Anna Blasiak / 5 new poems


I’m so lucky
my pockets
always full of
shopping receipts
old tickets and odd buttons

Otherwise so many words
would work free of me


Hidden within walls
old pipes
must sing in the night

At four when
silence takes over
you can also hear electric wires

And the aching floors moaning

The rooms devouring


The bow of the sofa’s back
down to the shapes of draped
maidens. One above.
Three people
at the three legged table. Obviously.

But the screen has four wings,
no one knows why.

The beds on undulating legs
The mirror is new.
Reflecting, regrettably.


I weigh
your words,
calculating their density and colour.
I study them with a magnifying glass,
under a microscope.
I slide a thermometer into their flesh.
Scales, slide rulers, measuring tapes to hand.

My name is Sevres.


Time is the diminishing
of suntan lotion.

And yet again
the inflaming of irritation.


Anna Blasiak – born in 1974 in Słupsk, Poland. Studied Art History in Warsaw, Film Studies in Kraków and Arts Policy and Management in London. Published poetry in “Więź”, “Kwartalnik Artystyczny”, “Dekada Literacka” and “Odra”. Currently a full-time translator from Polish to English (fiction, art exhibition catalogues, film subtitles etc) and from English to Polish (mostly children’s and young people’s fiction as well as non-fiction). Apart from translating, she has worked in museums and a radio station, ran magazines, wrote on art, film and theatre.

Anna Błasiak – rocznik 1974, ze Słupska. Studiowała historię sztuki na UW, filmoznawstwo na UJ i zarządzanie instytucjami kultury w Londynie. Poezję publikowała w „Więzi”, „Kwartalniku Artystycznym”, „Dekadzie Literackiej” i „Odrze”. Tłumacz literacki z polskiego na angielski (proza, katalogi wystaw muzealnych, filmy) oraz z angielskiego na polski (przede wszystkim proza dla dzieci i młodzieży). Poza tłumaczeniami pracowała w muzeach i w radiu, redagowała pisma kulturalne, pisała o sztuce, filmie i teatrze.

Elzbieta Lipinska / five new poems





Twin sky lake

“Some sensitive beings say they can see the sky,
But how can the “sky” be seen?”

Sutra of perfect wisdoms

Water swallowed up the clouds.
Fish getting their sleep on soft cushions,

while we struggle to cross
a dry sky.

Birds learning to fly through water,
order being reversed, mixed up,

a tiny fish cutting worlds in half
then binding them back.

Saved in temporary folders

I am constructed like a Rubik’s cube.
Let it be. It protects me from that which I desire.

I am learning participant observation,
though the absent kind is far closer to my heart.
I don’t like people, but they don’t know this.

Time for interaction? The tasting of someone else’s world?
I am watching my own too. As it contracts.

I am ever calmer. This is thanks to time.
It is high.


From word go you aim and hit light
intense enough to suck everything in,
sapphire deep enough to like, emerald which eventually
will have to shed its juices.

There is no place here for the light shades
of cruel Aprils in Paris or in London.
Count Basie appears too pale.
We need someone here who will not
be outplayed by cicadas. Do you know Jingo?
Yes, Eric and Carlos give it some!

You can hear all the brightness, ingesting it,
sucking it down like an oyster. This taste lingering
on the tongue, the roof of your mouth.
It will bring pale Aprils into definition.


Waking came hard.
The air thick, filled with unease.
Mother gone; I blame myself
for being unobservant – she said where she was going?

He came out of nowhere. Fragile and weightless
like the shell of an empty egg in my arms.
And he did not bark. He seemed happy,
though his eyes were sad. I sought.

In the dark interior of an old town house
I hard something akin to the whirring of hair dryers
and women’s voices. Barber!
I remembered about the written page.

Squeezed into the dark room
were bunk beds. Hunched-over women
sitting down on some of them. They fell silent.
The only man in the room bent his head down low.

Something was moving slowly in the dark
as if drowning in syrup. Keeping silent.
I did not see. I knew.
I could not get near. And wake.

Clean is clear

– nothing reflected, everything has to be drawn by hand,
though drawing is not my speciality,
perhaps that is why this one and only, crystal pure,
remains outside of my reach.

