Zeus Comes to Call

     What a night! A thunderstorm so wild I thought it would blow this island out of the Aegean. Gone, then, the last vestiges of Ikarus, Dionysius, yours truly, and Mrs. yours truly. The power blew out in the middle of the night, and with it our lights, heat, Internet, and significance. Zeus had come to call, and he was roaring.  




 The Interview

     I used to know a guy who packed an open-carry mandolin everywhere he went. He’d invade Jake’s Cafeteria with that mandolin strapped to his chest, find a table in a corner and play it hard at anyone who came near unless they were bearing an instrument. If someone armed with an instrument approached, he’d point his mandolin at them and pick two or three rapid phrases. If they could play along he’d stay if not they’d sheepishly slink away. He never had to say a word, which wasn’t surprising because he’d never been known to speak.  




 The pure heart, the true heart, the path we know is real

     The music is rembetica … the old style Greek folk music from the days when they smoked narghiles in the coffee houses, and were the hippies of their time. Their music was about the ecstasy and treachery of love, what they smoked, how they lived, their oppression at the hands of the police, and the mysteries of the universe. The old musicians were outlaws who lived for their music, and the ones tonight are not much different.  




 On the road to Madrid part 1

     It’s taken two days to come unglued from the island. Yesterday we sat in the little airport waiting for a plane that arrived, took one look at the cloudbank that was enshrouding Ikaria and turned around and left. It rained in the early evening, cleared for a while and there was a bit of lightning over distant islands, but none close enough for us to hear their thunder.  




 A Passage between Two Islands

     We watch from high on a cliff road as a sailboat releases itself from the island across the way and fights the wind until the right balance of sails is achieved. The wind coming off our little Greek island is notoriously difficult, and corkscrews down to the sea through deep valleys, clockwise and then anticlockwise, until sailors pull their hair out, and their kids hide down below.  



 Gassed in Athens

     The smoke from the tear gas made its way into the tiny crowded room and there was no relief. Finally we realized that the only escape was to force ourselves out of the room, through the restaurant, into the street and away from the scene. The manager held us each by an arm as we opened the door. I glanced to my right and saw a smoking gas canister five feet away. We were hit even harder this time and almost overwhelmed.  







Photographs by Alex Morton

The soul of Greece is written on the buildings of Athens. The walls are splashed with announcements of political meetings, slogans and references to the upheaval of the past few years. But everywhere, too, the eye rests on beautiful paintings, touching poetry, and wry humor in unexpected places.



The train is an express that roars along between stations for several minutes at a time, with the car’s lights blinking off for thirty seconds or more at a stretch. In the midst of one of the blackouts, the door to the next car suddenly bursts open, the lights pop back on, and three teenagers in track suits burst into our car as if laying claim to it.

      “Don’t nobody move,” the biggest of them shouts.

      Don’t none of us move. Don’t nobody even notice them except me, and I instantly try to become as invisible as possible for an eleven year old in a suit and tie with shoes that have just been “chrome shined” by Eddie the shoeshine guy. And, oh yeah, with a piece of jewelry in my pocket worth as much as a new Cadillac.


Past Posting

“Here’s one for sure, Sonny,” Uncle Walter said, holding up his paper and pointing to a name. “This horse has only one eye. Now, at first you might think it’s crazy betting on a one-eyed horse, but let me show you something here. If that horse is racing and he’s only got one eye, there’s gotta be something really good about him, or they’d a sold him to the glue factory long ago. Look at who’s up on him. I know that jockey, and he’s the cleverest son of a bitch around. If anyone can make a half blind horse come in he’s your boy. That’s as sure a win as if you were past posting.”

On the Road to Ephesus

Mina and I grasp hands together more tightly, still thrilled by the adventure. But our mood isn’t shared by the other passengers. When the wind shakes loose one of the sail ties, and the canvas begins to whap against the boom, one of the women begins to shriek louder than the wind.

“She’s praying,” Mina tells me.
“And she means it.”

General Pizza

It was the first time I’d seen Gold since his funeral.


of Alex Morton’s
sailing stories can be found here: