Who knows but she would tell?

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Who knows but she would tell?

Who knows but she would tell?


2017, Knara Agasaryan; Elyse Black; Magdalena Brzezinska; Albert Brzezinski; Carmen Camilleri; Habiba Chouchen; Fabien Didier; Eugenia Duque; Patricia Emilien; Charlene Gibb; Chunning Guo; Judith Gutlerner; Rob Howard; Yulia Ivanova; Agnieszka Jankiewicz; Anthony Kolasny; Lidia Lemke; Agneta M Lindh; Gudny Sigridur Olafsdottir; Ola Porebska; Evgeniy Romanenko; Sonia Roychowdhury; Maria Laura Scasso; Maria Schejbal; Arevhat Simonyants; Malgorzata Starzynska; Zita Toth; Maria Tounta; Erato Tsouvala; Samar Tulba; Natasha Vanderlinden; Cynthia Willett; Melody Xuan Zhang 
 No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher. ©

Cover Art and Illustrations (unless otherwise specified): Magdalena Brzezinska

Poznan, Poland

23. 11. 2017


Here we are for the fourth time, with yet another special volume of amazing art and literature, whose title is a quote from Emily Dickinson’s Secrets. This time the participants of an international collaborative project wanted to tell stories that have so far been undisclosed. They agree with Maya Angelou in that there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. The participants from all the inhabited continents and walks of life went out of their comfort zone one more time, and now they want to share with you their stories revealed as drawings, collages, paintings, photographs, poetry and prose. Once again, they are proving that art has no limits, and under the ancient skies there is space for us all, regardless of our race, religion, or nationality.

Magdalena Brzezinska

Bloom Where You Are Planted It may take years to collect the clues, assemble the pieces, identify the symbols, discover their meaning, and what is truly precious in the stories we tell. With the cycles of the seasons and the gathering of family and friends, our stories are told from varying perspectives. Facts get verified, we learn new information and try to make sense of it all. At one Thanksgiving meal, my father reminisced about an early childhood memory. "In the spring, I recalled a serene feeling and quietly sitting on a white glider rocker next to my father. With a gentle breeze, there was an aroma of roses. My father always enjoyed gardening and nurtured a rose bush that grew along a trellis which canopied the glider rocked. It may be one of my earliest memories." My mother continued, "Do you recall during our first year of marriage, when we moved into our home? My sister had a party and a very young child mentioned a house for sale on the same street. We visited it after the party and not too long afterward moved from our apartment to our first and only home. I had taken a clipping from that rose bush you mentioned and one from a rose bush from my parents’ home. Both rose bushes have blossomed in front of our home for many years." It was through that conversation, that I appreciated how many of my memories had been scented with the aroma of those most fragrant roses. In early childhood, there were many adventures with neighborhood friends. As I had grown, the porch was a place to quietly read, watch sunsets, and enjoy the day’s events with family and friends. There were days when a neighborhood cat would jump onto my lap as I read and peacefully fall asleep. Over fifty years have passed, my parents still reside in their home. Both rose bushes, firmly planted with deep roots, blossom each spring. To most, the flowers in the front of my parents’ home may be overlooked. They are just some decorative collection of plants in the front of a house. But, to those that know their history, they may glean the history of generations of our family. Anthony Kolasny, USA

Photo by Albert Brzezinski, Poland

A window on art How enjoyable was that precious moment when eating with relish the tasty French cheese and traditional French loaf while listening, with the same delight, to the artist’s explanation about how he expressed his feelings in each of his paintings. A young and shy maid she would swallow each of the words the artist would use to depict his paintings. Eager to learn, she would keep in mind each detail which her thought at random would try to do and undo. The different paintings were lined against the wall, ready to be sent for exhibition. Cleaning the window pane was no more a chore: as she would frame the landscape, she would think about each brush stroke fixing that exceptional view. But one day her mind was suddenly diverted by a flutter of music notes invading the entire place, filling the house with the sounds of instruments. The air was swarmed by a flock of fluid, athletic movements of notes from the concert master violin, which tiptoed smoothly, creeped, fluttered, argued and finally imposed itself. She was lost, she was impressed, her whole body tried to resist, then absorbed each note, her hands continued to move as she was doing her work, but her mind was permeated by music, and she followed each movement. Everything turned up to be as light as feathers. Was she mad? Was she fluttering also? She couldn’t figure the difference, she felt so light, following the archet titillating the violin cords, then caressing them with the softness of a lover and finally inviting the entire orchestra to explode like blooming flowers on summer days. They gradually all cooled down, and the violin seemed to breathe again. She couldn’t help absorbing each note, each movement of the concerto, the crescendo sent her into raptures and working became easier, even a pleasure. Time went on too rapidly in that passionate house. She already knew what would be the next day’s conversation, she knew that lunch time would be about that specific music she had in mind. She had never been versed in classical music, but this special concerto for violin and orchestra opened a new repertoire which altered the sad days and lead the way to the classical. Patricia Emilien, New Caledonia

