by Michael N. McGregor—originally published in Image, no. 70, Summer 2011
I’d been meaning to call him for days and hadn’t, but that afternoon something made me search for a phone. The same something, maybe, that had led me to Robert Lax in the first place fifteen years before. My wife and I were walking through a small Turkish town where all I could find was a cheap payphone halfway up a dirt alley. Connections between Turkey and Greece were bad in those days and this phone looked especially dubious, but I pushed my coins into the slot and dialed his number. The usual clicks and beeps filled my ear, then the low, drawn-out brrrrrs as his line rang. Continue reading A Gyroscope on the Island of Love
by Michael N. McGregor—originally published in Poets & Writers, March/April 1997
There is no easy, efficient way to reach the Greek island poet Robert Lax calls home. A nine-hour flight from New York leaves you less than halfway there, subject first to an adrenaline-draining, needle-threading, joint-jangling taxi ride from the Athens airport to the harbor at Piraeus, then a nine- or twelve-hour (depending on the seas – everything in Greece depends upon the seas) passage on an aging, noisy, smoke-filled ferry that might not even make its scheduled stop.
That is, of course, if the ferry is running that day at all – and if you haven ‘t had the misfortune to arrive on a day when the ferry is traveling to Piraeus instead of away from it, or when the engines have gone out, or when the ferry workers are on strike.
By the time you arrive on Patmos, usually at 1:00 or 2:00 A.M., the New York world of instant gratification, instant communication, instant everything seems strangely, almost painfully, remote. Continue reading Turning the Jungle Into a Garden