the year 2020.
Poem by Sabeen Thomsen
The original poem ‘Rudern im Nebel’ is in German [Translated by the author]
Strovili – Seabed eyes
Jannis Kininis: soprano and tenor saxophone
La troupe Mpore