FOUR POEMS by CHRIS CAMPANIONI

Exact Change

 

Nothing less nothing more_____I want to

Exact change_____Required

To pass on go through

Get over_____Resist_____Think of me

To be looped to be continually

Repeated rather

Than referenced & quoted_____I only

Would want to remain

A living sample

 

I would want you to wish

You could see me

Today I really look

Good_____Do

Cookies turn hard

When they go bad

On my most recent search

History_____Do hearts turn

Hard when they go

Bad_____A question

I never had to

Search till

Now when I think of this I think of this

As a mix tape

Think of this as a playlist

Think of this as a remix

Think of this_____When you

Think of me_____Play

Me on top

Of your voice too

 

 

 

My Fair Lady (1993)

 

Everywhere & everywhere
I haven’t been, I’ve had to
Tell myself in passing
Make moments, not money
I am tempted to say this
__________________________Definitely did not happen during intermission of My Fair Lady in 1993. I am tempted to say there was a period of my life where I stopped counting footsteps & started to subtract them from the parabola of my encounters

Elsewhere I’ve kept dedicated records of even the things I should have done

Glances on the street & faces I still follow from afar
______________________________________________________Have you or have you not
Tried printing out hard copies of the Internet

I am tempted to say
What I want to say
Every time someone asks
If this much, why not more?

I am tempted to say this writing takes the form of a cosmetic pill that you consume, fragrance excreting through the skin’s surface, redefining the particular vibe you’ve likely outlasted in the years since birth remember

Make moments, not money & then begin counting
The ways the way
Water counts stones

This wall features proposals, suggestions & ideas
For restricting waste & refuse & for inventing
New forms of production & consumption

Write yours in the notebook provided

Writes yours in the space between words

Write yours as you wait for my text & wait

To hit SEND
Must be willing
To die for me on my online
Dating about me

I am just another American
Falling asleep
To the television I am tempted
To say

What ever happened to clipart, the careful quiet before a wish, to walk into a party without knowing anyone & not know anyone

Come to think of it to think of it
I come without having to
Do anything but make you
In my own image

What does your face say when your face says nothing?

Return to the moment after the moment
Has been erased

Return to loneliness what
An uncommon gift

 

 

 

final fantasy
(body double)

 

The body posture modifies
According to a long list
Of demands, contractual
Agreements of expanse &
Inert alertness, naked
As a word just after
It leaves my mouth

My damaged voice or desperate breathing
A thought my mind doesn’t mean
To have sometimes I feel shame, I think
Sometimes I feel nothing

A place I find myself
Returning to
Staring at home
Pages my life
A fucking inbox
Which only keeps
Restoring

If I couldn’t live within myself for so long at a time I’d probably
Jump off a bridge or a building, flight or fancy or only
An escape from entropy, the unending bending blur

Apparently I do well
In your poems
LOL + emoji & I
Think you’d know because
You’ve read everything
As good as any & better than most
To have this body
Double the value

If I put my sweat into it
She’s got that bone structure
What your mother
Called breeding
If you look closely
You can see my face
In the photos

 

 

 

& also something that has nothing

 

To do with it
I love to
Rely on a risk
Organic vegetables skim milk
Salami on rye
I could never have
The body of your dreams
On subway cars, all the

Shaking hands & cheeks
Art holds value I can buy
& sell you
On the idea of
Gratitude we appreciate
Your patronage
Permission to feel
This warm body a single
Dollar folded carefully
Rolled Chinatown
Style, gesture of
Appraisal, capital
Punishment, et al
Text me when
You get this

Tell me how to feel
I owe you everything

The verb to appear will appear
Often in this poem
The way people have a presence
Of mind to exit quietly

 

 

Chris Campanioni’s new book is Death of Art (C&R Press). He is currently a Provost Fellow and MAGNET Mentor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he is conducting his doctoral studies in English. He edits PANKAt Large, and Tupelo Quarterly and teaches literature and creative writing at Pace University and Baruch College.