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The exit at the skylights Flipbook PDF




Dimitris Papakonstantinou

The exit at the skylights (a study of your light) translated by Kassiani Martinaki

(Ι) Soundless eruptions of the sky, blazing clouds faint strings of scarlet in the fields on the earth that trembles fluttering her eyes brooding and still benumbed. Who might have treated her to such unbearable love? “Shut your eyes, surrender yourself once more to dreaming but if you want wonders to behold, stand upright the rock's heart is pounding, its sacred blood is painting the grapes crimson black”, uttered the voice and I stood still and breathed. Below an open sea sowed with sails and I felt the yearning inside me intact pure light intoxicating me, soothingly guiding me on.

(ΙΙ) Soundless rain deep in my sleep an open meadow in the mist green palm; its roads out of sight of fate, of life, of love.

And there, soaked to the bone, panting with the grass piercing the nose within the green and wet, I was the semblance of a sprig so naked, and the sky so close to me.

Soundless rain, blood on my feet poppies with tilted head:

Years fifty of divining you, longing for you years fifty yearning for you, but I can’t find the light.

(IΙΙ) Yes, it is I; how else can it be: Reason and Will. Blossom of the sand alone I rooted in my land Yellow leaf I travel in the wind. Whence the water’s veins, whence the light the night, the desolation, dew in my hands. what might be love, fire, what might be death how might dawn come again when I am away? How beauty hurts, I muttered, on the ground.

(IV) I am water, she said and lay down laughing: I nurture and I rinse, I drift and rage in waves and waves I burst, rocks I make hollow I’m tainted, I stagnate, I cleanse myself I fall, cool sprinkle, hallowing all things. But you, You merely want to be a tree to grow, to sway, to swagger. Small victories to boast in your white blooms small deaths to mourn in fallen leaves. Always pretending not to have seen or to have felt the logger sleeping by your roots.

(V) My love is a study of death, I mumbled I leave too soon all that I have barely known; indefinite in time indefinite I mourn. Others will then sing, others lament relentless time; dictating life should pass and all things linger pale in the light, grow silent shareable, awaiting tenants to arrive. As long as my summer lasts, I mumbled. I mourn the dream with dream. The dream remains.

(VI) A cyan light will rain, the day will set in pink and then a fiery sea within my galaxy stars like red jewels in silence a gust of wind, the owl’s distant cry. Oh, quit scolding me, for I’ve already learned quit always dawning just the same, for I know: You, eternal and I on earth, poor and barefoot You, eternal and I, small wanderer, alone. A study of death, my every word, my every hour.


Others will then come, wake up to love the hidden thorn inside the heart, its quiet sob its mellow words, its sharp and muffled breaths the perspiration on its hot vibrating form. Others will then be deluded and will bleed wallowing in fairytales and truths. Others will then linger after us, if only just to fade.

(VIII) The first shiver in your body and her breath her teeth upon your skin, remember the freezing cold, the pain, the exhaustion the time you said you’d yield, you would not struggle and your body as a leaf afloat a stream and your soul following bewildered in a daze even if it had lost the game – so ignoranteven if the path was narrow and unknown.

The first shiver in your body, the wild thrill the touching of your fate, remember.

(IΧ) At crack of dawn the swinging clock on empty wall what was it counting all alone, what was it saying stabbing small minutes, adding wounds for life to move in circles and wear off.

Who might have ever won, with what devotion with how much care, it always adds up on its own how much we’re missing, how much is vainly wasted

how much is left for us, it doesn’t even know.

(X) The leaves die soundlessly, no tears untying their hands and lying in the wind. How they sparkle in the light, how they swirl in their last dance, how they grow still. And if they crunch sometimes on reddened roads there is no grief if autumn has befallen them. Voices of birds are muttering, pledges of winds inside the sleep that ever sweetly takes them.

(ΧΙ) “Look in the eyes of the abyss, if you want, lie still know that the breeze is soft. Dry leaves, abundant, dance without a care and there’s a grace in their last swirls. Let go, leave it be, even if it takes you so light a breeze emerging from the sea. It’s no defeat of yours this law of life what is dictated sharply, harshly by our nature”. Such were the words the shadows uttered in his ears but he wouldn’t listen with so much light flashing through his grilles.


