Friday, June 28, 2013

On Creativity: Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess

In the wake of this week’s exciting victories toward equality thanks to working together (onward, friends!), I can think of no better time to share this interview with Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess.

Their collaborative book of poems, X Marks the Dress: A Registry, has been ricocheting around my brain since I first read it a few weeks ago. With the energy of a feisty poltergeist, these poems disturb scenes of intimacy, ceremony and seeming domestic bliss. The book calls itself “a registry,”--yes, we are skirting (pardon the pun) the issue of weddings and marriage. But when I read these poems, I was struck by how intriguingly they explore and question identity (especially the identity of individuals within a relationship). This book forces us to wonder--how do we change when we are in love, when we are married or engaged? How do love and desire impact who we are?

(NOTE: After the interviews with both Darling and Guess below, read “23-Piece Knife Set With Block” and “Pizza,” both of which appear with permission of the authors. Order your copy of the book here.)


Q: While reading X Marks the Dress: A Registry, I noticed how fond these poems are of destruction and escape. Identities slip in and out, genders blur and reverse, garments unravel, mementos are smashed or burned. I got the feeling that you and your co-writer were trying to locate something or someone. 

In your poems (for this book, or for any of your work), how do you interact with what you are writing about? In your poems, are you chasing your ideas, or are they chasing you? How would you illustrate or perform what it feels like for you to write?

A: Kristina Marie Darling:  When I write the poetry that I consider my best work, I never feel as though I've planned out the text, and I don't ever know how the project will unfold.  Rather, I feel as though I'm discovering the text as I write it.  I'm constantly testing the boundaries and limitations of what I've created, and doing my best to uncover its possibilities, some of which I'm aware of, and some of which I'm not. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fresh Air

Fresh Air

Calm down, it’s not a net
around you, it’s a tent.

The flap is right here,
step outside if you need

fresh air, for this place
to spritz you with air

straight from a pine tree’s
mouth. Thunder’s ok,

rain is ok, that’s what
the tent is for, remember.

Don’t confuse shelter with
trap, the mountains are

all around, and the grass
is still soft on either side

of the path that you sidled
down when you came to us

this morning. Last year,
I mean. Whenever, it’s

summer here and winter
elsewhere, simultaneously,

anyway. Looking back, who
knows what you’ll think.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What I Will Tell the Flower

What I Will Tell the Flower

One tiny puff of white clover.
Sure, whole field white with clover,
but I can see just these five

white flowers, this one here
not just an example, but the flower
before me, a miniature lotus.

No other moment for us
like this one. It’s just me and you
here, flower, so I will speak

it now, in a voice overgrown
with clover: what this field always
needed was you, little flower.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Allow Your Gaze to Travel

Allow Your Gaze to Travel

Hey you, looking out into
what, a big hole carved
from the otherwise-growing
world. What is it you are
looking into, not just an away
from. The eyes are the balcony
of the self, with a rope thrown
across the railing. Reel in
this water, this sky, take it in
your body, this is how
the ocean becomes your
ocean, personal, portable.
Even now, you sense that
you will need it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Contest: #kettleshriek

To celebrate the release of my book, In the Kettle, the Shriek, I’m holding a contest.

1. Read the 8-line poem (the title poem of the book!), found below.

2. Take a photo or short video that somehow responds to a line, word, or idea from the poem.

(For example, the whale in the above video refers to the second line, "In smooth gums, the teeth.")

3. Share the photo or video (through Twitter, Instagram, Vine, or YouTube), with this hashtag: #kettleshriek.

If you post the image/video to your own blog, post the link here in the comments. (Feel free to include the part of the poem you’ve chosen in your post--but you don’t have to.)

You have until midnight, July 12 to share what you create, as many entries as you like.

I’ll pick three to receive a signed copy of the book (I’ll get in touch with you and ask for your address), with special surprises tucked inside (woohoo!). I’ll also feature some of the posts here on The Storialist.


In the Kettle, the Shriek

In the kettle, the shriek.
In smooth gums, the teeth.

In a heart, the hole.
In the flat page, the fold.

In the skin, the scar.
In quartz or flint or granite, the spark.

In juniper, the gin.
In the shut window, the wind.

Happy creating! The video above is my silly example (silly is good).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nothing Is Moving

Nothing Is Moving

Beaded curtain of fireflies,
hedges lighting up at their edges,

spray of sparks from a mirrorball’s
slow rotation. Nothing is moving,

I could say. But, God, that is so
inaccurate. No turning shrubs,

sure, and the road masters
corpse pose, plays dead

so well, and the darkness
steadies itself against our

planet, as a teacher, dizzy in
the heat at the end of the

school year, might put her hand
against the globe on her desk.

All revolves, you have introduced
yourself to space, a thing not

there, you keep trying to eat
your blind spots, adorn yourself

with cataract sequins, leopard-
proud. Everything promises

to dissolve, fireflies to you
mean summer, mean youth,

but this firefly on your arm,
flickering, you will never see

again after this second, the
long-slumbering lightning bugs

of last summer have given
the dirt the secret to making light.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What Is This Place

What Is This Place

If it will shelter you,
you can trust it
for tonight, at least.
If it offers you
its open hands, joined
to make a shelf,
you can rest here, wait
here for an hour.
If it the only thing it has
for you is a cauldron
of fire, or the serrated edge
of a precipice, or
acres of wild waters, then
you must keep
moving, even if you, I’m
sorry, love it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Here Is a Statue

Here Is a Statue

The reason you cannot see it is
that it’s made of air,

to look at it you will have to walk
through it.

Come toward my voice, keep going,
does it feel like

the ocean is breathing on you yet.
Now, it is the ocean

that is invisible, the statue is of
the ocean holding you.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sooner Rather Than Later

Guess what will be available a bit sooner than I'd originally thought?


