Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘The Colossus of Maroussi

Katsimbalis, this MasterWork: A Zorba Greek type?

Katsimbalis picked up a simple flower off the road. By the time he finished his story, this humble flower had acquired an extraordinary dimension that no other individual could ever imagined. This normal flower stuck in the imagination of the audience: This flower is unique in its genre simply because Katsimbalis immortalized it, made it the receptacle of all the thoughts and feeling that flowers inspired him. This flower represented the entire universe.

The peasants are resting on the bridge. They on pilgrimage to the Virgin of Tinos. We landed in the port and ascended on the Acropolis, very drunk, exalted by wine and poetry. The night was black and hot. And cognac roared in our veins  We were sitting on the steps in front of the grand door. The bottle was taking tours and Katsimbalis recited poems.

And suddenly, Katsimbalis got up and screamed: “Do you guys want to hear the singing of the cocks (coqs) of Attica (area of Athens), you lousy modern dirty urban dwellers?”

Katsimbalis voice was hysterics and nobody answered. He didn’t wait for any reply and he ran toward the cliff. He looked like a heavy black fairy in his black garment, he retracted his head backward and launched a terrifying sound of bugle: Cocorico! The cry spread across the city in the valley, twinkling with lights like cherries.

The echo ricocheted from hills to hills and rolled like a wheal on the walls of the Parthenon. And here one coq responding to Katsimbalis’ cocoricco, and another and another, rending Katsimbalis totally nuts.

Stooping like a bird ready to taking off and flapping his coat, Katsimbalis’ scream sounded as a volatile being slaughtered. Our blood froze and he kept screaming and the veins in his neck bulged to break.

And the coqs in the area responded to fill the air, a hysterical audience communicating their encouragement. The night was alive and trembling with the shouts of coqs. All Athene was wide awake and sharing with cocoricco, resonating everywhere, frantically filling the air and the mind.

The flavor of Katsimbalis’ monologue was that his conversation awakened echos, and these echos took longer to reach the ears. It was the game of lights reflected on opaque alabaster vase, a sky charged with storm, pregnant with resonance, the significance of which emerged after a long time…

The first time I met Katsimbalis was a night he was returning to his hometown Amaroussion. I didn’t have to say a thing that night: I was listening, under the spell of the charm of every phrase he said. It was as if he was writing a book for your intention, reading it out loud, and acting it. Katsimbalis is enjoying his monologue and is happy to see you entrapped. And as though afterwards, he tears the book apart and throw the pages in the wind.

I was God to Katsimbalis, a sublime comedy. Physically, he resembled a bull, the tenacity of a vulture, the agility of a leopard, the tenderness of a sheep, the timidity of a pigeon.  Katsimbalis head was oversized, and it appeared to me to be typically Athenian. The hand a tad small compared top the body, a tad too delicate. A man of vitality, powerful, capable of brutal gestures and rude words, an attitude that disseminated warmth, all the softness of a woman.

Katsimbalis had this element of the tragic that enhanced his mimics ability. He had this appearance of talking of himself all the time without egotism: He was indeed the person the most interesting who he knew.

Eating was a passion and drinking lots of resina. He would say that resina was good for the reins, for the liver, for the lungs, for the bowels, for the spirit… Good for man.  Katsimbalis never believed in moderation, in common sense, or anything that led to inhibition.

Despite a sick arm, a dislocated knee, a bad eye, a disorganized liver, rheumatism pains, arthritic troubles, migraine…  Katsimbalis was still a lively character who survived several wars, life in the trenches… Katsimbalis knew how to dwell on details and they stuck in the memories of the captive audience.

Note 1: Extracts from the book of Henry Miller “The Colossus of Maroussi

Note 2: Katsimbalis can be considered a masterwork, not just his monologues, but mainly his personality.

Everyone of us may exhibit a masterwork characteristics for a short duration, a moment… in his behavior or a field of specialization.

Fact is, a masterwork is a long story of assiduous work, repetition, and persistence in doing particular behavior, but the masterwork shines for moments, and in occasions of being out of the conventional wisdom and common sense consensus.




June 2023

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