Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Make a Bouquet Last

How to Make a Bouquet Last

I made a bouquet without ribbon

formed only by the weight and pressure of the flowers
and my hands

Naturally it came apart
and this is how I sent it to you

I scattered the flowers so you would not find them

too quickly

Some of the flowers I cast out as ideas
Those won’t come to you for years

Heavy medallions of Queen Anne’s lace
peppery breath of marigolds

May you never find them all

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Whole Damn Tape

The Whole Damn Tape

Moth I let you out
and you fly right back in

I wring my memory
to see when I told you about
this household being moth-friendly

Oh for the days when rewinding
made a sound
the longest zipper unzipping
a bee against a screen

I find the scene I need at the beginning of the tape
Scene one: I hold open the door
to the night air

And in the second scene
there’s that window
that will not close

Scene five
Scene twelve
Scene thirty-eight

The tape is labeled
Moth Home Movies

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Frosted Window

Frosted Window

Honeycombed peach and deep pink and red
and celery green and Kermit green.

This frosted window in my shower
is one talented abstractionist

inspired by what,
some red brick and brick painted beige and a tree.

Look how I am moved to pick up language parts
in praise of this illusion.

Whatever pleases us in looking at it
we scurry to paint.

Let go of what you see a little but still look,
and oh
why does this make beauty.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Some Fantasy This Is

Some Fantasy This Is

The trees of your old house
follow you to your new one
moving only when attention
and eye flit away

You are handed off
like a baton

instead of
batted between places

There is a pantry
There is a wine cellar
The beloved place
has been preserved for you
to taste again

Friday, July 25, 2014

Waiting on My Bookshelf...

 Currently on my shelf (in a semi-dark living room--pardon the flash!):

Hope you have a lovely weekend of reading, or seeing friends and family, or taking it easy!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Did We Learn

What Did We Learn

The orange tree dropped all its oranges
around us as we spoke

bushel after bushel thudding onto the grass

Then the ground began to peel up

worms and beetles afloat
in air and drifting

And oh the lightning unfurling from the grass

But between us
we felt no terror

and didn’t startle

so the oranges rested
and the worms fell back down in sheets
and the grass shook off the lightning

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

If Someone Is Beautiful Surely This Is an Accident

If Someone Is Beautiful Surely This Is an Accident

Coincidence of bone and skin
parent and posture

and scooting-over cloud
letting light fall over a person

and traffic forcing them to wait
to go to the other side of the street

and year it is now and year
in which another child shoved

their young self onto the sidewalk
earning the little glistening

scar above the mouth
a seam’s stitch poking out

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kept Landscape

Kept Landscape

The woods were quiet at first
with snow and the trees were without

No one noticed the landscape within you
even as the seasons fluttered

and rattled
and reached tendrils up your throat

and maybe a bird came out
with some snow when you coughed

Now that the woods have found your voice
you keep exposing
us to all that has been at work on you

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Storialist Turns Six!

Today, The Storialist is a kindergartener!

Six years of posting every weekday on this site. Sometimes it feels easy, sometimes it feels like a chore, sometimes it feels rejuvenating, sometimes it feels frustrating, and sometimes it feels comforting.

I’m always wondering--what is it I’m doing here? It’s my practice, my way of not squirming out of doing what I value. It allows me to both make space for and more fully incorporate writing in my daily life (even when it feels impossible).

More and more, what I do in writing feels like this scene. (I know it might seem absurd; hear me out!).


Paul Rudd cracks me up in this scene (from Forgetting Sarah Marshall). He’s teaching Jason Segel’s character to surf (well, supposedly). His lesson is such a non-lesson: “Don’t do anything, don’t TRY to surf. Don’t do it. The less you do, the more you do.”

It’s ridiculous and horrible advice masquerading as a sort of faux mystical, Yoda-esque method (and it is hilarious). But it’s somehow also pretty accurate in terms of describing what I try to learn in writing.

It’s not that I want to “do less” or not put forth effort. For me, it's a real balance between doing too much (intervening too much in the poem)/not enough (not carrying the idea/words far enough). I’ve learned that I need to beware of overcooking a much of writing is learning how to let it go where it wants to go, not censoring it or holding it back prematurely. This is really difficult. It involves trust, and also a certain detachment from how I want the poem to turn out (this is the "doing less" part, maybe). I don’t think this is true for all writers or artists, but for me, it all starts with deciding: today I’m going to write, and maybe it will fail, or maybe part of it will be okay. But all of this is of value.

As Paul Rudd’s surfing lesson ends, he says, enthusiastically, “YEAH! That wasn’t quite it, but we’re going to figure it out out there--c’mon, let’s go surfing.” We’ll figure it out out there, maybe, and if we don’t, we’re still figuring it out.