Art by Fabien Didier, France

“THE LIGHT” (My Great Grandma’s Untold story) She was lying on her deathbed Waiting for salvation, What lay beyond Was a mystery. But a hope in her heart still flickered... Will she meet her beloved ? Relive all those beautiful years they shared Was he still there ? Awaiting her arrival. She saw a light Beckoning her in the darkness Pulling her in slowly Sucking up her last few breaths. And then, there he was In all his glory and splendour With his arms wide open. His love enveloped her Like a balm on her weary soul. But her time had not come. He gave her his strength And said to her ‘ In this hour When the world is at war Fighting for power Man against man Brother against brother We need the young And not the old.’ ‘Go back my dear Nurture our kids and family Teach them to love And live in peace.’ ‘Your time will come another day And then we will be one again Forever and ever Lost in infinity.’

Poem and art by Sonia Roychowdhury, India 

I hear her call me In my frozen silent dreams of snow. Her voice comforts Though the words Are in a language I do not know. Birch branches wave In the mercurial moonlight above me. I wander forward Looking back Hoping it would be her I see. Who is she? She is my mother’s great-great-grandmother. She is belonging, Home and family. She is the sound of my no longer being “other.” Her hands hold traditions I long to know and make alive. But they are hidden Masked by change And the selfish ignorance of time. Snow falls and I awake To find I am home with my own family. Perhaps she knew, Perhaps she hoped, That finding my way was always only up to me. I have spent nearly my entire life unmoored; my parents moving every few years and then me continuing the same pattern in adulthood. My extended family is very small and when I was young, my parents stopped speaking to half of them. Many of the things I thought were true about my family as a child have turned out to be false. My father tried to give my sister and I some family traditions to hold onto, but my mother has always believed traditions to be unnecessary sentimental things. This has all led me to feel like an outsider most of the time. I have learned to adapt in different situations with different people and I am perhaps more curious than I would be otherwise, but having no foundation makes me feel as though it’s all built on quicksand most of the time. My poem expresses my longing for a closer family, for attachment, for a permanent home, for traditions. It’s something I’ve never spoken to anyone besides my husband about.

Elyse Black, USA

Yulia Ivanova, Russia

What my husband means to me To me, my husband means a wall. A wall can shelter me from many things – From the wind, the sun, the rain... It can also provide me with privacy – Which I need so that I can be the me who Nobody else is allowed to see. Sometimes, this wall is high – very high... And at times, this wall is only but a fence On which I can lean on, to enjoy life as It passes by. On the wall, there’s a great surface area On which I can hang up those memories which I So treasure and love. Sometimes, the wall seems to be a barrier – It seems to shut me out of somewhere, Where I long to be. But now, with God’s help and patience and perseverance, I have discovered that it contains doors and windows Through which I can enter and look. What a relief! The wall offers me the boundaries which I need To see so that I have a direction in my life, So that I know how far I can go and where it’s safer And best to stay. I’ve learnt that I need this wall to have my family living Securely – as it is a fundamental part that structures A house that houses a family. A wall is made of strong material which can be hard but Yet can provide the right material for a fine piece of art. The wall can be of many colours – but As long as there is sunshine on this wall, Then it won’t be cold and damp and dark but Bright and warm and comfortable to lean against. A wall that is well built will last forever. Carmen Zahra, 24.03.99

A Dream It was another ordinary day. But yet… not so ordinary. I had decided to go to my aunties’ house. My dear aunties! They loved me so much! It had been a long while since I’d visited them. It was the beginning of summer, if I’m not mistaken, because it was quite warm, but not that warm to go to the beach yet. I remember I had my kids with me…perhaps it was a school holiday, or the summer holidays had just started. I don’t know. All I know is that it was as if I was starting to live a ‘normal’ life again. Normal life! Lol! Will it ever be ‘normal’ again? I wondered.

I remember that my parents were at my aunties’ as well. Now it wasn’t usual for my parents to be there together during the day. Because you see, my dad wasn’t fixing any broken item or switch or whatever, as he usually did when he was there during the day.

All I can remember is that everyone was busy doing something or other. Someone was reading the paper (most probably dad), someone was talking (most probably mum with my aunties), somebody was cooking (that would have been Aunty Pina) and someone was going in and out and around the rooms looking busy (that would have been my Uncle Joe). And I….I don’t remember that I was doing something in particular…but I think I was whiling away the time folding clothes that had just been taken down.

