Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goes Without Saying

Goes Without Saying

What goes without saying, some things
do. What should we know without
speaking. Can we differentiate when truth rings
out in all brains, and when we ferret it out

because it has been withheld from us.
How much direction do we need, the sign
saying Please Flush Toilet, not just
one, but several, to intercept any line

of vision: in the stall, near the faucet,
above the silver Dyson Airblade.
From the sign, the bathroom seems desperate
for you to agree with the rules it’s made.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Magic Eye

Magic Eye

When you focus your eyes,
what are you unable to see.

The chair loses its doubled
silhouette, slims and simplifies

like a woman sucking in
her stomach and tilting her

pelvis out to exaggerate
the sharpness of her hipbones.

The undulating darkness
of a bedroom settles, stills.

Look more quietly. Make
the corner of your eyes

their new center, so you
can see what flits about

you peripherally, really.
Try not to startle it away,

whatever it it is, your two
pupils boring into it like

black headlights. Allow your
gaze to slouch, let it yawn

and stretch an arm over the
shoulder of your blind spot.

It’s been following you since
you recognized your first face.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Text-Based Art: So Many Selves

The blue (periwinkle?) wall was too good to pass up. I'd like to go leave letters around the neighborhood, if I could. Until then, there's Photoshop.

I wish you (and your various selves) a delightful weekend.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jet Lag

Jet Lag

There are so many selves these days,
living in many places at once.

When we travel, we leave a self back
at home, to remind us what we

would be doing if we wouldn't have left.
The traveling self receives

the thoughts of the one at home, as if
over a baby monitor,

feels unstuck from time. Yesterday,
I answered the phone

and spoke to Kathy. Sorry, who is
this, I asked, and she

said, Kathy, your across-the-hall
neighbor in number 4.

Not neighbor, actually, not for a year,
and a couple thousand miles

away, several states. It’s easy to
forget where here is,

when now is. In my Twitter feed,
hundreds of people

who live in places I have left, telling
me about the clouds

and mild temperatures, and out the
window here, clouds,

no snow. The town you return to is
only partially the place

itself. Your memory sketches over
it, like architectural plans

in reverse. It is still what it used to
be to you, every version.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

House Keeping

House Keeping

Don’t forget to take your
house. You put it down
at the front door. To dry.
Because you had been
walking in the rain with it.
Mine’s the one with the porch
across the hall from yours.
They like each other, it’s
sweet. They play well
together, look how yours
taps the swing on mine.
And the swing set, with
the silver legs that can rear
up like an angry horse. Don’t
leave it here. That’s yours.
We don’t want some other
house falling over your
swing set, do we, now,
no, of course not. I would
never suggest that your
house is ill-behaved.
I would never. We teach
houses how to treat us
with the land we tuck
them into, the additions
we give them or snagged
screens that go unpatched.
There are no bad houses or
bad owners, just bad plumbers.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Only Rose There Is

The Only Rose There Is

what were roses like
when you could touch
them, Great-Great-Great-

the week-in-the-vase
rose on the table now,
heavy-headed, a girl
with a bonnet for a face
sewn to a blanket.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Text-Based Art: Forever You Will Never

Forgive the heavy stuff this week. At least I've matched the existential with pink and purple, right?

I'm playing with the idea of making postcards of some of these....what do you think? I was even investigating temporary tattoos a bit....though that idea is a bit more ridiculous!!

Happy weekend to you!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Which Year’s Magnolias

Which Year’s Magnolias

Picture frames kneel
or prop themselves up
on an elbow or with a
fist under the chin, senior
portrait-style. Inside
the frames, more posing,
smiles summoned and
held, eyelids lifted high
and eyes looking out
from the table, back at
those in the living room.
Little herds of framed
photos become sculptures
to those who often sit
in the room with them,
small rectangles with
painted surfaces. Faces
flatten into pattern, and
so does what happened,
the details of who took
which photo, which baby
is in the stroller or yet
unborn, which year’s
magnolias were so pink.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

From Whence

From Whence

Where are you
at, from whence
do you hail. From
where do you
come from.
I give the ATM
machine my
PIN number.
cave in, and
grammar, when we
flood the engine,
give our words
too much gas.
Alls we want’s
to say it natural,
to put our thoughts
out into the light
for somebody.
We slip an extra
syllable or letter
into a word,
onion with a “g”
ongion, or alvacado
because we can’t
believe words end
where they do,
so soon. The ends
of our sentences
sizzle with vocal
fry, like wooden
doors endlessly
creaking open.
Hows come
Pop Rocks
don’t count as

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eggshell Eggshell

Eggshell Eggshell

We want the insides of our rooms
to resemble the outside of an egg.

Not the color of a white eggshell,
but its texture. Perhaps also the color,

Benjamin Moore Eggshell Eggshell,
for wherever we need to reflect lots

of light, kitchens, bathrooms, mud
rooms. When we look at our walls

from inside our homes, we want to
feel that we are looking at the outer

edge of an egg, its shell, and we
also want to feel we are within it.

We want to have our egg and eat it,
too, and we do. To draw the planet

Earth, we draw a blue circle with
a green flotation vest flung round

its body for land, blue scribbles
wherever it isn’t green. Our planet

can fit on paper, on a tabletop.
We have seen it from outer space

in a photograph. All we want is
to pop by a neighboring galaxy

so we can look out its windows
at us. What do we look like to them.