I am waiting, purposeless. Training.
As it may seem, the ratio of transparency is growing.
But perhaps it is merely my optimism which is distorting vision?

I am waiting calmly. When clarity
reaches the point at which people walk into panes of glass,
doubts vanish. Hence where is all this dust coming from?

translated by Marek Kazmierski


Elżbieta Lipińska – born in Warsaw, but has lived for many years in Wroclaw. A lawyer. Has been writing for a long time, mainly poetry, alongside short prose. Has been published in Obrzeże, Akant, Autograf, Red, Fraza, Cegła, Wakat, Portret, Odra, Zeszyty Poetyckie and other collections. Has won numerous poetry awards, most recently im. Kazimierza Ratonia and im. Bolesława Faca (2007 r.). In January 2007 her first collection “Pożegnanie z czerwienią” was published, followed by “Maj to łagodny miesiąc” in November 2008. Winner of the XI Tyska Zima Poetycka Prize, resulting in her third volume, “Rejestry”, being published in 2011.

Elżbieta Lipińska – urodzona w Warszawie, ale od lat mieszkanka Wrocławia. Prawnik. Pisze od dawna, głównie wiersze, czasem także krótkie utwory prozą. Publikowała w Obrzeżach, Akancie, Autografie, Redzie, Frazie, Cegle, Wakacie, Portrecie, Odrze, Zeszytach Poetyckich, almanachach. Jest laureatką kilku konkursów poetyckich, ostatnio im. Kazimierza Ratonia oraz im. Bolesława Faca (2007 r.). W styczniu 2007 r. wydała tomik pod tytułem “Pożegnanie z czerwienią”, a w listopadzie 2008 r. drugi – “Maj to łagodny miesiąc”. Laureatka XI Tyskiej Zimy Poetyckiej – trzeci tomik “Rejestry” wydany w 2011, Biblioteka Tyskie Zimy Poetyckiej.

Poets for Pussy Riot II

in association with English PEN

Wednesday November 21st at the Free Word Centre

60 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3GA
6.30pm doors for 7pm start
entrance is £3, all profits go to  the Pussy Riot legal fund and PEN writers at risk

Since the first Poets for Pussy Riot event, held on August 29th, Nadezha Tokolonnikova and Maria Alyokhina remain in prison, serving out sentences in notorious penal colonies. The community of poets that came together then, as an act of solidarity and commitment that this injustice should not be forgotten, will come together once more on November 21st, in association with English PEN, to mark the nine-month anniversary of Pussy Riot’s protest Punk Prayer performance, which took place on February 21st in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Please join nearly 40 poets from London for a evening of original poetry that will be one of a number events taking place across the UK and Ireland to raise local and national awareness of Pussy Riot’s situation.

Readings from:

Tim Atkins / Becky Cremin & Ryan Ormonde / Sascha Akhtar / Jennifer Cooke / Tim Dooley / Francine Elena / Gareth Evans / SJ Fowler / Lucy Furlong / Charlotte Geater / Sarah Hesketh/ Michael Horovitz/  Jeff Hilson / Kirsten Irving / Antony John / Marek Kazmierski / Amy Key / Ziba Karbassi / Alex MacDonald / Candy Parfitt / Deborah Pearson / Claire Potter / Frances Presley / Shelagh Rowan-Legg / Will Rowe / Fathieh Saudi / Marcus Slease / Jon Stone / Philip Terry / M. Ly-Eliot / Stephen Watts / Michael Zand / Robert Kiely / Katy Price / Francesca Lisette

Genowefa Jakubowska-Fijalkowska – BOOK COMPETITION



To celebrate National Poetry Day, OFF_PRESS is running a simple competition to win a copy of the latest poetry collection from Genowefa Jakubowska-Fijalkowska “of me a worm and of the worm verses”.


To win one of five copies of the book being given away, simply answer the following question:


Which five bookshops in Poland stock OFF_PRESS titles?*


Email your answer to – closing date 31/10/2012


The first five correct emails win a book each!