And my three kids were playing in the garden. Sometimes their laughter would penetrate my musings and I would smile. This would soon be followed by a shriek some moments later, which would indicate the start of a fight between the two boys. This would make me come back to reality and I would call out something like: “Ok boys don’t fight” or “Dominic!” or “Matthew!” Those were my boys. There wasn’t any need to call out to Diane, my youngest child, since she would be playing quietly with some doll which would be all wrapped up in some old towel which Aunty Pina would have provided.

Then suddenly, the next minute we had had lunch. After which, everyone went back to his ‘job’. Obviously, my children dashed back to the garden, mum was busy talking as usual and I went back to folding the clothes. All of a sudden Uncle Joe came near me and in his usual deep voice, he told me, somewhat accusingly “You’ve become very worldly Carmen!” I looked at him as if I had just woken up from a dream, and tried to register what he’d told me. The expression on my face must have given me away because he told me again with more emphasis: “You’ve become very worldly!” I gazed into his eyes. Surely he was joking? But no…. He was very serious.

I never remember having been scolded by Uncle Joe. Never ever! Mum was the only one who had gotten married and had children. So you can imagine how these three people loved us! So why was he scolding me now? Why? Perhaps my Uncle was right. It had been some time since I’d visited them. Far too long. But I wasn’t to blame. How could I go on with my normal routine when my husband had died the way he did? Just like that. Suddenly. By an accident at work. Was my Uncle unaware then, that I had died inside as well? Didn’t he understand what I’d been through?

But before I could answer him, a pair of small hands started tugging at my skirt. I looked down. It was Matthew. He was telling me something. I squatted down the way I do when my kids talk to me, so that I can look straight into their eyes. And I could see that Matthew’s eyes were brimming with tears. I asked him tenderly what he wanted. And he started tugging at my shirt and told me “Come with us Mum. Come play with us in the garden.”

For a split of a second I felt torn. What would my Uncle think of me if I were to turn and walk off with my son? He’d think it was very rude of me. He’d have more reason to think I’ve become worldly and accuse me even more of abandoning them! But then anyway, what exactly did he mean to say by this “ worldly” thing?

However, I couldn’t resist Matthew’s tearful eyes! My kids had cried enough. As for my Uncle…well…he was old enough now to understand. That was it! I had decided. I hugged Matthew and we started walking, embraced together. Laughing. And feeling silly because Matthew had to walk backward and it felt as if we were drunk. How we laughed.

As soon as we were in the garden Matthew let go of me and went off running happily near his brother Dominic. Dominic was absorbed playing. He was squatting under the pomegranate tree looking at some ants at work in the soil. Diane was on the other side, sitting down, playing with her dolls.

I took a deep breath in. I looked up at the sky. Thank you Lord! Thank you for letting me live again. And I stayed there looking at my kids happily playing in my aunties’ garden. Perhaps my Uncle was right after all. Perhaps it’s true - I had become ‘worldly’. Perhaps it’s true I’ve just returned to the world of the living.

All of a sudden I opened my eyes. I was on the bed. In my flat. I looked at the ceiling. So that must have been a dream. And the children? Where were my children? The boys were all grown up and moved on. Only Diane was still in her bed sleeping. Otherwise, Dominic was at work…Matthew was… well he was gone for good. He and his wife had moved to Australia after getting married. So he had literary flown away. And I had let him go. “Come with us Mum. Come and play with us in the garden”

Carmen Camilleri, Malta

A tale never told Mad, not really Sad, not exactly Lost, maybe Alone, absolutely You, yourself, an island in the crowd You, yourself, an island in your family And yet… Not alone Not lost Not sad Not mad And yet… You, yourself, yearning Wanting Craving for love Craving for a lost childhood Craving for the childhood You never had You yourself, pretending From time immemorial Pretending, before being born You yourself, the untold story.

María Laura Scasso, Argentina September 2017

María Laura Scasso, Argentina

Reflections by a forest pond I have no trepidation, in guarding words unspoken. No hesitation. Protect my secrets defiantly My Un-told stored away silently. Windows to the soul —my eyes— stay shuttered under azure skies. Then drifting off, night overwhelms. My tight-lipped soldier deserts the helm. Forest shadows. bring the night dissolving my resolve to fight. I dream of dogs that lick my head, caress my pillow, warm my bed. A staircase climbed that never ends, jump to the sky, panic on descent.

Muttering to acquaintances who pass through my un-consciousness. I tell my stories non-sensibly, in garbled tones to nobody. The Great Untold now locked away-to be forgotten, break of day.

Poem and photo by Cynthia Willett, USA

Ocean’s Mist

Do you think you can recall a time in your life when the morning sun did not slice like a knife? Why are you looking for those lost demons within? What do you hope to find? Don’t you know you can’t win? Where do you think you’ll be in the dawn’s early light? Can you face the truth ~ ~life is perpetual night. What questions can you ask to accept the answers you get; when will you ever see Your life’s course is set.

