Spotlight: Irene Riz
It's a great day to feature the work of someone I find highly talented. Today, on the Jimmy Broccoli page and website, it is my pleasure to share with you the poetry of Irene Riz.
Honestly, I'm not sure if Irene is capable of writing anything that isn't outstanding verse. She is a master of imagery and her style of writing makes it easy for the reader to slip into the role of the character/narrator within her poems. When I read Irene's work, complementary adjectives (in my mind) always follow - she captures moments, ideas, and concepts brilliantly. She is smart and her poems reflect this quality.
Here is Irene in her own words:
I earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Moscow State University in Russia and immigrated to the United States over 20 years ago. Until recently, I was a biomedical research scientist working in the field of cancer research (at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland and at George Washington University in Washington, DC). While growing up, I used to write poems in Russian. About six years ago, I started writing poems in English and began posting them online. I have developed a culturally diverse group of followers from all over the world. Recently, one of my poems appeared in Open Sky Quarterly. Currently I am working on a chap book “Drum Solo.”
Here are three poems, written by Irene Riz - and I know you're going to enjoy them as much as I do! ______________
The rain taps and scratches the glass, leaning on windows with skinny bellies. It must have been smelling of stray cats, wet asphalt, mossed roofs, and dormant alleys.
Today the ceiling is especially low. I can stand and touch the skylight, press my cheek to the cold glow, look through the falling water.
I should come out, start climbing the rock, throw a party with music loud and throbbing. I should wake up, be reborn, make new friends but I stay where I am, remembering old ones.
Past forgiven and future forsaken, in the everyday jelly of now I slowly open my arms. Not to fly, just to hug you.
Every morning I wake up to the old self. The same genes, the same body, the same bruises and scratches, education, experiences, memories, tastes and habits.
And yet, I am just a little stronger. Some unimportant impressions are gone, some things forgotten.
I wake up and I smile keeping my heart open for a new chance, new challenge, new step, a new turn on the path I have chosen.
Every morning I am the same but a little older. New wrinkles, new aches. I can’t stop them. But I can find a kinder face, In the collection of self-portraits.
White, teal, white, teal, white and teal bindings and then three black ones in a row. I read a lot. I live in the patterns, meaningless, pleasing, and self-organizing Markoff blankets.
If I had done things differently, picked more adequate models, would I have met the same people, had the same insane kids, fallen into the same attractor loving life so painfully, so vigorously, so blindly?
I have nothing to be proud of. Except that I managed to hurt no one. That’s not an achievement, but rather something what people always expect by default.
So I have nothing to show my old teacher.
I was seventeen, and I gave him a starfish, dried and discolored by the sun, a fragile example of radial symmetry. He said, I am forty years old. And I smiled.
And now separated by years, generations of students later, across the ocean, and the dead screen of my camera-less computer, I say, Nothing has changed. And he replies, Forty years, it has been.
From seventeen it made me fifty-seven, and perhaps I could have grown into something bright and altogether different to make you proud. Regardless I am still smiling.
I’d always smile for you the same.