* the answer can easily be found on our website…

An astounding new collection of poetry from this well-established poetess, it presents a voice howling with fire and indignation, raising hell in an already hellish post-communist Polish environement – giving voice to women, children, animals, artists, Gypsies, Jews, the elderly, the crazed, the impoverished and the wild – in fact anyone for whom poetry should speak.

Jakubowska-Fijalkowska is currently being translated into numerous other languages, the recent Czech publication of her book Něžný nůž (2011) being declared the publishing sensation of the year by critics.

The book also contains the poems in the original Polish.

ISBN                 9780957232709   
Genre               Poetry
Pages               100
Languages      English / Polish

Genowefa Jakubowska-Fijałkowska – born 1946 in Mikołów. Her books of poetry include: Dożywocie (1994), Pan Bóg wyjechał na Florydę (1997), Pochylenie (2002), Czuły nóż (2006), Ostateczny smak truskawek (2009), plus the collections i wtedy minie twoja gorączka (2010), Performance (2011), as well as the Czech translation Něžný nůž (2011). Her poems were published in ANTHOLOGIA #2 (OFF_PRESS, London, 2010) and in journals such as “Akcent”, “Odra”, “Fraza”, “Kwartalnik Artystyczny”, “Wyspa”, “Śląsk”, “Opcje”, “Arkusz”, “Twórczość”, “Zeszyty Literackie”, “Arkadia”, “Topos”, “Red”, “Nowa Okolica Poetów”, “Rita Baum” and “Gazeta Wyborcza”. Her poems have been translated into Czech, Slovene, German, English and Russian. Having twice been awarded the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage scholarship, she still lives and works in Mikołów.

Cena 50.00zl z przesyłką do Polski.

Przelew Santander Bank Plc / sort code 09-06-66 / acc number 42690657 / IBAN GB51ABBY09066642690657 / SWIFT-BIC code ABBYGB2LXXX.

prosimy o przesłanie emaila do podąjac imie, nazwisko i adres pocztowy.

Shipping options



in association with






mariapoetry / a new blog from Maria Jastrzebska

“Welcome to my blog! Witam serdecznie!

When I was a child my greatest wish was to have a walkie-talkie. With one press of a button I thought I’d be able to banish loneliness, fear, boredom… I can’t remember who I imagined would be at the other end receiving my messages.  Now here I am contemplating the endless vistas of the Internet which I mostly feel overwhelmed by. Forever behind with replying to e-mails and notifications, it takes me hours just to upload some holiday snaps let alone compose anything profound as befits a practising poet.

So what is it that makes me want to add my voice to the millions out there running along whatever it is they run along in cyberspace?  (Unscientifically, my mind’s eye conjures lots of mice scurrying up drainpipes – rats in a maze?) A friend tells me blogging is about self-discipline and a sizeable ego.  Hmmmn.  Probably it’s the same thing which makes anyone write in the first place. The old message in a bottle addiction to communication.  I know some people have it a lot worse – or is that a lot better? – than me. They blog all the time. Mine will be sporadic, erratic, occasional.  Un-disciplined.  I promise.”

Keep reading… click on the image above to go to the blog itself

English PEN Poems for Pussy Riot: Genowefa Jakubowska-Fijalkowska


On 13 September, English PEN launched ‘Poems for Pussy Riot‘  in support of three members of the Russian punk band –  Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich – who are currently serving a  two year prison sentence. We will be posting poems dedicated to Nadezdha, Maria and Yekaterina in the weeks leading up to their appeal hearing on 1 October.

The following contribution is a piece by Genowefa Jakubowska-Fijalkowska, translated by Marek Kazmierski.

click on the image above to go to the English PEN website where you can read the poem

Marek writes of Genowefa JakubowskaFijalkowska: “a voice howling with fire and indignation, raising hell in an already hellish post-communist Polish environment – giving voice to women, children, artists, ethnic minorities, the elderly, the impoverished and the wild – in fact anyone for whom poetry should speak. Born in 1946 in Mikołów, she has published over seven collections of poetry. Her poems have been anthologised and published by all the major literary journals in Poland, and have been translated into Czech, Slovene, German, English and Russian. Having twice been awarded the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, she still lives and works in Mikołów.”