Now your road ahead appears transparent white birds are perching on the trees whispering to you softly “welcome poet” no tear will fall as dew upon the ground just joy blossoming around - a thousand colours within the land of love unending. Now the road is verging on the clouds with a light gait you will walk through eighteen years old from the beginning -but how you rushyou are wearing t-shirts and you are late.

(XIII) So savoury the rain in my eyes slow dive towards the shipwrecks

-Corals with many branches have encircled them and the limpets slippery on the iron sheets-

And everything incessantly devoured by time eyes wake up inside my darkness and fade out old days that have grown dim and disappeared frays, colourful strings, worthless trash:

Just as the waters gather piles of shriveled leaves in the backyard with the first rains of autumn.


My hot and silent teardrop, wet darkness my hands, fingers thin, frail reeds hoarse voice fainting inside the trees and you, wind, that flayed the leaves, is there again perhaps love and affection is there a soft caress or maybe everything now is slowly sinking in the void as if they’re lies as if a pebble in a lake, without a sound?

Could there be only eternal night around, awaiting but no one there to see or feel it anymore no one to count the stars, to stay awake stare at the clock in agony?

How could it be, the Void, the Great Nothing how can such love exist inside this “nothing”?

(ΧV) Sweating hours of silence dust to dust my earthen body, where did I lay you? A hook in turbid water -oh, I always get caughtin vertigo I lean and the light, the great Terror. Further inside perhaps a hale deep meadow fifty senses for the world to speak within me a lightness in music rivers of colours further inside the end and the beginning: Eternal love. But how can I close my eyes forsake, let go and fall asleep how can I forget? Further inside perhaps the void Pure Nothing ecstasy vertigo so deep and not even a sound.

(XVI) Specks of dust in the light diagonal ascent In straight lines the exit at the skylights We will escape I know the truth has been given us In a body inflicted dark mud, and the shiver. White feather then a transparent bloom No dragging, no groan no pain or sound In the endless world in the playful winds All-seeing and beautiful a new Word in the Abyss.

(XVII) The truth, I know, will eventually emerge from the deepest ocean floor, island intact with its ports glistening in the light with its alleys in the four winds like the homeland we forgot -foolishlyin God’s exile, we will behold it as any man’s Ithaca and then we’ll wipe with open palms our own two eyes. And all things will seem vain and trivial in the light our misery hilarious and we’ll laugh because the thousand cares and sorrow of our lives will only seem like cute and childish games. (The truth, I know, will eventually emerge insight belated, so useless and no more steps ahead and no more wonders: The end of the path, the edge of the map.

(XVIII) i. “God is dead”, said the first one as if saying “outside the rain has stopped, the day is waning” as if he said “spring might be late this year” and in his eyes a peaceful calm.

Without the slightest trickle of a tear.

ii. “Don’t mind that at all”, said the second “As long as there are cowards he will triumph bringing caresses to the fated and the weak always escaping from the jaws of death,

because he merely lives inside their minds”

(But I ascended silent on my cross on the right side, heart torn in two I asked for no forgiveness for my sins no favour, and then I shut my eyes.

iii. “Homo Sapiens is dying”, said the third one. “With a heart broken he goes back to dust and all he has ever dreamt of, sand through his fingers and all he has ever loved so dearly rests in mud”.

And I, weeping on the ground, listened no more.

Who will wind back the clock to the beginning what knowledge of our great and wise world what long-forgotten remedy will save us, what new and magic word, what prayer, which god among the gods will truly feel the man who sweated, built and shattered palaces, shiny worlds upon the waves?

Alone, exhausted, I kneeled, lay down Night had found me in threshing floors of marble.

(XIX) Nothing has yet been won or lost the night softly comes into a draw to drag delusive veils, lucid dreams to murmur fairytales of love. Let our shield remain here in the arena let this blood remain here to remind that we were beaten at the threshing floors of life. Let Death await again the dawn of day. …..................................................................................................................................................

Dimitris Papakonstantinou translated by Kassiani Martinaki