Who do you hope to find once the torment is done? Is your will strong enough? Because you’ve not yet begun… To see inside yourself to see your lost soul; to take in breath again to take back what life stole. Who do you dream to be? Do you dare to obtain what may be ahead through this comfortable pain. Why not just close your eyes, drift away to the sea and let the ocean show what the next life may be. Why not just close your eyes To all that you are Just feel the ocean’s mist, Peace cannot be far.

Charlene Gibb, Canada

My mythical life It was snowing on that day,... the day before in the afternoon we had been in the Villa de Guadalupe in Mexico City with the “danzantes”, at that moment I established the connection with the magical with beauty, with life. It was snowing when I was born, the snowflakes, shaken by the wind, screamed their welcoming... the symbolic and the myth are the imprint of my life by virtue of the snow falling from the sky on that 13th day. From there on, I have remembered that I inhabit this land to interpret my own symphony, in order to execute and upgrade my myth, to enjoy the deepest pain and cry out of the greatest joy and share all of this in a range of assembled workshops under the auspicious topic of creativity. Working with legends and fairytales, reading between the lines, searching for symbols, expressing through all possible arts, healing through sounds, silence and in the tranquility of mindfulness is a vocation. I love fairies, dragons, pegasi and unicorns, the spaces of mind inhabited by magic beings, human mystery, spirituality and the mythic experience, the personal stories that are yet to be written, the social narrative which shall soon be sung. Life with no magic, rituals, dances or songs seems incomplete; creativity is like a thousand and one-dimensional doors, just like dreams; the vocation of life is to find color accompanied by music, writing and creating activity. In my concern, kaleidoscopes would be mandatory... learning to see the events, phenomena, people, political and social development, emotional problems and a truly unending list from diverse angles and alternatives should be mandated. There is only one first impression, but a small motion makes the same pieces (of a kaleidoscope) move and turn into new shapes, new paradigms, in alternative comprehension, in an unimagined beauty.... Mexico, the “land of volcanoes”, now days destroyed by several earthquakes still is a poem which writes itself, the will of many that join each other with the conducting thread of music, writing, artistic expression in a magical night which helps us live one more day...

Eugenia Duque, Mexico

She is lost, Divided between two worlds. Full of love, Hidden deep down No one can hurt it anymore. “Angry and bitter” they say How dare she say things as they are, Does she want to be a part of “us”? Pretend, pretend and be all fake smiles. Mind and heart don’t seem to agree But what do they know about life? The constant battle, on and on, Is there a way to do it right? In the end it all comes to one thing. Stay true, give it all, be kind. There are still many lessons to learn There are still many ways to try. She is no longer lost.

Lidia Lemke, Mexico/Germany

Subterranean Pathways, acrylic on hardboard Maria Tounta, Greece

Eastern Exit Uneasily looked around. The night still young I wonder why the grey lilies cracked like dug streams in the orbit of infinity and worshipped the star’s fate in souls dust... Have you heard? The timbre of bell sadly poised on the edge of Red wheel quaint silence! I forgot how I dived in the ways of chaos Bathed in costume of time, Looked out the remembrances. Thousand of years passed and, if I wanted to tear in the shade of my breath, I would open street in galleries between idols of doubtful writing to find you Jailed recollection of endless feast. I was lost in duration Walked through the fog of precipice, Ached in the carmine harvest of future sleep, around visions of small lost suns. But I do not make curtsy I will not be thirsty in the source. And no! I will not leave from the intermediary Eastern exit! There is another gate.

Poem and art by Erato Tsouvala, Greece/Germany

Eurydice Closing my eyes I imagined you Lost in sleeps of fluvial sadness. Alone and pale‌ the moon is lost Up upon a map of faint hope. Tonight a mortal trap is hanging In colors of the sea tangible wind the shade.... Like a conflict idea of quiver from shells and complaint Stone oblivion and the silence footholds On gardens of weed steps. Unnatural turn, gnarled wall. Which fear changed your way? Green nets overtook you Take me from here, turn away the snake, My fate is given in your breath The forgetfulness, The silence. Tied up in the mast I was As long as time kept the travel Lost Atlantis in your eyes Which death? Which shadow? Which homeland? Maybe it was out of line the conscience that envied my fate. The sleep The death And the sound of silence. Then you came.