Undoubtedly, this year will bring new things in terms of writing--hopefully, more reviews, interviews, essays, collaborations, and experiments!

Thank you so much for reading, sharing, inspiring. I so value and appreciate everyone I've connected with through writing and blogging.

Let’s go surfing!

Previous anniversaries:
July 2008
July 2009
July 2010
July 2011
July 2012
July 2013

Shade Plant

Shade Plant

After centuries of surviving with low light
a plant begins to eat shadows
without complaint

then savors every variation of darkness

An oriole hopping from branch to fence
[a dumpling]
A leaf-heavy branch shifting only slightly
Slender telephone wire

What refuses to be known
to you through light
remember that this can make a fine meal

Friday, July 18, 2014

Walking It Off

The restorative, creativity-boosting powers of taking a walk are well-noted (here's Maira Kalman on Brain Pickings about walks, and here's some recent research reported by the APA). As a non-sporty, fairly non-competitive person, I love a good walk. And if my work is feeling stale or off, going for a walk immediately helps.

We recently moved to a new neighborhood, and it's interesting to me how quickly we find our landmarks, our visual treats on our territory. I mean the small, odd details that make us feel that a place is ours: the miniature porch swing that hangs from the branches of a neighbor's tree (I'll get a picture of this sometime!), the bay window where a black and white cat is always perched, the bricks in the street and sidewalk that seem so thoughtfully placed when we look at them closely.

Walkers of the world, unite! What's your favorite place to walk? And what activities
do you prescribe yourself when you need a creative break?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014



Maybe I can offer you pictures of snow
because it is hot

That feels nice, doesn’t it

Have my hand
which is always cool

Together we can go gape at the bashed-in church
its front door closed so modestly
even though its body has been opened to the air

For dessert,
a photograph of lavender and magenta smoke
in the forest

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It Isn’t Magic Just Science

It Isn’t Magic Just Science

If you gather the nothingness for long enough
something will emerge from it

I told that molecule about the other molecule
looking at her
and that is how they fell in love

If you are alive
or you were at one point
you are a matchmaker

Friday, July 11, 2014

Paging Columbus--Kate Greenstreet, Aaron Poochigian, Jonterri Gadson

One of the joys of running Paging Columbus is getting to edit and revisit videos from all the readers over the years. It's amazing to see all of the different styles, cadences, and voices.

Here are a few that I've watched again recently...hope you enjoy! (Click on each name to visit that poet's site.)

Kate Greenstreet

Aaron Poochigian

Jonterri Gadson

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Here’s the Deal

Here’s the Deal

You may have a body, but only
in combination

meaning the old pieces of it twined
to the raft it has become
as well as what is currently lifted or scarred

The way this works
is both shoulders at a time

No singular elegant leg
without the community of flesh it is nestled against

Tuesday, July 8, 2014



In the dream I console someone with this phrase: Remember, nothing
is permanent, even life
. I stole this sentence from a clerk at Target
one evening last December when each register had a line of gift-
seeking humans. Has it been crazy, I asked it with sympathy because
maybe I could help by using a nice voice.

Yes, but it’s ok, the cashier told me, and then, without intensity, Nothing
is permanent. Even life. 

It was funny in one of my favorite ways for things to be funny,
in that it was cousins with sadness.

Monday, July 7, 2014

With Every Step, a Fresh Place

With Every Step, a Fresh Place

Patch of water I remember
who held the light
in moon-rough pockets

we will meet again

It is your fault
and it is my fault

Maybe we are looking at this
All water is water

so we have re-encountered one another
in sips and showers

Rain along my scalp
Snow furring my pant hem
and meeting my ankle

That ocean over there
That ocean over here

You can’t deny
the resemblance

Friday, July 4, 2014

Bookmarks Links/Bedside Table

Currently reading and enjoying:

Happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Can’t Tell You That, But

I Can’t Tell You That, But

What I can tell you
is that the white begonia
is reaching

but not for you

The flower knows
that the beloved is always near
or soon to return

When the light is back
the flower says

There will never be enough of you
for me to hold

Wednesday, July 2, 2014



Ghosts of the morning that flutter in
and then dissolve once the day decides
what to be

The uncomplicated survives
is not a true saying

Instead may I offer you
All things have swallowed down
the futures which will now not happen

A nesting doll digesting

This is how a body
earns strength

Tuesday, July 1, 2014



This is the lit-up house atop its dark cellar
and both depend on the other
to get seen Here is the park at night
alive and adding to the quiet
Here is the house closing its mouth around
the light

These are cats agreeing to sleep
and the humans floating
on the ponds of their beds
and this is the day slipping away from itself
without desperation
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.