Monday, January 16, 2012



One day, my heart will stop beating. (not everything is a joke)
-Jimmy Kimmel in a tweet on January 13, 2012

There will be a world with no you in it,
and it won’t be lopsided here without you.
The people who knew you will also be
gone, and then the people who had been
told about you. A child in each playground
swing, a dog at the end of every leash.
Water will course through the pipes
in the city you no longer live in, in your
home that you are not inside of. The new
inhabitants will hold a pot beneath
the faucet in the kitchen, place the pot
on top of the stove, just as you did.
Some of your objects remain, have
been reassigned. Your guitar is held
by a boy whose mother purchased it
from a resale shop. Your gray pearls
are with a woman flecked with your
genes. Many of your books have
disintegrated. A few of the things
you made still belong to someone
else who looks at them. There are
television shows starring humans who
were born long after you disappeared.
Feathers fill the pillows, and teens
and preteens take the risk of placing
their tongues in each other’s mouths.
Forever, you will never come back.
Ninety-eight or eighty-three over
infinity, it is almost not even a fraction.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Experiment in Text: Slow Yes

Uh-oh. I....got....Photoshop! Definitely tricky, but it will be very fun (any tips from those of you that are Photoshop experts?). This image above came from a walk I took this week, in the weirdly warm Ohio temperatures (which are now gone again). My neighborhood is bricky.

Happy weekend, everyone! What projects are keeping you occupied these days?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Slow Yes

Slow Yes

Let the objects and locations
around you grow stranger.

Let the road smack your foot
in the jaw when the cobblestone

is higher than you expected.
May the branches corkscrew

and twist as they reach away
from the trees that own them.

May you, a pedestrian, gesture
to cars to allow them to turn.

Doesn’t the insurance company
look bewitching in her bricks.

Doesn’t the nude light bulb
in the third floor of the vacant

building gleam with good health.
Keep trying tomato juice and olives

and whiskey (not together) in case
your taste buds reupholster themselves.

Keep hold of the year you were
born so you always know your age.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012



We gather an old shirt
and a pair of pants
and a hat, and build
a body from straw
and sticks, a snowman
in summer.

The sleeves catch
on the sharply-angled
sticks chosen to perform
as limbs, dangle, move
as if the man we’ve made
is moving to step down,
toward us.

The more we stare at him,
in that shirt we used to
see the back of in
the mornings, when
he stood at the counter,
pouring water from
a glass into the back
of the coffee maker--
the more we stare,
the more scared
we are.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Invitation

The Invitation

The honor of your presence
has been requested. By me.
I’m requesting that you

join me, temporarily,
bring your dishonor and
your favorite dessert

only if it is ice cream,
mint studded with
chocolate chips like

a green ermine coat
in a cup. I want to eat
a meal with you, food

as trickling hourglass,
course after course to make
the evening stretch. Time

is like spandex, it snaps
back and flattens with no
body in it, without your

body. Wear what you like,
your luckiest garment,
and I will be the one wearing

the mask of your face
tied on with curling ribbons.
I promise to take it off

once you have found me.
I am looking forward to
sharing oxygen with you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Experiment in Text: Do Not Disturb

Thursday, January 5, 2012



The jumbled geometry
of the skate park
collects snow in its
curves. No one skates
or lurks here today.
If the skaters were
out, there would be
at least one with a cast,
a swatch of dried blood
on a shin or chin. These
boys arrive pre-bruised,
marked by play.
They are used to crashing
into dirt or concrete.
Little blond Dennis
pedaling his trike around
the block becomes
more menacing the older
he gets, mopeds, cars.
Bart is safer on a
skateboard than on a
golf cart. The ground
doesn’t move if
they smash into it.
They keep trying to
swat something loose,
so we give them a
park with no trees
and listen to their
wheels growl as they
scrape across cement.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On Eggshells

On Eggshells

Whether you walk on eggshells
or stomp on them, you will
trample them. To compile
a pound of eggshells, you would
need six hundred twenty-five
empties. Tiptoes and caution
still shatter calcium carbonate.
Anyway, they were made to
be broken. You are noisy
even when you are silent,
the world is dripping with
Do Not Disturb signs in
languages we don’t even
recognize as languages.
As a hearing aid with the
volume cranked lets out
a squeal, you are loud
because you are here.

Monday, January 2, 2012



The verb belt,
meaning to latch
a belt around,

to torture
a garment
by twisting

its lines, to
bring the waist
of a sweater

or dress closer
to the waist
of the wearer.

When I bought
my wedding gown,
I was zipped up

by an Ichabod
man who claimed

he could put
any girl into any
dress. One

two sizes too
small, he convinced
to close in on me.

In every city
I have lived in,
I find a reliable

tailor. Whatever
is ill-fitting, I
isolate it, threaten

it with thread
and needle,
or leather.

Do you or
someone you
know share

in my fetish
for strategy:
how should we

go about this,
which elegant
approach will

I uncover that
has never spoken
to anyone else.

Strategy or
their hands

look the same,
draped around
a lover’s throat.
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.