(Or: In lieu of a biographical statement, the author invites the dear reader into his turtle shell.)
At the foot of ul. Retoryka, a stone’s throw from the Wisła riverbank (assuming, perhaps, Brobdingnagian strength on the part of the stone thrower), No. — crumbles with grace. A veritable quarry of a building, built more than a century ago, No. — defies any attempt at shorthand, mental blueprinting.
I know there is a front door, and a vestibular tunnel leading to a courtyard, and a honeycomb of mailboxes. I know there are multiple staircases and extensions and Nesbitian passages. Or rather, I sense these architectural horizons dimly; every so often a previously-overlooked door—hinged to shadow itself—swings open, revealing yet another uncharted wing. The building’s footprint doubles as, astonished, I become a castle-dweller.
No. — is cavernous indeed, and yet I take up almost no space inside of it. I occupy a cubbyhole studio tucked beneath the attic. This thimble-sized workroom is my Dziupla. Dziupla means tree hollow in Polish, and so the Dziupla up under the roof of No. — is my arboreal cocoon and creative roost.
Dziupla is where I write and where I read (out loud, and to the shambling ghouls up in the attic). Dziupla is where, over time, I revised Cedar Toothpick’s diorama poems, and where I’ve begun puzzling together a work-in-progress called Almanac. It is also—perhaps even more significantly—where I pace, nap, dither, dawdle and daydream with vigor.
(Keyhole photographs by Katarzyna Wieczorek.)
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