A journey with the little fruitarian runner on board. Day one: Bucharest – Alexandroupolis

The little fruitarian runner starts his morning training just as we get into the car, finally ready to hit the road again. His soft, repeated kicks move me to tears. I am filled with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for everything in my life. I must be the happiest person on earth right now and it feels like I am melting into everything, no more borders, distances collapse and we all fuse. I seem to be the only one to notice, the rest of the world simply carries on. But that changes nothing.

The road to the Bulgarian border is short and wet, a blessing after all the heat in Bucharest. And then it takes forever to cross the bridge over the Danube, so we have a picnic in the car right in the middle of it, eating apricots and apples (fruit, of course, for the little fruitarian runner) and admiring the view from above the river. Being suspended on a high bridge over a big river, the car being shaken as if by small, consecutive earthquakes feels a little bit like being pregnant: all control systems are obsolete and each new breath and every passing second bring new experiences. Exciting!

An eternity and a half later, having been angered by the people crouched in their big cars cutting the line at the Bulgarian border, we are finally out of Romania. It’s amazing how different everything feels once you’ve crossed the border of your home country. Suddenly the pressure is off and it feels like karma is finally giving you a well deserved break. Or so it feels to me.

Crossing Bulgaria feels peaceful enough and the traffic is far from busy. Rather the roads seem underpopulated, giving the traveler space to contemplate the green fields, the fat trees and the gray clouds crammed up in the sky, rain pouring down from them in soft, transparent waves of a silk curtain, its hem ardently sweeping the road.

I will not discuss the apparent poverty of the Bulgarian villages, for they are filthy rich compared to the Cambodian villages I traveled through last year. A totally different world. Their simplicity is relaxing to the eye. So interesting how little connection I feel to this country. Not much difference compared to Romania, but still, to me it’s just a land in between, a space to be crossed, not a destination.

Having crossed the mountains through heavy rain and fog descending from the forest like the wise spirits of our deceased Indian ancestors, as we are approaching the Greek border the sun is shining and the temperature is rising. Farmers have already harvested their wheat crops and the lower, drier scenery brings back to memory Greek words and phrases for me to (ab)use in the coming week.

We come into yet another heavy shower as we are crossing the Greek border – a small, old place that appears as a surprise in the middle of nowhere. And the little fruitarian runner starts his afternoon training – a much softer version of his energetic morning training – pulling all my attention to my lower abdomen and bringing back images of colorful fish swimming peacefully around me while snorkeling in the Aegean Sea a few years ago.

Finally, we are in Greece! Back to one of our most beloved homes after a few years of absence. And yet it doesn’t feel like Greece yet. I look around searching for that unique, familiar feeling that softens the tongue as it wrapping itself around every word, sliding against the roof of the mouth with such sensuous determination. It’s still too green, too hilly and too rainy.

But as we are leaving Bulgaria farther behind, Greece gradually becomes more like her old self and l lean back, anxiously waiting for that exciting first glimpse of the sea. And finally the sun! Coming down like a blessing – a huge hand, its fingers all widely spread to reach as wide an area as possible. And there is such stillness. We barely speak a word. There is no need. A while later, old Greek music, with its coarse, serious, masculine tunes, fills the car, sweeping silence away and bringing back impressions from other lifetimes.

And then we get a little lost in a beautiful small village, taking the time to admire tiny, welcoming gardens and wondering where everybody is. Until we pass the local pub and see all the men in the village gathered there, sitting and drinking in silence, staring at the empty road. The women must be cooking dinner in their low ceiling white kitchens overlooking the back yards.

Finding our way again, we are greeted by a spectacular rainbow on the left of the road, before coming right into a storm, equipped with great lightening and all. There is no rush, so we can afford to simply be happy, our quiet company of three.

Alexandroupolis greets us a bit later, with its typically Greek narrow streets and Mediterranean modern architecture and I get my first glimpse of the sea from the harbor, which leaves me a bit unsatisfied. I get consolation by reminding myself I have a full week on an island coming up.

