None of this is Appetizing – Niina Pollari

In the poems contained in Niina Pollari’s Fabulous Essential, the real and everyday takes on a fantastical and sometimes almost eldritch tone. In “None of this is Appetizing,” the image painted is one of a wide world full of people but nonetheless also one of quiet, stifling loneliness. There’s a longing for communication and connection (Who isn’t seeking a beating? / A well-timed secret? A discount on pharmaceuticals / from a stranger with a weird name?) but it’s one-sideded, impersonal, distant or all of those.

[…] The dead
letter box is filled with cards that say
Staggering vista, wish you were nearer
in oblique forgotten scripts.

(And even nearer rather than here creates an extra sense of distance.) Even in the city, people stay indoors, apart, shrinking from bad weather and each other. All the mail I get these days is catalogs and bills and business, and email is only a little better. I see plenty of people, and sometimes even then I can feel a little set adrift. I used to be able to make more time for friends, when I was younger, but I’m not sure I appreciated that until now. I’ve seen a handful of people my age talk about how hard it feels to meet people as an adult and really make a connection.

It’d be easy to say that we have more methods of communication than ever and less talking, but I wasn’t good at this either when I was younger and communication wasn’t oversaturated—you know all those friends you make at summer camp and then never write to or see again? When the fact that you tried somehow makes it feel lonelier.

(None of this is Appetizing appears in Fabulous Essential from Birds of Lace.)