On the Treadmill

I have come to recognise God in a violent song,

played in the evening with broken forks and knives.

If I refuse to kneel, the winter starts at the end of September,

on Tuesdays, when I pass by the Jewish quarters.

My road to confession starts, just the same, in the morning chill.

The stones, the trees, the sky have a message,

of that I am certain, arrived at the wooden door of the hermitage.

And I knock and I knock.

A raven finally opens the white background.

The raven says with calculated words that, at present,

this government is busy.

Important wars need attending, in a land like no other.

I am given a form and I hear the padlocks.

I jump on the treadmill to keep warm.

the-quays-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: copyright@John Stadnicki, 2016

Advertisements

Lesson of Admiration

Clara peels the potatoes.
She had her hair cut very short
so when she worked the land
the teary locks did not blight the grass.
‘Bad luck for the crops’ concluded father
one afternoon as he watched the news bulletin.

He switched the television off and
put the lights on.
He measured the length of each eyelash
and declared that ‘yes, indeed, they did stop us
understand the real life’.

Nobody could disagree with a scientific discovery.
Father took the scissors out of the cupboard
and laughed at me
as he dropped Clara’s plaits on the living room carpet.
My black plaits never grew after that.
The hair developed inside my lungs.
At night, I spat the growing particles out
and hid them under the floor boards.

Father believed the news as, he said, ‘we all
had to believe in something certain,
which can be seen with the naked eye,
in real things’, like the soiled potatoes
spread on the dinner table.

On Thursdays, we peel potatoes,
kneeling in silence by the water pipes.
Father sits on a stool to watch
my weekly exercise of admiration.
He checks the peels stained with droplets of blood
and laughs again.

My bald head tilted above the sink looks at Clara.
My hair comes
out of my mouth,
out of my chopped fingers,
floats in the air,
to cover her skull.

20140426-121653.jpg
Photograph: John Stadnicki

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.

20140323-213537.jpg

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.

20140212-113655.jpg
Acrylics, ink, newspaper: Maria Butunoi

Out of Sight

The poet does not eat bread
And does not make noises
The slow heart beat is loud enough
To keep the poet awake
At night
He does not walk nor fly
He opens the windows to jump out
And wash his face in the town spring.

A bit like god, you whisper.
No, a bit like the cold breath of a dead friend, I say.

He will not ask how the weather
Might be in those far away lands
Just vanish out of sight
Once you got used to his uncomfortable presence.