Thursday, April 29, 2010



Phone booth, closet, airplane bathroom.
Confessional. Elevator.
Tanning bed, MRI machine.
Chambers in a revolving door.
The slim space on the train
near the pole, hands stuck in
from every angle like bristles on a brush.

A tight squeeze need not be three hundred
and sixty degrees. The dentist’s
chair. The bathtub’s bony prodding
of the knob at the base of the neck,
the spine. The driver’s seat, wedged
up against the wheel. The walls
of steam creeping tight and near after the shower.

Steep stairwells. Poorly-ventilated rooms packed
and bulging with still air. The flocked
partitions of cubicles chopping
up offices. Attics and garages.
Crawlspaces. A clogged freeway,
one side glowing red with brake lights,
the other white, roads full as veins carting blood cells.

Starched shirts. Turtleneck sweaters, fat, wool scarves.
Netting stretched over toe and thigh
and waist, seam biting into belly and tag
licking at the lower back. Seat belts.
Corner booths, bar seating, freezer section
of the supermarket, here you are
doubly attendant, breathing down the back of your own neck.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to Classify an Experience as Holy

How to Classify an Experience as Holy

Zones of uncommon stillness,
all sound extinguished in one wave,

as fire flattens under sand.

But not nothing. An energy living
in air, a vacuum, a vortex.

Often, light. Great clouds of radiance

ballooning around a human,
an animal, a tree, a hill.

Elements trading characteristics.

Water forming walls and floors,
skin giving way to gold or salt.

An inner collapse, an easy release.

Frequently, levitation. A lightening,
a lessening slicing into anatomy, armor.

Bliss whistling through the heart.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010



One thing on top of another,
you know, how years accumulate
or how garments are layered
to keep a body warm.

The combination. A union.
A pattern invented from
placement above, beneath,
charged by boundary.

New context. Voices muddled
and commonness brewed
from what is exposed or missing,
filled-in, interlocked.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Creation Myth

Creation Myth

Never was the land together,
cohesive, an uninterrupted mass
of soil, rock, sand, grass
all bound in a harmonious package, leather
spread-eagled in one faultless piece.
Always were places disparate.
Sky unbroken, but land split
and ponded, rivered. Water reached
out from every fissure, issuing
lacklessly. The ground’s appendages
multiplied, fresh edges
made into shores and ocean chewing
into them eagerly. In the beginning,
this wasn’t a big problem for
people. They swam well, explored
by boat. At length, the constant crossing
of distances somehow seeped
into their bodies, their cores. They’d say,
It can’t have always been this way,
and dream of land gathered up in a heap.

Friday, April 23, 2010



Cover that drapes, that bends,
that loosely cloaks an area.
A space partially shut from sky,
but with give, no walls in its design.

Beneath the canopy. Shadows flit,
and shapes that make shadow.
Shade and curiosity, creatures drawn
to looking up at light filtering

through undersides, a pliable ceiling.
A room is claimed by the canopy,
a place defined by what it offers:
protection, woven through with magic.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Know You Do

I Know You Do

I know you do sit in the warm car
and hesitate before applying key to ignition,
the still, hot air a just-filled bath.

I know you do harmonize with the dial tone
when you place the receiver against your ear.

I know you do feel unsettled
when you brush a long strand of dark hair
from the stiff wool of your coat.

I know you do wonder if you locked the door
ten paces from your home.

I know you do run a fingertip
along an image, a line of text in a book
that speaks to you,
as if to answer it.

I know, I know. You do these things
from the privacy of your brain.
But haven’t you suspected
you are being listened to, looked at.
You do.
I know you do.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010



Listen, houses are more powerful than you know.
The house is the outside, the shingles, the yellow siding,

the big white door. The gold knob and the bell.
The ways to enter, or to ask permission to be let in.

The house is its outline, the rain funneled through gutters
and released on the ground, spare parts of trees lying

in temporary stillness on the stairs. The house possesses
a being within the walls. Inside there is light,

waiting to be animated. Clicks, humming, thumps
emanating from the architecture like scent from a blossom.

Houses can haunt you, can murmur in your ear
while you sleep. Can rise from their yards

and creep amongst traffic to where you live now.
Where the two meet, the old house, the new one,

the air stirs, a clamoring of forces. A house presses
its presence against you, says this to you, Remember.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



We want to speak its language, to be included
among those who can listen to the fearsome tongue
without running from it. Lava spills out from land

like secrets, like obscenities. The rock is so hot it shifts
shape, borrows liquid’s elegance even as it sears
the air and clamps onto the ground. To speak about

it comfortably, we use numbers. See patterns in
its seizures. Spit out airport acronyms and link
them with times, our waiting, sighing implied.

The whole world is learning to pronounce
and spell Eyjafjallajökull, laughing at the
foreign objects rumbling in our mouths

like gravel crunching beneath car tires. The other
option--go wordless. For here in the heat and ice,
danger shimmers. An ember. A red tongue.

Monday, April 19, 2010

End of the Universe

End of the Universe

How did you reach this place?
Did you trust that you could careen
through the billowing skies,
and eventually,
there would be an end?

Did you creep with a hand in front of you,
stars streaming through your fingers
like river water?

Did you come here
to prove that the universe was endless,
and now, here you are,
ship stopped against the limits of space?

Are you comforted in learning
the universe is a fish tank?

Should you long for unending fathoms,
turn your ship around,
and look out at the acres of little burning beings
scattered in blackness.
Does it not seem free from end?

Friday, April 16, 2010



With enough concentration,
the seer goes ghostly.

As you stare,
feel yourself turn transparent.
Your face is first to disintegrate.
The vanishing spreads down your shoulders,
your chest and arms dissolving
as a bubble’s glassy gleam thins and releases itself
back into air.

By now you are only legs,
but soon even these will slip away.
No shoes, no shadow,
no patch of land you are confined to.

You are the windowpane.
You are the wind inhabiting the fabric of the curtains.

Let yourself be opened.

Thursday, April 15, 2010



What you do,
regular work or activity you take on.

How you keep busy.
The things you do as light dwindles.

The state you remain
in, held in by the shores of movement,

skin. The act of possessing
a place, of staying within it. The process

of holding down
space, of being held, so filled with an idea

that your mind
swarms with tenants, humming, a bee hive.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010



Most of our time here is devoted to tidying and gathering.
Scraps. Splinters. Strands. I draw the edges of what I drop
closer to me, a cloak, a comforter. Some of these pieces
are mine, so I claim them. The napkin I shredded gets swept
into my palm. The coffee grounds pulled into the wet sponge.
The thumb-smudge on the right lens of my sunglasses
exhaled onto, absorbed into the hem of my skirt. The blue cap
attached to the drawing end of the pen, the pen dropped back
into the bag. Now, because the world was made to erode as
it grows, we often break parts off of it as we brush against
the corners, the walls. As the tree throws leaves, we rake
them up, make a pile, a branchless, barkless tree. With buckets
we harvest tar from a hole in the ground, broken skeletons
from the tar. The bones get cleaned, and we lay them against
each other that they might emerge as a body, whole, entire.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Some Roses

Some Roses

Some roses are scratched out,
have been deleted, rubbed away.

Some roses have been scribbled
over. The petals are smashed

beneath graphite or black marker.
Some roses have been snipped

from their stems, from their backing.
Are now lacking context, a body.

Here it is: the remaining vacancy
is petaled, is a hole so unmistakably

roselike you might push your face
into its flatness or hollows hoping

for a remainder of its fragrance.
No longer the flower, sure,

but absolutely the outline, the form.
Some roses, they are reminders.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Kitchen Counter

The Kitchen Counter

Everyday you must wipe it clean,
clear the crumbs and little puddles
speckling the counter like birthmarks.

The counter holds dishes and glasses,
bags of flour exhaling dust, jars of jam
and honey that drool strawberry and amber

onto the tile, the marble, the even face
of the counter. You stand before it,
arms bent, hands flat against its cool lines

as a pianist touches the smooth keys
waiting before her. Glasses so clean
they seem painted onto air, and gleaming

plates weighed down in anticipation
of your need. The counter meets you
at arm-level. Partnering happens here,

the counter, your hands working together
to craft the temporary sculptures of meals,
then sponging away the contact, the process.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

To Those Who Stay Up Late

To Those Who Stay Up Late

When streets are dark, and houses
emit only shadow from openings.

When the only sounds that come at you
are infrequent moans and squeaks
of the plumbing embedded in the ceiling,
or a fan whirring in the next room,
oceanic, fragmented.

Perhaps you seek company in electronics
or books. Pale pages or flickering screens
tell you a story you already know.

What are you worried you will miss.
What are you hoping to learn.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Await You

I Await You

Sluggish, slow.
The crawl towards one another
happens this way.

Each being will reach its corner,
its new company.

grow. Weeds spread and
are cut down.

The crumbling
should not garner fear.
All things fall

inside themselves,
an inner collision, fluttering
down, melting.

I await you,
we say to selves asleep, and
to others

we stir towards,
shakily, leaning our bodies outward,
blossoms into light.

Friday, April 2, 2010



Let us all be dephoned.
Let the grid be snatched out
from underneath us quickly,
a tablecloth plucked out
from still and perfect place settings.

Let us all be dephoned.
Perhaps language will leave.
Mouths can clap like hands,
and speech knocks out in
wood-block pops, applause.

Let us all be dephoned.
We forget what the phone is,
the plastic box that holds nothing,
heats the ear, that chirps
or trills inside of garments.

Let us all be dephoned.
Let it happen. Let silence settle
over the land like dusk, all of us
at once not talking, but not
deafened. Dephoned.

Thursday, April 1, 2010



Not what is there, but the gaps between the things.
Space, limited. Walled, always, with plaster or glass,

or by the eye's need to determine an end. Edged,
perimetered, the places behind these borders.

The objects in a room belong together. The light
looks different from room to room. Rooms face

opposing directions. There is an entrance, here
it is. This is an exit. A room is also an experience.

It guides you. It brings your hands to its faucets
and then beneath the flow of water. Or it brings you

to the window so you can see the sky before you
sleep, and then it pushes you back, down, into bed.

An order based on where your movement would be
stopped, by wall, by furniture. Rooms give significance

to the smallest of tasks. Come in, the room tells you,
and move. Let my walls be revived by what you do.
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.