The Tie

teetering — the edge
of meaningless words
she moved, inaccessible

I told her “take my eyes,
they too are clouded”

lost to the future

scrambling, she snatched the thread
& tugged it loose

we watched it unravel
on opposite sides
of the room

neither had sewn the cloth

it appeared one day
from nowhere,
we found it

referenced its existence
when the house was restless

unwashed, it sat

beneath a pot of boiling water
between us at the table

potentiality woven
its subtle hisses

death in increments

mock tenderness
adrift, exposure

she held one finger
poised to screen her
quivering lips

hardened independence

I leaned across the table
& paused above
the steam

I meant to reach
but stayed instead

she never moved her hand

53 Christopher Street

extricated from a lull
on Christopher street
a crowd gathers to
see the doors crash open
the queer guard torn off
untethered & scared
dragged by their hair
make-up smeared by tears
& sweat, frustration dripping
tension building to a break
long subdued yet still foreseen
bedlam brewing beneath

a body of law
that cast de facto dragnets
intended to disarm with
social penalty, the aim —
to bait a catch
& remove disorder from the city

but eyes were moved to motion
by shoves that shook a group gasp loose
& when the swinging purse made contact
a throng of coins fell crashing through

with steadiness of hand & foot
they danced through bars together
asking with a happy laugh
that echoed challenge,
a collective voice unleashed
against the blind raids
in the night
shifting an unequal scale
toward a balance that
was right

The Spine

divided into steps
the mechanical measurement
of life (meant to live)
when did the shift begin
in the opposite direction?

emphasized self-doubt
wholesale, turning
back around
with an overwhelming
of internal violence

will the time come when
you ask yourself,
am I too old?

when in fact, the best laid
plans shatter personality
there’s nothing you would do
if it didn’t mean something

like shoes left out to dry
in the unexpected rain
a lesson in understanding

there was a period,
an interval,
when the stars were unknown
when the rift that cracked
across the sky
seemed more profound

in time,
a pulling motion
to and from my mouth
filtered all experience and
made admission toward vision
a sense of coming down

the pressure
meant to draw attention
toward the inevitable path
that all must follow
from a fixed point
in the past
to an unclassified future


fiddling in the darkness
pushing up against the walls
in time, it was distended
like a sack of amniotic fluid
drowning in the excess of
too much material
an illusion of growth,
the protection of a womb,
allowing words to infiltrate
through the skin-lining
of the belly

she ate to feed the story
yet to be born
she savored the remaining moments
before it was out of her control
twisted like a knot inside
unable to detangle
the threads she’d bred
she continued living
until the pressure built
up beyond all comprehension
the patterns refused to connect
the lines of meaning never surfaced
and the breath of life within
was suppressed to nonexistence

Acting in Accordance

I was one with a sugar lamb’s eye, I gazed, glazed over, to the back of the gallery for something. The world at once present and absent. At times the mirror increases a thing’s value — I thought to myself. The people remaining behind look over the ramparts. I resumed my gaze and was quiet. I thought it a great ambiguity. She approached and kissed me on both cheeks. The loss of quality so evident at all levels I heard myself respond but all that was very distant. To join lips to express affection indicates that it as crossed the threshold of its own abundance. As time passes the roles, too, are no longer the same… like novels being written and necklaces being made. It is so complex. There is a series of changes. I walked outside and entered the square with a mouthful of dialogue. Adjusting my perspective glance, breathing in and out with my eyelids peeled back. In favor of the movement being identified, I turned it over in the palm of my hand. It was twisted like roots to the point of indiscernible understanding. I yelled out “no meaning” at the top of my lungs, but no one looked up. I retreated to the gallery in peace to sit again in silence with the waste of ideas stuck beneath my tongue as the rhythm of thought was extinguished between the walls. 

The Edge

there are no subjugation tactics
that will pull our hands apart

you misread
the context of the
way we wear our clothes
don’t you see that
something lays
along the edge
with a weight
like trepidation?
it’s all we’ve ever needed
to eviscerate the lines
drawn around the limits,
to build bridges
in objective space
while every boundry sharpens
it's renamed the “new frontier” –
though restrictions won't restrain
us from being placed
side by side the other
the fabric's free when frayed
the water bays against our skin,
& the blue light bends
unbalanced by the rippling
of shifting bodies

we wade into the center
and pretend we are alone
our hands cup to retain
each droplet almost dissolved

we slink onto the pavement
our stomachs kiss cement
we turn to face the clouds
moving in the darkness

it's a misinterpretation
of our patterns and desires
of our will to embrace
& seek comfort from each other

The Framer

she removed the lens
when the sidewalk shift
scraped the caked mud
off her feet
along the line,
square crossing sign,
reaping rubber meat
I tell you not
what flashing lights
will do to worsen sleep
dreaming of a narrow alley
dark & incomplete
a landline signal
low-fi & weathered
briny trigger
against the grain
sparkling in the night
trying to find the way
it goes up
a green cylinder
in my pocket
by way of
& mixed violations
inclined to capture a moment
on the cusp
of happening
it’s easier to tell
defiance from
choice of chance
to extend
a piece of yourself
releasing the tense
evolution of
unconscious recollection
open to suggestion


sucked into the slipshod trap
of trifling self-deceit
locked into a rough embrace
tight with no release

embarrassed by defeat
when you didn’t ask for help
a subtle requisition can be felt
the spotlight turning silently
the ring around your belt
a subtle recognition
several smells
waft alight in knuckled presence
a systematic flash of light
the candles blown
your sentence
settles in the night

left taciturn
awaiting slow return
a continuous mode of color temperature
ignites a complex spectrum

a triggered transformation
diverts the cyclical
direction of angular frequency
the inevitable plastic
photosensitive seizures
enveloped in a flood beam

between here
& reality

the U’s

the U's were upside down
frowning in the daylight
alone between the lines
waiting for a passerby
to bend the fold another way
and edulcorate the silence
of a system that churned
so far out of control
on a base of blind dependence
also known as home

it played the role of an
obsessive image dying within
with its bars turned twisted toward
unfailing adoration
repressing the deep understanding
of simple eye movements

in retrospect

knotted capes
and fostered
feelings of
the fickle-hearted
sieze the wearer
with distress
and each
and every
muddied meaning
comes bleeding out
with malcontent
a dry bone broken,
a cracked-split lip
the pain within

and moves the measurement
of one year
toward a future
much too distant


Brittany Griffiths