Brandan Griffin
In Spiramall, Pipes No Shepherd

Prelusion ends. Masternoon lands full blare.

Our pack

stirs, smell of chlorine fluorescing in the lobby. My friends,

electricity in mercury, broken signs, shattered hasps to our plastic

pasture, I can’t see lettertalk anymore. Smthng in my brain jms,

wnt clck ny frthr.


Light from one color to another (jumps).

The pack moves, that is the signal, pulsthrough openings, flow

as day tips downward, another lobby. That’s time, a gravity hall.

Light tubes quenched, the pack submerged, at night it corrals me

again—hum—that necklace, those knifey lips, the hollow gilded

hoof—flute mouth—a neck into muteness—

After the blackout, the whiting in. The rim of day, my friends.


We climb the laminated portal to a smaller origin. Same fountain

circled by plastic ferns, same round window at the end, but all

scaled down. That is the narrow success of copying.


More questioning—

I tell them I’m a pack of literate mammals. That word-burn

yearns at me in single fists. I tell them the one symbol I can grasp

is already burning my ankles. Icantreadsigns. I claimb wondiws

intoothr roms. There’s a conchness to this place, slowly spiraling

towards a sensor.


Today our pack clumped to inspect itself

and I confirmed my theory that at the smallest level each of us

is a lake, floating, floes of black tags

caught in a viscosity. Clogged

barcodes. This explains the scanner at every threshold. Its thin

buzzing line. They are compounding our shapes into models

of higher-order behavior. They say I’m looped but I say

that’s what they say.


A false jay is hidden in the polymer forest.

Its eyes plugged with ball bearings, skin cinched over a wire cast,

is it flying away or only shrinking? Piping

or piped through?

The walls bulging like translucent cheeks, like notions inflated

on the tongue of the pack—a spiral

parallel to itself—we are a

circuit, redblue bleurrrrd, the signal failing, toomuch allatonce,

lurching round a censor.


Rooms choke and the pack thins out

like a beaded necklace. Lines dissolve into their demons,

their cursive. Lord, I say. Governor. The jay as tiny in my claw

as a light switch, how far away it must be. I lie under black

sprinkler rain, an O glimmering over me that tucks

under its origin—a tighter version

of its past. I call, What noise

are you making in those curves? Our waxed world responds

by declining. Singign. Singn. Sight. Let takewing take wing.