Poem and art by Erato Tsouvala, Greece/Germany

Yulia Ivanova, Russia

Yulia Ivanova, Russia

- The East Tower by Agneta M Lindh

I hide them under the loose board in the left corner in the top room in the east castle tower. Nobody ever goes there. There are thirty-two of them wrapped in the crimson silken handkerchief you bestowed upon me. One is missing. The breakfast tray is on my bed. I don’t see the sweet bread, or the almonds, apricots or peaches in the crystal bowl with my name engraved under the crest “Chacun son devoir”. - Peaches… I enfold the serviette and inside the linen candle… yes. My heart flutters as I touch the parchment and break the seal. “Leonora Beatrice!” Both names. “Leonora Beatrice! Are you yet astir?” I hear the handle turning. Not even a knock on the door. “Daughter?” I sit up straight and slide the treasure down the neck of my night gown. You are safe. I hope. “Why are you lingering? On your feet, now! Where is that chamber maid? Always missing or late or just not, here. Mon Dieu, see the sun outside, it’s blazing hot already. Well, as the sun never sets in the summer… and the winters, pitch black and ice cold. I will never get used to living in this country, Gud förlåte mig, but with your good fortune, on this day, you will not need to endure, as I have to, and…” My eyes look at her but her voice is a mere hum. - You slip, tickle my stomach. You are pressed to my skin. Imprinted on me. “…I’m not lingering. I’m having breakfast.” I reach for a peach and take a bite. “Use your fruit knife!” Mother tears it from the tray and the glass with watered claret spills onto my white bed linen. “Where is that stupid girl? Oh well, she will not be needed any more now.” Mother pulls the tray off the bed and as she looks down suddenly becomes very still. She speaks without looking at me:

“Remember, Leonora, no more powder than necessary, you must look your youth today. No rouge. Pinch your cheeks.” She turns to the side board to put the tray down: “Be prompt now. Are you afoot?” I put my feet on the floor. In three steps I’m behind my folding screen, catching you as you float towards the floor. I put my velvet robe on and poke my head out. The room is empty. A voice trickles through the wall: “Remember, cheeks and bust. And eyes. The bottle of belladonna, but just a drop, or two… yes, two. Chacun son devoir! Everyone his duty!” My eyes already big and dark and too, too deep with you so close: “Duty be damned. Duty be damned!”


I look at the mare’s nest of miniature portraits on the table before me. Faces painted in the latest fashion stare at me. The same powdered wigs, the same bulging eyes and the same pasty skin. The parchment crackles under the corset as I touch my waist. - Give me a sunkissed face, black hair and eyes as God intended them! My heart flutters. - His are hazel. My hands arranges the portraits in a row, I move Mother’s choice to the very end. Father’s choice I have actually met before, at the latest of the many balls given in my honour. He is tall, I am not. He prefers horses to women. I prefer to be preferred. He didn’t speak a single word to me. Just looked at me as if inspecting a commodity. - I am not a trofé. A name. A bloodline. Not an article of exchange in a peace treaty or an economical merger. A bribe! - Duty be damned… Suddenly the door flings open and the chamber maid Linnea speaks before the curtsey is fully finished: “Did Your Highness get both?”

“There were two?” The chamber maid nods: “There were two today. Did not Your Highness see there were two? Under the bowl of fruit? The second was under the bowl of fruit, 
 on the tray…!” There is a commotion in the hallway and giant steps approaches. I push Linnea out of the side door and turn to face Mother as I put my hand on my waist. Your touch, my strength. But the only thing I can think of is the thirty-third. The room is both hot and cold, cold and hot. The Queen marches to the table, swoops the suitors to the floor: “There will be no choosing.” She puts a new miniature portrait down before me, “This is your consort.”


I look out over the Bavarian Alps, the woods, the river below. The sunrays tickle my left hand resting on the still night chilled castle stone. “Guten Morgen, Kaiserin Leonora Beatrice.” I move my hand, circle it towards my bedchamber and behind me the dress of the day is already being laid out. Being laid out in the top room in the east tower. Here there is no loose board in the floor, but still, you are here. I hear you. I feel you. I answer. Forever I answer. One day someone will find you. Someone will tell the story and nothing will be missing. Someone will feel your words.


Photo by Agneta M Lindh

Her Untold Story

She was a girl, a little one, Who thought the world is made the same for everyone. Thus, she grew up, became so delicate and tender, Good-looking lady with a gentle temper. This was so clear, even vivid, That even neighbours liked her house and said that angel lives in it. Their doors were open for all guests: They all could come and have a rest. One day her uncle came a little drunk, And misbehaved, then used her as some mud. How could he dare?! The girl was innocent and fair! He broke her dreams, her wishes and her life, She thought, she couldn't be a normal woman and a wife. But love is miracle It heals the wounds and pain. She felt so lyrical, When fell in love again! This little girl became a lady, She didn't feel uncertain or unsteady. Her man, her love, her hope became so real, That everybody thought she'd had a life that was ideal!


