George Gad Economou holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Science and resides in Athens, Greece, doing freelance work whenever he can while searching for a new place to go. His novella, Letters to S., was published in Storylandia Issue 30 and his short stories and poems have appeared in literary magazines, such as Adelaide Literary Magazine and Modern Drunkard Magazine.
Breathing in the Fire
nothing left to do but to contemplate, like so many times in the past, the longed for end;
sending stories around, searching (hoping) for the needed breakthrough;
no chance in hell, says the muse from afar, for in junk stories and bleak poems there’s no future.
I can’t write something else (aside from sex stories written under a pseudonym).
it’s alright, says the muse, suffer for you deserve it.
long gone are the nights of meth and junk;
the bourbon river has been drained, turned into a highway for the desolate souls of tomorrow.
swimming in the sewer, alongside rats and mutated ducks of a nuclear future;
singing praises to the overlord, dancing our way towards annihilation.
smiles from above, I hear the crackling of a glass-pipe;
strolling through the dark alleys, looking for what once was home and
finding nothing but the destruction of minds and dreams. I’m right at home, among the hopeless.
A Walk by the Beach
an unexpected visit (hadn’t seen her for a while); had nearly forgotten her, her eyes that reminded me of others.
I wasn’t drinking; I was near the bender, still staying clean for reasons unknown.
knock on the door, there she stood.
she had broken up-- because she couldn’t stop thinking of me.
we took a walk to the nearby beach, strolled along the water despite the cold breeze. sat on a park-bench, talked.
in my mind, I saw a family playing on the sand, a small child running around (a story I once wrote, born while she was talking and I didn’t listen).
it was the family I never had (though I could have had, had it not been for the spike). death is all around us; the same beach we were at, I had been with Emily (the one taken away).
she was talking, and I heard Emily in my head;
could it have ever been otherwise?
the one great love, the true one, gone too soon, before I could even utter “I love you”.
she wanted me to stay clean, off the booze (and the drugs, had she known about them). Emily never pressured me to get sober; au contraire, she indulged in the same vices-- we were together at the lake house battling ghoul whales in the water.
the beach remains untouched, I live far away now, in a different country altogether;
I still remember the nights and afternoons there with Emily, drinking cold beer on the moist sand, kissing and fucking next to mansions.
smoking hash under the pale moonlight, talking about the day we’d sail around the world.
I can also remember the early afternoon of long after (yet, long ago too), when she talked and I didn’t listen.
we went back to my apartment, sat on the blue couch (whereupon Emily had slept for 9 months, and also exhaled for the very last time).
she told me she broke up; told me she missed me, couldn’t stop thinking of me. we kissed.
and her lips tasted nothing like Emily’s. I wished out, I couldn’t leave. I was looking for something, something she didn’t possess. I was so desperate I created it in my head.
then, she was gone; to Germany to find herself.
she did. she went back to her boyfriend (after 3 pointless weeks of us sleeping together, going out, trying to make something meaningless work).
I returned to the bottle; never again betrayed my faithful friend; even now, where I can’t drink all the time, I drink half the time.
the bars are getting to know me, bartenders greet me heartily for they know with me there, the cash will flow in their pockets.
I have no job, no future, no dreams; only the nightmares from the night Emily died and the page that still haunts me like the cockroaches that lived inside the walls of my former home.
the bourbon bottles empty, a sea I must cross every morning.
I stare into the sun, trying to catch a glimpse of the ghosts of all the great minds that once (2400 years ago) walked the streets I’m now walking.
I breathe in the same air, but, just like those who drink in the same bars Bukowksi and Thomas did, I can’t find the light.
The Same Barroom
tiny confines like a wet coffin in the sand; you could smell the urine from across the street.
people flocked it, sometimes, because it was cheap. good for a quick buzz for broke college students.
and the drunkards. the music was more than decent, and whenever they saw me “Purple Rain” would come up. just as soon as I was halfway into my first beer—and the song got me through another bottle, perhaps two.
it was the song under which I met her; the music and rhythm under which we danced and smiled to one another for the very first time. we were still not too far gone, just becoming believers of love at first sight. I guess, despite my cruel pessimism, I once was a romantic like Byron and Shelley; not melancholy seeker like Keats, not suicidal like Chatterton. not down to the gnarly reality like Buk and Hem. just a drinker, sometimes opium user like Poe and Coleridge. and she knew all these names too.
we were young, foolish, dreamers. and one meeting of glances in that dirty barroom was more than enough to commence a fairytale with no happy ending. after the spike took her away
I returned to the barroom—after a long period of solemn drinking in the darkness—seeking for a pair of eyes even faintly resembling the bright green eyes that used to stare at me through the darkness of permanent midnight.
still no luck; I’m still drinking bars dry, refusing to stop searching.
Long Nights of Nothingness
I’ve always thought the junk nights and booze mornings to be the permanent midnight;
now, after a (temporary and horrid) break I realize, in great horror,
that they were the true nights of living.
chasing dragons in meadows-- as bad as it sometimes was and the consequences it had--
made me feel more alive than visiting fancy lounges and night clubs with childhood friends.
going to dance clubs does nothing for me, nor spending a night playing board games and downing green beer from lukewarm bottles.
I still drink, but not in the same pace.
I’ve retired the needle (gone cold turkey twice, still alive—someone down there must really not want me), and the glass-pipe was hidden in the attic of an apartment someone else now calls home.
same apartment wherein Emily died, wherein I died, and countless of nameless faces slept during seven long, cold years.
thousands of empty bottles furnished the wooden floor and millions of words were typed on that desk under the window overlooking a dull office complex.
someone else lives there now, oblivious to the ghosts still residing within the four deaf walls.
I’m here, recalling; getting ready to visit yet another fancy bar where gin and tonics are overpriced and weak and the beer is green.
I stare outside my window at the growing darkness trying to understand why I said yes to this outing.
perhaps, out of duty toward friends. who the fuck knows. I don’t, so… probably no one knows for certain.
I’ll have a few drinks, they’ll call me a heavy drinker-- because they haven’t seen a real heavyweight (or me in my heyday)-- and come morning I’ll wake up with a “longing hangover” desperately searching for beer and wine in the fridge, craving to get drunk and see my soul liberated.
next day will come, and another shall dawn; it always does, always will until the sun explodes in a couple billion years from now and none of us will be there to witness the fireworks.
the blue plume smoke thins out and disappears, and so does Emily’s glance that briefly emerged from within the cloud looking at me with contemptuous love; contempt for what I’ve become, love for who I was.
the moment’s gone, Emily’s dust in the wind, and all I know is I have to shower and make myself presentable for the “good” people of whichever bar I’ll visit.
goodnight, and I hope there’s a barfly somewhere in the world drinking a drink for me, the lost brother from another corner stool.