Friday, January 28, 2011

Video: Here It Comes

I'm very happy to share this week's video with you for "Here It Comes." I was brainstorming about where to record this, and I'd been wanting a train in the background. Clearly, that might be a little tricky to arrange ("Hey, train, can you back up and try that one more time? Train? Hello? Awww...").

However, while searching online, I found a great model trail store (I have a weakness for miniatures), and knew I wanted to film something in front of their train set. Thank you so much to The Train Station--everyone there was so sweet and helpful, and not too weirded out about what I was doing (despite it absolutely being strange). I said I would credit them as gaffers--thank you, Train Station!

Hope you like it--I can officially say I love iMovie. Also--for these videos, I'm taking requests! What poems would you like to see/hear me read? Just let me know in the comments.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Patching the Road

Patching the Road

They needed to patch the road.
Let’s wait until it isn’t winter anymore,
they said. Snow covered the road,
and melted, and fell again on the road.
The cold elbowed its way
into the street, split and pockmarked the asphalt.
They dropped bucketfuls of salt crystals,
a second snow.

They still needed to patch the road.
But once the streets were clear, drivers
flooded the road.
Tires deepened dips in the blacktop,
turned puddled spots into inside-out top hats,
bottoming out into the earth.

When will it slow down, the repair crew wondered.
At nights the crew left behind the tar
and concrete, drove their own cars home
and gazed into kitchen cupboards, fridges.
They sang to their babies. Made ice cubes.
Stared at the people in the television.
One worker dreamed the road lifted
from the ground like an orange peel.
He smiled, eyelids down.

The road had yet to be patched.
But if we do it now, where will everyone
who needs to drive here go?
The Director of Detours was on vacation.
Commutes would be wrecked
by construction right now.

More than ever, they needed to patch the road.
They watched the traffic hungrily
for signs of it slowing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Here It Comes

Here It Comes

Something big approaches. We feel it.
Thunder gets in us, rattles around in
the chest like a growl disconnected
from the vocal cords, the mouth.
Before the train enters stage right,
red lights flash and a bar drops to prevent
a car from getting caught up in its velocity.
The ocean announces itself miles away,
salting the air. We hold it in, enormity
nebulized. I catch myself listening for it
sometimes, wanting a giant to walk above
me, as if crossing a bedroom upstairs. Boom,
boom, boom, I’m ready, here it comes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Favoring One Side

Favoring One Side

Because the left ankle wobbles,
the right ankle thickens, compensates.

The sore tooth rests. The others
swoop in, rise up against bread and soup.

One shoulder an inch closer
to the ear, and on the opposite side, a rib

tugging away from the core.
The body is protective of itself, favoring

one side when injury assails
bones, loosens tendons. We’ve got this

under control, double of almost
everything. What isn’t duplicated in us

is at least hooked to a substitute,
and it comes rushing in should we need

it, should we give it a little yank.
We borrow it and it is ours. Our sturdy grip

exists because it did not used to,
but we needed a sling, a shield, a cradle.

Monday, January 24, 2011



To pray, we need walls around us.
Boundaries make safety, make shelter,

let us remain alongside thought
until we exit doors and walk outside.

To converse with deities, to listen
to the psyche, go into a box or a room.

Your brain will assume it is safe
to allow its lid to be removed. Space

is sacred when scarce. Prayers
must be patiently coaxed out, decanted,

for it is scary to venture from
the chapel of the mind, its temples.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Video: Seasonally Affected

Here at The Storialist, you will be seeing some experiments. I've been wanting to create videos of some kind, and came up with this. I hope to record myself reading a previously posted poem once a week--how do Multimedia Fridays sound to you? This was shot by me, with my laptop, during the snowy afternoon (it seemed fitting to begin with "Seasonally Affected"). I hope you enjoy it! Click here for the text.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and for your comments. I'm looking forward to exploring new ways to share my poems with you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011



Go on, play. Change the way
that objects move, and make
them mean more than they do.
Swaddle their movements in
significance and value. Where
does the pleasure come from
in play. From seeing a thing
obey the human will without
reason, watching it stand and
then turn away. We give off
gravity in play, bestow new
physics onto a ball that we
kick and catch. And when we
play together, we perfectly
agree that collisions allow
us to be near one another.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seasonally Affected

Seasonally Affected

The seasons affect us, whether
daylight drains away in the afternoon
or evening. The snow and ice

chase us indoors, slow our steps,
our driving, our blood. We see branches,
bare, as bones. Plants persist

in the winter, but they do not grow.
Evergreen and ochre bark instead of pink
or white petals. Shadows bloom

in the tree limbs and thus, some
place inside us. There was once a purpose
for our sadness and fatigue

in winter. We were naked
and cold, or we used to be bears and still
experience the urge to hibernate.