Poets for Pussy Riot – August wed 29th at the Rich Mix

Poets for Pussy Riot

Wednesday August 29th 2012 – 7pm until late –

Free entrance at the Rich mix arts centre, main space venue, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA 020 7613 7498

With the news that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich of the Russian punk collective, Pussy Riot, were sentenced to two years in prison for a wholly necessary and valid political protest, contemporary poets in London will come together in a unique evening of readings, featuring original poetry and text, as well as the words of Pussy Riot themselves. This event is an act of solidarity through the medium of poetry – a celebration of the courage and spirit of fellow writers of this generation, writing for real political change in a country that needs it. Featuring readings from over 30 poets including Tim Atkins, David Berridge, Becky Cremin, Kirsty Irving, Francesca Lisette, Chris McCabe, Reza Mohammadi, Sandeep Parmar, Tom Raworth, Jack Underwood, James Wilkes and many others.

email: for details.

Tim Atkins David Berridge Becky Cremin Nia Davies Amy Evans Irum Fazal myself Charlotte Geater Kirsty Irving Keith Jebb Antony John Marek Kazmierski Robert Kiely Francesca Lisette Chris McCabe


Mendoza Reza Mohammadi Sandeep Parmar Claire Potter Nat Raha Tom Raworth Will Rowe Antonia Seroff Andy Spragg Jon Stone Jack Underwood MJ Weller James Wilkes Jenny Wong Michael Zand

Paweł Podlipniak – 3 new poems

Kurt gone mad

I have a newspaper photograph stuck to the fridge
– two fingers pressed against the spot where the temple
brushes wit, and the thumb for the hammer of a gun,
and a tiny blotch which signals the next move.

Although a smile’s breaking through the stubble,
fear fills the eyes (breaking the surface)
and then all those apologies. Sure.

He already knows you can drink half a glass
and feel empty instead of anywhere near full.
Kurt gone mad, only he doesn’t know it.
I only envy him this oversight.

Łucja Dudzińska – 5 new poems

Tied with chains

(for Dorota)

Too spacious the house – I don’t want to say: empty.
Severing the umbilical cord doesn’t hurt. Windows,
as if bullet proof, dull the hum of city streets. Walking
window to window (feet thunding). I close, open the curtain –

flowers and a trapped butterfly staring. I am speaking to you,
the echo just seemeing to find its voice. I am looking
for a trace of nastiness in a lit candle, for it entraps moths,
or in the web of a spider – yet you are not a foolish fly!

I calm myself, flattening the folds of my skirt. As a child,
you laughed when the lobster lolloped, while ghosties flew.*
I look for my migrane pills, bite the bitterness – it will heal
hypersensitivity and you will stop calling me a mad bitch.

*Polish children’s rhymes

Tomasz Pułka – RIP

Ukraine (9)

I came home for the holidays.
Lent a hand cleaning and making
dishes. Forced to go outside to smoke.

There is so much to-do. And so much
space left for us to think in.

I have considered the origin of things. And much
more about the business of dying (is, will be,

yet a moment ago I heard, from behind a thick wall,
my parents trying to make love, awkwardly
trying to keep quiet.

9 lipca w tragicznym wypadku zginął Tomasz Pułka. Informację śmierci poety potwierdził jego wydawca.

On the 9th of July, Tomasz Pułka, a young Polish poet, died in a tragic accident.

His publisher confirmed the information today.  ha!art

a new poem by Genowefa Jakubowska-Fijalkowska

I’m going to put down the white table cloth

spill across snow the infrared (outside of the range of red light)
petals of supermarket roses petals in foil unrecognisable to my eyes*

they will feel the cold and the foil and the snow in the lowest red spectrum wavelength
this redness will blanket Ukraine all the dogs shot in the head in preparing for the Euro

howling will leave behind traces of canine suffering the snow scarlet
(dogs do not have their crucified Christ)

Joanna Dziwak / Four new poems



Peace (…) cannot be found even here and I will stop seeking it in life

F. Kafka

I am writing to you, this April morning, the worst
already behind me? Answer.

I lost my job, spent a few years with a certain guy,
you know the type. Those who were going to hate me
probably do so already. How’s things with you?

