3 Poems By Chris Campanioni

10 March 2019, 2:06 PM 

fantasy in the back

all writing is isn’t it
a game
of disappearances
& the gift of forgetting
this life for another

which is for another & more
real plus the desire
to stop, to allow
the hard return
of flesh on

key: to let the burning
flicker of memory
happen give me only this
rhythm of composition give me
the strength to keep

nothing, everything
I am is a dark silhouette
in a doorway, the long
slow drop of a thread
twisting as it pleases

I am chalk I am the vapor
on asphalt the thick drip
of cathode in the morning
crystalline fantasy in the back
of the start-up screen

black beneath each lid
without beginning or end
(the distance between any
series of replicas arranged
in relation to a blown-up

original) all the copies
of books I’ve read to tell
me where I’ve been
I am in
search of a body

no        /          longer              /          can hold          /          me


17 January 2019, 7:53 PM 

for one is also the other

to better enter myself
& extract the film
to dream so I can only
keep watching
there is something to be
said about a derived &
deferred pleasure a
pleasure for half 
a dozen eggs which are
the eyes of life
H says delivery
is when the head comes
out & the rest
comes all
by itself  H says a date
at the very top of the page
is a baptism I say that every time
I bow down to this desire
to be inscribed I want to
put my whole face in

writing about dreams is like encountering yourself in the mirror & my notebook too
is not a reproduction of life but a variation on the reality I have been entrusted with
betraying not all the time but all the same a secret betrayal secret because the value
of each transgression begins & ends in me & still the importance of choosing
something that offers the least resistance to speed

(some of these notes are so poorly written I can’t tell what’s what or what 
goes where)

& elsewhere america has been sitting on
1.4 billion pounds of excess
cheese never before
has there been so much
unsolicited swiss never before have I been

so attracted to my own misrecognition; the misrecognition of myself what it would
mean to continuously mistake myself, in myself to be indecipherable to myself (& to

the sense of having lost myself
the sense of having forgotten myself
or to have become someone other

than what I am (was)
everything licked clean
by dreams & habit

(a spoon’s request)
elsewhere (always elsewhere)
faces come

to life when I look
at them
the fear of strokes

on account of living above
a bakery in my early twenties
the smell of fresh bread

& the occasional burning
etched like a song in my throat
for one is also the other


23 June 2019, 11:21 AM 

mistranslations I prefer

We can even begin by admiring.

Memory of my fingertip
which is to say my fingertip’s

The secret pressure hidden within any briefcase. Hidden with any object that asks

To be opened. To be shut. I hold my hand to the leather’s edge, to the beaten tongue. I hold my hand to the one who will open for me.


When it comes
to mistranslations I prefer
the homophonic
to any other
Lecce for instance
& my coincident
pining for milk


Walking as punctuation. I stop somewhere. I lose myself in a city. I reach my destination or abandon the idea of periods. This requires at least one question


Reminded of the soul’s inability to be effaced in a poem. Reminded that the soul, for so many people, is the act of feeding

Breath into one’s throat & blowing, variations of



A moment deprived of its awareness
My tongue deprived of your serene thickness


(I heard the soul makes the same
sound in any language)


like the mouth that, in telling
its secret, places itself
at the mercy
of the indiscreet listener

(I swear I heard you close
your eyes)


Occasion for writing:

an empty
drawer which can only be
thought of


: what effect does one’s body have on a landscape?


Like a human my soap
began to shrink
as it grew
older in Lecce
into the flesh for
each caress
until I


About the Author

Chris Campanioni’s recent work appears in Denver Quarterly, Nat. Brut, American Poetry Review, Catapult, Fence, and BOMB, and has been translated into Spanish and Portuguese. He is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets College Prize and an International Latino Book Award. His poem “This body’s long (& I’m still loading)” was adapted as an official selection of the Canadian International Film Festival and his multimedia work has been exhibited at the New York Academy of Art. 

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