An Athenian Nocturnal Archaeology III: On Alexander the Great Street

Scrappies are the shamans of the transfiguration of matter.
They are the alchemists of the eternal flow
and kinesis of objects.
They keep their cyclical movement alive.

Descending into the underworld is what they do
as all shamans worth their salt.

Into this large rubbish bin, for example,
on Alexander the Great Street
late, this Sunday evening.

He had to explore it first
using his dowser’s stick
his metallic hook
able to receive the cosmic waves
of discarded matter
of built-in obsolescence
of childhood over-indulgence
and out-of-date domestic bliss.

But soon enough
he will have to jump in
make the journey once again
pass through many layers:
paper
plastic
metal
aluminum
glass
organic matter;
to revisit the temporal rhythms of the upper world
and its waste rituals.

Alas,
he knows that the journey into the world of dead objects
will not suffice.
He already chose a few to resurrect
which have boarded his trolley
for the other journey to the scrapyard;
prized among his collection,
that white
pig-fat
water boiler
—a 1978 model.

But no, more is needed, his shamanistic mission is far from complete…

And suddenly, the moment he was waiting for:
passed Thermopylai Street
in the corner
next to the Egyptian cafe with nargiles
his sacrificial victim lying on the pavement
stunt
breathless
ready.

He took his knife to it
with the holy panic and reverent urgency
deserved
for the purest of the sacrificial victims.
The sharpness of his blade
sliced through
its soft epidermis
still harbouring
the memories
of countless nights and
the imprint of many
warm bodies.
Still preserving the corporeal
cells of men and women
still exhibiting
the grey
cloudy shadows
of passion spent
moist
erotic haste
sweating
furtive embracing
fluid
momentary affection.

A good shaman is a master butcher first and foremost.
He knows how to gut his victim
how to go for the entrails
using
the least possible effort
so that she can read the future
in the signs
of the internal organs.

In this case
the omens are good:
top quality springs
made of 2.34-mm
copper-coated wire
from a large
king-size mattress:
worth more than a day and a night’s work on their own.
His job was done.

Yannis Hamilakis, An Athenian Nocturnal Archaeology (a photo-poetic essay), Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 2.1 (2015) 149–168. DOI:10.1558/jca.v2i1.26634

Feature photo taken by Yannis Hamilakis between July 2014 and February 2015

Read also: An Athenian Nocturnal Archaeology I: At the End of Rest Street and An Athenian Nocturnal Archaeology II: Down Socrates Street.

 

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