I went through this sometimes before
and so I know what to do,
what to expect, what to hope for,
any rebetiko will do.

I came to town for a drink,
"Doukiani" now has changed hands,
for every song I need a link,
I sing but no one understands.

What is rebetiko for me?
It is a life long love affair,
thousands of miles by land and sea,
fighting the false and the unfair.

I had a sweetheart but she's gone,
another one, she stayed too long,
I have a new girl on the phone,
for her I'll chose the proper song,

plus, I'll comment by nod and smile,
by scales running east and west,
earning some money all the while,
and always trying to do my best.

Social comment or love cry,
whatever comes out of the blue,
first and foremost for you I'll try,
any rebetiko will do.

Cause I'm in love and heard your call,
your passion hot, your voice clear:
"Let us not wait, but take it all",
in just three weeks you will be here!

It's summer still, the sun is high,
all things remind me of you,
first you decent and then you fly,
any rebetiko will do.

You had a taste for this old song,
but we both knew, it wasn't enough,
it could describe all right and wrong,
all love and hate, both smooth and rough.

So we can have a change of plan,
live here and now and fuck the rest,
you are my woman, I'm your man,
I'll be your host, you be my guest.


"What happened to that girl of yours?"
Alexis' voice wakes me up,
"Her voice could open all closed doors,
You played true music, not this crap".

"Oh, she is gone, she won't come back,
brilliant musician, tender heart,
above all that, the hottest fuck,
but time was due for a new start".

"So, tell me how much you would charge
for a new start in this old bar?
Don’t hit too high, don’t play too large,
I think that we two could go far!"

I look at him, he's just a boy,
his early twenties, self-assured,
willing my service to employ,
prepared to pay for ills incurred.

He's not the timid lad I knew,
his father used to be my friend,
in Libyan sea, in summers blue,
smoking hashish under a tent.

Pressing the hookah, he would call:
Bring the bouzouki, play a song,
let's eat and drink, this life is small,
and still would be ten times as long.

I could not argue with that man,
he'd call us all, shared what he had,
rebet musicians, careless clan,
he'd say, "Just play once more, my lad".

And now his son looks for a deal,
suspecting not that I'm too keen
to play again just for the thrill,
without money, pure and clean.

I cannot let him know my drive,
I must adopt the "market stance",
in three short weeks when you arrive,
rebetiko will have its chance.

Any rebetiko will do,
if used with wisdom and insight,
to speak about me and you,
our every moment day and night.

You are a foreign girl, I know,
but this new culture keen to learn,
so I will let my music flow,
a living also trying to earn.

In terms of music and of verse,
I'll share with you all that I know,
in endless ballades and songs terse,
and make our every night glow.


"So, what you say?" he asks again,
"give me a price to think about",
I think, " you hope for handsome gain,
but I will leave you in no doubt".

Smiling I say, "I'll make it cheap,
but only for your father's sake,
let's not go further than skin-deep,
we drink raki and hands we shake.

"Pity", he says, "you split from her,
a good guitar as I recall,
I say, "Look, Alex, I don’t care,
we both could claim, we had it all".

"That's true", he says, "so now what's up?
I've heard you are with a new lass,
they saw her seating on your lap,
kissing and loving, all that fuss!

“Yeah, I’m in love, but she’s too young,
the truth be told, younger than you,
he winks and asks, "from songs you sang,
any rebetiko will do?"

"Oh yes, it will, that is so true!
I let my life to take its course,
any rebetiko will do,
either for better or for worse".

"I think that people in your age
could only dream to have such luck,
wankers will call it an outrage,
their jealousy will hit your back,

so, do be careful in this town,
although I'm young, that's my advice,
hiding their own horny crown,
what they can't have they call it vice".

"Young friend, I know the gossip thrives,
but honestly, I couldn't care less,
I have updated my archives,
I lack a permanent address,

So many summers in this place,
I thought to spend a winter here,
spellbound by her pretty face,
the day she returns grows near…

my glass is empty, get some drink,
I love raki, she loves me too!"
I gave him back that same old wink:
any rebetiko will do.


The bar was empty when I came,
taking a look now was half full,
the night still young, a bitch to tame,
as always playing super cool.

I thought, "this town does provoke,
let's take the bull then by the horns,
of its "sincere face" make a joke,
spit on that face, cherish its scorns.

This southernmost of Europe's towns!
Any rebetiko will do,
to entertain its smiles and frowns,
or, failing that, enjoy its blue".

Alex was busy in the bar,
smiling to girls, chatting to guys,
and I was easy, not that far,
I would not notice otherwise:

A few of them were singing low,
they knew the words of every song,
warming my heart all nice and slow,
and you'll be here before too long!

Rebetiko = Genre of urban underground music. Worth googling it.
"Doukiani" = generally a small old style café. In this instance a stylized name for a raki bar.
Written by hornyatmorn
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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