Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 30, 2006: On The Street…The Colorist, Soho

In Mary Poppins, a pastel drawing on the cement
Transports children and nanny and chimney sweep
From filthy street to pastoral paradise

Later, the sidewalk’s scene is washed away in rainwater
And traffic, a new type of shallow erosion
In which an applied surface is stripped away

Like a name written in sand, your own, perhaps,
That weathers with one to three waves, the letters blurring
Into lines, then creases, then only ocean-combed sand

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008: On the Street…Continuing Style, Paris

Women’s heels strike the marble.
The sounds of these targeted attacks
ricochet through space, naming
the architecture as sacred:
museum, monument, church,
theatre, court. The sharp steps
(equal parts horseshoe clip-clop,
ring dropped onto glass counter,
billiard ball, whip crack)
echo past the crowds, toward
ceilings and high corners,
mapping angles in the dark
like the sonar siren of bats.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

November 26, 2008: On the Street…Those Shoes, Milan

Joe wears pajamas out of context,
That is, not in bed,
Not while sleeping.

He likes when comfort overrides function.
Slipping one hand
Into a pocket,

He discovers that it’s sewn shut,
Is just a slash
With a flap.

In bed, he wears a flannel robe.
No buttons to do up,
No zipper or snaps.

With the cloth belt snug but not tight,
Joe thinks of it
As his cocoon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008: On the Street…Greyt, Milan

Who can teach me to crochet
So that I remember how to loop and tug the yarn?
I know machines can produce crafts,
Precise and even, textured in rows and knots,
Edges neat as puzzle borders.

I’ve been taught before,
And produced a simple, narrow chain of earth-colored wool.
Now even those moves are lost.
My hands have no memory.
The needles wait in the bottom drawer, arms crossed, patient.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008: On the Street…Seen in Milan

Tropical Trends

A store that sold incense and green-glazed
ceramic turtles and leaves to hold it
while it burned

Silver rings and bangles, burnished,
Made to look old and set with
Turquoise or amethyst

Clothing made from hemp or burlap,
Rough and weird in my
Eleven year old eyes

That year, on my birthday, one of my friends
Bought me a gift from Tropical Trends:
Mexican jumping beans

And a pouch with a miniature family inside
Worry Dolls, with garb of thread
And black sand for hair

The jumping beans were scary, clicking inside the package
While we ate cake in the dining room
I almost flushed them

Down the toilet, but thought I might create
A new breed of sewer moth,
Giant, mutant, dangerous

I know the beans only jumped because the worm
Inside wanted to get out
And they deserved better

Than the sewage system, so my dad and I
Poured them in a bowl
Beneath a lamp

Our makeshift incubator seemed to be working
The beans clinked appreciatively
Ice cubes in a glass

But one day they all stopped moving
And laid there like pebbles
Or normal beans

I can’t remember what we did with them
Maybe the trash, in a paper towel
Or buried like seeds

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008: At Prada, Milano

Knee to sidewalk, palm to street,
overturned coffee leaking brown liquid, like fuel.
And underneath, reddened skin,
a bit of blood,
and a new bruise forming from the thumbprint of the curb,
an angry, flame blue.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008: What I Love About Carine


Two women smile brightly, lean toward eachother
simultaneously, surprisingly close. One woman’s arm
is extended, stiff as machinery. She is taking a picture
of herself and the other woman, and knows the exact angle
needed to fit the two faces in the image’s center.
Sell-ka, sell-ka, the Korean students scream
and their arms shoot out to take their own portraits.
What’s sell-ka? I ask them. Self-camera, one explains,
Konglish. They pose for invisible photographers,
beaming up with tilted faces at their own hands.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008: GQ Preview--Boots & Suits, NYC


After so many days of rain,
I flinch in the early light.

I adapt to my surroundings
Like any helpless creature.

This is how myths are made,
The human reaction to weather,

To change. Around the corner,
Unseen monsters scheme.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008: The Gentleman Biker, Milan

In transportation, speed directly correlates
To civility and grace. The faster the pace,
The fewer breaths I take, the more removed I am
From the morning crowds (or individuals,
If I am on foot). The other day, I saw
A man in a suit standing upright, pitched forward
And whirring stiffly like a podium in motion.
Nice segueway, a woman called, and darted off the curb.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008: Cement Barbells, Rio

“The woods decay, the woods decay and fall.”
-Tennyson, “Tithonus”

Leaves, your last flare of red
blazes like an angry flame,
a dying star.

The fall is full of steady flame.
The wind blows out the red trees,
a birthday candle.

Metal imitates the fall
by oxidizing, rusting slowly.
An infection

Neither fiery nor fierce,
rust is a virus of time, of dust,
an age spot.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008: On the Street…Anger, NYC

Peter Pan chased his shadow into the little girl’s room,
Wanted her to sew the dusky feet onto his feet.
Look—she’s taking up her thread and needle.

On stage, the shadow’s made from netting.
Sheer black pantyhose, purchased cheaply
Or taken from an actor’s drawer at home.

But who out there can tell me why
The silhouette of a boy who cannot bear to age
Is trimmed from women’s flimsy underpinnings.

Or do I have the question wrong,
Should I ask why ladies coat their legs with filmy shadows,
Like fountain pens dipped into inkwells.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008: On the Street…Carnival Costume, Rio


My friend had this green bird
And it squeaked like a creaky hinge
All night during slumber parties

There was a cloth over its cage
So that the bird would know
That it was night time

And when I crept past it
Through the unfamiliar house
Past the kitchen, toward the bathroom

I wondered if inside
The bird was talking in his sleep
Or wide awake and waiting

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, Novemeber 10, 2008: The Girl, The Boy, and Doggie from Ipanema, Rio

Some roads demand bare feet.
They long to feel the pressure of your steps,
to greet your heels and toes with heat.
Usually, these roads are near the beach.
And once you step from stone to sand,
you know that surfaces are like water,
that they change form.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008: At Carlos Miele, Rio

The crowd swiveled toward her as she took her seat
Like wedding guests turn to face a bride

I’ve been told that flowers obey the same rule
And stretch their necks toward light

But in botany or astronomy or ceremony
There is distance between the puller and pulled

An invisible rope straining through air like heat
from unseen hand to unseen hand

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 6, 2008: Rio!!


Our movement through the world is written on the body,
my friend (the former dancer) explained.
She gestured to her legs, the muscles below her knees
swelling like the throats of singing bullfrogs.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008: Big Thanks to Petite Mirochka

Scripted names, scrolled in gold
or etched onto metal plates
like dog tags (on soldiers or dogs)

trimmed photos of babies
enclosed in clamlike lockets

the geometry of religion,
emblems, tokens, charms, rings
too small for the finger

dangling against collarbone
and chest, finding the
valleys of our breath.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008: On the Street...Pins on Vintage, NYC


My great Grandfather used to spin the story
when I was four. He'd had his head read
as a teen, discovered he was meant
to be a navigator, to translate the sea.
He told me as he tucked me into bed,
Just between us--you got my temperament.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008: On the Street...Brothers, NYC

Primary colours evoke playtime.
Building block, crayon hues
to stain fingers and smudge walls.

Plastic toys, tiny shaped erasers,
pots of dried up red and blue--
these all share a smell:
vaguely sweet and powdery,
the scent that clings
to the slept-on pillow's face.

The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.