R.A. Briggs


I expect it to go on long after the revolution:
nomads roam into no-man’s land,
fashion homes.

                               Some are loping
toward the city of my birth:
high femme figures
towering tall, taller still in stilettos
or nrrrd grrrls in purple hair and cardigans
or emo boys gone punk chick
or family men, emerging at last
from the chrysalis as classy ladies.

They are running, dashing, rushing
from the harsh land of crag and thorn,
now in love with the rolling hills of their flesh
with the bazaars and salons and citizens
of the city I am leaving.

If walking toward is body language for love,
what does it mean to walk away?
Can I still send letters?
Can I carry my mother’s coat
to wrap myself in the warmth and smell of home,
a cherry stone to plant familiar fruit,
a sword to defend these borders?
And whom shall I stab?
And what if I slip, and cut out my own heart?

Lesbian sex wars: not as fun as they sound

Remember the dildo fights?  The porn crusades?
The mudwrestling—Team Butch versus Team Femme?
The beatings we dished out over sadomasochism?
The gold throwing stars with edges so sharp
they could slice a bisexual to the bone?

Remember how the personal is political 
used to be political, before it was just personal?
How we were supposed to love each other
non-violently, breathing messages of solidarity
urgently into one another’s ears?

Remember her too-short dress with the bare arms,
the struggle and tangle of her irrepressible hair?
Remember her lips?  Stop-sign red, but they could not stop
kissing forbidden places, saying all the wrong words.
Would you honestly renounce her for a theory of love?

R.A. Briggs is a professor of philosophy at Stanford, who writes poetry when they are sick of writing metaphysics. They are the author of two collections: Free Logic (University of Queensland Press, 2013) and Common Sexual Fantasies, Ruined (Cordite 2015), and their poetry has appeared in such venues as Rattle, Arc, Cordite, and Able Muse. They are currently interested in collaborating across genres, and have created multimedia artworks with visual artist Anna Zusman (Modern American Gods, Volume One), filmmaker Marc Neys (Fairytale Romance and Fear of Monsters), and composer Alex Temple (coming soon to a concert hall near you). They live with their dog Blossom, their roommate Laura, and a vague sense of foreboding.