Yannis Ritsos – ‘Items of identification’
The date of my birth is probably 903 B.C. – but also quite probably 903 A.D. I studied the history of the past and the future at the contemporary School of Struggle. My profession: words piled on words – what could I do? Ragpicker they called me. And it was true. I collected a whole heap of ostrich feathers from the hats of the subterrestrial Maiden, buttons from military duffel coats, and the tobacco pouch of the Great Blind Man. At the Registry these last years they gave me the most improbable date of my birth: 1909.
I adjusted to this and the stayed put. Finally in 3909 I sat on my stool to smoke a cigarette. Then the flatterers arrived; they bowed down before me and on my fingers placed glittering rings. But these ignoramuses did not knowI had myself made them from their empty cartridges left on the hills.
Because of this exactly, because of their lovely ignorance, I rewarded them richly with genuine precious stones and double doses of flattery. At my rate, the only certain item is the place of my birth: Akra Minoa.