Natasha Dennerstein


Natasha Dennerstein (Oakland, CA)


I’m an exotic dancer not a stripper but the police don’t

understand the difference and bung me in this nut-house

and fill me full of pills alive and kicking, but my room-

mate is cool she’s a girl called Girl, she’s a drunkie self-

slasher, trasher not a basher but a dance work-out would

help her, you can’t hate yourself when you dance hot, it’s


empowering, power to the women, I’m tellin’ you girls

to walk this way, spin this way and don’t put a spin on it,

don’t be no spin-doctor. Doctor Doctor, I’m addicted to


though I like to think that I’m immune to the stuff  not

Lithium like a battery or a battery hen or assault and

battery. My roomie cries at night and I give her a hug –


no girl-on-girl stuff, just a hug, man – and I tell her, hey

Girl, you’re worthwhile, you’re pretty – in a pasty Goth

kinda way but whatever floats your boat – come to

training, you’d achieve fluidity real quick, don’t matter

what sign you’re more compatible with, just need your

spin to be a Goddess on a mountain top and Girly


is her name, I’m tellin’ you don’t slash those pretty


don’t suck up a gutful of disco-bickies or giggle lollies

over some guy who’s probably dumped you, get on the

pole and the world’s your oyster. Don’t cry for love, ’til

all the plates

are broken, Girl, don’t cut up rough, don’t gobble dolls

like a turkey or a battery hen or they’ll give you battery


Lithium with a litre of water, my daughter, and you

won’t have your wits about you and you gotta have

balance when you mount that pole with attitude and

grace, it’s a sport I’m tellin’ you, but what would I know,

I’m just a nasty girl bipolar dancer but proud of it, proud

of it.



*appears in Dennerstein’s collection, About a Girl (Norfolk Press 2017)

Dennerstein.picNatasha Dennerstein was born in Melbourne, Australia, to a family originating in Belarus. She worked as a psychiatric nurse for many years, which gave her an interesting perspective on the human condition. She has an MFA from San Francisco State University. Natasha has had poetry published in many journals including Landfall, Snorkel, Shenandoah, Bloom, Transfer, Red Light Lit, Spoon River Poetry Review and Foglifter. Her collections Anatomize (2015) and Triptych Caliform (2016) were published by Norfolk Press in San Francisco, who also just published her novella-in-verse About a Girl in Fall 2017. Her recent chapbook Seahorse (2017) was published by Nomadic Press in Oakland.  Please see more about Natasha at