Poem and photo by Arevhat Simonyants, Uzbekistan


Hi, there! I would like to … Yes. Can you hear me? Sure, it`s your turn now. Your case is really urgent? I see. What? Aha! You simply like to talk. Everybody likes to talk. But nobody wants to listen. Always the same… But of course it is understandable. I can wait. I am a story. An untold one. Lost in the ocean of words spoken by others. Like a little, little tiny boat. Almost invisible. Almost non-existing. The words around me are like big waves. Sea foam shines on the sun. And sometimes it covers me entirely. But then it simply vanishes. And again I try to push myself forward. There are far too many stories in the world! There is no room for all of us in this crowded space. Some stories are so good in holding attention! You don`t even say your name. And another story has been already told. Like this one. Look! Handsome, hunky, shapely. Maybe a little bit too lengthy? Lasting for one hour… Wow! So impressive! No? You think it is much ado about nothing? Your story is more important? Oh, absolutely. Two hours and a half? Really? That`s indeed something! Am I still a story? I feel that my beginning is not the same as it used to be. Kind of strange. I am also afraid that the main idea, my gingerbread heart, has snapped right in two. But this is actually good. Makes me more dramatic! More attractive? I worry about my end the most … It seemed to be so strong, and sure of itself, clear and convincing. With this beautiful exclamation carefully designed, flashing, intriguing, tempting, sexy! Boy, oh boy! There is not much left now. It`s all my fault, after all. That I am not born yet. Anyway, autumn is just around the corner. Perhaps, when spring comes…

Story and art by Maria Schejbal, Poland

Untold stories are retold again and again somewhere inside humans. A small "what if" knocks at the door of consciousness. Sometimes it scratches. No matter how you keep ignoring it, it keeps propagating alternative scenarios. Hybrid destines. Experimentation with hopes and fears, and aspiration. Untold stories are a life unlived, or a secret life.

Samar Tulba, Egypt

Agnieszka Jankiewicz, Poland

Untold stories are most of the time the saddest... I once had a childhood friend, we were sharing every single little thing. As a teenager I was that shy little girl, I secretly loved someone but I would rather die than to confess this to him... But of course I couldn't hide that from my friend. One day, my classmate came to ask me "are you really in love with that boy??"... blood came to my head as an eruption of a volcano, I was so shocked that I lost my voice‌ I denied what she said and she told me that my childhood friend made fun of me, telling everyone about my secret... That was the first punch from someone whom I trusted... I remember that I spent two weeks crying and feeling so hurt, not because my secret was known, but because I lost a friend forever... I couldn't blame her or ask her why she did that because no words could heal my broken heart.

Habiba Chouchen, Tunisia

I Wish I Could Sail Away I wish I could sail away. Most of my life, I have lived on the water. Looking outwards. Dreaming outwards. Sailing homeward. But unfortunately, I am land-bound. I wish I could sail away from war. We study history and see how humans have been killing humans for centuries, for God, for country, for power, for greed. They say that you must study history so you won’t repeat it but boy, we haven’t learnt a thing. We continue to fight, to kill, to seek what others have and what we want for ourselves. I wish I could sail away from pain. We can come up with so much in technology these days but we still can’t figure out a way to get rid of the physical pain that many feel every hour and minute of the day. Is it because we can’t or its not profitable to develop medicines to let us live the life we deserve? I wish I could sail away from greed. I see so many instances of greed in the world and I can’t understand why people don’t live to live. Why do we work so hard to achieve bank accounts balances that exceed what we could spend in our lifetime? I wish I could sail away from struggle. People used to help each other to succeed in life. Now, it seems the majority turn a blind eye to others’ struggles and, worse yet, try to make people struggle more. What ever happened to a sense of belonging, community and fellowship? I wish I could sail away from noise. Whatever happened to stopping and listening to nature? Why do we have to make so much noise everywhere? We can’t hear the wind, the rain, the birds. We can’t hear silence anymore. It is one of the most delightful sounds to partake in. Silence. I wish I could sail away from hatred. I see religious zealots fighting others. Is this what God (whatever God that you believe in) had in mind? We are supposed to love life, peace and each other yet we seem to go out of our way to make others suffer. This is not what any of the teachings of any religion meant. I wish I could sail away from people. The longer I live the more I see how mean people can be, how selfish they are, how disconnected they are. We have become so egocentric that we don’t even look at others on the street let alone say “Good morning” or “Hello”.

I wish I could sail away from words. Humanity, Society, Social Media, Tolerance, Understanding and Equality. The meanings have changed. I guess I missed the memo. These words are mere utterances of a life that should have been, could have been, but we’ve ruined them as we’ve ruined the world. I wish I could sail away. Rob Howard, USA

Magdalena Brzezinska, Poland

Silent Within my soul are many things ‘bout which I would like to tell The boring stuff, the silly stuff told to one who listens well. I yearn for when the day’s events And unexpressed emotion Are brought out in a sharing time Of friendly conversation. When each one’s experiences Or private contemplations Are brought to light as little gems, handled with admiration. Alas! The television’s on Loudly it chatters away. For commercial it is muted So I ask, “how was your day?” A torrent long of words spill forth About this and that and this The errands run, the items bought Who said what and friends we miss. It is all interesting, yet Why isn’t there room for me? No words edgewise or otherwise. It is silent I must be.

