June 4, 2014

Erik Campbell

ON WAR, BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC (OR BRAD CLARK’S BASEMENT, CIRCA 1984)

For a dollar a look Jeff Chase (who recently 
died in the desert) would brandish his sister’s panties 
for us to fill with abstraction, holding them up 
 
brazenly, in Brad Clark’s basement (because 
Brad’s parents were and didn’t give two shits), 
this limp, lifeless silk; a deflated, disturbing pelt. 
 
We later mocked Jeff’s sister in the hallway 
for having panties, because if something was 
stupid and we had the numbers it had to be 
 
done. Even then, as children, feeling the intimation 
of the heft of what we couldn’t label or limit. 
I wish I had felt like an anachronism without 
 
an antecedent, instead of the ungrammatical glimpses 
of myriad, miniature cruelties we would later 
personify in larger bodies with greater purpose. 
 
Even then we should have been more afraid 
of what people rewarded, of what men were 
too eager to gather for. But we weren’t. And
 
we aren’t.
 

from Rattle #42, Winter 2013

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Erik Campbell: “I read and write poetry to remind myself that I have a soul that needs a periodic tune-up.”