Curated for the website by Afshan Shafi.
I have stolen language and ground it down with my teeth. I have warped it for the purpose of my own devised myths. I consider poetry a visual space conceptually and on the written page. I am consumed with ideas of captivity and freedom. I am concerned with how they are taken and given. Lost and won. For me, language is a medium for the ether, we are trying to huff in like air. We need it to survive but we cannot see it. Our only evidence of its existence is an xray of our lungs living or gasping for it when rising from the water. I see through lines from ancient history to present that are inextricable and hold immense meaning in examining this tangle. In my mind’s eye, I am a pilgrim in a country 5,000 years ago performing mundane tasks while simultaneously digging at my own contemporary heart to explain it collapsing. I have a scrim over my own existence to survive it, I reimagine it through the past to feel something in common. I am endlessly hopeful that I can find a way to leave a message that someone may be able to decode or salvage. Perhaps I am most in love with the conservation of language. I treat it like my child who has wept as they don’t understand the uncertainty of the ocean.
Dead Sea Teeth
My dead sea teeth can be a nurse,
for you take my splintering marrow with the forgiveness of a Lord.
In my hour. You gave me seconds. In my ferocity, I threw the last word I knew in Latin.
An unceremonious fall. The kind you do not rise from.
The kind that a volcano is ashamed of.
And here, me as a patient, you as patient. Licking is crying, dying is a lily.
Creeping through you, like a ghost, I try to leave signals.
Peacock feathers are stiff at the end, that should give us a lot of ideas about how
we evolved in protection.
I am wondering about the job of pouring wine over your gold and then getting in a tomb
Her breath is slinking all over me, I feel saturated in a kind of longing that makes me squirm.
I feel needless, I feel like the woman everyone warns you of in a tower, in a veil.
I feel more like rocks that convince people they are on a beach.
There are bones hanging in order off cliffs. They are never leaving.
There are bones in cases with labels and lacquer and they mean it just as much.
Oh darling, I retell that story a thousand times, I retell it like it is mine. It is mine. I retell it as I
want to save her in reverse. I want to tell her where the ocean is, I would be her boat.
Brit Parks is an American poet, artist, and scholar. She has been the Art and Culture Editor, Features Writer for the London-based Unpolished Magazine since 2018. She also writes a digital column, ‘Unpolished Art’. Parks has performed her poetry at Shakespeare and Company Paris, The Chicago Cultural Center and The York Manor. Her editorial writing is featured in Violet Book, TEETH Magazine, and Unpolished Magazine. Her poetry is featured in SMEAR, published by Andrews McMeel and edited by Greta Bellamacina, The London Magazine, and New River Press Yearbook, which employs a line of her poetry as the title: WHEN THEY START TO LOVE YOU AS A MACHINE YOU SHOULD RUN. She was recently commissioned to write a poem to honour the 75th anniversary of The Monuments Men Foundation. Her poetry is a study of language itself while discussing abstracts of ephemerality, materialism, and historical myths.
Parks received her Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was a recipient of the prestigious Edes Fellowship for Emerging Artists. Her visual art has been exhibited at Vedanta Gallery, Arena Gallery, and Sullivan Galleries. Her films have been screened at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and Chicago Filmmakers. She began her visual practice in conceptual and performance art, which morphed into multiple media installations. She also works extensively in oil paint and sculpture. She was a mentee under artists Frances Whitehead, Hans Breder and Werner Herterich. She has engaged research projects at Ryerson and Burnham Libraries Rare Books Collections, The Newberry Library and The Field Museum Special Collections in Chicago. She is an ardent scholar of rare books, French poetry, art theory, and colour pigment history. She previously worked at the Guggenheim Museum, World Monuments Fund and the Whitney Museum. She was born in Durango, Colorado, and lived in New York City for a decade. She currently divides her time between Los Angeles and London.