Five Poems

by Marina Blitshteyn

Influential Ghosts

dear mothers, dear daughters, dear pen-pals, fellow students, former employees, professors, educators in general, dear somebody else’s headache, dear mistake or accident, dear wistful woman, why so sad, dear solitude, dearly departed, why your hand, dear empathy, dear nuanced understanding, dear plight of the advanced professional, dear single looking for a partner, dear partner, dearest, I’m just so bored, Rachel I confess I have no inner resources other resources include: my family a woman’s body an art v. love complex particular sound


I live alone with my husband where we have several cats and pieces of furniture I live alone with my cats where we cuddle or I live alone with my roommates I have been working on my daylight hours for 26 years now and hope to collect them in a chapbook-length manuscript soon My husband is a composite of ideas I've been thinking about since high school a sort of roman-a-clef—For my research I have been reading feminist autobiographies such as Madame Bovary, The Second Sex, and The Golden Notebook, which is more a story of myself than my husband could be With this fellowship I will continue my work on personal habits and further my studies in the field of literary abstraction— I am grateful for the imaginative capacity I have been afforded thus far, and am eager to join my colleagues in the advancement of women in letters and the arts to date

I miss intimacy —It’s hard to see yourself sometimes… —What do you mean? —Like having that view of yourself from the outside. —Is that really seeing yourself? —No maybe not, but it’s the way you’re seen in the world. —I have this theory about artists: they can’t get too self-reflexive or they get stuck. —Paralysis of the will, I call it. Depression. —Yeah maybe, or like a crippling anxiety. —What’s even the difference? —The desire to communicate. —Is that depression? —No, that’s the desire to communicate with yourself.


whatever selfhood acts here let it swim unselfishly so all the earthly borders of the self not compromise the heart there—so the fault of other selves don’t drown or otherwise consume the self-same worries of the mind— so that the self is kind enough to other selves in other bodies— so that their personhoods are treasured like the self—and all its complicated overwrought endeavors —so that the self is joyful with the rest like touching the stove not realizing that it’s hot like a train rammed into my gut and I watched it happen like a slow drown, a loud incision a precise disaster with its own dark mind like an aware ecology takes pleasure in my ends like it takes my surface first and then an organ on the inside like it takes its toll and takes it with a taste for taking and a flair for operating the device a talent for the fake nice face aiming at me twice and then once-over—like the whole affair is in alarm, the city rings its bells and tells you there’s a toll here and a state so full of vibrant colors it can bury you— Needs paper towel red onions milk juice bread dressing

sketch 4

beautiful day, I’m in you restless like a man in me arrested by the beauty of it all that light and not a body big enough to wrest it from me

Marina Blitshteyn

marina blitshteyn is the author of russian for lovers (argos books, 2011). she curates the la perruque performance series in brooklyn, ny and serves as a contributing editor for apogee journal. her work has appeared or is forthcoming in handsome, 1913, no dear magazine, n/a, and elsewhere. she works as an adjunct instructor of literature and composition.