Photograph ©John Stadnicki

– to Liu Xiaobo –


Like all those people I once knew,

who came and then

left my life as if they never existed,

many cities inherited this flesh

and crumbled

under the weight of my fears.



New text…@International Times



Witness to a repeated history
in exile I learn a new language
facing the border control
at Heathrow Airport I wear my mother’s coat
ready for a winter of politics
when I need to
I keep my mouth shut I change my name to
look just like her
white and uncomfortable
the blinding sun has been washed and
smells of violets
people are happy
in such a beautiful land
nobody minds me
wrapped-well-packed boxes
brushing the dust off velvet cutlery
the only remains
of life before baptism.

©Maria Stadnicka

Photograph: ©Nick Victor



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’


In a country where all books are forbidden,

the hurricane spits out a new world

with a new legacy of destruction.

People stop by the house with a light on and a blue door,

the house with boarded-up windows where

the mandolin player keeps an eye

on his own basement revolution.

These are the days when the truth learns to

travel on cigarette papers, between prison cells,

before the police arrives

to evacuate.


























Ink on paper: ‘Fisherman’, Maria Stadnicka