Chris Campanioni

The first morning & all

The windows already open


Before I rise

The glare is specific


Courtesy counts

Others will thank you


No one’s looked at me

In days


The sky pulls almost into

Itself a moving


Blackbird on the branch be

Side my hunger a life


Time wishing to be outside

My skin by which


I mean outside

The frame or scene pulled


Back to see my eyes as

Others see me


& in a moment

Where I kissed the sky


Or maybe just after

Finding it fun how


Hardly I think

How often I pass


This building

The blood in


My loin ventriloquized

My voice


Via speaker

Phone dangling from my


Left hand the right hand

Sketching each step


Or where I’ve been

In a moment


The sun drawing

The carriage or car


Fumes a few

Feet forward like


Air when it gets hot

My hand in front of


My face can so clearly



Via casual encounters

Or when tongue


Was muscle

Bulging surface


The body you deserve

If these ads could talk


Waiting above me

At Hunter’s on Smith


Smothered lamb chops made me

Feel hot when I


Heard you

Say it


Pink hard hat on the Q

Hudson Yards 7 stop


I confess to admiring you

All the way up


That almost minute

Long escalator


To the celestial beauty in emerald pants

I could see two small tears


In your stockings

I wondered if you knew they were there


I walked toward the city

Lights receding


On the F as it carried

Us in the half-lit glare


Mottled objects of the new

Millenniums ago a prayer


In untouchable Latin or French

The backside of an angel as


She bent down to pray

Men in stiff starched clothes

We never saw what we were

Looking for


 I sit at the broken off counter drinking orange juice or something synthetic colored orange unprocessable entity that acquiesces as a liquid in my half-filled glass. Trained professionals, heroines, all the telegrams in the world. I’ve been in hotels that felt kinder. Feelings of remorse don’t last to flashes, a buzz or signal in my jeans pocket if I take a peek. Cumulous clouds surrounding the beach and I’m stuck sucking. Fingernail for a flight or fancy ripped from one’s own body into air or dust, all the telegrams in the world and kindness. Hyperfine frequency and formal as a matter of fact. How boring. How Northeastern. Sad tigers growing sadder still on the mantel in which I can count just how many bottles I haven’t had a taste from. Yet. Sad tigers growing sadder one more snarl in my pocket or the pockmarked inside of its formal inventory stitching, style space and a faded acid wash we keep growing sadder during the changeover reel, from present to a persistently pictured past. Theory of persuasion on my thigh or in real time which I mean I can’t find my loved ones but constantly. The pin-prick of real time entering me and sad tigers growing sadder still and silent (on the mantel) but constantly. I wanted everyone to know and wanted everyone. Aphrodisiac blues music crooning in the distance or in my mind’s boombox the dreamy whistle of an old Atari game paused to play on repeat. Let’s commercialism. Let’s postmodernity and play at the prose of it. We need mirrors to learn our poses. And remember that. How prosaic, you think, looking from the sad tigers to the sad faces surrounding them, orange juice or something similar still shaking when I think to take a sip, the kind of breeze in a bathtub. Financial statements in PDF accost me instead of back rubs, breach of contracts, variegated and sundry, pictures still in grids when they post, magic tricks reflection of polish on the moon with an electric toothbrush shimmer, circling each hair under each groove and the sheen or strategy for seduction. You said you would go a long way and I did. I can’t find my loved ones and still I dig dollars, coins, old tickets, shows I never performed at or witnessed. Cooking and food and culture and cream. Surveillance camera guilts me suburban is to catch my voice before my voice articulates for our warm mechanical love making and I’ve been kinder. Hotels or hovels and even mansions, my father’s house and on accident. During the changeover we unroll in self-defense or autocorrect the police officer who doesn’t give a damn about country club manners. We roll and unroll accordingly: marriage, sweater vests, sleeveless T-shirts, picture frames, grief of a million unlived years. Like an old soul who caught my reflection in the glass and realized she was looking at herself. During the changeover, we unroll our belongings and merge into ourselves. To better become it. Sadder and sadder.


Chris Campanioni’s new book is Death of Art (C&R Press). His recent work appears in Ambit, RHINO, Public Pool, and The Brooklyn Rail. His “Billboards” poem responding to Latino stereotypes and mutable—and often muted—identity in the fashion world was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize and his novel Going Down was selected as Best First Book at the 2014 International Latino Book Awards. He edits PANK and Tupelo Quarterly and lives in Brooklyn.