from Poetry Barn Barn!
(That let you roll where you want it.)


Jill Magi


1.
 
We know that when we live and work in the presence of true inspiration we live and work better
better. With our Art to Collect series of prints, we’re bringing to collect you some of the art we’ve
come come to love. And because it’s treated for wrinkle resistance, you can always always count on it
to look neat neat and polished.
 
2.
 
Extra large extra colonial red. Pink aloha. Guide gold. Nomadic zigzag rug. Emergency radio. The
ecologically nomadic friendly fibers are loomed loomed and neatly extra finished. All deceptively
compact that let it roll where you want it.
 
[I remember being embarrassed by the interior “look” and smell of my immigrant grandparent’s
house—though I remember being impressed with my grandfather’s carefully cultivated fruit trees in
the back yard. I seem to remember that they covered their furniture in plastic. Or they had plastic
runners connecting rooms. My parents often commented on our New Jersey neighbors who had
plastic all over their houses—“a very Italian thing to do,” they claimed. My grandparents’ art pieces
seemed to be things they had picked up here and there. Some framed and unframed paintings made
by family members, old prints, carved boxes, metal book ends. There was no color scheme. Or
maybe brown and orange dominated—colors I knew my parents did not like and rejected for “clean”
blues and beiges and a touch of red. I can’t exactly describe the smell of their house—a little like
body odor mixed with hair pomade and baked bread. Even when my grandparents moved in to a
small apartment, they didn’t sell off any of the furniture. During one visit—visits where I
simultaneously dreaded and savored their foreign-ness—I remember our whole family squeezing our
legs into what seemed to be a narrow six-inch space between the sofa and a bulky coffee table.]
 
6.
 
A generously padded padded button-tufted top and padded brass casters that let it roll where you
want it you want it.
 
7.
 
Lilac sprigs drawn from an antique document fabric. The charcoal sketch of books is surrounded by
quotes about reading. Line-drawn exclusively for us by our exclusively in-house artist our Linda Kuo.
 
8.
 
Shiny shiny and chic in glossy Italian crinkle-patent leather, with perfect proportions. Prop. Prop.
 
[To design and name furniture is to present the idea of style, to create a trend; this is one way to note
the passage of time, to insert breaks in what is not necessarily progress but modernity’s continuous
history of privilege. To know the characteristics of an Edwardian piece, Arts and Crafts, or a Chelsea
chair is to have home design literacy. Maybe this is why IKEA is so disruptive and exciting and
appears to be so democratic—along with a low price-point, the Swedish names for furniture “stick”
in their marketing and labeling, forcing all of us to try out the tongue of a nation who’s managed
quite well to balance frugality, hard work (you have to put it together yourself), style (like the “quick
fashion” trade, IKEA designers seem to have an eye peering in at the trends and can replicate things
fast), all the while presenting to the world a kind of Swiss-like “neutrality,” a buried colonial past of
their own. Go ahead, fill up your cart! Shop almost as if you’re dumpster diving around the city on an
early Sunday morning where a little effort can go a long way and you never know what you might
decide that you need.]
 
12.
 
Henry is best known for her powerful photographs of African powerful wildlife. She considers her
work a call a call to preserve the wild environment where these animals best live. Native to Chile and
Peru, llamas are often domesticated for use for use as pack animals throughout the Andes or raised
for meat meat or wool. Hoberman lives in South Africa, and is a world-famous photographer known
for using his art to portray a positive positive art vision of the world that let it roll where you want it.
 
[I notice a male J. Crew model posing in a blazer jacket but wearing jeans that are marked up with
paint. Signaling “artist” (not “laborer”) he’s still thankfully able to fit in, able to dress himself up a bit,
show up to the dinner with the parents still looking OK. He’s actually more than OK—it’s great that
he’s left his “work” clothes on—he becomes a conversation piece, everyone’s favorite monument to
the dream of self-expression coupled with economic success. Like that moment in the 80s, it’s a hot
art market now, they say. He can have it all and that means we can too. Reminds me that I recently
read in one of the art magazines that the MFA is the new MBA.]
 
24.
 
What does our creative director take on vacation? Just ask ask ask Jenna Lyons—we did. Here’s her
top list. Zebra straw bag. Coral reef: my favorite summer color—toes only! Regatta short. Critters,
madras. Rustic wood accents. Bamboo cotton throw. Bonsai tree organic bedding ensemble. Faux fur
throw that let it roll roll roll where you want you want it.
 
25.
 
This indispensable, stylish wrap is great to have on hand in case of chilly air conditioning or an
unexpected nip nip in the air. All styles skim nip easily over the body nip for a comfortable fit nip
without nip cling. Ballistic luggage that let it roll where you want it. Your closet away from ballistic
home.
 
[Does the proliferation of animal prints, both for the home and as textiles for the body, signal
“conservation,” as the Pottery Barn catalogue so claims of their African animal photographs? Or do
these prints and “genuine” cowhide skins signal the marriage of domination and conservation,
scientific interest and conquest that, like “the botanical” and prize acquisitions from the Safari,
commemorate adventure and knowledge, two “enlightenment” imaginings designed to trump the
brutal realities of conquest? How does concern for the plight of animals and their environments
translate into fashion? Environmentalism: the fashionable “liberal” cousin of colonialism? Werner
Herzog asks in his recent film on Antarctica, how do you explain whale and tree huggers when
languages are dying every day? Green is the new black, they say. As global warming rhetoric
effectively picks away at our faith in humanity, do we turn to animals on to whom we (once again)
project an idea of “innocence,” purity, and family (note the portrait of the baby elephant with her
mother)—they, after all, are untouched by (but of course effected by) excess and consumerism.]
 
26.
 
Not all media cabinets have to look look like media cabinets. Small drawers, both real and false,
conceal strategically designed false storage. Inspired by the false furniture design of the mid-19th
century Empire period. Empire waist period. Tea-length skirt period. Peep-toe pump period.
 
[I’m puzzled by the grammar of the description of a piece of furniture on “coasters that let it roll
where you want it.” It’s as if the furniture is an animated member of the household. While the piece
is ambulatory, it doesn’t have free will: it is at your beck and call. As if a robot or house servant or
slave or dog? This furniture’s attributes “let it roll” but not simply anywhere but (hopefully,
presumably) “where you want it.”]
 
 
 
 
NOTE: these selections are forthcoming in a chapbook from 2nd Avenue Press.