Upon hearing that I am a published poet, little A requests one in honor of her dad,
who will be called G, although affectionately by reason of devoted wife, nicknamed Ogre or Beast. His identity will be known only to whom it pertains, as he is a loner, with few friends.
He works at restoring Greek land lines to their rightful owners, one of whom is his wife.
He plants olive trees on the land. Seeks written testimony of village ancients who know the truth. But as time drags on, the elders become incompetent or die, without legally binding statements.
The fight to get property lines redrawn is an exercise in futility, because Greek courts move slower than molasses. Still, he goes, several times a year, on this pretext.
Purportedly for the benefit of little A.
Ironically, A is ambivalent about the country of origin, as she was born here, in America, and is further removed from the immigrant experience. Whatever becomes of this court fight is immaterial to 8 year old precious only child of this union. If she can, she will likely sell this ancestral family land, because it does not have the meaning for her that it does for her parents. And though they own this, plus NY and NJ co-op, condo, with more to come, they live in a rented walk up 1 bedroom hovel, like generations of immigrants do, as if they have nothing.
G drives packages for Uber Delivery. Good because they allow you to go on hiatus. This facilitates the court proceedings 6 months out of the year. G takes great pride in being a father. He embraces his daughter with joy! But he wastes his limited lifetime, being mortal, on pursuits that will mean nothing 50 years from now, because A won’t keep the land. And today the land is worth far less because Greece teeters on bankruptcy. So what does all this travel between New York City and Karpathos bring about? Unending court proceedings, endless legal fees, itinerant olive grove farmer, exporting oil in small quantity, not gainfully employed because Uber is not a living, just small change. Oil does not cover its cost of production.
Fat lawyers get fatter on the hopes of correcting land grab injustice from aging stricken parents to a child who cares for none of it. Ironic? Indeed, perhaps a wasted effort, that may not be solved in any mortal lifetime. Neither the courts, nor lawyers, nor witnesses, nor little A have any incentive to settle.
When they ask what your life meant, what can G answer? He has been a half time father who loves to control the women in his life. Broken mugs, dirty plates, cracked cell screens, piles, orders, inadequate cash allowance while gone, and M trudges up & down, ever more laboriously, those steps of an ancient 4 story walk up, from which her legs crumble & twist, from a childhood neurological disorder, made worse by age and circumstance, life choices…
While A watches in empathy. And I, the poet, hereby document.