Hollow Wean


Dear Sir,

a beauty company sent me an email,

‘We win, you win’ it said, invited me

to purchase youth serum at half price.

There is something I hate about emails

sitting black on white on screen:

comma after verb easily mistaken for

philosophical pause or breath taken

when reading poems aloud.

‘Please, do not reply’

it carried on ‘we hope to see you again.’

I have a hundred things to do but

rush to the bathroom to see how deep

the line cutting my glabellar region

has grown since I last checked.

A fair amount I notice. Others joined

the frontal network, showing people

how much I’ve won in forty years

of living too small, dreaming too big.


©Maria Stadnicka, 2018



Minor Voice

Photograph: ‘Air – 2018’, ©JStadnicki, 2018


to Robin Wheeler


I saw a man leaving a water glass

at a junction where the elm tree,

he used to know,

had been suddenly cut down.


©Maria Stadnicka, 2018


The Gift’s Legacy

Photograph: ‘Studio’, ©JStadnicki, 2018


It’s almost a week since I met the author Nikesh Shukla. He was a guest at University of Gloucestershire and he spoke to a group of Creative Writing  students about his journey in the British publishing environment. An inspiring story. The book he edited and published in 2016, The Good Immigrant (London: Unbound), is considered ‘an important, timely read’ (J.K. Rowling) and, earlier this year, convinced me to continue writing when I was at the point of giving up. Shukla’s project is convincing and relevant at more than one level. And not because he gives a ‘voice’ to a minority.

Shukla places the concept of ‘minority’ (in terms of writing) in relation to craft, ability and potency. In literature, we do not see the writer’s skin colour or accent. The name, as such, should not be relevant either. The only signs which should truly speak to us (and a writer should be judged against) are the words. Everything else is just context. I salute this discourse which shapes our conversation about literature and writing without falling into the trap of politics and polarisation.

Undoubtetly, it is important to look at demographics even if it is for their relevance in regional / national / global economic and infrastructural planning. However, in terms of art, one needs to move beyond this and discuss demography in terms of artistic relevance. In this context, the notion of migration is more fluid and it is not necessarily about statistics like ‘them coming here’ or ‘us moving there’. Migration is a human characteristic; one might call it ‘culturally enhancing activity’ and needs to be considered a natural phenomena. We migrate all the time and the technological development has a great part to play here.

It is refreshing to observe Nikesh Shukla taking this contemporary direction and promoting alternatives. You can read about Nikesh Shukla’s work, projects and books on his website.

©Maria Stadnicka, 2018


©International Times, 2018


I had a disagreement with a poetry master
about wolves. And talking made me think
that I, too, had the same great fear
of living forever, but said nothing.

I remained held up by my feet and a tree
came out of my mouth. It hurt badly.
More than a lost war, more than lies.

The poet moved to the left, locked himself
in a room with many doors but no handles.
Outside, his wolf guarded meat-eating days.

Mine wanted to jump from a cloud
straight into the blank page, but waited.
A child passed by and said to me
that wolves did not exist on paper. Only in flesh.

Text published in ‘International Times.’

©Maria Stadnicka, 2018

Your Stripes Represent My Future


There are a few things I don’t care about. And one of them is what royal is going to give birth to what royal. As my friend, Mickey Mouse, used to say in his song…

I remember you was conflictin’/

in a black dress under a white coat /

and I fought /

that face I’ve seen somewhere else /

in a movie about the abuse of power. 

La, la, la, la, la, lah! 

Those around me keep on running /

I stand and convince myself /

the stripes I’ve got represent my past /

but yours /

represent my future. 

La, la, la, la, la, lah! 

No chance in the doggy-doggy fight /

I’m convinced /

that dress is bullet proof

I’m convinced it’s against repetition

and revolution and honesty.

That dress is against me, babe!

Further information, in International Times.


New Poetry Season / The Museum in the Park