We check out the harbor and find a motorcycling gathering taking place. We locate the ticket office and then head to the camping. We have a ferry to catch tomorrow morning and, after the long drive today, just want to crash as soon as possible.

We put up the tent on soft, muddy ground, next to a beautiful birch tree, in spot 69, a square lined with tall pink rose bays, letting out their discreet sweet scent. Dinner is fish accompanied by butterflies, a black cat and a more rewarding view of the sea.

sea view at the alexandroupolis camping

And we finally call it a day.

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Poetry while still not jogging (yet?)

It’s been a long winter

The hookers have come out of hybernation and are now in full hunting season to make up for lost body weight

A traveller is making plans to settle down

To and fro

To and fro

Conquering fear and learning to grow

Life changing at a speed of 1000 km /second

Dizziness and queasiness befriending uneasiness

Freedom recalculated, renegotiated, regurgitated

Definitions reinvented

Breath shortened and deepened not effortlessly

Happiness exists

I swear I held it in my hands one night and put it in my bedside cabinet drawer for keepsake

It’s pink

Ever since

It keeps coming back to me every five seconds or so


I’m curious if I still have it in me

I take my running nose out for a run tonight. I love my town again. I feel I live in this small town on an island in the city center, where we form this cosy community, in which everyone knows everyone. We all shook together in the earthquake three nights ago and no one talks about that. We just send compassionate looks to the cracked walls of our houses and distant, encouraging hugs to everyone we meet in the streets. I’m in this countryside part of the city and I love it. I might even start growing my own tomatoes again, who knows.

The hookers and their pimps, all wearing black tonight, are cracking seeds, spitting their shells on the asphalt around their feet and stepping on them with their black shoes, in their dance around a black car where music is coming from and a driver is checking his phone. It’s still early.

And there is hope. I feel it sprouting underground, all covered up in black soil and dead leaves. The gnomes are keeping it warm and molding it into a diamond. It shall sprout in spring. And in our community of hope spring can come anytime.

PS The earthquake helped release some burdens, so it’s goodbye time again:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpDLelAnecE&w=560&h=315]

Only one hooker tonight

High heels, black leather pants, a stripe of skin showing between the belt and the hem of a tight jacket, arms folded over her ribs in a tight hug, long, curly, red hair, big everything. I look at her. She looks at me. Shortly, a taxi pulls up in front of her and she slowly walks to the back door on the right, opens it and gets in. Is he a regular, I wonder.

Having stopped to witness the scene, I rub my right ear feeling a little embarrassed and then resume my run. If I were a hooker, I’d probably look something like that, I think. Though my hair would probably be shorter. And not red. Probably. But the thought is quickly chased away by a wave of nausea. Dinner again. The same type of very fat cream. This time under street lights, while walking home.

When I used to smoke, if I was sad, I used to make myself sick. I smoked until the source of my tears became impossible to trace. Am I now trying to repeat the experience using cream instead?

Two guys fight over a parking space. One three times the size of the other. The small one is like a pekingese – hysterical, rude, not very bright and annoying. His opponent, a rare crossbreed between a pit-bull and a fluffy Newfoundland – intelligent, strong, quiet and with the self-confidence of knowing exactly when to deliver the final bite. I disappear before the show ends.

This newly installed cold

All the night walkers have been driven into their homes, so I discover I have the streets to myself. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t be out running tonight either had I not drunk that 35% fat cream. Yes, that was dinner. At the light of the fridge. Literally.

So to prevent myself from smashing my scale tomorrow morning because of seeing the extra two hundred grams too real to deny, I run. I run until nothing hurts except everything. And I feel pathetic and sad and what seemed not so long ago to be perfect is horrible now and I just hate my life.

I make a right turn and I almost bump into another runner. Another girl. The first one I’ve seen in this area except me in the past year, since I moved here. Makes me wonder what she had for dinner.

