Dimitris Lyacos
Z213 Exit (extracts 22-24)

Translated from Greek by Shorsha Sullivan

And I heard the groan and someone that, that told me: walk. Walk in the midst of the sea, and I shall save you and do not stop until you reach the other side. And someone else who said: and you shall take our bones with you. And I rested a while, and I saw in the sky a long narrow cloud. And it stood still all day and all night. And at night as if it caught fire and the sea red. Red. And I pondered why I had roamed here and who was tracking me. And perhaps he will catch me up at the edge of the sea. And I was afraid. I could have stayed there, die and not travel. Perhaps they left me to see what I would do and then they sent someone after me. Perhaps better in there than dying alone here. And someone that said again: walk and be saved, and take a rod, and stretch your hand over the sea and let the rod fall and rip it in two. And pass along in the middle. And the cloud came and stood behind me and it got dark again. And I took the rod, and stretched my hand out over the sea, and the wind was blowing all night, two winds in opposite direction from the same point. And the sea was gathered together a heap on one side and a heap on the other. And a road between. And I passed then in between, on one side and on the other the red wall. And I heard the groan behind me again and remembered how they were bringing them in the truck down to the beach. And I heard, the voices again, that why, and the reed beat in the wind.  


He spoke                                   i will pursue i will overtake
I will glut my soul                      of the flesh                            they melted all.
Saddle on bloodied waves
covered them
                 the whispering.

before it                       it will be night                      let us chant to
in the giving

they fruit                                as the hoar frost on the ground
barks of the hounds on the scent

tree, which when they had cast into the water
and it was made sweet
but left it until the morning. And
It bred worms and stank                              below the waterline
full bowls and they could not drink
and melted, all except one. And the bones under the sun like gypsum

and he set of out of the desert

passages                                   and encamped there.
Grant us                                       arms stretching out to the water
                                   Gods which shall go before us

shipwreck of the                    under the mountain.


Nobody is coming after me. Surely they have forgotten about me. Nobody will ever come here to find me. He will never be able to find me. Nobody ever. And they did not even know anything about it when I fled. They took no notice of me no one cared no one remembers. Now they will not remember when or how. Not even I. Tracks only, a hazy memory and those images when I look at what I have written, tracks of steps in the mud before it starts raining again. Uncertain images of the road and thoughts mumbled words, and if you read them without the names you won’t understand, it could have been anywhere, and then I spoke with no one and those who saw me no chance that they remember me. Every so often a face that seems familiar, from another time, someone looked at you, you recognised him, no, a part of another on a stranger’s face. Or the rhythm of the steps that sound behind you, the rhythm of your own steps, which occasionally you think follow you, they stop when you stop, or for a moment you think he is coming behind you, or you think that someone is breathing behind the door and will now come in. And then nothing, and then back again, and you suddenly turn your head as if you had heard him. But no one. You are far away, no one knows you, no one wants to find you, no one is looking for you. And tomorrow you will be elsewhere still farther away, still more difficult yet, even if they would send someone. They don’t know the way and before they learn you have decamped somewhere else. They know how to search but they don’t know what way. And even if they set off from somewhere they will still be quite far. And they will not be many. Perhaps just one. One is like all of them together. Same eyes that search, same mind that calculates the next move. Same legs that run same arms that spread wide. Ears that strain to listen, nostrils over their prey. Always acting like that. Two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two arms, two legs. The symmetry of the machine that pursues you. A net that thinks decides and moves ahead. The head a fishhook the body a line. All the same. Me too. One behind the other. Forward back further back, following the road. And if you don’t know you run ahead anyway, because someone is always coming behind you. Sooner or later he comes. And sometime there comes a hand that takes you by the shoulder or a worm that climbs up on your hand. It rolls on a pillow of saliva. Forward. And as it rolls it is growing and wrapping around you. A flat tongue on its saliva with two eyes that rise up and see you. Not you exactly, they look for a place to start from. Like him that, that night we were hungry, that had etched an open mouth on his stomach. Likewise this stomach has a mouth, it is a mouth about to open. From there you go somewhere else, on the inner road opening up, in the twists of the gut, there of course you are unconscious by now, unconscious you take the road back and when you wake they have brought you inside there again.

  Dimitris Lyacos was born in Athens in 1966. He studied Law at the University of Athens and Philosophy at University College London. His trilogy Poena Damni (Z213: Exit, Nyctivoe, The First Death), written over the course of fifteen years, has been translated into English, Spanish, Italian and German and has been performed extensively across Europe and the USA. A sound and sculpture installation of Nyctivoe opened in London and toured Europe in 2004-2005. A contemporary theatre-dance version of the same book was showing in Greece in 2006-2007. Lyacos' work has been the subject of lectures and research at various universities, including Amsterdam, Trieste and Oxford. Various extracts from the trilogy have appeared in literary journals around the world. For more information on the author visit www.lyacos.net.

Translator Shorsha Sullivan was born in Dublin in 1932. He studied Classics at Leeds and has spent most of his working life in England. He has a special interest in Modern Greek theatre and poetry.
 © Dimitris Lyacos and Shorsha Sullivan All Rights Reserved