The exhibition TU : PLEI will be open 20-25 July 2021 at Stroud Brewery, 9am-5pm.
© Maria Stadnicka, 22nd July 2021
During a heatwave, visitors are forbidden beyond the reception desk. Breathing machines run on batteries after midnight nurses rush out on cigarette break. There is a sudden drop in humidity with the scream of a new-born dug out of the womb by hand. Outside the hospital, a man walks between candles like into a forest delivering flowers to the maternity. Alley cats rummage through garbage, wish him good luck. Staff change shifts back at depot for deep-cleaning. Summer rainwater washes away night traffic blood puddles.
© Maria Stadnicka, June 2021, published in International Times on 26 June 2021.
(after Rainer Maria Rilke) River bank meadows have all the time in the world. Their pulse slows to a teardrop before any changes in weather. It turns to cement, turns to salt mixed with root clumps, for winter seeps through layers of sunset under glass ceiling. Our tree chopping season grows heavy with chalk, a burial site for the things we once loved that have fallen and broken in to pieces. © Maria Stadnicka, June 2021, Stroud.
I am seven, I have committed a crime and I am going to prison where my brother won’t visit for fear of being locked up as well. My mates say if I stare at the classroom walls Mister Williams can’t read my thoughts; a plaster-god weaved a shield around my body that made me invisible.
Open your Bible at ‘Exodus’ chapter ten, paragraph four, he says.
[…and Moses answered: Oh, God, I am slow of speech…]
I spent so long in the company of my laptop that I am becoming a keyboard. I jump over squares in conversation when real things are the wrong way around. They are so loud it is impossible to miss them even if I can barely see at all. Each shortcut leads to a mistake I had made, to a crime I will commit.
Press “space bar” to be born.
Press “escape” to swear in emojis.
I bear the weight of a full stop God’s tongue drops on my back. I trusted God to wake me up for school with a packed lunch. At breaktime I hear rumbling and my heartbeat. Mister Williams warned me: when you get upset your heart grows a claw which pokes at the ribcage until you pass out.
To avoid passing out, I have stolen a girl’s lunchbox. I am a thief who will go to prison and die hungry.
How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?
It gets lighter. I eat my past in small bites and praise the Lord.
© Maria Stadnicka, April 2021
When I get lonely, I visit my local tip. Apart from Wednesdays, I am guaranteed to find someone about, willing to help me get rid of a load of stuff which, up to that point, had prevented me from moving on in life. One time I discarded so much of my old junk that back home I noticed the front door sign was gone, and the post box which had my name on it. I got in and a woman I’d never met before was moving about hoovering. She was wearing my shoes.
© Maria Stadnicka January 2021
ask about someone lost
in an escape gone wrong /
they will point at a place
of returning where things
talk themselves out of paper
so loudly it is impossible
to miss them even if you can
barely hear at all / peculiar how
eternal-now locks everything
indoors / before too long
hair grows in old toys
in furniture without memory
© Maria Stadnicka, January 2021
(for F. M. )
after many hospital visits
and the nurse has left a message
that you are now an embryo.
Chromosome – parity – sequence:
one, two, four then another snowfall
before your mother and I buy curtains.
It is a strange place for snow, our road,
our house and the courtyard with dried herbs
grieving for your lateness. Miracle Grow.
In hindsight, if magic existed
it would have been weaponised by now.
Trust science with your heart,
grow spare valves, ventricles for all the lies
the world tells you. The biggest deceit is
that your future is set in stone.
© Maria Stadnicka, January 2021
Father they signed me up for research
and as soon as the paperwork passed
the Ethics Committee, they asked for
samples of tissue from my left eye.
Sacrifice my vision in the name of science,
check my womb for blackness but say black
only if you really mean it. Father, we all eat
pasta with mud and no-one complains that
the earth lacks seasoning. Yes, please, I need
another portion of this, sleep-walk
into the garden, repeat instructions
from qualified staff: Take a deep breath!
Take a deep breath!
© Maria Stadnicka, October 2020
Nietzsche insists that a person must
find at least one truth before a good
night sleep. A terrible prospect
considering how facts come about,
with their own sets of variables.
speed in metres per second,
momentum at impact
with a surface, temperature
and friction between molecules
Ninety-degree angles do not exist
in real life. Until now science tricked
us into believing in verticality.
Meanwhile it builds a simplified version
of the world, a dummy manual, if you like,
for funding purposes.
© Maria Stadnicka, 2020