Reporting on the hookers: they are wearing long pants, platforms and thick, fluffy waist jackets and are so much less vocal than during summer nights. Two are smoking quietly, while a strong wind is blowing, forcing them to make sudden head turns to free their lips from the tyranny of their hair.

i am waiting

a violin at the restaurant across the street


tiny frogs in the park


my lines flowing so smoothly on the asphalt in front of me

i do not want to erase them anymore


cheesy songs come to mind

cheesy lines

cheesy is the new black

but I can finally breathe again

still, life’s testing my patience

no attempt to shut down the mind

i just run

the hookers are eating chocolate ice cream


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qnb-5pss1UU&w=560&h=315]

I never forget to say thank you

I go jogging late tonight and, before leaving the hotel, I ask the receptionist, placing my room key on the reception desk, whether the party in the restaurant is gonna last long.

“Till morning”, she says, smiling while looking straight into my eyes.
“So… How do you suppose the other people in the hotel can sleep tonight?” I ask her, smiling back.
“Well… I am sorry… What floor are you on? Oh, the first… Yes… You see, I would change your room, but we are fully booked, I am sorry. It is not up to me…”

Then she adds something about some of the guests having to leave the country tomorrow and the party having been postponed from daytime to nighttime in the nick of time and other stuff I choose to ignore as I’m smiling and nodding.

I thank her and go out. And I am so tired and just want to go to bed but the least I can do is spend my time in a useful way if the noise is too loud to sleep. So I run. My legs hurt, my arms hurt and I yawn from time to time. But at least it’s quiet as I am moving further away from the hotel and I can listen to the crickets and the leaves rustling under my feet and I can see the full moon above, lighting up the sky like the sun at night up in the north.

I force myself to go all the way and, when I start running back, on the other side of the road, I stop from time to time to collect feathers from the ground, as I need them for the creative writing workshop I am teaching this week. So I end up running with this small bunch of black feathers closely tucked in my right hand. Listening to them whizzing as I am running, I make the decision to start working on my book in September and finish it before the end of the year. I have all it takes.

So I get back to the hotel, holding my small bunch of black feathers. The party is loud and quite a lot of people are dancing on the terrace or chatting in the parking lot. As I make my way to the entrance, three men standing in front of the main door, holding their drinks, sticking out their bellies and waving huge, imaginary dicks in my face, are quietly staring at my legs. I pretend not to notice and raise my chin, sticking out my chest as I walk past them and into the lobby. The receptionist hands me my key without a word. I say thank you and go upstairs.


The rattle of my keys in my back pocket


Nothing else on me
No phone, no water, no money
No shadows of lovers gone
A stabbing pain in my back
As I’m running through this melting heat
There seems to be so much noise down here
Two weeks up in the north have that effect
They make you whisper
Why trade the forest for the asphalt?
I have nothing to say
Everything to live
And love

PS Took the photo last week in Sweden, Stockholm area.

Mad about you


I touch my thighs
my belly
I see the lines of my body drawn on the asphalt
I feel them vibrating
I mold them like clay
If I press here, it gives in
stubornness is a thick line
ashes to ashes, dust to dust
an evening run after a day only on liquids
hunger is such a deceitful word
fear hides behind the “hun”
loneliness behind the “ger”
midnight yoga
as a late night snack

wars are always lost
I don’t fight my inner demons
I love them instead
I ask them their names
to thank them
and release them
I try to do the same with people
demons find a shortcut to my compassion button

anything must be possible
when it is made so

PS Took the picture in Hotel Traian, Brăila, 2009. Natacha Merritt style.

lady lazarus


three hookers
suspended on their platforms
each wearing something red
complaining about low pay
waving sumptuous handheld fans
of long days between stone walls
in crinoline and lace

I still believe it takes such
can I call it generosity?
death by stoning
no exclamation mark as the words stop in mid throat
shall I call it availability?
a reminder
of long forgotten fears between two legs

I was dead
bearing the story of resignation
life took me by the hand
and invited me to dance
I said no
she insisted

PS I took the photo at a Rodin exhibition in Stockholm in January.