Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Big Reveal

The Big Reveal

Are you ready for this.
Have you thought of it upon waking
every morning. What do you think
we will show you.

Is there a truck blocking it, shielding
you from seeing what is behind its flank.
And then horizontal blinds,
dangling from the telephone wires.
Two men carrying a pane of frosted glass.

What magical series of obstructions
prevents you from seeing too soon.

The scarf wrapped around your eyes.
The hands beneath the scarf.
Your eyes behind their lids.

At the moment of the big reveal,
knowledge will pour down
from the sky like light.

Remember, it will look different.
Remember, you might feel unsettled.
We’ve turned the cameras off.
You won’t want to be watched.
This is your moment.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

With Love

With Love

Is my wallet in my bag. Will I remember it in the morning.

How much change do I have. Enough for the bus, for laundry later.
Are Canadian quarters mixed in. What did I do with the Japanese change.

I don’t need it, but should I try to find it. Should I get up
and look in my jewelry box, in my suitcase, my house dark
and neighbors all asleep, inserted into their beds like chargers
jabbed in the jugulars of cell phones.

Is that a spider vein, under my left eye.
Do we get those on our faces. Is it a broken blood vessel.

Did I shut the window in the living room.
I remember my hand around the crank. Was that yesterday.

What day is tomorrow. How is the week almost over.
How. And the year.

What if we alternated how we measured years.
December our new January. May reinvented as halfway.
Could we slow it. Or introduce sanctioned unpredictability
into our diets.

Did I pay my library fine
before moving last year. Did I give back that book
someone had lent me. Wasn’t it autographed.
It was, a black-markered message, With Love.
I did. Return it.

The tires need more air.
We need a new spare. When should I buy it.
Is my car clawing at the hole in the ozone layer.
Is it efficient.

Leave it nicer than when you first moved in,
or leave it just as it was when you found it.
Which is more possible.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We Were Engineered to Want

We Were Engineered to Want

We were engineered to want,
to search for whatever can occupy
our hollows. Every type of hunger
is biological. Our bodies are babies,
brats. It is a basic human need
to have needs. Can you picture
a civilization already fully satisfied,
no reaching. We want for ourselves
and for others. The people we love,
when we study them as individuals,
can seem frail, unaccompanied.
We drape our needs over them
to solve their empty-handedness.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Apartment

The Apartment

People have been living in your home,
the apartment that you rent, for forty years,
fifty years. Who were they. Where did
they go. The apartment remembers them
a little, a kitten sticker on the inside
of the medicine cabinet, a glass turkey
with a divot in its back for a votive candle.
When I moved in to one place, a toaster
tucked in the highest shelf, in the very back.
It was full of crumbs and dust, a record of appetite,
emptiness. A home is our own because
we decide to pour our possessions into
its pockets. It contains us, helps us to know
what we need more of, less of. Go get wood
and bring it in here. And matches,
the fireplace says. When we snap back,
And where might we find some wood,
it’s not even angry. Go to the supermarket,
sweetheart. We obey it. It keeps us apart
from the unpartitioned, cold wilderness.
We want to be who it tells us we are.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holding Back

Holding Back

Think of when you last held back,
felt some part of you holding you by the shoulders
or clutching the back of your own collar.

How does the division of labor occur.
What part dons police cap and badge, plays bouncer,
sheriff, boss. And what sliver of you

flares up in response, flailing, a thief
with a mouth tied directly to his heart. You are in possession
of dualities, but because they are cuffed

and move together, they could be mistaken
for one big being. They keep hoping you’ll let them swap
jobs, since they can access the same memories.

Friday, November 19, 2010



No sugar. Instead, honey.
Or maple syrup.

No basil. Some other herb
for it, oregano, cilantro.

No milk, cereal in the bowl.
Box already in the trash.
Orange juice. Half and half. Coffee,
depending on desperation.

No finishing nails or screwdriver.
Screws, hammered in.
Quickly and with force.

No top button. A safety pin.
A brooch, pinned with its face
inside the blouse. Tape. Glue.
Sealed with clear nail polish.
Hair gel. Hairspray.
Careful posture.

No gym. The yoga DVD.
What you can remember of yoga class
last year, reenacted in the living room,
blinds closed, towel folded on the floor.
Five minutes of stretching.
Twenty stomach crunches. Jumping jacks.
One push up.

Seven things to finish today,
tomorrow if you do not get to all of them.
Starting one now, and at least one later,
after lunch. At least one more before sleeping.
Four items in a list on a scrap of paper.
Titled Goals for Next Week.
Crossed out and retitled Don’t Forget.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Experiment

An Experiment

Why shouldn’t outer space show up in our veins,
the pockmarked face of Mars replicated trillions
of times upon the rocky edge of cell membranes.
Lava churning at the planet’s core undulates
like flames, like human proteins, and our lungs
contain dense forests of capillaries. What is there
to learn here. Is the message to stay put, that we
are on the right planet. Or did the galaxy fashion us
from itself as an experiment, bodies as Petri dishes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010



Like second sets of bones, your undergarments,
ladies, are meant to provide structure. Of course,

with structure and support comes pain. Discomfort
is to be expected. If it hurts, you know it is working.

