Exit Point One


By George Polymenakos


The black flag at the stern of the barge approaching the Island hangs resignedly on its pole, as if it believes its days of waving are gone, and the winds here will remain forever subservient to the kingdom of stillness, in a land where the present seems to last forever, and the future is prohibited. On Purgatory Island the Purifiers are in charge. But what kind of Purgatory is it from which no soul can make the leap into Paradise? “We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars”, and that someone is the dystopian writer, who appears as a prophet to provide a warning about the coming darkness of a desolate future that emerges out of a “defective” present. He appears in the midst of stifling pessimism to proclaim optimistically that only the timeless values of friendship, love, humble heroism, the duty of the strong toward the weak, are the ones that will, once again, save the world. He becomes a modern-day Dante who, still inside Hell and Purgatory, offers hope of Paradise. Just as balance is always restored in the primordial conflict between good and evil, joy and sorrow, light and darkness, so, too, utopia has need of dystopia. Harmony is found in the conflict of opposites. Utopia is not some imaginary place, but a promised land that must constantly be discovered.


George Polymenakos

George Polimenakos was born in a small house next to the lighthouse of Gythio, in southern Peloponnesus. He spent his childhood in Perama, a western suburb of Piraeus, across from the lighthouse of Psyttalia, an island in the gulf of Salamis, where, each night, he would count its flashes, reflected on his bedroom wall, until he fell asleep. Today, he continues to live in Perama, but he can no longer see the flashes of the Psyttalia lighthouse which are hidden by the bright lights of the Cosco container port facilities.

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