Christina Strigas

the poet

Christina Strigas’ work has appeared in Coffin Bell Journal, BlazeVox19, Feminine Collective, Neon Mariposa Magazine, Rhythm & Bones, Thimble Lit Magazine, The Temz Review, Pink Plastic House Journal, Twist in Time Literary Magazine and many others. Her collection Love & Vodka was recommended by CBC News – making it onto its 'Your ultimate Canadian poetry list'. Christina is a full-time public school teacher, and part-time course lecturer at McGill University. She lives in Montreal with her husband and two children, and is currently working on publishing two poetry books and a novel.

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the poems

Measured Teaspoons

00:00 / 01:52

Who loves me anymore?
People like to rehash old said shit,

From five years ago …
You punched a door,
There’s still a wrecked hole to remind me.

Pin their poetry on your forehead.
Jinx, touch red, 
it’s identical now. 
Someone brings you red wine
you smile
taking about reading and writing                    
you try to tell a joke
fail miserably.
Look around the room like a stranger.

That’s not what I meant at all.

 

Who loves me anymore?

They see me with fugitive themes,
Forgive me for always leaving,
Flinch at the sign of my danger
Writers like to
play sex games in the day,            
hunting 
Adventurous and dangerous love.

I can never tell who wants me,
Damaged and wounded from giving away
My secrets for cash or fantasies for free,
Or if they do
My ego never knows,
Did you take out the garbage?

I can never tell time anymore.
It keeps rambling on and on like a song on the radio
you can’t listen to anymore
Indifferent to the wrinkles on my skin.
It’s not Friday today? When was my birthday?

I may be losing my witching powers,
Maturing into the skin of my mother and father         
Perhaps they never existed,
Maybe normality is flowing stillness into my veins,

I have become what they feared.
Old and out of date,
Expired.

I have walked into a party   
In the wrong era’s outfit,
And when you try to explain it:
The meaning of poetry,

When they ask,
Why you're wearing nylons with sandals,
You keep repeating,
Because I want to.

Yet you realize no matter
How you express yourself

What you really want to say is:    
That’s not what I meant at all.

1973

00:00 / 02:55

i have authentic white tiny flowers in my hair
the way i was supposed to live
walking for my aunt, down the tiny cobblestone roads
in the middle of summer, following the gorgeous bride,
in the village, my parents were born and fell in love,
singing Greek songs in the open air,
watching how the Mediterranean sun plays golden tricks
on my mother's short 70s crew cut.
It's 1979
on the plane with my dad
emergency landing to tend to the sick
his father is dying and everyone is talking about
olive trees. my hair is too short for Europe
my knees too knobby but everyone loves my accent
they say i'm beautiful
i sleep at the top of the hill with my cousin Mimika
and two other cousins have my name and moles.
I find it weird that we all look alike yet no one sees
the sun's brilliance like me
or notices how the moon shines at twelve years old.
they want all my clothes and look at the brand names
while i care more about the sky and my grandmother's sad eyes.
she likes to hug me like it's the last time she will
every hug feels like her last hug.
i felt death hug me when she squeezed and kissed me like that.
we sleep in the afternoon or climb out the window to play with the hens.
It's 1991
everyone my father loved has died
I'm backpacking through Europe with my best friend
and we visit my childhood
but it's so long gone,
i slept all through Paros
Santorini saw all our dirty laundry
Pensioni Andre had no mirrors
so we hid well
under the sun's rays.
Every day lasted forever
every love a lifetime.
It's 1998
I'm three months pregnant in Agadir
and doing some kind of pregnancy test
it feels like this baby will live
and he does.
my life will never be the same again
i'm a mother
now.
It's 2001
the ultrasound indicates it's a girl
and i cry like a baby
praying she'll stay warm and safe
and never leave me stranded.
with blood and tears.
it's 2011
everyone sees Greece through the eyes of my children
and we love each other madly
every year
every ocean
brings us closer
to death
and the cup we were
meant to drink
together
and
finally alone
is full of memories
and our future is still
full of dreams.
he says no matter how old you are
you are always young to me
you never age.
i love you.
these are the years that grab me
make me cry to our song
and i sign death certificates.
i grab hold of my soul
and shake it a bit
then i silence it.
you thought you knew me
but truly it's 1973
and the sun is the brightest i've ever witnessed
and my mother's beauty haunts me.

Dead Wife

00:00 / 01:05

I wrote you all the things
I cannot tell your hazel eyes.
I do not want to even look at you
how unromantic of a poet like me.
I wrote about—
that time when Little Wing
played in the 70s basement
of Lily’s house on McKenzie Street.
We did not know each other then
you were at some other party
playing spin the bottle, starting
to brew your player moves,
charming chess pieces.

I spent my love on you
like a gambler.
I can’t 
I don’t 
want to be that girl
That writes so many letters to her
ex-boyfriends
ex-lovers
ex-husbands
where they all have a conversation.
They all have a substitute teacher
when love calls.

My ex was a teacher

I killed myself for you
like a murderer.
I can’t 
I won’t
wish for you to visit me
refresh my six-year-old memory
when love stumbles
you sometimes forget to get up.

I pretend your wife is dead.
My reality has no filters.

Publishing credits

Measured Teaspoons: exclusive first publication by iamb

1973: Your Ink on my Soul (Underwater Mountains [1st ed.] /

  self-published [2nd ed.])

Dead Wife: Coffin Bell Journal (Vol. 2, Issue 4 – Masquerade)

  Nominated for Best of the Net 2020

© original authors 2020

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