Balloon in the Intersection at Night & Other Poems


Crystalline spider, size of a seed, thumbs clenched edges of the impenetrable peony bud, balled until it’s ready, uncaring over the arachnid’s need to lay eggs inside

Balloon in the intersection at night

Floating pearl, string dragging along blacktop, four-way stop, this indecisive bauble bobs, angling toward the streetlights and the moon up there with them.

The balloon's ring scrapes. Its fullness lessening second by second.

Hatsu*Haru for Shizuki Fujisawa

初春 "初" is first. "春" is spring. If we could go back to our earliest remembered bloom, after the sylvan sections of our lives stripped, and we bundled ourselves up. That New York snow, walls of it covering windows, held us in. The sweeping yellow light of the plows signaled further fortification,

and after the dizzying isolation, the streets shined with slick, puddles around the bases of trees turned to mud, and pricked tips of grass showed they didn’t lie down that whole season. Did we think the world was ending or were we given confidence from our elders? Regardless, that verdant unfurling and shaking out

gave us the definition of toughness. Was it not the same when we discovered love? Not the obligated kind we’re taught, but the ill logical kind that defies us. It etches a ring in our center that grows outward with us. We do senseless things like shade with our branches, house in our bifurcations, and let ourselves be climbed.

Each winter, between rings, we need to think back, when we’re cold with loneliness, about the blue spring ride that will happen. Sooner or later.

What Seán about these poems - Each of these poems, while differing in content, address similar themes of alienation, separation, and belonging. These themes, to me, are necessary as our growing digital connectivity and global awareness creates a longing and loneliness. Such feelings are captured in these works, and my writing in general, as I find I'm not so substantially in one box or another. As my surname might suggest, I'm a creature of dichotomies. This informs my writing as I use high and low language to connect the different cultures within myself such as the blue collar, literary, genderfluid, and queer cultures which are all vying for voice within the work, and I believe through my use of language, I’m accomplishing this. My approach to poetry can be described as Romantic poetic sensibilities in the style of the Confessional poets, while approaching the Nihilistic absurdity of our age.

Seán Griffin received an MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. Seán's writing has appeared in The Southampton Review, Impossible Archetype, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Offbeat, and elsewhere. Seán teaches writing at Concordia College of New York, is an editor for Inkwell Literary Journal, and lives in New York with three amazing dogs. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter!