Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009: Quoted From: Violet Voice-stranger things (via Laura Serra)

Stranger Things

Three missing dog posters stapled

To the telephone pole on the corner.

Three dogs, all toy, stacked vertically

Like totems of cuteness and loss.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009: Quoted from:

Her wooden stool shifted its weight
along with her body—a slight lean
backward, and the stool obeyed,
a back leg buckling slightly.

She’d always been able to control
Her surroundings—she called forth
“walk” signs or green traffic lights.
Doors swung open without her touch,

crowds parted cleanly so that she might
move through them, might impart some
of her magic. Like Neptune conductingthe sea and salty air, harvesting storms.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Inspirations for the Storialist

Hello Readers,

On this site, you may be surprised to find poems referencing images not on The Sartorialist. Do not be alarmed.

While I will still draw inspiration from The Sartorialist frequently, I will be broadening my sources for images.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009: Quoted from: Williams-Sonoma

When peeled from jars and bottles,
Labels leave behind a sticky film.

Postage stamps, too, when removed
Post-licking allow their backings to remain.

I was told that bees leave their stinger
And usually their lives in their victims.

Have you felt barer, recently?
When you left, something of you stayed behind

ghostly, gossamer, near-invisible, and yes,
capable of causing fleeting pain.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009: On the Street….Striped Right, Florence


The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night
Was like the conscious being of the book.

-Wallace Stevens, “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm”

Red or blue ribbon is sewn into the spines
Of some books. Satin leeches that dribble
Out of the gold-edged pages, and slither
Into the pages that you close and put away.
Later, when you nudge the book from its shelf
Or stack, do the pages fall open like a gown
Unfastening, falling to the floor, revealing
The message you sent yourself: begin again here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009: My New Obsession—Cuffed Jeans

A splintered block, a pudgy plastic
Doll with fishing-line hair. Any animal

Gone threadbare from companionship.
Our ability to worship any object

Extends beyond these purchased toys
Even in youth. Who has kept a box

Of beloved items, not meaningful
For any reason other than you love

Them—a small eraser, smooth
And curiously sweet-smelling (like taffy

Or mown grass); a white plastic
Disc on a tripod of legs, taken from

A pizza box; a white feather;
A strip of aluminum foil folded into

A ring. These things—all
Small, all collected, curated—these

Amulets are an early attempt
At protecting what we, only we love.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009: On the Street…Belt Driven, Paris

A bobby pin into
A wall socket’s grin

A red marble under
The tongue, rolled against teeth

A hand slipped in
The narrow crevice behind the fridge

Our earliest testing
Of the world through an object’s and body’s limits

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009: Eva, Behind the Scenes of the Italian Elle Shoot-Paris

Bunny Ears

In class photos, boys and girls in the back row
Hold up two fingers, peace signs, and affix
Them to the students in front. Bunny ears grow,
Stubby antenna, little antlers, matchsticks,

Pointy, sliced halos sprout miraculously.
Or in a classroom, dimmed to view a projected
Image of cirrus or cumulus clouds, should anyone be
In front of the screen, backlit—it is expected

To bunny ear them. To apply your two-fingered joke
(Your first bold deviance) like two cigarettes, unsmoked.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009: On the Street….At Dior, Paris

Her look oozed fashionable malevolence:
Swamp-green nylons, ebony tusks
Dangling from her earlobes,
Black-red ink daubed on unsmiling lips.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009: On the Street…Summer Chic, Florence


After an hour
Of sitting on the pebbled wall
And watching lunch breaks come and go

I stand and stretch
The backs of my legs bear the stones’
Profiles, my skin bearing the blemishes

Of a hundred rocks
Embedded in concrete. Who is not
Impressionable. I’ve seen women’s shoulders

Dented from years
Of pressure from heavy bra straps;
Fingers permanently slimmed

At the base from a ring’s
Clenched jaw. Gravity,
Experience, encumbrance.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Storialist Turns One

For one year, every weekday I’ve updated The Storialist thanks to the evocative images on The Sartorialist.

To all of my readers: a heartfelt, resounding thank you!

My poems have transformed so much from my first post. I’m excited to see the changes in my words this year!

Monday, July 20, 2009: On the Street….Eva, Paris

White linoleum with flecks of gold, stainless
Steel draped into the sink’s belly and around
The faucet, knobs bearing temperature’s initials,
Monogrammed with h and c:

The kitchen and bathroom share materials,
Accoutrements. And why shouldn’t they.
The kitchen’s a stage. Its counters beg for hands
And elbows, for guests. An ode to process

And public procedure. The bathroom is intimate,
A shrine to steam, to things that clean and are
Clean, perfumed with citrus, bleach, pine.
The bathroom proffers secrecy,

A mirror and bright bulb for examining your skin.
Genetically linked, these rooms let you lose time.
Tiles, metal, thudding cabinets
Extroverted, introverted.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009: On the Street…Jump, Paris

They painted over the existing wallpaper
In their first house: brown wreaths,
Olive-coloured trees, pheasants strutting between
The greenery. Dark grey coated
That landscape perfectly, dripped dusk
On flora and fauna alike. In the right
Light, leaves and feathers were still legible.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16, 2008: On the Street…Shorts & Jacket, Milan

The parking lot outside the playground
Was comprised of jagged white stones.

On your way to the swings, she bends and selects
A rock, chipped like an arrowhead

And with the surprising sheen of mica.
Your friend asks if you want to go

To the pool after school today. It’s hot,
And you both test the heat of the black swings

Before trusting them with your weight.
Your friend says that her older sister

Let her use her Sun-In (a spray
To lighten hair). She holds a thin

Rope of strands for you to examine,
Wiry, a little broken from

French braids. It looks like the yellow
Fiber optic wand that you

Waved when you were four, in the theatre
Before Sesame Street Live.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009: On the Street…Marais, Paris


When she purchased the belt at the secondhand
Shop, she touched the sixth and seventh holes
Stretched and worn by another wearer.
She tightened the belt, slipped the nickel prong
Into the second hole. Her fingers
Often grazed the other wearer’s closure.
The holes stood ajar like a propped open door.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009: On the Street….Black & White, Milano

Cross Country

The tread on her shoes wore unevenly,
The left thinning more than the right,
And always sloping outward

With the right technology, someone
Could track her, her prints of
A limping cross country skier.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009: On the Street…Paris in Bloom


Because they are ready to be held in a dim room,
To lean their lithe arms on boys they’ve known
Since elementary school, to cast aside
The denim and ponytails for twelve hours
And swath themselves in satin gowns, like bedsheets
Gathered and tucked around lovers’ torsos,

Because they are ready to be looked at, to be touched under
Supervision, girls welcome the nervous
Hands of their dates fastening ivory or red
Roses to their pulse points, hearts and wrists.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009: On the Street…Belted Jacket, Paris

In this stiff heat, all distances
are exaggerated, stretch out before you
like spun taffy.

Six blocks from your apartment,
You wonder if you can make it, your
Brain is that uncomfortable.

So you think about something
Else, checking your voice mail,
The dial tone cool as water,

Or the white rectangles stuffed
Into your mailbox, an accumulation
Of voices and numbers.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009: On the Street…Milano Goes Green, Milano

The photo of me that night.
Does it resemble me?
When was it taken?
Do I set my mouth like that,
And why is my palm turned up,
Wrist flexed, as if holding an
Invisible platter of fruit?
Who are these people passing by—
A blurred, blond woman running,
A man with a white dog?
Where do they live?
Will I see them?
Did they hear the robotic snap
Or see the flash
As I did— scuttling crustacean,
lingering chandelier of pale spots?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009: On the Street…Raider Nation, Paris

The jogging stroller:
A conductor of external momentum

As a weathervane
Whirls in chaos of wind and rain

The texture of asphalt
Leached through the stroller’s frame

Saturating her palms
All day she felt the gravelly momentum

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009: At Dior….Cool Summer, Paris


Sea creatures emit light for several reasons—
To attract or repel, to communicate across

The dark ocean, to illuminate the depths
In order to pass through, or as camouflage

In the evening, our little cities glow
Their radiance blankets constellations

We mirror the overhead light and obscure it
What are we calling to or warding off

Friday, July 3, 2009

July 2, 2008: On the Street…Blue Dress, Paris

The tension between travel and home
Is embedded in all folklore:
Fairy tale woods beckon and enchant
And harbor wolves, witches.
Dorothy Gale is the patron saint of all
Who cling to home while
Sensing the magnetic pull of the road.
Even you. Think about the ache
in your chest that quivers
like a speedometer when you unfold
a map, when you watch
a train hurtle into some distant
sunset-coated place.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009: The Lido with My Workshop Students, Venice

So often, water play involves pretend drowning
And rescuing. A cool hand on your shoulder
Pushes down, and you are submerged.
Under the ocean it sounds like a band is playing
In a nearby stadium, muffled percussion and
The crowd’s collective voice. When you burst
Into the heat of the air, coughing, your friends
Are laughing, I’ll save her, and you let them
Hold you, brace you between sea and sky.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009: On the Street…Light as Light, Paris

To Go Abroad

She found it reassuring that all this,
The stone streets, the weathered, marbled buildings,
All this was here before she lived,
Before her parents or their parents lived.
And had she never seen Paris,
The city would go on without her in its mix
Of refinement and slow decay;
Only a hairline fracture of sadness would have
Formed in her,
I wish I would have.
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.