How is your anxiety and your silence? Metaphysicians
mope about the whole day long in bathrobes, waiting
for supper while watching soaps. We would rather not live

Than allow ourselves to be put through the grinder
like living meat in better days calling this
happiness, usually – normality.

I am writing to you, this April morning, the worst
already behind me? Or maybe

let’s be in touch?



Happiness is a word from a handbook for ladies
and gents who have not yet learnt the true texture

Of truth? Only finally, essentially
with irony, seriously. You must go now, so
we will return to this another day. There is
no returning anywhere.

I like thinking of things which
I do not know about you. That which is interesting
does not fit sentences.

I like thinking of things which
have not happened, past tense
incomplete, future tense without plans
for the future. Now

You must leave, so we won’t go back there again.


Evenings as they ought to be for the world’s
finale. Lights do not illuminate anything,
sadness suits you

The one you were left with after you got rid of
illusions, hopes, weeks whole? These are not
words fit for poems, but then again

This is what they call the age of innocence,
the sun under the skin, it will set next and smoothly
you will move towards the next stage

Pretending you had some influence on the outcome.
Game over? Pretending, that to console oneself
is the same as to clap.


I will not talk about the subtle details,
because things were far from subtle. The city began
after dusk, I inhaled it into my lungs, it was

making fearsome faces. Someone was worried about me,
someone else mad with or did not want to see
me. Everything without meaning. I was breathing

signs of relief, waking completely unwell. Pain
looks great on you, he would have said, had he still
been talking to me. That which was meant to come

was casting shadows already.

Translated by Marek Kazmierski



Joanna Dziwak – (born 1986) – has had her verse published in numerous literary publications (including “Akcent”, “Czas Kultury”, “Portret”), her début collection “sturm&drang” appeared at the end of 2010. She also translates German poetry, mainly Bertolt Brecht. She is studying philosophy, lives in Krakow.

Joanna Dziwak – (ur.1986) – publikowała wiersze w wielu pismach literackich ( „Akcent”, „Czas Kultury”, „Portret”), jej debiutancka książka “sturm&drang” ukazała się pod koniec 2010 roku. Tłumaczy również poezję niemieckojęzyczną, głównie Bertolta Brechta. Studiuje filozofię, mieszka w Krakowie.

Zuzanna Ogorzewska – five new poems






the doctor joked: with such hearing
miss, you  qualify for the army
he didn’t know I had taken psychology in 2007
when all the graduates were called up
except for me as I had forgotten
to check out of finland


I concluded: seems it’s still not enough
post regiment in headphones worth 5 zlotys
yes madame, you must accept
your slow loss of hearing
for the good of resonance


because a box like you, miss, can only rumble
you can forget fucking and families
and work is a waste for anyone
who happens to have a voice


and yet if you, miss, are afraid
of exposing yourself to ridicule
out of hunger eat a piece of shell and die alone
please apply two drops to each ear
three times a day until the barricade falls


next I would advise
a cure for the cold, punk rock, hangover and romanticism
and then just calmly
enlist in this world







autumn has come
the cat`s reaction to LSD has been checked
the animal could not stand on its own four paws
just like józek after the last bender
a village in syria was ambushed, a small siren was caught
I’m still waiting for the planet`s trepanation


the cat trembled like majka to whom we read
st. john’s apocalypse at bedtime
tabby saw the approaching horsemen with needles and squinted his eyes
in grotniki I found a portal leading to kołobrzeg
we entered the schengen zone


the terrible meowing resembled maciek
who sang our own country & western out of tune
and so a crowbar up your ass, a chocolate tomb and overwhelming solitude
all of these were bad trips but what could a cat expect
being filmed by some asshole straight-A chemistry student?


józek got to his feet
majka calmed down after a month
maciek got what was coming, and I woke in the eu
this cat will never rise again, all stripped of his catness
and his vision of doom will not return to the book


here comes the winter, a war with iran and other wild parties
all for the people so leave cats the fuck alone
surprising myself, I applaud the use of torture
against tabby’s butchers, each of us
keeps in a closet a private guantanamo