There are many ways to bring
light into your life in the winter. Buy a lamp,
arrange for a mechanical dawn

at your bedside. Tell your cells
that this bulb is the sun transformed into
a potted plant. They may or may not

fall for it. There will always be
darkness in you. What can you build
with it, with your sensitivity.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Making Boxes

Making Boxes

The cardboard boxes in the basement
speak through crossed-out, markered nouns.

In black, all caps: LINEN CLOSET.
A blue X runs through it. The correction,

also in blue, reads FRAGILE! GLASS!
I make them boxes again, push their sides

in to make them stand. They collapse
and rise with little work. The cardboard bends,

lets us label it and pretend that rooms
themselves can be boxed up, brought with us.

Here is my kitchen, held in my arms,
and there is my old bedroom, and the office.

The cubes are disembodied spaces,
rooms piled up without a stairwell or hall.

We will the contents of our houses
not to break. Every box is so very fragile.

Thursday, January 13, 2011



An action so full of place
that we named it after where we arrive:
landing. We meet the ground
again, re-remember the rules of the land.
Our perspective will always
be bottom-heavy. All the negative space
belongs to the sky, and it
seeps out from between tall buildings
like the grout around tiles.
We dwell in small, capped-up structures
and cut windows into them,
hang mirrors strategically to make rooms
appear more spacious, brighter.
We place a small rug near the front door
and write Welcome across it.
Then we scrape our shoes on its surface,
lest we bring in snow, dust,
mud or any other material that lands on
Earth, clinging to our steps.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Habit Forming

Habit Forming

How eager we are to make habit,
to take the new and transform it into the rote.
Where to turn and which awning to park beneath.
What number corresponds to your home
and the homes that your friends now live in.

Disquieting, disruptive,
our encounters with the unfamiliar ruffle us.
The consciousness rears up, wants to run
into some comfortable, imagined future.

What would we miss
if we could conjure habits from acts
we are yet unaccustomed to.

Miniature victories. The erasure of darkness
from a map. Scrutiny of time, and attentiveness
to where we are going. The strangeness
of the sky here,
how uncluttered and pale it is.
Variance in temperature,
the air warming slightly after snowfall.

Once we learn it well enough we will forget it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To Hear Yourself Talk

To Hear Yourself Talk

Do you like to hear yourself talk.
Have you tried to catch the tail ends
of words whipping back at you,
the thin string of a balloon pulling free
from your hand as it swims up and away.
Can you hear your voice as you activate it.
Wrestle your brain away from your mouth
and find the final phonemes as they dissolve
into silence. Cradle the sounds between
your ear and your neck, allow them to unfurl
and fade: an r-colored vowel, slurred,
the dull blade of the /d/ dropped.
Who doesn’t like to hear their own machinery,
these words suggesting themselves.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

These Apparitions

These Apparitions

The car is dappled with stars of frost,
cloves embedded in an orange.

Over the road, a black cloud of starlings
converges and pulls apart like velcro.

Here, let me obstruct that for you,
the morning says. I take up its voice

twenty-seven miles later, nearly miss
my exit for the new smoothness

of the road, orange construction signs
and cones extinguished, potholes

stubbed out. Out of everything I have not
seen today, this week, and ever,

why these apparitions. What do I volunteer
to my attention. What is hiding.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011



Release one of your anxieties. Try.
Lift up from it slowly, as you would pry

cold fingers from a steering wheel.
Are you willing to experiment, to feel

a practiced fear floating like smoke
away from you. We get nervous, provoke

in ourselves the jitters, the shakes.
We wince at the noise a siren makes,

avoid speaking to an entire room
of people we have not met, consume

ourselves with concerns over pets,
traffic, kids, money. The body digests

muscle if it is worked and not fed.
Anxiety strengthens anxiety. Instead

of anticipating fear, could we carve
away what eats at us, allow it to starve.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Home Body

Home Body

The home is, itself, a body.
It exists outside of you, not
for your purposes only. A home
has needs, and creates them
in us. The shower head dribbles,
its mouth clogged with calcium,
and your wet hair is reluctant
to release the slick conditioner.
You patch the peeling plaster
on the ceiling, crumbling
because a cracked shingle
lets in snow that becomes water,
and comes in. The home is a body
of work. You collaborate with it.
It is happy to work alongside you
and with the land outside it.
When you go from it for good,
it recalls you, keeps your hair
in its pipes and the mint you placed
into the dirt just outside the door.
It still works itself up to be torn.
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.