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Nicole Steinberg

Getting Lucky is a collection of sonnets, created from the editorial copy of Lucky, a Condé Nast women’s publication about shopping and style. Each poem contains original source text culled from a single issue of Lucky and takes its name from a woman featured in that issue. The individual works, using stylized metaphor and absurd narrative, hold up a magnifying glass to the ways in which language is gendered for specific target audiences in print journalism and advertising, and the many ways it is used to sublimate specific ideas and tropes about the role of the modern woman.

 

 

Getting Lucky With Tina

 

 

Your first BFF should exude mystery and hotness,

out-and-out glitzy and water-repellent, with a private

life that’s enviably exciting. I want my best friend

to feel very English—or French; that would improve

my life about six zillion percent—badass and dainty,

the giant understatement of the party. We can futz around

my apartment with café au laits and cigarettes, arty

and artistic in the most artful way. A dramatic, urban

mushroom, I see strategically bare women on the street

and telegraph obscene thought bubbles. I get kind of

insanely obsessed with these tart, seductive models,

nonstop embellished and clangy like fireworks in a museum.

New York, at its worst, is an emotional minefield.

No matter how you look at it, my mood ring is basic black.

 

 

Getting Lucky With Audrey

 

 

At summer camp, we fall in love

slow dancing in knee-high socks. I rain

across your body, wild under the musical

instrument of your finger. Settled casually

in an adorned room, we make toast and craft

bracelets out of rhinestones and the Sears catalog.

I wear a cocktail dress with Chuck Taylors,

an alternative grown-up; I build a capsule

of ultra-soft stuffed animals and sweet Boy Scouts

with fuzzy mustaches, because they’re nice.

For a free spirit like me, time is the impossibly

impossible—nothing but a knot in a scarf.

Everything tough sparkles in the evening,

bold and burning as it pulls against the earth.

 

 

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 Nicole

 

 

Face it; you aren’t Angelina in the supermarket

or on a boat in Bora-Bora, surrounded by flashbulbs

and style mavens in Chanel. There’s a wildly

held stereotype that drama is entertaining,

that being exposed is awesome. You pile on

cashmere and floppy ribbons, rigid and tough

with your murderous midriff and dark sartorial

sensibility, lozenges and a volcano in your medicine

cabinet. It’s almost impossible to not feel a bit

inferior, among a phalanx of Faye Dunaways

in enameled epaulets with unstoppable élan.

You feel like a slacker whose cool factor got lost—

always scrambling to exude that certain something,

on the lookout for any attitude other than your own.

 

 

Getting Lucky With Jessica

 

 

Master of the touchable tee, most of my closet

is secondhand. Lately I’ve been living in tiny

rubies and mad-for-dancing, French-girl shoes,

hooked on currant and bath crystals harvested

from salt flats in Ibiza. You can’t help but

fall for my oddly enchanting lifestyle, the disco

gold on my practically bare face. I’ve graduated

from a grueling L.A. schedule to the satisfying

authenticity of my great-great-granny’s old-school

plum pudding and rustic tap water. As the night goes

on, I get sexier and sexier, a Bulgarian rose married

to dark denim and flower-spangled smock dresses.

Wisps come loose, ocean meets earth, and my body

emerges: sweet jewel under pale robin’s-egg shell.

 

 

Getting Lucky With Zooey


I’m half delighted and half terrified

by September. Summer can be graceless—

I look for things I’ve always loved:

sherbet, an afternoon sky shot with purple,

peach fuzz and piña coladas. I see myself

back in someone’s grungy dorm room:

fresh lime squeezed over my demure belly button;

spicy incense burning, sweet and cloying.

It’s devastatingly hot, this decayed luxury—

sticky, perfumed décolletage, chic candy.

Freed of acid-washed jeans and white blouse,

I smile, careen into pages and pages of catalogued

girls, so many yoked butterflies, floaty and warm.

The search for the perfect holiday is over.

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