Yup, that's right! In the Kettle, the Shriek can be held by your hands on August 1! (Confetti explosion!) (Can you hear my cat meow in the video? She had to make her presence known.)

It's also available for pre-order right now. 

Be ready for a contest announcement in the next couple of weeks. (MYSTERIOUS confetti explosion...silver confetti and fog).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Guest Speaker

Guest Speaker

Good morning, I’m here to talk to you
today about the illusion of safety

by which I mean safety, do you know
how lucky you are to be subject

to gravity, if we didn’t, why, how horrific
that would be, we’d have to buy

individual anchors for ourselves and
especially for the children,

there could be family-sized anchors, for
bundling you and your loved

ones, that would be one way to certify
love, with cables and straps

and carabiners, every second that goes
by, you are one second closer

to nothing, no, I mean that in a good way,
safety’s overrated, what I would

recommend is use what you know and
what you want, too, and one day

you will look back at something at say
Wow, that was a very hard time,

and then you will think about another
time, and say, That was me at

my happiest
, and no matter what, you will
have thought and said those things.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Everyday, Islands Go Missing

Everyday, Islands Go Missing

The island is tired
of waiting

for you. You have
not found it yet,

how must that sound,

like throwing words
into the ocean, the poor
little pebbles.

Who feels bad for
the island

in the middle of the
mainland, no oceans
in sight.

Where is the island

for the farmer,
for cacti,
for those who have
never seen an ocean.

The ticket
is not the island.

Your goggles
are not the island.

The island can’t come inland.
It has to remember where
it lives,

you need to go to it,
walk on it,
a puddle of land.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Bad Weather Club

The Bad Weather Club

All it takes to join is a love
of the majority of rain,

rain cut on the bias and rain
light as seaspray and,

especially, rain right before
it is rain, dark sky

during day, birds whooping
and trilling their

faces off, leaves on the trees
twitching, fingers on

piano keys. Our clubhouse
is made of glass,

we spend our meetings gazing
out, chanting, let it

not clear quite yet. That’s it.
Do not confuse us

with the Cheerers of Calamity,
it’s not destruction

we love, but the clouds, hands
held over our heads.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Perpetual Meadow

Perpetual Meadow

It’s just you and me now, meadow,
forever. No big trees, you promised.
I would write in your yearbook
what we wrote to one other when
we were twelve: Stay cool, don’t
ever change!
Oh meadow, I love
how the far edge of you is as much
you as the new white clover
in your center, the great leveling
of all that grows within a claimed
proximity. Even the sky above you
belongs here, to you, outer space
helped make this one purple aster.
The meadow is the universe’s
heart, undying, accepting of
all that flows around it, I see
this. There is light, there is water,
flowers and grass, there is me
walking here, welcome, as would
be any life, stopping through.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Site, Sight, and Insight

Great sign. Whole bunch of them found here.
It’s been almost five years since I started this blog (celebration coming in July!), and in playing with some elements of The Storialist, I’ve been trying to define what this site is, for me.

Mostly, I think of The Storialist as my studio: a place (a site is a place, yes?) in which I can write, work on my practice, experiment with ideas, all while in public. A studio with the doors and windows open.

Initially, the site served as proof that I was a writer, I think. It was place to start conversations with images and with myself.

In the future, I’d like to let my studio get a little messier, and still leave the doors open. More and more, I am interested in how creativity works in each of us.


Your turn. What is your blog, for you? How has it changed since you began it? How do you envision it working for you in the future?

Thursday, June 6, 2013



Every year, more of some things,
less of others. The body saying
no, I don’t need this piece now,
or hunger, capturing flags, gulping
them down. The thumbnail taken by
the car door does not grow back
when you expect it, and when it
does, its face is warped, mottled.
Inside, a record, a ledger. A being
to keep track. If you have heard
the sound of your eyelid opening,
you have actually heard the nib
of a pen scratching out how it all
gets spent.

Further Reading: 
What a Camera Means to a Person's Life

Wednesday, June 5, 2013



I walk with my whole body
along the land, I touch all
of the rocks under me, you
touch only the six beneath
your heel. I go as a body,
the edges of me move but
not as differentiated limbs.
As a pond floods, outgrows
its house, then shrinks. You
are my shell, I live in you,
malleable, soft. The grass
is cool as I flow through it,
the rock is cool, my touch
is cool. We are not exactly
the same, I move so easily,
love all places equally, any
place may hold me as I go.
Nothing is my favorite any
thing, I am the veil shielding
the world from you.

Further Reading:
Not a Raccoon but a Shadow of a Raccoon

Tuesday, June 4, 2013



There is always North, South,
West, East, the scrawny voice

of reason squeaks out,

there are maps with every bit of land
pinned down with a name,

a lion under a net,

this is the sandy isthmus
there so you can dash across it.

A little island

can make a dent in the ocean,
maybe you can find it again

in your lifetime.

Monday, June 3, 2013



Embroidery hoop into hamster wheel,
into tambourine fringed with silver zills

each transforming into a mini-tambourine
dangling from the mother ship. For so long,

you bop along, life around you swapping
scenes like painted scrims at the back

of the stage, images of the far-off sky
or mountains to say distant lands. Then

the world puffs up, every shape inflates,
the spider you almost killed becomes

the spider you rescued, good luck, you
want to say, as you release him into

the yard, godspeed. Once you see that
one thing is not flat, how quickly

the bellows bestow dimension in all
things, into time, too, failing light of day

hot as a pale fireball, the re-encountered
crummy first apartment welling up

and sparkling. You know what it takes
to make a new human, to teach him

how fun it is to pop the plastic bubbles
in the bubble wrap, no need to hold back.
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.