Our flesh is too wayward to be good. Unheld
skin, jiggling, is unseemly, even in our own

eyes. Also, the undergarments cannot be seen.
They must be worn, but we do not want any

visible evidence of them poking out through
the clothing. We recommend Spanx, as their

punishment is effective, yet not unattractive.
Though they will mostly be covered, they should

be pretty, your bras and panties. Straps should be thin
and beribboned. Scalloped edges are nice. Daintiness

in appearance is essential. Now, we do not mean
to alarm you. But eventually, your undergarments

will turn on you. They all do, be ready for it. Do not
take it personally. Put yourself in their shoes,

imagine bearing their burden. The flowery lace
at your waist will break. The underwire of a bra

will snake its way into your rib cage, poking you
with a talon. It is so sick of you ignoring all

that it does for you. Practice gratitude for the
ingeniousness of undergarments, for how they

hold you in and back, for the way they punish
you and still press themselves into your parts.

Friday, November 12, 2010



Not just South, not below.
The Underworld is inaccessible
unless you are in it. It exists,

a boat collapsed on the bed
of the ocean, pinned to the dark
sand by miles of water above.

To get to the Underworld,
you must slink down into your
method of experiencing

the surfaces we smash
meaning into. We rely on sight
before the Underworld.

Slide under, where you
can look back, and see that
sight is only superstition.

Thursday, November 11, 2010



I literally could not believe it. Literally.
I mean, I totally could not believe that it

was happening, again. The information
could not fit into my head, literally, it

would be like sticking a USB plug into
an electrical socket in the wall. Know

what I mean? When you literally cannot
comprehend what you see, how random

it is, this thing happening to you so freaking
fast. This is so random, literally. What

causes us to meet random people, and of that
group, to feel that you have been programmed

on the exact same wavelength, literally
the same one. It totally stretches reality,

how random and amazing people can be.
Even to voice it, I have to shift gears,

drag what I mean into the room and try
to give it life, literally, so that you’ll see it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Arrangement

The Arrangement

Something is different, what is it.
The couch has wandered to the left
side of the room. The ceiling fan
has been cleaned, the stucco of dust
scraped from each blade. The light bulbs
have been switched. They are whiter,
more radiant. You swept. You sat
on the floor, grinding a sponge into
the linoleum, convinced that the stains
were beginning to loosen. You bleached
the floor. Something smells like apples
in the house, you have been cleaning.
Or baking. Or drinking. Your hair,
is that what it is. You never wear it like
that, the top half pinned back into
what do you call that. Or your eyelashes,
you tinted them. It’s your appendix,
isn’t it, you have had it removed.
Or you slept more hours than usual,
no nightmare about the cats escaping.
Whatever it is, I love it, keep doing it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010



How would you do it. Show me. Demonstrate.
What is the sequence of gestures. Do I start

with my nose on your wrist, or do I wait until
you have offered it. Or your nose at my wrist,

we take turns being bloodhounds. How do you
know which part of me is a curtain, and which

a window. Do you go around tying back every
curtain you see. What have you seen. Show me.

You gesture, and I’ll guess. Monster. Surprised
by a monster. Hearing. Your ear. No, sounds like.

Sounds like ear. Fear? Fear. Are you afraid to
act this out. Please don’t be, my dear. Let me see.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

There Are Encounters

There Are Encounters

There are encounters that change nothing.
No thing crawls from Earth’s surface. No
cliff or building disintegrates, no one drowns
in splintered rock or brick. No ropes
bind anyone to anyone else through the solar
plexus. No eyes latch onto other eyes, no knees
collapse as if the legs had been deboned. No
meals go uneaten, no water upturned
into a lap. No one leaves their body to look
down at the opaque beings peopling the towns.
There are encounters that change nothing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010



Stores die with the same velocity as bugs.
One day, humming, clicking. Shiny doors
parting like beetle wings. And then, gone.
Emptied out. A shell. The sudden voicelessness
of the SupeRx, its sign darkened and waiting
to be pried from the building. The town talks
about it. This is how they mourn. And when
the people of the town encounter those
they know working a till at the grocery story,
or behind bank glass, SupeRx gets stuffed
into the quiet between them. Always Did you
hear about the SupeRx, mmhmm, isn’t it
a shame. That a strange, new business
can rise to its feet in a body not belonging
to it. Blue signage plastered over red.
Shameful, the brutal reincarnation
of buildings. It’s a pharmacy again within
the month, sentenced to revisiting sickness,
the earnestness with which we fix ourselves.
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.