Folyosó Winter 2021–2022 - Page 4


Erika Szántó

I was walking down the straight path he led me onto. He had laid the way out for me already. I could see the light at the end. I hastened my pace.

Suddenly, a wall of amethyst rose from the ground, forcing me to stop. There was a question written on the wall. “When was the camera invented?“ Hah! Easy, around 1816. What a weird question to ask. I could hear an ear-piercing cracking sound. It came from the wall. It broke in half, letting me go forward. A piece of it cut my cheek; the burning sensation of the wound reminded me that this was indeed reality.

I strode forward along the infinite pathway. Many other walls stood in my way, all of them falling apart after I answered the question carved on them. After a while, nearly all of my body parts had multiple gashes from their debris. The questions got harder too; it wasn’t so easy to answer them anymore. I hoped I could keep up my answer streak at least until I got to the end of this straight labyrinth of trivia.

I was limping and my breathing was shallow. I can’t go on for a lot longer like this. Yet another wall rose up. “Your grave is not here.” What? What is that supposed to mean? What should I answer? What is this? It’s not even a question!

Yes. It’s not here.

The wall didn’t crack. The amethyst started to shift in color and consistency. Molten crimson gashed down onto me. The ground tilted. No. It wants me to go back. It’s gonna kill me. I have to go on!

The molten substance burned me to bones and ashes. Or maybe the velocity of the fall killed me somehow. I won’t know anymore.

Maze with No Prize

Alexandra Klaudia Süveges

People say dreams differ from reality. It may be true; people use dreaming to cope with the disappointment of the time spent awake. In dreams, anything can happen, reality is twisted, formed to your desire. Compared to life outside the fluffy blankets and pillows, dreams are a comfortable place for anyone.

There is a legend that says after a specific ritual, upon falling asleep you will find yourself before a maze. Once the alarm clock is set to 6 a.m. sharp, the game has begun. If you can manage to find a way out before hearing the alarm clock in the real world, you win. You can take anything to the real world you desire, without limits.

Here’s the catch: if you run out of time, you can never wake up again. Your desired reality would turn into a pit of nightmares without a single chance of escape. A truly one-round game.

Two players entered at the same time, each surprised to see the other. From the website where they found the tutorial—not even thinking it would remotely be true—was not even a single mention of playing in teams. Or against each other.

The first girl, observant and well-prepared, was holding paper and a pencil with a small rubber on its end. She wasted no time and ran in the labyrinth, already scribbling the layout of the visited path.

The other one sat outside, leaning against the material of the walls; pure, thin marble. Its dull white color and the repetitive carved-in pattern would make her head ache and lose patience if she were to see it all around her for the remaining six hours.

That’s what the first girl got: her paper torn by the many attempts of erasing after every corner, and the wind blew away the rubber dust, making her get completely lost before she was even halfway the end. Her rationalism and all, along with her inability to find a solution, is what led her here. At every dead end she’d recalculate the growing possibility of losing, without tactic. Not even her outstanding skills could find a way out though; she sank to the ground and gave up completely.

The second girl waited enough for the imaginary clock to tick down; she was sure the other wasn’t coming out anytime soon. Tangled in the creak of the maze, helpless, she let herself be consumed by despair and regret. She grabbed the hammer she had entered with, and ran in a straight line forwards, breaking all the marble stones in front of her.

The time was ticking sharp outside, just waiting for the morning sun to shine between the blinds. She swung the hammer left and right, not even caring about the flying shards in her way. Jumping for the last wall, breaking it with her physique, she won.

The trick? No matter where the real exit was, she would make a new one and win nevertheless.

Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Adél Mihályi

Life itself is a straight labyrinth.

From the very beginning, we are surrounded with questions. We try to figure out the answers, but later realize the more we discover, the more problems occur. They lead us with the ‘donkey and stick’ method, showing us hints at a solution, but we are so focused on the carrot that we hit our heads against the wall. After reaching multiple dead ends, we look around and find ourselves even further from the exit we were looking for the whole time.

This is the point when we get panicked and just want to escape; we would do anything just to leave this maze behind. We look at the thread that has followed all our footsteps: it is strangled by its own tangles. How is it ever going to be straight?

As Joseph Sugarman, a character from the series BoJack Horseman, said: “Time’s arrow neither stands still nor reverses, it merely marches forward.” It is moving on a straight path, and we try our best to keep pace with it, while wandering in the chaos.

…But that is impossible. Sometimes, we just have to stop fighting, forget the grey walls, the rushing time. We have to look at the sky and think about how, at the very same moment, someone else is doing the same thing, while forgetting about their own labyrinth, their life.


