© Claire Palmer, 2019 ‘International Times’
A dog believes people are dogs as well.
To people, this is of no consequence. Humans
are immune to associations, particularly to
associations with Evil; specially if the root of
their actions is Evil itself.
If a dog keeps running away from home, let
him free. He needs to find where the noise
In canine terms, silence is an instrument for
torturing dogs who are no longer useful to
their masters. If asked, people would deny
knowledge of this.
Despite clocks, dogs measure time in
intervals passed between the end of
punishment and the beginning of wound
healing. Once the skin seals up, people
rewind the clocks.
It takes a lifetime to a dog to become
human, and three weeks to a human to
© Maria Stadnicka, 2019. Published in International Times, 14/09/19.
Somnia is published by Knives, Forks and Knives Press, 76 pages, £10. Editor: Alec Newman, cover image, collage: © Mark Mawer, 2019.
If Cain and Abel played the piano, Somnia would have been a piece written for them. Following the four movements of Schubert’s Fantasia in F Minor, Somnia explores the hidden connections between a group of people who witness a crime as they come out of a cinema. Reading their testimony, it becomes increasingly apparent that the murderer is bigger than all of them. Bigger than all of us put together.
‘A chisel, a hammer, a lyre; reportage, intimate feelings, quips and criticisms. Maria Stadnicka’s poems are clusters of consciousness, graphic, material images of our world. Her language assaults, bends, cajoles, thrusts a saber into the darkness of the very language she employs to explore death, degradation, the non-recognition of the human individual, war, urban violence, in short, the all-too-present context of our daily lives. […] What concerns Maria Stadnicka? She is speaking about the discontinuity of personal space and the intrusion of economic and political forces in an individual’s life that leads to fragmentation and, ultimately, to the dissolution of one’s reality. The chance for the existence of a future or even the future is removed. Literature becomes the communication and solidarity that permit the step towards wholeness. In Stadnicka’s poems social, personal, and literary landscapes are fused and at times must be forcibly dislocated, both repositioned and torn apart, so that one can continue. The poems create a sense of urgency and mystery. The only escape from the imposed absolute of non-being is resolution to go forward irrationally free.’ (Andrea Morehead, about The Unmoving)
Somnia is available here: Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.
Watching the British parliamentary debate last night was a painful experience. The political class has proven to be a group asking and answering its own questions, loyal to its own ideology, pushing the societal divide even further. The televised mockery, wave of insults and well-rehearsed propaganda made parents sent their children to bed early. Many would like to forget what has just happened and, maybe, if possible, to erase the whole chapter from history books. Politicians says ‘they are tired’, referring to the general public watching the live broadcast.
There has been much discussion about the fact that ‘people’ are tired of this Brexit issue, and want it resolved. We are led into believing that we are all tired, and that the public irascibility is caused by the unresolved crisis launched by the Brexit referendum. It is worth remembering that the ‘people’ have not, in fact, created this crisis. In 2016, most people minding their own lives and jobs have been made aware of the referendum by politics. This ‘need’ was man-made, the present democratic crisis was politically manufactured.
For this reason, I am not tired to go back to history books and to dig out examples when freedom of speech and social institutions have been silenced by unelected leaders. Yesterday’s proroguing of Parliament has a great significance, as it creates a historic precedent by limiting the actions of an institution created to question the governmental decisions. In this context, I wonder who is governing the Government now?
I become increasingly more aware that our legacy is defined by the fact that we have taken the democratic values and institutions for granted. Democracy does not defend itself. Democracy can be safeguarded by people keeping a close eye on those governing, and by being involved in all the decisional processes. Democracy can be defended when people’s values and principles are clear and functioning. When people are willing to easily give up these values and principles, we face political tragedy.
© Maria Stadnicka, September 2019.
Reading Issue 38/ Autumn 2019 of ‘The Moth’, the beautiful Irish art and literature magazine edited by Rebecca O’Connor.
This issue features a brilliant interview with the American novelist Gary Shteyngart, interview with the Irish poet Stephen Sexton, poetry and prose. Thank you for including my work!
A great way to enjoy the Sunday autumnal light.
You can access the magazine online here: The Moth.
Poem ‘Composition’ from SOMNIA
Knives, Forks and Spoons Press’s luminous display of ‘Composition’ from new collection SOMNIA at The Blackpool Illuminations Festival 2019.