Hunger

Photo: @John Stadnicki

 

A great writer said in 1920s that ‘a man did not have to be insane to be sensitive‘, I believe. But there are people who could be wounded by a simple dot and whom a single word could kill. And this, at times, is true about the world itself.

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Family Photograph

‘No-no!’ I shouted ‘the fish tank will stay in my room!’
The golden dead creature, floating on the green water,
had my mother’s face
before she went away.
I liked to keep everything neatly
in the same place where she left them,
undisturbed by the melting sun.

The dust shined
on the glass lid,
on the doll’s eye,
on my forehead
each night
when asleep in the hallway.

I sat down on the cracked lino,
covered my arms with leafs
and kept watching Clara tidying-tidying the house.
Her yellow fingers piled everything in a black bag.
She left the fish alone, with a sigh.

Looking at her moves up and down the stairs
I thought she looked a bit like
the one-winged butterfly
unable to jump out
through the shut window.

I wondered what butterfly meat tasted like,
if sliced with a silver blade;
what mother tasted like
in the moment I was released
honey coated pearl.
I put my elbow close to my lips
and smelled to see
if she was somehow hiding in there.

Clara tripped over my spread legs
but kept singing.
She did not look ahead.
I looked ahead
at each room
with a serious face.
My empty baby skin rested
on top of the rubbish bin.

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Installation: Rita Fenning

Games

The winter Clara and I secretly discovered
what socialism meant
we had nothing left in the house
that was worth burning.
The frost surrounded the bedroom,
we talked to keep warm
and I suggested to
write on the walls.
We used the kitchen knife to
sharpen the coloured pencils
and kept at it for a couple of hours.
‘All western countries, enemies of the people!
Kill the foreigners!
Kill RONALD REAGAN!’
I thought Reagan was a bad name
for a writer which never published
books for children
and therefore he deserved to die.
My spelling was not very good at that age,
so the room filled with rainbows instead.
Clara and I laughed.
We were hungry at that point
and I remembered mother kept
the bible covered with cloth
on top of the fridge.
‘But wouldn’t god be upset if we eat the holy word?
Clara asked. For a brief moment,
my spine shivered.
Fasting was a great virtue indeed but
I believed god was good with children
and forgave all their intended crimes,
so
I lifted the shiny red cover,
sliced it in very small pieces
and added water and salt.
The feast kept on for a bit.
Clara and I chewed with determination
several chapters. We got to the page number
three hundred and two when I read:
‘Then there shall be a time of trouble and
at that time thy people shall be delivered,
every one that shall be found written in the book.’
And then, in the middle of our small apartment,
my hair curled, my mouth stopped.
I went back to the wall
and changed the words around: RO-LAND.

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