Nerses Boztaş

Clouds of dust licking longitudinally all the suburb, Sasuntsi women veiled, handling water copper buckets and spreading out their inlaid rugs on the street, settled down to gabble in a language frazzled. “Ahçig,Anunıt inçi? “ Makruhi Can, Makruhi.” Yells of Methuselah’s swearing, swearing blue streak, damning, sarcastic melodically covered grayish air and  Virgin Mary church’s bell clanging. Patriarch wormy Ohan, in the middle of the smarmy vartabets crowd, hymning Hayrmer liturgy in abundant woe, enraged as much as gulping, the whole congregation started to weep. İnçu honeng? “Why are we here? Why? But the railway had never stunk of joy and happiness. How can ironpigs bring along serenity? Contrarily they talked about Jerusalem, beauty terrenels, flowers, fig and apple trees…” passed from mind to mind. Just then, in front of gate, a scraggly boy, swarthy and black-haired, appeared. He rushed up flustered. Stumbling up and down in each bend of serpentine, stony streets of the historic peninsula, he exhaled in Hoopedstone. In front of him, there was an old, white-facade building which was never lacking in internal uproar. The old foreman was dressing down the novice apprentice. Even micro-stains remaining on the window being overlooked while cleaning up was a sufficient cause for beating.  Varbet-tradition, contradictorily demanding subsistence of us, was a just part of exiguity. When he ascended to the fourth flat, he saw senile Arto pissing by the window, mad Zınzalyan busy stuffing patties with cheese filling, and bald Aram yelling to Arto. On the bench, plenty of Ganyan bulletins creased by nervous hands were piled. İt was evident that Arto had lost his 44th horse-racing bet, dooming again. Because bequeathed fortune undoubtedly  goes into horse racing; now he doesn’t even have a common lavatory. Bald Aram, when he noticed the little boy, rumbled like a whale, “Zso, Jamı kaniye kides?” “Kide kidee kidem varbet pays, pays.” Bald Aram got nervous. ”Pays inç, pays inç, gentani.” The boy’s was saucer-eyed, his lips twitching in fright. “Pays, varbet, şat kalelu der mi ga.” Bald Aram, flaring out, said, “Betkevor zezs çudes, ganuğh bidi cas,” and made him stand on one foot for punishment. Mad Zınzal gave a silly glance, once at the boy and twice at varbet bald Aram. And the boy was thinking. It it worth it for us to go on working, suffering here? And what to say for Garabet, Hagop, Mıgır? Education will hit us? Witnessing a sargavag, elder man Zınzalyan, now he is busy being parasitic. He cares, no? Arto? Thousandfold endeavoring though his fortune has been lost? But has he been lost? Or bald Aram,a  foreman creating global diffusion of jewellery. But on the other hand, he is quite realistic. He tortures me. When I expressed to my family that I can’t understand human behavior, they disdained me as a child. But a child growing up becomes a more childy child. Childhood in Sandgate is adulthood. An adulthood is childhood part one.” With a sudden seizure he fell in a heap in front of everyone’s eyes.

Armenian glossary

Sasuntsi women:The women of Sason

Ahçig,anunıt inçi? “Makruhi Can,Makruhi”: the refrain of a folk song named “Makruhi can,” meaning “girl what’s your name, Makruhi Can, Makruhi?”

vartabet: a priest in the Armenian church

Hayrmer: a liturgy meaning “our mother”

Varbet-tradition: mentor system

Zso, jamı kaniye kidess?: Hey you, what time is it, do you know?

“Kide, kidee, kidem varbet pays,pays”: I know, know my master, but…”

Pays, varbet, şat kalelu der mi ga: “But my master, it’s a long way to walk.”

sargavag: deacon

Betkevor zezs çudes, ganugh bidi cas: In order not to be beaten, come earlier! 

Letter from the Editor

Winter is in full swing, the year is proceeding sometimes in slow motion, sometimes in a flurry, and somehow, almost out of nowhere, this winter issue came into being. We usually have plenty of pieces set aside from previous semesters or years; that wasn’t the case this time. But with a few requests, invitations, assignments, and encouragements, a plethora of pieces took form. This may be my favorite issue yet, at least in certain ways.

One piece from last fall’s international contest, by Nerses Boztaş (a student at the Lycée Sainte-Pulchérie in Istanbul), had intrigued me with its style and subject matter; I had promised to publish it in the winter issue, after some more editing and correspondence with the author. The final version has the liveliness and intensity of the initial version, along with clearer meaning for a general reader. We are delighted to feature it here.

For one English assignment, I asked students to write a piece inspired by the phrase “straight labyrinth”; if they wished, they could draw on János Pilinszky’s poem “Egyenes labirintus” for inspiration, but this was not required. This resulted in an exceptional variety of interesting pieces—funny, philosophical, melancholic, startling, agonized, matter-of-fact. Eighteen of them are published here in a special section.

Speaking of Pilinszky, you are cordially invited to a free online event hosted by the ALSCW (Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers) on March 20. While not directly related to Folyosó, it is of possible interest to Folyoso writers and readers. I will be interviewing the poet Csenger Kertai and the musicians/songwriters Sebestyén Czakó-Kuraly (Cz.K. Sebő, Platon Karataev) and Gergely Balla (Platon Karataev) about Pilinszky’s influence on their work and thought. The discussion will be combined with recitations of Pilinszky and performances of the guests’ own work. For more information, see the event website and Facebook page.

Another section of this Folyosó issue features imaginary college application essays, an assignment for American Civilization class. Students were asked to pretend that they were applying to an American college or university and to write an essay in that vein. The purpose was to explore some differences between the educational systems Hungary and the U.S. The results were intriguing and lively.

The issue is rounded out by two dream-stories, two essays (one on walking and one on reading), and three beautiful works of art by Lilla Kassai, the cover artist for this issue.

The next issue will come out in mid-May. In the meantime, stay warm and healthy, come to the Pilinszky event if you wish, and—if you are a Varga student—send us your writing! (Our next international contest will be in the fall.)


Diana Senechal
Founder and Editor of Folyosó