Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008: On the Street....Hard Angles-Soft Edges, Paris

When lost in thought, the body goes into autopilot,
capable of walking to a destination
or obeying green and red traffic lights.

Once, I drove for thirty minutes across town
before realizing my mistake—east, not west.
A psych professor told me that the eyes of someone

in deep thought can mimic REM: eyelids
twitching, blinking hurriedly, till the thinker
resurfaces, a diver coming up for air.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008: On the Street.....Checks & Stripes, Milano

Newsprint is impermanent,
on purpose. It is meant

to self-destruct every day.
The edges of the pages fray

even as it first unfolds.
How am I supposed to hold

the news, with its excessive wingspan?
The pages shudder in my hands

as I fumble with the sections
and their sallow, grey complexions.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008: On the Street....Giovanna!, Milano

She answers her mobile, and slips in and out
of visibility.

Giovanna schedules a meeting for lunch,
her voice full of numbers,

of times, addresses, sizes, prices, dates.
The street around her

vanishes. Which is why I’m sure
she didn’t see me driving

past her. Not because she doesn’t love me.
I should call her later.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008: At Marni

Yes, coffee. Yes, morning in the city. Yes to yellow buildings,
yes to September.
Yes Pollyanna, yes anthem, yes embarrassment,
yes to nonsense and eye contact and vulnerability.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008: At Prada, Milano

The black cardigan has been waiting
in my drawer with folded arms.
Its black buttons shine out at me,
round and wide as dilated pupils.
When I stick my arm into its sleeve
a little hole reveals itself
with the whiteness of my forearm.
All belongings have a life
that persists when not in use;
tucked into dressers and boxes, in storage,
our clothes atrophy and wilt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008: On the Street....Molto Benno, Milano

A Phillips screwdriver fits into a plus sign;
a regular screwdriver plugs into a minus.

That’s all I know about how things are assembled.
That, and how to use a wire hanger

to connect the pieces in the toilet tank.
In an aptitude test, I failed

the “Spatial Relations” section. But lately, I’ve been thinking,
handiness could be a learned skill.

It all comes down to positive and negative
space, to knowing when to fill a hole

and when to create one. When I look into the toolbox,
the shiny metal doesn’t seem so different

from the cone-shaped icing tips that create
their own contoured holes in reverse.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008: On the Street....Apple, Milano

The apple is the least sensual of all fruit:
presented to teachers,
yanked off a branch,
sliced and piled beneath pastry dough.
Wholesome. Functional.
Not a temptation, but perhaps a reminder
of vulnerability.

I marvelled at the way you peeled the apple,
the glossy red skin spiralling from the fruit
without tearing,
its colour and sheen reduced to pallor.
I asked about the soft brown spot.
A bruise, you said.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008: On the Street....White Dress & Feathers, NYC

Early autumn in the city. Tree limbs strain the light
into manageable portions. Vanessa receives a text
message from her sister (the bride): Picking out doves.
After the ceremony, her sister wanted to release the birds
as a symbol, asked Vanessa if she’d read some words
aloud to the guests. What are they a symbol of,
exactly? She had asked. She looks at the pigeons (gray with flecks
of black, pecking at garbage), waiting for them to take flight.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008: On the Street....The Dream Team, NYC

Girls adorned in shiny beads
and cocktail dresses gather into groups
of four or five, and disperse
into urban evenings. To transform
a meal into an event:
the unspoken goal of every girls’ night.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008: On the Street....After the Storm, Chelsea

After the storm, umbrellas litter the streets
like broken, crash-landed bats.
Their silver spokes and spines poke out, exposed,
and the remaining rain
collects in their spidery forms.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008: On the Street....Sixth Avenue, NYC

Pigeon-toed: an inward, awkward stance,
seeming helpless but attracting every glance.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008: On the Street.....ReMix at Ralph Lauren

It’s been tough to concentrate on work
since I brought her home. Puppies demand
so much attention. Training is exactly
what you’d expect: pointed index fingers,
chewed-up slippers, daily accidents
and accomplishments. Pets point out
our need to look after something else
than ourselves. And when I say Good girl,
she hears the smile in my voice, looks up
for validation. And when I return
home, I’m eager to see her waiting for me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008: On the Street.....Sixth Avenue, NYC

Marilyn Monroe’s breed of beauty
depended on a breeze, a camera lens

to catch the windblown skirt, the slipping strap:
loveliness arranged in disarray.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008: On the Street....Bill Cunningham, NYC

The rain slicker rustles, smells like rubber
And mildew. I’m reminded of grade school,
How on rainy days I’d dread the rain coat and
Boots, the awful squeak they made on linoleum.

As we age, no one forces us to dress for weather,
To dress sensibly. Yet here I am, grateful for
The cumbersome gear that keeps me dry.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008: On the Street....W. 37th, Midtown

Barbie’s feet are permanently pointed.
At rest, her legs extend and stretch on tiptoe.
Her little heels will never touch the ground,
but she’s more flexible than you might think.
I discovered that her knees bend inward,
clicking into a Pacman-mouth angle,
composed in such a way that she implodes.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008: On the Street.....Bryant Park, NYC

At the cafe on Monday morning,
Emily chooses a sun-warmed chair
and tries not to play with her bracelets or hair.
Yesterday, it had been pouring.
She’d stayed in the bath till 5 P.M.
You know what they say about watched pots
and phones. And when she never got
his call, she put herself to bed,
didn’t cry, didn’t hate him.
This morning, she chose a flowered necklace
that looked like a lei. Tropical, reckless,
she drank her coffee alone, elated.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008: On the Street.....Fay, NYC

Red lipstick signals an occasion,
a celebratory mood, abandon.
Women mark their mouths in red,
underlining what they’ve said
and done. Leaving scarlet crescents
on glasses, cigarettes, cheeks, like footprints.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008: On the Street....Streetwear, Milano

My tattoo reclaims my skin,
Loudly shouts, “These images are mine,

And so is the skin beneath.”
The only one that I regret

Is Laura’s name, scrolled in black,
Barely visible beneath the butterfly on my right arm.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008: On the Street....After Mac, West Village

To Catch a Cab

Plant your feet firmly.
Assign one hand to your hip
so the other, your dominant hand
can be free to wave
but not as in hello.
Bend and release from finger to elbow,
(for inspiration, think windshield wiper,
film slate, applause meter.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008: Jacket-on-Shoulders, Just for Italians?

Ian’s affected by gravity
Differently than me or you.
It seems he’s inherited buoyancy.
In between steps, he becomes unglued

From the earth a split second longer
Than normal. His jacket bobs on his shoulders,
His grip on things has grown stronger
Since childhood when a breeze snatched his folder.

Lightest of all is the look
In his eyes, if he happens to catch your gaze:
Knowing, amused, like he shook
Your hand and saw your arm hair raise.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008: On the Street....High Impact Accessories

His favorite flavor of ice cream was always Neapolitan,
but he used to call it Napolean.
Stripes of flavor, ribbons of color, a vaguely historical name.

And he liked it best in a glass dish, slightly melted
(in the microwave for 14 seconds). He’d hold it up,
examining the muddied pastel puddle from the bottom.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Friday, December 15, 2006: At The Marc Jacobs 70% Off Sale

The Difference between a Line and a Crowd

A line stretches thinly, each body firmly asserting I was here first.

A slow-motion pile-up at a single point of entry.

A crowd gathers round
With nowhere to go,
Its center a vortex, a magnet
That gathers gazes and
Sucks bodies in
For the show.
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.