Poetry collection ‘A Short Story about War’ published by Yew Tree Press, ready for the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, 30th March 2014

My poetry collection ‘A Short Story about War’ is now ready. It is a limited edition published by Yew Tree Press, Stroud, England, with a purpose: to support bursaries for children garbage pickers from Tondo, Manila.

The collection contains photographs created by the artist John Stadnicki, which produced the design and the concept.

‘A Short Story about War’ will be available at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival on the 30th March 2014, at 5pm. I will be reading texts from it at The Strand, Cheltenham. http://www.cheltenhampoetryfest.co.uk/eventdetail.php?ID=80

The collection is available to purchase and will be sold on Amazon soon.

My thanks go to the poet Philip Rush for his editorial determination, work and constant support; and to the editor and storyteller Fiona Eadie.

Thank you to all the people which inspired me and to the Stroud Pamphlet Poets for the feedback they gave me during the readings at the Stroud Valleys Artspace.

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Maria Butunoi

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Duel

I do not happen to know
the purpose of our war
but I’m working hard to
remember the words you
scribbled on the piece of paper
which set fire to the entire land.

Then I could not catch
the imagined rain on the glass roof
nor the light of the earth
so
the battle just happened.

Out of the blue, both of us
ready, awake,
on the horse’s back,
measured with precision
the distance between
the polished guns.

The bullets hit my left arm,
my knee,
hit open my skull;
the flesh exploded in thousands of pieces,
covered the yellow sky
with hair and skin.

At the end,
the music kept playing again,
you followed the clear road,
I followed you:
nothing more than a perfect, unfinished poem.

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Selfie

I can see how the white cables
come out of your pockets and ears;
you darling keep the headphones
around your neck
with the elegance of a pearl queen;
your bed socks are full of music,
they vibrate when you sit
neatly on your side of the bed.

Under my half of the duvet
I’m in need of sunshine so I look
at the weather updates
every five minutes.

Just in case I fall asleep,
send me a text darling
to declare how much you love me now;
the words you cannot say
when we look at each other
will appear tomorrow
in the printed newsletter
you forward to all your followers.

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Photo: John Stadnicki

Morning

You hurry to polish the shoes in the hallway
the black mud covers the white stone
the music is loud and
I think I can hear the tap dripping but
prefer to cover my head
under the blanket and pretend
I’m asleep. I choose to look away
as you leave the house and let the door open.
Not going anywhere today. I will
sit by the window with an unopened book.
The sun hidden by my expensive curtains.
The running water floods the entire house
and I’m happy
at last
drowned in my own thoughts.

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On the Ropes

My face is unblemished, up on the washing line.
Perfectly balanced, I gaze at
the small city with big eyes.
I try not to forget you although
I am asleep and barely remember your name.

My existence grows very still:
my feet have roots in a cloud,
the wind does not wind,
the rain does not rain,
the stone stays in the same place, inside
where my heart was.

The perfectly knotted ropes hold my weight
for a long time
until you
unexpectedly knock on my chest
reflected by sun.

You enter my body slamming the door;
my hands keep holding
your unsteady eyelash.
The heavy air breaks my back
as I fall.
The sky is all yours now.

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Ink on paper: Maria Butunoi

Cubes and Other Lessons (V)

For a while you kept feeding me
ink pots instead of water.
My mouth locked in a bud
could only touch black fruit
and blue.
The language came afterwards
to check my vital signs;
my weak pulse made the world see
I existed at last
in words:
unspoilt spring, not creature, not flower, not cloud.
Stone.
But when you stopped,
I vanished.

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Photo: Maria Butunoi

Yellow

My mother used to say that
the yellow marks on my face
reflected the sun.
Sometimes she asked me to
sit still on the cold stone
just to prove that point.
I would refuse to see, eat,
for a day or two,
just to prove mine.
I would, instead, run to the river,
orphan but free.

The world stayed locked,
barely watching the colours through
a yellow window
until the day when
in a careless moment of joy
the poetry gave birth to me
under the candle light.

Yellow, ferocious birds escaped into the wild.
Flying away, small parts of my body.

Nobody-could-recognise-me-anymore.
I was new, alone with the sun,
big yellow eyes.

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