Toxic Petals

photo: @John Stadnicki

People travel towards the water.

Believers and non-believers, abandoned,

wet books with pages turning themselves,

in the hot breeze.

 

In times of peace, the bread chooses wisely.

It chooses us.

To hear the summer from miles away – a sudden blast.

 

Toxic petals float in the air and

drop vertical shades of colour

on busy roads, on silenced barracks.

 

We all are the collective eyewitness,

the sleep-deprived well;

knowing litter pickers, mending

the gaps in this violent history.

 

 

A poem for ‘Europa‘ by Andrew Heath https://www.amazon.co.uk/Europa-Andrew-Heath/dp/B01LYHL716 

For further information on Andrew Heath’s music, please click here: https://andrewheath.bandcamp.com/

A Thing for Poetry, with David Clarke

Last month, I was delighted to attend the launch of a new book of poems by Maria Stadnicka, a Romanian-born poet living and working in Stroud. Before coming to the UK in 2003, Maria worked as a radio and TV broadcaster, presenter and radio editor. She also won a series of national poetry prizes. In 2010 she became member of the Stroud Writers Group, Gloucestershire.

I first become aware of Maria’s poetry when Yew Tree Press published her beautifully illustrated short collection A Short Story about War (as Maria Butunoi) in 2014 and her new poems, collected in Imperfect (also Yew Tree Press), are a welcome addition to her English-language work. Maria’s poems are restrained and precisely crafted miniatures: enigmatic narratives shot through with dark humour and surreal detail, they are eminently political, but rarely tackle Politics (with a capital P) head on. In all of these respects, they put me in mind of the work of Greek poet Yannis Ritsos, yet there also seem to me to be echoes of Kafka: the poems record fragile surface realities, beneath which lurk the symptoms of violence and oppression. This is a poetry of unease, and all the more honest for that, but also ultimately a poetry of hope, recording the struggle of the subject to maintain its integrity in troubled times.

Maria has agreed to feature as my guest poet in this post, which presents here poem ‘City’. Of the poem, Maria writes:

‘What can I know?’….’What can I know?’…This is not my question. Immanuel Kant answered it already, a long time ago, and many other thinkers answered it in their own way too. As a society, we slowly learnt to get used to ‘knowing’ everything a priori. When there is no obvious difference between ‘freedom’ and ‘dogma’, what is the point in asking? Everything is ‘google-able’, right?

Happy to be given the answer, happy to steer clear of uncomfortable dirt and pain. Happy and safe. But isn’t that called oppression?

Recently I have been thinking about oppression and the subtle nuances revealed by urbanism. The layers and layers of conformity which are impossible to eradicate without consequences. But then… how else shall we build consensus?

And one afternoon, walking through my working class town, out of the blue an answer kept staring me in the face. There was the rain and the shops closing at 5 o’clock and people hurrying to get the dinner ready. There was an English February, defined by our sleepwalking hyperreality. Me and everybody else: surrendered, crushed.

 

City

The afternoon we passed the city prison walls
fighting the wintry wind with a broken umbrella.

It was precisely five o’clock and
a girl on a bicycle overtook an old man
holding a rope.
About the same time,
the ice cream van closed.

The armed police arrived
to disperse the queue with tear-gas.

In the near distance, people ran
between horizontal watermarks
back to their semi-detached
airing cupboards.

We had nothing to stop for and then, I think,
I paused and
I covered my arms with a piece of history.

Imperfect can be purchased by contacting Yew Tree Press (philipalrush[at]googlemail.com) or via Amazon.

David Clarke, poet, thinker and critic. http://athingforpoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/david-clarke.html

‘Imperfect’ is now available ….

 

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This is it. The book is done, the summer arrived. ‘Imperfect’ is published by Yew Tree Press, Philip Rush, Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK and printed by Andrew Morrison, Stroud, UK. Price: £10 with free P&P.

http://www.artistsbooksonline.co.uk/andrew_morrison.shtml

Curator: Jay Ramsay

Photography: @Joss Beeley

Please order the book at mariastadnicka@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

Plastic

The local MP came to visit today.

He played with his tie, in the half-empty boiling hot working class room.

Nobody offered him water.

He looked outside at the summery breeze 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-tag around my neck.

He had nothing.

I sat on a tree-legged small plastic chair.

He sat on a piece of cake.

Photograph: @John Stadnicki

Image

You are cordially invited…19th May, 8pm, ‘Imperfect’ – book launch – published by Yew Tree Press, Stroud, Gloucestershire

International Times and ‘Imperfect’…pre-election dossier, 19th May 2017

The box arrived. The first books now being sent to the British Library. And, in the middle of it, a new poem published this morning in ‘International Times’ – the newspaper of resistance.

‘A Day at the Office’ – pre-election dossier.

http://internationaltimes.it/a-day-at-the-office/

 

White Breakfast

It was, after all, a beautiful day.

Your hands, resting on the white tablecloth,

the lost sheep in a perfect desert with no compass.

You passed me the tea, I took the newspaper and

arranged my dress in a neat knot on my lap,

smiled and looked the sun in the eye.

 

The fresh air suffocated us.

The summer, gone.

 

‘Too much beauty’ I thought to say before I slowly placed the cup in front of me,

‘too much of you’

but I kept a symmetrical distance between my toes and yours.

I stood up and went to the other side of the room

to watch you watching the sea.

 

On the floor, the breakfast crumbs.

Memory of my passing.

Photograph: @Maria Stadnicka, Lines’, Stroud