Holy Bread

The hunger looked like a woman with a friendly, foreign name tag.

That busy Saturday.


A miracle healer, as pale as milk, passed through the city –

a reminder that we all had our role to play in the war.


For a moment, his voice stopped the curious shoppingbagscrowd-

echo between tall cement buildings.


A sudden rain followed, baptised my sleeping bag,

in the queue at the Lower Street Food Bank.


The history sliced a nearby road in tiny squares of holy bread.


Drawing: @Maria Stadnicka, ‘Voice’ – MMXVII


Tomorrow will come with a sunny spell,

the rain will stop at the border so

we will begin the long-waited rebellion,

as they say,

at the right moment.


To satisfy our need for greatness,

we will politely ask the just questions and

sit on the pew

in return for the hand-written answer.


We will finally go home,

or so we believe,

to master the only remedy left for pain – patience.


Photograph: @John Stadnicki, ‘Street Cafe’

Dog Politics

People say they are unhappy with the current state of affairs and choose to keep at being upset in the warmth of their mortgaged homes. As long as there isn’t a real shortage of food, a shortage of electricity, as long they are allowed to own a car and a TV, they can easily abandon the right to speak up, hoping that the political elite will do something, anything for that matter, to put things right. But what so many cannot seem to grasp is that the elite is in it for itself, not for the greater good. And once people renounced their entitlement, it will take more than a revolution to reclaim such a right. By the end of the day, nobody has known a slave trader ready to give up their business plan for the sake of an idea.


Photograph: @John Stadnicki, ‘Orio al Serio’ 2016

The World According to a Child Soldier (III)

On my first day at school I learn to

say ‘yes’ to everything and to accept the dogs’ fight

for the best seat at the open-screen cinema,

although I have a V.I.P. ticket.


I learn how the silence starts with a dry pen,

how it ends in a battlefield,

among abandoned bones.


I learn to agree with the history,

for it has the right to choose terror

over Vermeer’s ‘Girl in Hyacinth Blue’.

The options’ book has a few missing chapters but

my teacher says that acceptance, not hope,

is the best weapon against dreams.


I learn that I was not born a slave but

I became one.


Photograph: @John Stadnicki

A Day at the Office

On Monday morning, I receive an updated version of

my handbook to freedom.

The spring is ready.

Without any fault, all of us hear the truth with a different voice,

as we continue the historic dispute over the body count.


The perfect war victims are lost

in the overwhelming testimony to the reality’s carnage.

Another century of fear unravels before Vivian Maier’s blunt apron,

like an atomic flower that grows overnight.


The collective memory has started rehearsals

for a prayer written on damaged bridges.

Those who have never been taught how to be free

escaped in the wild to make the world theirs.


Photograph: @John Stadnicki, ‘Directions’, 2014

Shutter Speed

The city, mostly empty like a church during prayer time,

gets into a fight with a stray dog.


Two little girls deliver firearms to the neighbourhood.

Tangled ribbons caught between the traffic wheels.


Holding a poetry book, a beggar

listens to the tower-block bells.


Without passengers, the last bus to Ithaca

leaves the abandoned depot.


One stone talks to another.



Photograph: @John Stadnicki