Maximilian Speicher

Maximilian Speicher ( is a computer scientist by training, works as a designer, and writes and makes art in his spare time. He has published a book on human-centered design and his essays about design have appeared in various renowned journals and magazines. He currently writes mostly sitting on his balcony in Barcelona, watching his lemon tree grow. Among the poets he finds most inspiring are Louise Glück, T. S. Eliot, Tomas Tranströmer, Derek Walcott, and Odysseas Elytis.

On Freedom

I met you for lunch
Because you had a new job
And they say you have to stay in touch with old friends
You had one hour
And you talked an awful lot about freedom
The freedom to buy the stocks you want
The freedom to choose the school your daughter has to go to
The freedom to spend your PTO where you want
The freedom to buy the car you want
At the table next to us, someone scolded a kid not to do this and that
I noticed your new suit
(“Because I do big business now”)
And that you shaved your beard
(“Better for my career prospects, my boss says”)
After lunch, we walked to your used Ferrari
For which you took out a loan
(“My new job’s gonna pay for that”)
Past a pigeon searching for seeds on a lawn
(“Good thing we’re not pigeons, eh?”)
And I let you get in line on the highway
Towards the glistening spider web
Where they don’t eat the flies that stumble into it
But make them count grains of sand

We’re free only once in life
And then we are born

Four Stars

Sometimes, when I’m visiting my parents,
out of nowhere, I realize that the brick wall in their living room,
at some point, must’ve seen my grandpa
and that their parquet floor must’ve even touched him.

How come some rocks and wood
were granted what I never had the chance to do?


And when I walk through the streets of that village,
the village where I grew up,
a village built of broken cameras
that can only record but not play back,
I know that both my grandpas
walked the very same streets—
anthracite rolls of photographic film
that have been exposed for far too long.


I return home
and look at the brick wall
and the parquet floor,
but they’re silent, as always
and I don’t know why I even expect them to talk.
I sit down on the balcony, next to my dad
and in the village sky above,
there are exactly four stars,
not one more, not one less.


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