Neo-Hellene Poets, an Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry, 1750-2018

Poem by Sissy Doutsiou


The black sea

thick unexplored bottom

big waves, exulted sea froth

the only ones who survived Leviathan




the peace of its seafloor

passage to Hades

you won’t need to bribe with bronze coins

trembling before the dark endlessness is enough

your relatives won’t need to feed death

under your tongue: nothing

Acheron is sorry

Cocytus wails

Phlegethon explodes

Lethe forgets

Styx hates

lives tied

to various places

you haven’t imagined


construction sites


breaths of men chained on gigantic anchors

they put aside skates and red fishes

to report a full cargo to the port authorities

cosmetics and accessories for women

last breaths of mammals

with their eyes pulled by the metal net

plastic colorful hands

disembowel schools of fish

they just have time for a cigarette

the sea is angry

tyrant and at the same time

savior of the earth

industry sounds and

the cries of Atlantic


and the rough unfamiliar


details give you vertigo

the magenta’s light is low

about thirty five per cent

each instrument in its place

for its hanging

for its underwater killing

chains, hooks, pipes.

A load of blood

the blood of sea weed

dried exotic conches

wrinkled star fishes that shed tears

and dried up corals —

wrinkled memories of a sea floor

plastic blue gloves

remind you the color of dawn

stow beauty in orange plastic pails

souvenir from Portugal, mom,  

buy me that sea horse,

it’s so nice


Men like machines

with no emotions

frozen eyes


the wind that makes you

think only of hunger



a chubby cunt to fuck

repeated movements

repetition kills tenderness


cynic words

and survival.

A trap door that spits blood

and pieces of rotten sea meat

twenty four degrees and fifteen minutes north latitude

seventy six degrees west longitude


in the ocean.

Parts of the ship

rectangular shapes

square and multi-angular

with schisms

the heavy and salty sea water

goes through

fills and



when the rusted shapes fill

with men near death

the sea

washes them clean

freshens them

until they die of asphyxiation

a load made of corpses

their fate was common

to stop

running inconceivably in the sea floor


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