A Kind of World

If we want the world to move forward,

we must hold hands. Documenting the pain and the joy,

on the same page,

with water, with fire, with ashes

not with ink.

 

Freedom means nothing when the healthy and the sick

eat at separate tables.

Even the trees sit together. They know that life is actually simple.

But once people renounced their entitlement,

it will take more than a revolution

to reclaim such a right.

 

For too long we took the wrong turn.

 

What kind of world is this if

the madman tells us that

we should be ashamed of ourselves?

 

Photo: @Joss Beeley

Thought

Tomorrow will come with a sunny spell,

the rain will stop at the border so

we will begin the long-waited rebellion,

as they say,

at the right moment.

 

To satisfy our need for greatness,

we will politely ask the just questions and

sit on the pew

in return for the hand-written answer.

 

We will finally go home,

or so we believe,

to master the only remedy left for pain – patience.

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Photograph: @John Stadnicki, ‘Street Cafe’

A Day at the Office

On Monday morning, I receive an updated version of

my handbook to freedom.

The spring is ready.

Without any fault, all of us hear the truth with a different voice,

as we continue the historic dispute over the body count.

 

The perfect war victims are lost

in the overwhelming testimony to the reality’s carnage.

Another century of fear unravels before Vivian Maier’s blunt apron,

like an atomic flower that grows overnight.

 

The collective memory has started rehearsals

for a prayer written on damaged bridges.

Those who have never been taught how to be free

escaped in the wild to make the world theirs.

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Photograph: @John Stadnicki, ‘Directions’, 2014

Economy

At first, they reduced the water supply.

The poisoned city wells dried up.

The sunlight burnt the crops.

At sunset everything crumbled into a black peace.

Then somehow we got used to an economy of words.

We collected our ideas and thoughts in one book

to spend the days memorising chapters,

wondering what it was like

for those trapped in the outer world.

At the end, not only did we gracefully kill each other

for the privilege of staying alive,

but we also gave thanks for having made it back in one piece.

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Photograph: @Maria Stadnicka, Journeys

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

Exile

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Witness to a repeated history

in exile I learn a new language

facing the border control

at Heathrow Airport I wear my mother’s coat

ready for a winter of politics

when I need to

I keep my mouth shut I change my name

to look just like her

white and uncomfortable

the blinding sun has been washed and

smells of violets

people are happy

in such a beautiful land

nobody minds me

amongst

wrapped-well-packed boxes

brushing the dust off velvet cutlery

the only remains

of life before baptism.

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photographs: copyright@John Stadnicki, 2016

In Other Words, Freedom

The fatal morning Europe woke up and thought it had something to say,

there was nobody else left in the world able to listen.

Oh, earth, the bones had gathered to queue for bread,

by the front door at Saint Joseph seminary.

 

An ordinary day for ordinary death.

The bakery opened and closed.

The workers arrived on time for a last shift then went home.

The ovens had no traces of grain.

 

The ink stained hope filled up rusty water pipes.

The crowds’ whisper went on, up the hill, out of the city.

 

After that, freedom meant nothing.

It all came down to

who could hold the front running place the longest.

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