One of the most enriching, forward-thinking, fastest-growing online creative communities flourishing right now is the Poetry community, especially in those scenes that center on marginalized voices — Women, POC, Neurodivergent, and LGBTQ. Poetry Spotlight is a feature aiming to showcase the work of some of the most talented creators we’ve discovered making waves on the Internet literary circles, inside or outside the mainstream. This installment is dedicated to the work of Polina Riabova.
Polina is a Brooklyn-based poet, writer and performance artist originally from Kupavna, Moskovskaya Oblast, Russia. She curates The Blue Rose series and is Editor-In-Chief of PLASTER COCKTAIL zine. Her micro-chapbook Manilla Kisses is now out through Ghost City Press.
Used to see silhouettes of your face
I’d stand stock still & let my eyes follow
The random chance passerby
On a busy or a quiet street
Everyone said, “You’re obsessed.”
I thought, “Duh!“
Had been the whole point
When I finally caught up –
“This is too normal.”
“He’s just like everyone else, and this
Is just like all those other things too.”
The black hole to the galaxy
The butterfly to nectar
Those silhouettes receding
further out of sight.
Everyone looks at me
like a disease now, like they have
Of course you
can never be sure
Is this real? Or am I
The yarn unspools and in its wake
that constant state of
for fear you’d jump.
Manilla Kisses (Excerpt)
In the middle of summer I lost several friends
and would come into work shell-shocked
or would come into work frenzied
or would come into work thinking we needed to break up
My boss’s wife would say,
“How are you doing Polina?”
and squeeze my arm and look at me
with passing sympathy and I never knew
how she found the energy to care
or to pretend she did
which are sometimes
one and the same.
[“UNTITLED” was first published in Ghost City Review, January 2016; “Ledge” first appeared in the soft-launch issue of PLASTER COCKTAIL; Polina’s micro-chapbook Manilla Kisses is out now on Ghost City Press]