HOT AND COLD – new writing by Grzegorz Giedrys



36,6oC


I am lost. Now, I have to start believing in the one, common and holy pass which will lead me out of these lands. I stop at each and every crossing. I look to the left, look to the right, no cars, move along.

I avoid people whose hands are as dry as leaflets. Passing little girls dolled up for their First Communion, I smell the hairspray fixing plastic lilies in their hair.

Saps dissolve in the sinews of polished benches, the heatwave stretching pavements to braking point. I’m getting closer. Neighborhood women returning from afternoon mass. They do not sweat, because each summer water blooms in their blood, heavy with eternity.

The wooden staircase gives under my weight. Chill. First drops of water on the walls. Voices flowing down pipes. That woman with no larynx singing again. The man who works in the print shop became father to a pair of twins last week.

“Here I am” – I tell her. Thirty six and six degrees and their careful, fat steps across the back, up armpits, in the groin. Somebody came out from the tenement shouting ‘Woe!’ over and over again, many of the windows on the street side of the block lighting up. Enough now, enough.


-36,6oC


You once said that when shivers run along the spine, it’s the soul of a dead man passing through the body of one living. Annie, the river of death runs through me.

At this time of year, the homeless play the warm-cold game. It’s three in the morning and everything tells me: “Go on, lay down on this enamel. It’s ready to accept your warmth. And when things around you become perfect, a dream will reach you, so delicate you’ll be afraid to breathe for fear of spooking it. And cleft-lipped men will walk through this dream and children, mothers wrapping their water-swelled heads in the cellulite of their own breasts. Old women will sit in your lap, stick their tongues down your throat and bear some red and yellow leaves”.

My own cracked lips wake me. They are clay and frost binds them into a cracked dish. Behind the neighbours’ fence, a dog and the pavement become one. -36,6oC floats inside me like bubble of air. Sweaty fingers freezing fast to my door key.




translated by Piotr Siwecki



download the text in English and Polish original pdf here



GRZEGORZ GIEDRYS – born 1979 in Olsztyn. Graduate of Polish Studies at the University of Mikolaj Copernicus in Torun. Between 1998-2004, worked for the literary quarterly „Undergrunt”. His poetry, prose and essays have been published in, among others, “Kartki”, “Lampa”, “ Lewą nogą”, “Nowa Okolica Poetow”, “Odra”, “PAL”, “Portret” and “Tytul”. He lives in Torun, where he works for the regional office of “Gazeta Wyborcza”. In March 2006, the Torun Wiczy Theatre staged a play based on his drama “Instant”.

GRZEGORZ GIEDRYS – ur. 1979 roku w Olsztynie. Absolwent polonistyki UMK w Toruniu. W latach 1998-2004 pracował przy powstawaniu kwartalnika literackiego “Undergrunt”. Wiersze, prozę i artykuły krytyczne publikował m.in. w “Kartkach”, “Lampie”, “Lewą nogą”, „Nowej Okolicy Poetów”, “Odrze”, “PAL-u”, “Portrecie”, “Tytule”. Mieszka w Toruniu, gdzie pracuje jako dziennikarz w lokalnej redakcji “Gazety Wyborczej”. W marcu 2006 r. toruński Teatr Wiczy wystawił sztukę na podstawie jego dramatu “Instant”.