Brexit Song by Monika Kostera

I don’t answer that question
I say: I’m from Sheffield
It’s as close to the truth
as nothing these days

I am a walrus
I eat pierogi
I’ve been to Baker street
in a submarine

My mother looked lovely
in her light Biba dresses
She liked pierogi
She dreamed of gardens
green hills

I’ve come
from the land
of ice and snow
I watch raindrops fall
as right as
back then

I won’t answer that question
You can’t fool the children
Will we ever walk
the mountains
the hills

Do widzenia, do jutra!

Great Again by Monika Kostera

Gray linoleum land
covered with thick,
sticky film. Buildings,
boarded up alongside
the tents of the homeless,
black tears on brick walls,
a feast
of stark camera necks, “surfaces
may be slippery”.
Train filled with
smell welling up
from the toilet.
This is not austerity,
this is overflow.
It’s what trickles down.

(Leeds/Sheffield, 2016)

A complete overhaul to its appearance by Monika Kostera

Please tell the people in Damascus that they were loved,

tell the people we love them.

Muhammed, Omar’s brother,

Five-year-old Isaac,

Khadija Saye, artist,

Mariem, with the yellow sunflower,

Abdel, who called his sons,

Lovely smiling Sheila, 84,

Jessica, she would have been very scared, has anyone seen Jessica?

Tell the people we love them.


We just hope that they will find him.


It’s been a real journey, tears shed, highs and lows,

but mama,

I’m an artist exhibiting at the Venice Biennale!


Fire resistant cladding would have cost 5000 pounds.

Fire resistant panels for £24 per square metre,

a £2 increase on the standard.


All of these people are homeless.


A complete

overhaul to its appearance.


We are the same as those people.

It could easily have been us.

I’m a 50 year old woman with a good income.

But I swear to God, if this outrage caused a riot,

I’m fucking joining.


Fuck the media, fuck the mainstream!


I couldn’t speak to residents

because of security concerns.

What I am now absolutely focused on

is ensuring we get that support on the ground.


An abdication of responsibility.

An abdication of responsibility.

An abdication of responsibility.


I want there to be a revolution in this country.


Says Monika: “I lack words so I collected words shed. All of them are words shed.”

Lamentation by Monika Kostera

King Lear is dead
but miracles are still
likely to come.
The long march has halted,
the heart has fallen out
of the mouth of the city
and lies, like a small bloody animal,
at the crack of the curb.

Miracles are still possible.
Rain is falling on the homeless’
tent city. Should we weep now,
or have we missed the cue
long ago?

The King’s crown of weeds
has been tossed in the air
like a bride’s flower wreath.
He opens his eyes,
no dreams
want to come.

The tide rises, the tide falls like breath.
are still likely.

One More Letter by Monika Kostera

The first dove that came was taken
down by gun fire. The second
died from the pesticides

on the olive branch she held her beak.
The third is here now: a city pigeon,
mangy and limping, with sparse blue-gray

feathers, his eyes red and orange,
like Hephaistos’

God has not
forsaken us.

(Plakias, 2016)

Return by Monika Kostera

The Earth is not our sister
and she is not dying.
But the chill we can feel is real: she has
ceased to love us.

The breath she is drawing is not
her last. When you wake up just before dawn
next time, hold yours and listen: how deep it is.

She inhales and her eyes
are closing.

(Warszawa, 2016)


Published recently in Oneiropeia by Erbacce Press

Mourning is the most radical thing we can do these days by Monika Kostera

(for YG)

Daedalus lost his head, not his
wings. Master craftsman – I found
the headless body lying
in a street
of Warsaw. It’s spring

and the city
is filled with fragrance,
the sublime
lilac smell of weddings and funerals.

Someone has to bury all those dreams.

The roles we were playing with zeal,
the work, well intentioned, the
dependable guts, the ways
we were good against
the dark background, the hope and the hopefulness
against hope. The ghosts
imprisoned beneath the victor’s tale.

I must
– we need to –

his tight, splintered body
fallen, in the kindness of dust.