Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, Calais, August 2017

In Calais. Two years have passed since my visit to the ‘Jungle’ camp. Now demolished. Without migrants. And I get to measure time in a different way. Not as a linear construct or development or progress. In such matters, ‘time’ is not an objective concept. Time is measured in memories, stories which have been told and then forgotten, wasted. In Western political terminology, time is the dissociation from tragedy combined with the hopeless expectation of a historic healing. It is anonymous, evanescent. And so are thousands, millions across Europe and beyond.

Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, Calais, August 2017



Photograph ©John Stadnicki 2017


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?

©Maria Stadnicka, 2017


Published today in International Times with illustration produced by Nick Victor.

‘Plastic’ politics. In ‘International Times’

Illustration by Nick Victor copyright Published in International Times

The local MP came to visit today.
He played with his tie, in the half-empty boiling hot classroom.
Nobody offered him water.
He looked outside at the summery fog and
chewed his nails for an hour or so.
I tried to think of a question.
But all of them were already answered.
He paused and smiled at the camera.
I had a name badge around my neck.
He had nothing.
I sat on a tree-legged small plastic chair.
He sat on a piece of cake.



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.

Numbers for One Life

London. Friday afternoon. 2017.

It is summer. And a beautiful bitter one.

A few numbers for a statistical analysis which does not matter.

There are 775 rooms in Buckingham Palace.

There are almost 20,000 homes sitting empty in London. They are called ‘ghost’ homes.

The Crown Jewels have a total value of 44.5 billion pounds.

Stuart Gulliver, CEO at HSBC, will receive 9.7 million pounds as reward for cutting costs. Basically, for making money for others.

Philip May works as a senior executive at investment fund Capital Group that controls $1.4 trillion in assets.

Over 31 million pounds will be given this year in prizes at Wimbledon.

Theresa May promises 5 million pounds. To be shared between hundreds of people without food, clothes and a roof over their heads. Victims of Grenfell Tower fire.

Theresa May gets free food and accommodation wherever she goes. At all times.

An average wedding in the UK costs 20,000 pounds.

One cremation is 1,600 pounds, if it is planned. Otherwise, it is free.

Fire resistant cladding is 24 pounds per square metre.

One life has no price. Nor numbers.



Uranium Bullets

I always arrive late for everything.

Stuck in a traffic jam by the docks,

missed Noah’s boat but

survived under water

accidentally trapped between stolen books,

trapped by a word heavier than a stone,

lighter than a feather.


Hidden in the overcrowded wooden train carriage,

radicalised by the anonymity of my blue name-tag,

with a heart growing outside my body.

Each beat painfully visible to the guards

around the Monopoly table.


On the waiting list for ballet lessons,

radicalised by the price of uranium bullets on Mother’s Day

handwriting an apologetic note.

My deep eye silenced.

The familiar solemnity of a world without a face.

Photograph: @John Stadnicki, Bristol MMXVI

New text…@International Times



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
wrapped-well-packed boxes
brushing the dust off velvet cutlery
the only remains
of life before baptism.

©Maria Stadnicka

Photograph: ©Nick Victor