February 10, 2014

Erik Campbell

CONSIDERING METAL MAN (AS A TEMPLATE FOR WORLD PEACE)

The sum of evil would be greatly diminished if men could only learn to sit quietly in their rooms.
—Pascal

He sits in Union Station so that you don’t have to,
Covered in metallic paint, not moving, like applied

Pascal taken one step publicly further. The tourists
Patronize him; put money in his gold painted fedora,

And encourage him not to explain. The homeless wish
They had his strangeness, his calculation, his economy

Of gesture. The writers know he is a flushed out
Character worthy of 200 pages or more, a catatonic

Knight-errant appearing everywhere in full armor.
The philosophers see him as a meta-symbol,

A shimmering sage who sits better than the Buddha.
Look how he sits and stares, they say. Observe how

Nobody dies because of this.

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004
Tribute to Poets Writing Abroad

__________

Erik Campbell: “One afternoon in the summer of 1994 I was driving to work and I heard Garrison Keillor read Stephen Dunn’s poem ‘Tenderness’ on The Writer’s Almanac. After he finished the poem I pulled my car over and sat for some time. I had to. That is why I write poems. I want to make somebody else late for work.” (website)