Natasha Vanderlinden, September 23, 2017

Poem and photo by Natasha Vanderlinden, USA

Wrinkled eyelids covered the pensive eyes, Heart started beating faster, Thoughts flew away to the past. He was standing in front of the painting, One of those, which he created and loved. He closed his eyes tighter and saw it again That scene from his life, Its beauty, he felt that moment’s strain. She was leaving him to never meet And never before he loved her as much. No pretensions, no complaints, no words. Just a sad beautiful smile On the face that got so cold. He created a lot of her portraits, But her face became unknown to him. She was gorgeous, that’s all he could know. Her back was slender and straight, Her legs were long and slow. She wasn’t in a hurry to go away, She knew she was leaving forever. And he was contemplating the moment As an enchanted beholder, Though upset, defeated and lonely. A yellow leaf fell at his feet, as if her farewell, As if her last dream fallen off her bare soul. And he wanted to express that moment’s feelings But he clearly knew To tell them in words would be silly, And he knew the only way to tell his stories: Night, silence, brush, canvas, oil. ….. He opened his eyes and looked at the canvas. He saw the trunk of the tree, Cold and nude, no warmth, no leaves.

Graceful as a silhouette of a woman, That woman, whom he lost, whom he loved. Lonely yellow leaf still was on the pavement, Lonely and yellow In the foreground of the painting. The faded witness of his bright story That he didn’t tell even to the canvas. Knara Agasaryan, Uzbekistan

Evgeniy Romanenko, Uzbekistan 

Shammy stiletto's hiss R: You've never told me your story. L: Have I got any story of my own? You've never asked me, anyway. R: Why should I interrogate you? I await anything on your own accord. L: Why should you be interested? Am I not to emulate you only? R: That's what annoys me so much about you. You might have been mocking me all the time as well. Can't you see? L: You know I can't. And it's me who hardly copes. You are always ahead and so absolutely right. It's not easy to keep up with you. I feel hopelessly left behind. R: You catch up well enough. It's actually you who tops every second step. You don't blame me for being right, do you? L: How do I dare? R: It's not about daring at all. It's inevitable I am right, from the beginning to the very end. Someone has to be, anyway. L: But why you? R: It just happened it’s me. Who cares? L: ..................... R: Sulking? L: I can't articulate myself in words, you know. I tried to tapdance you once. R: Did you really? L: You didn't listen to me. R: I always listen to you. But I've never heard anything unusual. L: 'Coz you are focused on silence. It means your turn to tap. R: If it's about your feelings why don't you take the lead? You are on the left, exactly as the heart is. L: But prevailing right-footedness expects you to rule. R: Why are you to care for external expectations? But you might be right about expressing gut feelings. The gut is what we will always have in common. L: You mean equally pink? So how are we so set by the ears? Not having any, by the way?

R: We can't help taking opposite sides. We are made so. L: For neverending dispute? R: Don't you prefer a glitter in a twirl as our share? L: I do. R: So do I. L: We have just remarried for good, haven't we? R: Even for the better... Let's go to dance.

Dialog and photo by Malgorzata Starzynska, Poland 

Troubles of the Heart I can’t even recall When it started. They just come. And splash… It all Happens In split seconds. Splash… and before I would even… Splash… Hmm… Splash… But, my dear, I don’t really… Splash… Hmm… Honestly, what would you say? If I treated you this way? Please, an umbrella as well… But, oh, well… never mind… This anger is not the kind That lasts. For in spite of it all, I am one big heart. Literally. And I love. Wholeheartedly. And I hope. Unendlessly, That the luck you Wish for Will follow. And for rain Tomorrow… For I need a shower… Splash…

Poem and art by Zita Toth, Hungary

Washing Machine‘s Backyard

Washing machine wanders in the garden, He tasted the regret of missing last Sunday Church, While he is also happy for his fast speed in thinking. Continuous raining is not good news for him, But he also learns to get accustomed to everywhere, At least he has a backyard to count his steps.