I’m not sure I can stand you saying
you don’t like reading
I may have to stop you playing disco
dress you all in black
and you won’t be yourself


you know Tola
that’s what you’ll be called
me, I’m always army boots and death disco
fuck the system – the only reasonable option


I would like you to be wise and beautiful
when I was your age I was neither
wise nor beautiful
it must be a wonderful feeling
but you put in so little effort


if you are ever born
know that it runs in our family
you must love yourself
to spite me





to se ne vrati



they say it won’t come in useful and are right
meal is better than metaphors, a poem
like a piece of cake


any man who can be seduced with poetry
is a pitiful thing
not that he should start waving guns about  
real balls are something those chinese students had
when they stuck flowers into the barrels of tanks


naturally work
is acceptable only when
it brings real fruits, anyone who’s tried
tossing words into a blender knows
no juice will come out
only gibberish


they say poems are only good for wiping your ass
which is nice
knowing they have some use at least
though of course it’s nothing compared
to the oracle who in hexameter
declared the fates of the world


poets have never had it easy
he who attempts to explain himself in rhyme
will be locked up for certain
though it was not always so


when the sycylians conquered the athenian army
they only let go of those captives
who knew eurypides off by heart
killing the rest


it seems once upon a time it was possible
to live on poetry







I know you can raise your hand to strike
either me or a guitar string
to draw the most tender sound and what is the difference
between hitting a woman and smashing a guitar?


I don’t know which one of us is better
either for loving
or for receiving treatment
I once convinced you to see a psychiatrist
he told you to leave me






poems translated by Zuzanna Ogorzewska and Marek Kazmierski



Zuzanna Ogorzewska (1983), a psychologist by profession, a layabout by nature. Poet and author of the volume “Pomidor i inne techniki przetrwania”. Winner of several literary competitions, tournaments and poetry slams. Her work has been published in “Opcje”, “Tygiel Kultury” and various on-line portals (including,,

Zuzanna Ogorzewska (1983), z wykształcenia psycholog, z zamiłowania leń. Poetka, autorka tomiku “Pomidor i inne techniki przetrwania”. Laureatka kilku konkursów, turniejów i slamów poetyckich. Wiersze publikowała w “Opcjach”, “Tyglu Kultury” oraz na różnych portalach internetowych (,,

Jacek Dehnel / a new poem

Before the sentence

We emptied both rooms, the kitchen, hallway and bathroom,
there being no end to the things of the dead.

Ripping their postcards, we catch scraps of words and they’re there again,
younger, more alive, busy with the world.

the earth it shakes – says Boa Sr,
the last Andaman woman to speak
this sixty five thousand year old tongue –
when a tree falls with a mighty bang

Warsaw, 29 I 2012




translated by Marek Kazmierski and Wioletta Grzegorzewska

*Boa Sr.  (Circa 1925 – 26 January 2010) was an Indian Great Andamanese elder. She was the last surviving person who remembered any Bo, a language of the Great Andamanese language family.

Jacek Dehnel (born 1980 in Gdańsk), is a poet, writer, translator and painter. He has published six collections of poetry, two in translation, six prose works (two collections of short stories, a volume of short prose illustrated with photographs, a collection of novellas and two novels). Winner of The Koscielscy Prize (2005) and Paszport Polityki (2006), twice nominated for the prestigious Nike Prize, among others. He lives in Warsaw.

Jacek Dehnel (ur. 1980 w Gdańsku), poeta, prozaik, tłumacz, malarz. Wydał sześć książek poetyckich, dwie translatorskie, sześć prozatorskich (dwa tomy opowiadań, tom krótkich próz o zdjęciach, zbiór minipowieści i dwie powieści). Laureat Nagrody Kościelskich (2005) i Paszportu Polityki (2006), dwukrotnie nominowany do nagrody Nike. Mieszka w Warszawie.

Seweryn Górczak /// 3 new poems


Constantinople is on beautiful fire today, but it isn’t
opening fire, of the touch between flame
and sensitive, urban wood; the freshness
poisoned by smoke. I study the date
through crystal, at a safe
indifference, an etched turn
of phrase on my lips, with the first headline word

– I stop breathing. Today, you can choose
one of a range of icons; the rest extinguished, with
verses arranged in walls hurriedly
spat out by passers by. The bridge no longer there,


which is why today you can choose one
of those crystal icons, before they crumble.
Before you’re cut off from
the other side of the mic,
just before the immolation.





