Nicole Steinberg’s collection of sonnets, Getting Lucky, was created using editorial copy from Lucky, a women’s style magazine. Each poem contains original text from an issue of Lucky and is named for a woman featured in that issue.
By Nicole Steinberg:
GETTING LUCKY WITH JAMIE
If you want to go a tiny bit hipster, here’s how:
Grab a romper and go to town on the all-natural train
from Jackson Heights to lower Manhattan; mask
any contempt for the matchy-matchy girls under
your straw fedora and un-meltable hair. Always
have Kate Moss’s precise address and phone
number at the ready; indulge in vanilla soft-serve
and run wild through dressing rooms, completely
guilt-free. Hide your arbitrary fears and Connecticut
weakness; call forth your tough, punk rock shine.
Stay pretty in the heat of the New York chill
you’ve dreamed of since you were a teenager, even
after you’re no longer new. Lick your black pearl lips,
telegraph a dose of danger. Let it come, dripping wet.
GETTING LUCKY WITH BECKI
Chances are you’re like me, a midsummer night’s
cowgirl. You smoldering petal, the sweetest
corsage, juicy bloom on the branch—I clutch
the cling of your loungewear, extract the spectrum
from your wafer heart. My preference is the pink
fruit of your cheek: its fancy stitch and classic
mascara smears; the scar, a striking solitaire.
The angelic décor of your hand seems simple,
ideal for rings and glinty bangles—I let it
make me happy. Cat-like nails: perfect, perfect.
For you I’m Michelle Pfeiffer cinched in a belt;
crazy stacked receptionist hung on a hook.
I’m an old-fashioned girl, all over your brow
and under your gown, constantly tied and tasting.
GETTING LUCKY WITH GEORGIA
Beneath the V-neck shirt, it’s all about a schoolgirl
spin; peer closely. The surface is gamine, library-ish—
you couldn’t find a sweeter-looking chanteuse,
preppy Marie Antoinette fresh out of the gardens
of Versailles. Slim cuffed khakis and studded
ballet slippers; thick, translucent frames over pale
quartz eyes; brass bullet hanging from a wispy chain:
officially the most fun thing in an long, long time.
Sumptuous, stormy, ultra-malleable—I didn’t know this
icy puppy could be so subversive. My vanilla rosette,
coquettish lightweight who never learned how to drive:
Skip the country club for bedhead and heavy metal;
flash an arresting stretch of shoulder. Get twisted and
wild in full-throttle red: the gleam of your lips, just-bitten.
Nicole Steinberg is the editor of the literary anthology Forgotten Borough: Writers Come to Terms with Queens, as well as an editor at large at LIT magazine. Her poetry has appeared in H_NGM_N, No Tell Motel, BOMB, Gulf Coast, and other publications. She is the author of Birds of Tokyo (Dancing Girl Press, 2011) and founder of Earshot, a NYC reading series. She currently lives in Philadelphia.
Editor’s Note: I recently saw Nicole Steinberg read at the Moonshot Magazine Holiday Party at Brooklyn’s own The Home Of. After the reading, when I asked my fellow audience members what they liked best, each and every one of them gave the same response. Nicole Steinberg was the clear audience favorite, and the words on everyone’s lips were Getting Lucky.
Steinberg’s reappropriated text functions as a telling commentary on modern American society and the gendered molds it imposes on women and girls. The counterculture revolution urged from within the controlled, sonnet form gives tongue-in-cheek nods to the norm while flipping the bird with glittery fingernails.