Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009: On the Beach…..Caftan, South Beach Miami

Ivy fanned across the brick,
A thick green stain spilling up and out.
We each put a hand into the half-tree, half-building
And grabbed a rope of leaves.
We pulled at the roots like the cords of a stage curtain,
Like sailing lines.
Lengths of green fell like braids
Into our hands. Branches broke
Into dust, snapped like twine.

Last year I drove past the old apartment
And the ivy was there, was lush
And strong, a jungle.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009: On the Street…..Metallic Color, Milano

The Fly

The black wings of the fly twitch,
Thin as Saran Wrap. It makes me itch
To think of touching it—the hairs
On its feet are thick, prickly, flared
Like mascaraed lashes. And yet,
You wait for me to say. Poets
Locate ordinary or
Ugly things, stare, and pour
Rhyme on top of them. I
Should see beauty in the fly’s
Iridescent (are they?) wings,
Or in the shuddery way it clings
And then looses itself from surfaces.
Or its voice—it quietly buzzes,
A metallic purr, tinny drone.
I’m supposed to say that the fly has shown
Me truth, miniscule, fleeting, gross.
And yet this fly has diagnosed
What I love about words—they invent and conjure,
Reflect, absorb, translate and transfer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009: On the Street….Seventh Ave, NYC

On the spectrum of female power
Cloaked in leopard print, wool, and fur
Mia fell somewhere in between Mrs. Robinson
And Cruella de Vil. The wardrobes of these women
Derive their muscle and magic from animals
(goat, rabbit, mink, chinchilla, sheep, moth).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009: On the Street….Green & Grey, Paris

Maraschino cherries are dyed red and sweetened,
Pickled in a sweet chemical blush.
Eggs are bleached, and flour,
So that we’re not offended by their earthen irregularities.

In the produce section of the supermarket,
The pyramids of apples emit their waxy sheen.
I’m shushed by the sudden mist that bathes the lettuce,
Shh, be quiet, be clean.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009: On the Street…..Leathers & Feathers, Paris

Gather ten fistfuls of fine sand.
Bring them to the warehouse that you pass
on weekend evenings, in which masked figures
blow angry blue flames.
They’ll boil that sand,
cup the liquid glass like water,
and breathe into it so that it expands and spins,
a crystalline lung preparing for the possibilities
of shape and function.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009: On the Street….Shellback, Paris

Locked in the coffin of a new form,
Gregor Samsa’s beetle body shook and skidded
On his quilted bedspread. His room is the same
As it was while he slept. The coins, cologne,
Photo on his dresser remain. They are waiting
Still for his hand to grasp them, use them,
Bring them into being.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009: On the Street….Master Class, Paris

To the Creator of Jelly Beans

When you concocted these polished candies,
What made you think of beans? I’m convinced
That Jack and the Beanstalk inspired you to read
The handful of primary-coloured pebbles as
Capable of sprouting magical, sugared folklore.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009: On the Street….West 21st, NYC

Her bag was heavy with glasses she’d taken
From pubs, textbooks for astronomy left
On the blue felt bus seat, tarnished spoons
She planned to bend into bracelets and rings.
A hand knit purple scarf, matted as a stray cat.
Three matchbooks. A small stone.
Her bag was unraveling, breaking,
So much did she burn to rescue something.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009: On the Street….Dries Skirt, NYC

Here’s what she did with the etch-a-sketch you bought her.
For ten minutes, thirty minutes, an hour, she twisted

And rolled the white knobs fervently. She imagined
The circular controls on her grandmother’s TV, dialed

In some distant, fuzzy station. She wasn’t creating an image.
With each click and adjustment of the knobs, she removed

Every particle of sand adhering to the screen. When all
The screen was black (or clear, and allowed the black

Of the back to show), she saw it, the instrument
(a needle, a claw hooked to a plastic arm) responsible

For drawing shaky dark lines (drawing by removing,
Creating through erasing, scraping, deleting).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009: On the Street….Print Coat, Paris

When the tide ran low, an alien terrain revealed itself.
Slick sticks of sea kelp, spiky green glued to the shelf

Of the lake’s stone walls. Swamplike, otherworldly,
The wet plantlife shivered in air and sun. Jagged, pearly

Clamshells dotted the rocks, bone-pale, ominous.
A bearded man hung a line and hook into this mess.

What did he hope to catch, in that shallow patch of sea.
Some exposed creature, ocean-skinned, unearthly?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009: On the Street….Jacques, Paris

Body Language

One arm bent at the elbow, across the chest,
Palm up, fingers gently extending, like a tuxedoed

Waiter or butler with ivory tea towel halved and hung
On the bar of his forearm=Well, you see…

The forward, rounded hunch of shoulders
Leaning away from the chair’s hard frame

Not fully resting in the seat, like a stiff handkerchief
Tucked into a chest pocket=How amusing, why would he…

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009: On the Street….Balmania, Paris

Sergeant Pepper, you are military and musical,
Dolled up in nickel, brass, ribbon, merit badges,
Pageant sash. We admire your regalia, the blinding
Sheen of your baton and trombone, the momentum
Of your small, broad-shouldered body leading us,
The crowd, onward, onward, onward, a jockey
Pitched forward as we stomp across the land,
High-stepping, angling over the earth like
Notes blackening an orchestral score, agitato,
The tempo that generates riots, mobs, stampedes.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009: On the Street….Black & Blue, Milano

Mona wore a black band on her wrist
Should she need to gather the heavy ropes
Of hair that hung down her back, velvety,
Pendulous. With it restrained, a walled river,
Her face was bare to the wind and breath
Of the world, and her wrist registered
An invisible pressure, a reassuring tightness,
the imprint of a slender handcuff.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday, March 04, 2009: On the Street…New York Look, NYC

Congratulations, Emily chanted to herself
As she teetered on four inch heels
Past the office where she had met
The man who almost ruined her
Or her year, I did it, I did it,
She sang inside herself
And floated along
Past the stacked
Squat building

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009: On the Street….Signor Pipoli, Milano

Emboldened by age, Signor Pipoli
Took to buying flowers for beautiful women
And men. He presented these strangers,
These creatures with bunches of yellow roses,
Daffodils, crocuses, or trembling single stems—
An iris to the young redhead on the train,
A tulip to the one in the café, always reading
A calculus text. The florists could spot him
from across the street, loping along the sunny walk,
cigarette trapped between his coffee-coloured fingers,
Like branches bearing white and smoky blossoms.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009: On the Street…Purple Shoes, London

The blue plastic bracelet from last night’s party
Looked just like a hospital wrist ID;
The stamp on Alice’s hand christening her a VIP

Had faded and spidered across her skin,
A painted bruise. Her head thumped, and her thin
Arms trembled all day. Who was this shaky twin

Shuffling and struggling along the street?
Six hours earlier, Alice had glittered in the heat
And cave-like dark. Today she was ill with defeat.
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.