La Noche Triste

He fell asleep, his eyelids covered in richly decorated
cuts; shadows resting against them
in harmonies, with a taste specific
to this country. We were sitting
in a half-empty apartment, dirty
light from a long unwashed bulb. I wanted
to shower, but no water was running.
A tree blocking out the only window – from behind
its leaves a crooked, shimmering city appearing, one
which, as we’ll learn later, we’ll burn down. From beneath
the floorboards the wail of glasses and complaints that,
once again, they’ve been given mirrored bottles. One voice
was too indifferent not to be mine or his. Wanting
to silence it, I turned on the television
and came upon a beautiful tale – a film
cut together from nothing but end credits.






Defeat in such situations can be interpreted as insanity
only when we agree to ignore the pasts of all those generals, all the
trysts which they had to drown along with shaved off stubble in sinks,
over which matt mirrors hung, minor affairs tossed across the front, before
they could bring anybody any joy, of limited
uses and approaching use by dates. Though
this is certainly scant assurance for families which
had to break themselves into tiny shards of glass upon receiving the telegram.
And it must be small comfort to the postmen who had to
gather them up with bare hands and send them to me with complaints, instead
of funeral wreaths for those no longer concerned with hygiene. And yet


I can read into more things than just my own complaints – I promise that
this conflict is about to die out. The only
outcome will be a little tickly
smoke down the throat, suspended in mid-air until exhausted.




translated by Marek Kazmierski



Seweryn Górczak, born 1991 in Warsaw. Studying at the Stefan Wyszyński University; his poems have been published in PKP Zin, “Odra” and “Lampa”. From time to time he reads at poetry slams.

Seweryn Górczak, ur. 1991 w Warszawie. Student historii na Uniwersytecie im. kard. Stefana Wyszyńskiego; wiersze publikował w PKP Zinie, “Odrze” i “Lampie”. Od czasu do czasu występuje na slamach.

Michał Czaja – five new poems

first-person analysis. tease

“Dramatic tension in writing – a philosopher would say – is in the interplay between

the desire to possess a thing and the inability to claim it, paid for, as he will state

elsewhere, “with moments of depressing powerlessness””

Deconstruction and interpretation

Anna Burzyńska

dear madam, no one said we should write and we’re not afraid instead awfully healthy

I made the effort to look nicer today ironed my neck need only
cats for protection and drafting my ancestors’ assessments comes easy
indeed I have scrapped my arrangement with the dead which means I don’t return
home before three but do speak with an accent appropriate for time and place

madam will allow me not to spit in front of the club in case someone says

the audio performances by banal sasnal in zacheta gallery
are better than carnivals in rio and no I only neck a little spirits
in secret when no one is looking certainly not her
and so I am overall done up to the max and then some

dear madam if you wish I can clean up after myself

because it ain’t nice plus I haven’t got a job
and have to try harder although you probably didn’t know
anyway back to what I was saying no one says we should write
we’ve got ourselves into it but I don’t think this is a sin or any sort of job

and so why the whispering unless it be whispers of approval

or the whispering of a mountain stream when skiing and this my nth attempt  
at reintegrating the first person in the basement of zacheta
in moments of depressing violence and overall that ain’t it
not that but perhaps something will come of this upright libation



the woods are sober



darling the world is no more sober than I am
I am right this minute boarding a lift made by the municipal works
which means in a moment we’ll be out of range of thoughts and arms and so
I take up position parallel to the direction of travel and grab the railing  
so as not to drop out of the city’s intestines and land in the colon


barely dreaming of home and the warm internet which you will attach to the eyes
so I can doze off on line so that other women can drip down in letters
while you chronically tired try to catch your breath  
before another deep dive into tomorrow and you do it with such hunger  
it seems you are heading towards a world which was not made for us


those I meet in the compartment here are unknowns and look at me ominously
directions are mixing in my head and I don’t know if they’re coming or going
to their desks their beds children on loan loans for children
I won’t look them in the eye there’s too many private histories there
instead just look upwards towards an earth rumbling with a concrete morning


