Witness

London, December 2021 ©JStadnicki, 2021
At the supermarket's meat counter, 
they sell ropes. Yellow and blue. Things
we need when weather turns bad. 
One could never be sure when the boat
needs tying off to a cleat. 
At checkout, we talk of hurricane Ursula.
It was in the news, it is now by the docks.
My bottled green sea is resting on shelves. 


Across the isle, a woman looks out.
Trains deliver milk and morning newspapers;
at the end of his shift, a night watchman 
lights a cigarette watching umbrellas running
to shelter. He has nowhere else. His children 
sent him a blank telegram. Monochrome winds,
he thinks. Time to repair, to build. 
The house he was born in no longer exists. 



© Maria Stadnicka 2021
From Somnia (2020) published by the Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, edited by Alec Newman. Cover image - artwork © Mark Mawer
The book is available here and here.
Oxford Street, London, December 2021 ©JStadnicki 2021

Hermit Age

Photograph: ‘Cafe in Sofia’ © JStadnicki

During supper at our usual tavern 

it reeks of furniture polish. At six o’clock 

waiters dust the old piano then serve

wine out of bleached carafes. 

Two past seven. Room temperature 

eighteen Celsius. Twenty-three guests 

order the same main course. 

Those seated by the piano need 

face coverings. They ask for salt 

and spare cutlery. Twenty past seven.

The kitchen door opens 

four times in twelve minutes. 

There is a power cut when guest B 

finishes the lamb chops.

The waiters bring out fire-safe candles. 

Guests A and C reach for matches. 

No-one speaks. 

© Maria Stadnicka June 2021

Excerpt from the sequence Hermit Age.

Week #11 Pandemia / Midlands, United Kingdom

At the end of Week #11, the lockdown measures started to ease off, amid concerns over increase in the ‘R’ number. From 0.7 to 1.1. Some schools are still closed, but some cafes are open for business. The #BlackLivesMatter movement was marked by protests in many towns and cities, including Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Overall, it rained, it yelled, it poured, it angered, then things carried on as usual.

© Maria Stadnicka, June 2020


Photography © John Stadnicki, June 2020, Midlands, UK

Urban Afterlife / Week #9 Midlands in Lockdown / United Kingdom

 


Photography: © John Stadnicki, May 2020

Rite of Lockdown / Week #7 / Midlands / United Kingdom

 

Rite

 

Sunday lingers on scent of paint,

tobacco and spring. Our kitchen-war

sprouts from a conversation on books

about people we both know. I say

 

I’d met doctor Zhivago queuing

at Nero’s, heard him asking a barista

about the fate of taiga-trees

at the height of a mining season.

 

You think they are cut short then stop

growing. I lock my paperbacks

in a cupboard; they remind us

of all the ink twisted in verse, seeded

 

in layers of gravel. Our verbs reach

the pit of a quarry, and seal over.

Snow forests shoot up in tears,

we trip over extension cables in our flat.

 

© Maria Stadnicka, May 2020


Photography: © John Stadnicki 2020

Midlands / Lockdown in Britain / Week #6

 

Photography © John Stadnicki, May 2020

A month in lockdown. Week #4 in Britain

 

Photography © John Stadnicki, April 2020

Keeping Safe During Pandemic

 

Photography: © John Stadnicki, April 2020 / Stroud, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Gallery

Midlands / Lockdown Week #2

Photography: © John Stadnicki, April 2020, Gloucestershire, Midlands, United Kingdom.

Hermit Age

© JStadnicki, Paris 2019

Technology and I are not on good terms as of late. Due to limited memory space, mobile apps keep freezing. Vodanex contacted me a few times already with updated offers then with sound advice which I politely requested to have mailed over. The experts suggest that my memory clutter is most probably coming from the BooksApp; too many pages left open in standby. The longest kept on the waiting list has been Is God Happy?* I flick through an essay on socialism which Leszek Kolakowski started at page fifty-eight and finished at sixty-four. My phone pings: Congratulations! Time for a break! You now reached your daily reading goal!

© Maria Stadnicka 2020

[From ‘Hermit Age’ sequence published in International Times on 25/01/2020.]


* Kolakowski, L. (2012) Is God Happy? Selected Essays, London: Penguin Modern Classics.