"The Taxi Driver Laments," by Adrianne Kalfopoulou

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Poetry by Adrianne Kalfopoulou excerpted from our Summer 2016 issue.

*

What’s happening, did you hear?
I want to get home to catch the news tonight
but can’t say no to someone who needs a ride
—there’s no metro again?
There’s always something.
We’re losing our minds in all this.
But you know I’m a Socialist, I’ve never
voted for anything right-wing, ever, but
what’s happened to him—he’s a good guy
you know. I’ve had him in this cab
when he was the minister of education,
he’s a good guy, I mean I like him
but something’s wrong, how did he get us
into this crazy situation? I want to tell him,
I want to say we love you, the people
are with you—do you know what kinds
of real work I did with this cab
to get people behind his father, I was driving
all over the place, to my village every weekend,
rounding people up—you believe me
don’t you? I mean no one wants a Fascist,
that’s what this right-wing guy is, we’ll be
doomed if he comes into power, he’ll sell everything
but tell me, do you think he’s being told
to do all this by someone we don’t know about,
I mean, really, who is advising him?
You know I see over one hundred people a day
in this cab, I can tell you that right-winger
isn’t going to make it,
the young people are all voting for small parties,
so he’s not getting their vote either—
it’s such a shame though, a tragedy—
why did it have to be like this? Is he ill?
He has us so confused. We’re all going to end up in jail.
I mean how does he expect people to eat?
He keeps cutting everything—do you think
he really loves this country? I mean does
he feel what the people are feeling?
He has to know what people have done for that party,
people like me, we got his party into power
in the 80s, I came from Germany, now
my children are all in Germany and I’ve told them
not to come back, we’ve lost the game,
it’s too late now. But why did this happen—
why did they do this? Even now,
even now people would help him,
he doesn’t listen though—do you have any idea who
he listens to? Probably to his mother, okay
she’s his mother, and he’s alone now,
he can’t trust anyone around him,
especially those ministers,
but he doesn’t ask for help from the right people—
he owes it to us to tell us the truth.
I mean is he a traitor, do you think
he loves something else that he’s not telling us about?
God needs to give us a hand here—it’s too late for us
to do anything now, this is a beautiful country,
we love our country—you don’t know
what I hear every day in this cab, people from all over—
we end up hugging each other,
I’m proud to be Greek,
I’ve always been proud of my country
and now I’m humiliated, we’ve all been.
He should have said from the beginning
that we didn’t have any money, why did he lie to us?
—it makes you wonder, look at us now,
he’s made us ashamed, what did we do to you,
I want to ask him, I just want to ask him that.

*

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Image: A Greek flag flies over Zakynthos Island, Greece. Courtesy of Wikimedia.

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