Estpoetry — Mart-Matteus Kampus

These poems were written in and around the small hamlet of Virtsu, Estonia and inspired by the interviews with its inhabitants. This is a place where nobody comes to. A place that is bleeding people and dying the slow death of every village in every corner of the earth.

A place that is nothing special. A place in limbo. A place that used to be.



Your people 

are holding their empty bellies in pain 

putting up preserves fermenting

beer in iron anchors 

faces like mirrored electricity roaming

all tribal and exotic over 


white dots explode in the night

Russian soldiers are drilling holes into

boulders young and beautiful

filling them with gunpowder

making way for a seaplane harbor

you didn’t even know that islands could bleed

that the receding mist

going into the shoreline

holds this


The Bar

The townsmen are watching

the eagle circling her birthday 


swooping at the jackal lying dead

in the roots of a juniper

here everyone pretends

that remembrance is survival

they never learn new melodies instead

shelve the old carefully between the gaps

of their teeth and every single time they speak

you catch glimpses of fish factories

heavy dew resting on nets

wind hauling you through the smoky dark

Pests Rein offers his opinion

and pushes a thin glass over the counter

Alien species the rest of the drunks agree

and fifteen bleak smiles shine like lighthouses


when the jackal has moldered

rust runs red along thin lips

as they restock the roots of the juniper

and sing the eagle to sleep 

ghosts of once powerful machines

reset the sky for tomorrows rehearsal


The Dismantled Railroad on The Old Bridge

Old photographs show my father 

among wasps and snakes

smiling like lovers gently

against the rocks reading the pages of waves

his age is stuck like a knife in the back

and the bridge behind him


hung as a line five hundred meters over water

the fish calmly under

taking their own kind of journey

when the dark trains stop singing

old men drag their bodies out of the sea

trace the line against moonlight

and start licking the shine off



She’s washing his black socks

holding them over the water peeling

herself open like ash of paper falling

adrift again and again until-



The bride chased bees with an empty jar

at dawn the wet eyelids spilled out

and the boy stared at stars all through the night

they cut each other’s hair after and held hands

drew circles into the dust on the floorboards

grew old in dark songs

they live in a dream now

and drink cool water together at dusk

Mart-Matteus Kampus is an Estonian-born writer previously published in the Aberystwyth University MA Anthology, NoiseMedium magazine and Estonian literary magazines. More recently Mart collaborated with Alina Senchenko for a show that opened in the Open Space gallery in Vancouver, Canada and wrote for the NO99 Theater play ‘The Red Balloon.’