Chunning Guo, China 

Chunning Guo, China

Untold Story The story is untold until it’s told. When I look back on what I knew about my new home before I came here I realise that no amount of reading could have prepared me for what it is really like in Australia. We heard that people dress really casually. My dad thought it was quite fortunate for me, which coming from him was a strong statement, him being famous for his tie-and-tracksuit combination. The truth? It far exceeded our expectations. Just venture out to the shops after dark. In one outing I saw a guy only wearing a towel around his hips. Car keys in one hand, wallet in the other. I suppose the groceries would be put in a plastic bag for him, so no problem there. Another lady shopping for tuna in her PJs bottoms and slippers. Until that point I thought that children in PJs and barefoot was fair enough, caring parents not wanting to leave them home alone, that made some sense. Also running out of clean clothes and having babies in just a diaper, plausible explanation too. But how do you, as an adult decide that it is fine to go shopping dressed this way, that can only be explained by a different mentality. Some heightened state of … not giving a fig? Maybe. Further confusion ensued when it was our turn at the checkout. The question took us by surprise: “How are you?” … Bewildered we looked at each other unsure how to react. Do we tell her the truth, that we feel quite lost and amazed by the oddity of other fellow shoppers’ dress code? Does she really want to know, or is it a greeting? Should we ask her how she is as well? We smiled tentatively and paid. I rang my trusted Australian friend to get some answers. It turns out you are expected to respond with something at least semi-positive and engage in small talk if you wish. Smile all the way. They may tell you they are going to party after work and are counting down the minutes. This seems bizarre at first to have these chit-chats with strangers, but you get used to it.

It’s fun to throw a curve-ball into those interactions, say something unusual and discover that some don’t listen to your response. Real life example: “I have a flu and feel like dying”, they say “Oh that’s good, me too.” If you go for a walk in the suburbs you may find yourself greeted and interviewed by locals. They will cheerfully say “Good Morning” and will want to know everything, but the most burning question is always: “How do you like Australia?” Hint: whatever your thoughts, DO NOT mention politics, DO NOT display ignorance of sports. FOOTBALL is not what you think. Safe topics are: RAIN or lack thereof.

Story and photo by Ola Porebska, Poland/Australia

To be seized If you have a time spell, will you turn back the clock or forward? ‘Neither of them’ Past, such a pure innocent child. You could laugh loudly to be happy; you could cry bitterly to be sad. ‘oh, stop being nostalgic’ Future, full of brightness and dimness, like a heart stealer. You couldn’t help to fall into the mirage; you couldn’t wait a minute to plunge into the wonderland. ‘oh, awake from that daydream’ Wipe up your tear; And drive away your fear Love is a curer, time is a solver. Seize the present as present.

Poem and photo by Xuan Zhang, China

The Little Girl Who Lives Across the Ocean There is a little girl who lives across the ocean. I call her my granddaughter and hope to meet her one day. Till then, this is an incomplete story. I first saw her on my computer in a Coursera (educational site) Hangout, sitting on her mother’s lap. She spoke only Polish, which I don’t speak, so I couldn’t talk to her directly. But her face lit up with such warmth and friendliness. She had a smile that projected all the way through the computer and into my heart. I felt immediately drawn to her. After the Hangout, she proudly held up a drawing she had sketched. It was of me! She had sat patiently for an hour, not understanding anything since it was all in English, but observing and drawing. In the weeks that followed, she sent me many videos of herself. She learned how to say my name in English and to sing English songs for me. She also played many beautiful tunes on the keyboard, pennywhistle and xylophone, which she sent to me as well. Her mother translated e-mails so we were able to communicate and I could learn all about the things she enjoyed such as halvah ice cream and unicorns. She always chose just the right little icon pictures at the end of the letter such as puppies, ice-cream cones and hearts. When two of her front teeth fell out, she sent me a video singing, “All I Want for Christmas is My 2 Front Teeth”. And when four of her front teeth fell out she sent me a video of herself singing.” All I Want for Autumn is My Four Front Teeth”. She looked so cute and so happy. I couldn’t help but feel so happy too. We grew closer and closer. One day her mother asked me if I would adopt her as my granddaughter. I felt so honored and proud to. With tears in my eyes, I lovingly accepted. She now calls me “Granny Judy”. It’s really possible to love someone you have never met in person, especially if it is a little girl who lives across the ocean in Poznan Poland.

I just received a picture she drew of us being together. How I wish it were a photograph. For now, the story remains untold, unfinished, until one day, we can meet in person.


Judy Ana Gutlerner, USA

Two Sociable Loners Second year at the Uni You Overworked Disappointed Remote Hiding away in a lobby corner He Accepting Sympathetic Buoyant His smile shoots you from behind a purple rose Winter vacation in the mountains You Forsaken Lacking Sore Huddled on a bunk bed late at night He The Entertainer The Wizard of Sound The Hypnotiser Embracing his guitar in the crowd Last year at the Uni You Crawling back home Doomed by what was meant to be Aware of the disaster He Upright Spreading canvas Ready To glide away and devour his oyster

Twenty years later You Overworked Disappointed Remote Cooking dinner for your family of five He Accepting Sympathetic Twice divorced His count of Facebook friends: 2,500+

Poem and art by Magdalena Brzezinska, Poland

This booklet has been printed, once again, by the Printing House of the Vocational Rehabilitation Facility of the Bielsko Artistic Association Grodzki Theater ul. Stefanii Sempolowskiej 13, 43-300 Bielsko-Biala, Poland 

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