‘Acts of Survival’ – International Times

Illustration ©Claire Palmer, ‘International Times’

Before the execution date,
each night,
lands I have never seen come to visit
this self-contained universe.
The only place for waiting, for submitting,
the place where god decided
it was the moment to shoot itself.
This captivity has become an act of survival,
for an industrious nation of slaves.
Here, the immediate!
The fear behind the hate sounds louder and louder
in each city where cathedrals
are now for sale
on detergent coupons.

A man is lost at sea, I hear,
total strangers marching East
minutes before the water-ropes bring the closure.

Here and now, my enemy,
the blood inside all my cavities has become
the last supper
for I,
chiselled, strapped, nailed to my crimes,
had confessed: ECCE HOMO!

My nation, my never-never land!

If we have been at war for thousands of years,
still,
barehanded,
catching bullets today,
in these meat-eating times,
it is the pain which, finally, will set us free,
not words.
The silent joy of those who know
how very few will make it through the
death sentence.

The poem can be accessed at International Times

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Winter Months in Chernobyl

Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, MMXVII

 

And under the bridge two dogs

locked in a fight over a dry stone

rolled back into the muddy waters.

 

Somehow a winter settled

in that box of unopened foreign letters.

 

For days on end, I numbered

the marching coffins across the city.

The funerals kept going and going

with free food for the poor.

 

The acid-rain became a silent witness

to my white-thoughts-confinement.

War Correspondence

Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, MMXVII

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A train passed, at a slow speed,
through iced waters.
It could have taken minutes
or maybe days.

The crushing sound of my doubt,
the unnecessary beauty,
push the march backwards.

Blessed be the stones. So many
are thrown at us from above.
A thousand years of anger in one place.

The graveyard is now in bloom.
Bread-flowers are shooting upwards.
Defeated.

My defeated words, stronger than my weapon.

 

(Poem published in ‘Stride’ magazine, available here)

Thank you, Rupert Loydell!

 

 

 

 

‘Seeds of War’ for a Nation of Slaves

 

Photograph: Performance Peter J. King

A moving and chilling reflection, last night at Pembroke College, Oxford University – ‘Seeds of War’ hosted by Peter J. King. An inspiring evening with performances by Adnan al-Sayegh, Jenny Lewis, Peter J. King, Jenyth Worsley, Matthias Dilling, with piano setting by composer Janet Davey.

Photograph: Performance – Jenny Lewis and Adnan al-Sayegh with piano composition – Janet Davey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If we have been at war for thousands of years,

still,

barehanded,

catching bullets

now,

in these meat-eating days,

it is the pain which, finally,

makes us free, not words.

The silent joy of those who know

how very few

will make it through

a death sentence.

 

Photograph: Janet Davey and Peter J. King

 

Thank you for inviting me!