Thought

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.

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Ink on paper: ‘Fisherman’, Maria Stadnicka

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The Supper

‘I suppose I’m hungry’ I whispered at last.
The birds looked at me with anger as I
stood up inside our empty room.

My skull became black,
my hair whiter and whiter,
my wings hit the ceiling light and
woke you up.

We chewed the supper with very small bites,
with precision, turned the pages
of our bedtime book,
probably had wine at the end of the ceremony.

Nobody laughed,
nobody knocked,
the neighbours kept the party going.
The frosted walls watched us asleep
on the burnt carpet.

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Installation: Rita Fenning
Photography: John Stadnicki

Absent Land

I made a big fire
In the middle of the room
In your absence I sat down white
Watching the carpet burning,
The books, the shadow you drew
On the wall, a while ago.
( it looked like a piece of absent land )
The neighbours could see the flames
Coming through the shut window
As I went to bed covered in ash;
But I did not mind such a public display.
I was not in a hurry.
The landscape locked me in.
The real winter began.

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Acrylics, ink, newspaper: Maria Butunoi

Persistent Ink (III)

I suddenly stopped and kneeled in the meadow
To look for grasshoppers;
The earth was breathing beneath us
The burning sun tall, so very tall.

You suddenly sat down and placed the violin between us.
Your left hand took the red shining cloth
And wiped the dirt off the wooden strings.

Then I thought to say
Let’s not hurry back home, not today
We have plenty of time yet
Nobody will look for us for a while.

How many poems, you whispered, left unwritten
If I was to lock you in my heart
A black butterfly crushed between
The covers of a sacred book.
Beauty kills like the war does
And still you unravel
The invisible thread which
Keeps both of us alive in the world.

As I stood up to leave
The smoke that kept my bones together for so long
Covered the sky.
My black ashes, your farewell gift.

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Photo: Rob Webb