(for Timothy Snyder)
At first, we reduced the water supply.
The poisoned city wells dried up.
The light burnt the crops.
At sunset, everything crumbled into a black peace.
Then somehow we got used to an economy of words.
We collected ideas and thoughts in one book.
We spent the days memorising chapters.
For those trapped in the outer world,
for the privilege of staying alive.
Published today in ‘I am not a silent poet’ https://iamnotasilentpoet.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/economy-by-maria-stadnicka/
with many thanks to the editor Reuben Woolley.
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.
On the wall opposite my bungalow
a blue advert drips on a stationary boat.
The sea is far away, overcrowded.
The acid rain dissolved the bold letters
which used to show my direction.
I have no choice but to stay vigil
behind this lighthouse
waiting for another explosion.
Do you see what I see?
We arrived, at last, at a dead end
a few souls making plans at a bus stop.
All that talking led us cattle to slaughter.
Dear local MP, a while ago I vividly remember
writing you a very short note to say ‘fuck it, I quit!’.
I licked the stamp and dropped the envelope
in the box number eighty four, school lane, first left,
by the traffic lights.
I ran back to my flat, unplugged the TV
and read ‘War and Peace’ under the duvet covers.
By the time I got to page seven hundred and twenty I’d realised
the war was not the most important thing in a man’s life.
I started to feel a bit sorry for myself
having nothing to be angry about anymore.
But now, coming to think of it, you gracefully got over the insult
and posted back a signed Christmas card.
It arrived in January but let’s not stop at details.
I kept at my book for over a month.
The French got stuck in Siberia,
the women mourned, the men went back home
as they did in those days.
And then a neat Valentine appeared
hand-delivered by a Romanian postman.
Your concern for my love life brings me to tears.
There is nothing worse than rejected love.
It might be that the Panama Papers will become as iconic in history as the fashionable Ecuadorian ‘panama hat’; a striking and a bit ostentatious item, which everybody wants but nobody knows how to properly wear it. Not in Britain. For obvious climatic restrictions.
However though, on Monday morning, Britain received such a hat, delivered by the mediatic postal service, whilst not wide awake yet, post Easter holiday, when the weather forecast was not that brilliant anyway. Would it worth the bother, for the sake of seven or eight hours of sunshine a week? Should it return to sender and have the money back?
The British rich and the poor found out, with some surprise, that once they had signed for the goods, the sender remained unknown. And, as the box opened, millions of other items emerged. Things which we all ‘kind of’ knew about, but wished we hadn’t. The truth.
The shock of discovering your master licking his honey smeared fingers in your own pantry. The shock of being discovered and still trying to say ‘sorry it won’t happen again’ type of thing.
In a society where the wealth and the poverty cohabit undisturbed, in their own universe, parallel with each other, it becomes increasingly difficult to formulate an opinion about social injustice, corruption, and privileged few. Almost impossible to do something about it. This explains the public opinion’s delayed reaction to the recent ‘Panama Papers’. But does it justify it? And even if, let’s say, something could be done about it, what resolution would not involve fundamental change and transformation, on both sides?
Given the realities of international and national politics, each of us is, to some extent, victim of conflicting demands between truth and power. Observers of social reality, rather than makers of it. Furthermore, the unfortunate circumstances, which define the current trends, deepen in a climate where radical thinking and critical debate do not address the core values on which we built our social structures and institutions.
With the current revelations in mind, it is rather justifiable, once more, the duty to bring in focus the possibility of change, which, ‘to some extent’, comes from our desire ‘to create the future rather than merely observe the flow of events. Given the stakes, it would be criminal to let real opportunities pass unexplored.’ (Noam Chomsky, 2014, ‘A Genuine Movement for Social Change’)