Conversation with a Stone

(‘Perhaps this is not a poem…’ C. Milosz)

And because I was made a poet
a lot of blood is spilt
on the neat grass, when I walk.

For fear that I will have
nothing to give back
I collect old books.

My word confesses to its imperfection
with the honesty of a fractured second.
Not that I mind,
not that I have high hopes,
only tall steps.

Because of this self deluded truth,
it happens that waking up in a desert
is not a surprising coincidence,
but a certainty, like a niggling pain in a missing limb.

I am not grateful to sleep facing the wall
but hey! someone needs to show a bit of courage
and say nothing
when nothing is to be said.

And though no one will remember
the poem once written but me,
after all, forgotten things are
the only possessions worth keeping.

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Photo: John Stadnicki
http://www.johnstadnicki.co.uk/Site/Welcome.html

Monologue

She keeps on looking behind
at the corn fields,
her blue dress follows her skin
as she walks ahead of me
into the wood.

The colour of her ink has now changed
with her
everything reminds me of home.
When she leaves, the house leaves with her,
the noise of the smashed flower pots
wakes the neighbourhood up.

I am not awake:
dream her dreams,
jump out of bed at night to go to the bathroom
and yes! look at the box of chocolates,
shining emptiness,
look in her bag
for treats, for sweets,
for a word, for something
once the talking is done.

She reminds me to close the door
in the dark, tripping over her hollow slipper
yes! I suppose
the only surprise in solitude is death.

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Photo: John Stadnicki

Thought

just as you are about to
close a window
and a bird
abruptly flutters into the room
exactly like that
she drops her wings on the lawn
and jumps back
into the sea

News

Everyone said I was
looking in the opposite direction
when the car hit me.

The sun was very tall
at the beginning of the longest day,
the birds kept flying above the spilt blood on the pavement.

The crowd gathered around,
covered me with a blanket,
put a coin on my eyelid.

The traffic stopped. The sandwich maker over the road
made the sign of the cross in the air
and came closer to watch
the phone still ringing inside
the white pocket of my white dress.

The unreturned call echoed in heaven
for a long while.

A week later, news got to you
about the girl’s body found by the railway station
in a silver box.

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Photo: John Stadnicki

The Sudden Closure

What is a heart, when all the world is dead?
The sound of letters dropped
will not revert the time.
And what’s a line without a drop of ink,
when all of us have reached the closed horizon?

I do not see my own hands, in mud,
as I am neatly seated in abyss,
nor I can talk about the summer days
(they’ve never been arranged or bricked
in any way).

What is my eye without the face I knew
(reflected on the path), if not the shadow
of a burn in your shirt.

And Dante, arh the liar him, what would he be today,
without the greatness of the sacred cloth,
if nobody had thought,
before the word, to reinvent inferno
in simple fragments of repeated hours?

The longer days make now the clouds look longer,
the thunder keeps the burning town awake,
and us,
immortals on the porch,
define the only emptiness which cannot live in books.
The sudden closure of my tiny palms.

Childhood memories, identity and games – Open Studios Exhibition, May 2014, Stroud Arts Festival

The exhibition for the Open Studios, Stroud Arts Festival, May 2014 is now open to the public in Stroud (http://www.sitefestival.org.uk) and it will be open the following two weekends in Rita Fenning’s studio. (http://ritafenning13.wix.com/ritafenning-web)

The address is: Fieldside, Brimscombe GL5 2SW, Stroud.

You will see a selection of installations, collages, artist books Rita has produced inspired by my poems ‘Birthday Present’, ‘Family Photograph, ‘Lesson of Admiration’, ‘Games’ and ‘The Warm Bones’.

You can watch a video I made and listen to me reading the poems, with a selection of photographs produced by John Stadnicki (http://www.johnstadnicki.co.uk/Site/Welcome.html) for my collection ‘A Short Story about War’.

Here is a preview with some of the exhibited art work and a fragment with my reading. The video contains photographs produced by the artist John Stadnicki.

Many thanks to the sound manager Marc Fairclough from South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and to the video editor, the artist Clare Bottomley. (http://www.saatchiart.com/account/artworks/149322)

Games The Warm Bones project-rita1

Poems: Maria Butunoi

Installations: Rita Fenning

The exhibition will be open during the Open Studios Festival, May 2014.

 

Poetry collection ‘A Short Story about War’ published by Yew Tree Press, ready for the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, 30th March 2014

My poetry collection ‘A Short Story about War’ is now ready. It is a limited edition published by Yew Tree Press, Stroud, England, with a purpose: to support bursaries for children garbage pickers from Tondo, Manila.

The collection contains photographs created by the artist John Stadnicki, which produced the design and the concept.

‘A Short Story about War’ will be available at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival on the 30th March 2014, at 5pm. I will be reading texts from it at The Strand, Cheltenham. http://www.cheltenhampoetryfest.co.uk/eventdetail.php?ID=80

The collection is available to purchase and will be sold on Amazon soon.

My thanks go to the poet Philip Rush for his editorial determination, work and constant support; and to the editor and storyteller Fiona Eadie.

Thank you to all the people which inspired me and to the Stroud Pamphlet Poets for the feedback they gave me during the readings at the Stroud Valleys Artspace.

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Maria Butunoi

Duel

I do not happen to know
the purpose of our war
but I’m working hard to
remember the words you
scribbled on the piece of paper
which set fire to the entire land.

Then I could not catch
the imagined rain on the glass roof
nor the light of the earth
so
the battle just happened.

Out of the blue, both of us
ready, awake,
on the horse’s back,
measured with precision
the distance between
the polished guns.

The bullets hit my left arm,
my knee,
hit open my skull;
the flesh exploded in thousands of pieces,
covered the yellow sky
with hair and skin.

At the end,
the music kept playing again,
you followed the clear road,
I followed you:
nothing more than a perfect, unfinished poem.

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Selfie

I can see how the white cables
come out of your pockets and ears;
you darling keep the headphones
around your neck
with the elegance of a pearl queen;
your bed socks are full of music,
they vibrate when you sit
neatly on your side of the bed.

Under my half of the duvet
I’m in need of sunshine so I look
at the weather updates
every five minutes.

Just in case I fall asleep,
send me a text darling
to declare how much you love me now;
the words you cannot say
when we look at each other
will appear tomorrow
in the printed newsletter
you forward to all your followers.

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Photo: John Stadnicki

Morning

You hurry to polish the shoes in the hallway
the black mud covers the white stone
the music is loud and
I think I can hear the tap dripping but
prefer to cover my head
under the blanket and pretend
I’m asleep. I choose to look away
as you leave the house and let the door open.
Not going anywhere today. I will
sit by the window with an unopened book.
The sun hidden by my expensive curtains.
The running water floods the entire house
and I’m happy
at last
drowned in my own thoughts.

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