By: Sean Griffin
Flecks of your makeup found themselves
in the textile of my jacket, the threads crossing
each other, a woven safety net, when we
hugged, and I could see in the texture of your face
the way the threads of your muscles were woven
tight, and a staccato “sorry” stained the air.
My manners, those invisible things that tug
at the fabric of my flesh, tell me “no no.”
So I didn’t ask and you didn’t say.
Sean Griffin received his MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. His fiction has appeared in The Southampton Review, his poetry in The Offbeat, and his creative non-fiction in Foliate Oak. He teaches at Concordia College of New York, is an editor for Inkwell Literary Journal, and lives in New York with his three dogs.
“This poem began with an image, a smudge of foundation on my black blazer. From that image I reconstructed the situation just after its appearance, the moment of misfire, a potential connection missed, on both our parts, due to politeness. Throughout, I let the language of the initial image pervade. Letting the continuous tailoring terminology sew together the material and the social.
My work often deals with themes of alienation and belonging, and I used these here to create a tension to reflect how each are tenuous, such as the facial muscles woven too tightly (lines 4 and 5). Especially given that the face communicates so much through musculature alone.
My technique falls under the style of the confessional poets where events and images from my life inspire poems that aim to connect to larger issues, while not needing such personal insights into me. Within my poetry, I try to use address as to include the reader in either role, the ‘I’ or the ‘you’, in a way to transcend gender to create a more human or universal understanding.”