I always arrive late for everything.
Stuck in a traffic jam by the docks,
missed Noah’s boat but
survived under water
accidentally trapped between stolen books,
trapped by a word heavier than a stone,
lighter than a feather.
Hidden in the overcrowded wooden train carriage,
radicalised by the anonymity of my blue name-tag,
with a heart growing outside my body.
Each beat painfully visible to the guards
around the Monopoly table.
On the waiting list for ballet lessons,
radicalised by the price of uranium bullets on Mother’s Day
handwriting an apologetic note.
My deep eye silenced.
The familiar solemnity of a world without a face.
Photograph: @John Stadnicki, Bristol MMXVI
Just before midnight, in the unpreventable moment
my mother woke up to give birth to me,
I jumped out and spilt her blood on the floor.
My first angry poem, scream at the top of my lungs,
in the pale room.
A dormant city blessed the muddy wreath above the cradle
asked me to keep the noise down.
Mother went back to bed.
The following day I learnt to
write on white walls with red letters.
Poetry reading: Maria Stadnicka reading the poem City from the collection Imperfect published by Yew Tree Press, 2017. Poem published in International Times, January 2017.
Music: Katie McCue
Video footage: World War One Archive
The newspaper of resistance brings you a new text:
When you expect nothing, any piece of good news comes as a shock. I suppose the shock came today with the news that my poem ‘Winter Months in Chernobyl’ won the White Plum Press 122nd Poetry Competition, New York. Thank you Frank Watson and White Plum Press. There you go. This spring starts with a poem about winter.
Winter Months in Chernobyl
The fridge was a well-polished piece of furniture,
pristine-empty wall among other walls in the winter months.
Each morning, a soldier stopped by with a glass of milk –
the only white flag
to foretell a watery spring which never arrived.
In those days, we all slept in the mother’s womb,
taking turns to look after a small yellow bird,
as round as the sun.
One day, a guard with an empty face replaced the soldier.
The guard was quiet.
He liked to come by and sit with us,
inside the baking-hot void, and often,
he used a red pencil to mark my homework.
All my thoughts had unacceptable spelling errors.
Some time later, in April I think,
a blizzard took the guard away in an ambulance.
Food was on its way, and soap
and plastic dolls, clocks and iodine sweets.
A few of us grew feathers,
a few of us became photographs,
blindfolded legacy trapped in tulip bulbs.
Photograph: @John Stadnicki