my friends left behind there some still dancing others want to stop but can’t
some want to stop and come and peak with declarations of enforced socialisation  
I’ll meet them here again but they have time let them have their lie-ins
on the surface before they board that damned lift and I’ll know them no longer
as for us if you ask I think it’s time to get the hell out of here perhaps into the woods


the woods are sober



a photo from a mobile phone taken after a poetry event


we make our even beds in ditches dirt
fugues gatherings lying down straight
unpecked by hens crows or other avians
reality does not turn us into themes
for our poetry or other cultural texts


sometimes with a daring stretch of the neck
we reach for the surface of metaphysics and mysticism
nowt to say while everyone steals glances at falling mythologies
classical that’s only just sounds now ears humming
and a revolution in value systems in line with quarterlies


modernity to blame for the bullshit wiggling its
ass at father’s politics ’cause what else is there to say
ads ever longer the cosmos ever nearer
boredom while as asides we toy with kitsch and
oh what a wonderful Word and everything clear


like a billboard slogan dragged down by its hair
we lie back seduced sleepy supermodern
and runs on does the clubber-gay-hooligan newspeak
the current leading us to a morning clash with the city  
and so friends let’s take us a group photograph


it’s the last gesture we’re capable of before another
tearing off of warm bedsheets to save the remnants
of face and give ourselves the chance to return to this tale
of our attempts at talking our way into some more passes
of our saintly and still ever so fresh insanity



from the left of our town


you like those shared spots where we talk books and lounge with laptops
once again someone tried to instruct me in tip top manners
but I tipped and fell hard my ever so tender neck straining in my track suit
sensitive to touch repressions and all fears of coverings and influences


I try not to let myself loose and not to feel pressure in terms of cool
political scenes if only I knew how not to vote and align myself
with current perspectives in cultural publications and young poland
which is after all as much ours as any subject of discussion in this cafe


you want to go to the march I don’t think I do and I’ll go though a little off
some sentences stuck in the throat my world views left unshouted  
because in the end I do not understand them myself as they are not ready
to fit with the terms of our aims of developing this town


be more street and yet how and what to mark the self with in terms of differences
any logo is a state of soul this I know taking more exams in said discipline
so I’ll log in to the system from the left because this is the obvious consequence
and one cannot do otherwise in today’s time zones along our latitudes



five seconds


five seconds mano a mano five seconds facing that face
numbers don’t lie walls don’t embrace or instruct in whispers


nothing matters aside from this retrospection retirement
survive only this much inside me too many bodies
opposite cells louder than my television set
I will wait for the ads they always shove to the fore


shouting preening they are just so perfect for this very moment
perhaps they’ll turn off the nodding in me or buy me out
nodding is something I inherited from my nan who needled me
now only the lack I’m too big she too small


I once knew how to play with a crayon fly it cutting the air
cutting space with a crayon children were only outside the window
I didn’t know their names now I would like to call them all
open the windows let some of them in let them shout
let each one have such a crayon let slice let cut


it is too thick I’ve held my breath
perhaps it was for five seconds


she came in and made it lighter time stopped weighing so much



translated by Marek Kazmierski


Michał Czaja (born 1983 in Warsaw). Literary and cultural critic, lecturer, works in partnership with the research team Literatura and Konteksty in IBL, and recently became the editor of the literary quarterly Wakat on-line, having been involved in the Warsaw literary scene for a number of years. In May of 2011, as part of the “Debiuty” series, his first volume of poetry “Bo to nowa krytyka będzie o miłości” was published by Staromiejski Dom Kultury. He lives in Warsaw.

Michał Czaja (ur. 1983 w Warszawie) Teoretyk literatury i kultury, wykładowca, współpracuje z zespołem badawczym Literatura i Konteksty w IBL, od niedawna współredaguje kwartalnik literacki Wakat on-line, od wielu lat związany z warszawskim środowiskiem literackim. W maju w serii “Debiuty” Staromiejskiego Domu Kultury ukazał się jego debiutancki tomik “Bo to nowa krytyka będzie o miłości”. Mieszka w Warszawie.