Kimberly Campanello Poems

CONSENT

A little Contra-Terrene matter among the pure shit of the poets -
The world's inescapable evil that we must eat and sing.

- Thomas McGrath
Shit makes me
involuntarily hungry.
Shit or its wafting smell.
Rape makes me
involuntarily horny.
Rape or a scene of rape
(portrayed).
Consent is
physiological.
Involuntary sympathy
to voluntary movement.
Upon reflection,
agree not to resist
or prevent.
Acquiesce and permit.
Antonyms that bind consent.
My bowels are bound
on cheese and fear.
Meaning my shit is bound
for another bright white port.
A port can be entered
more or less freely.
We dock ships there
after all. We dock the tails
of certain dogs that agree
with coercion
not to resist becoming
the breed they were born.
We breed certain people
and bind them.
I bind you and you
like it all right.
We bind others -
bound to be a man
and a woman -
and say let no man
put asunder.
Man makes
voluntary movements
with guns
and involuntarily
puts others asunder.
This makes
some horny,
involuntarily.
Man makes
involuntary movements
with guns
and does the same,
voluntarily,
upon reflection.
This makes some
acquiesce.... more »

STRANGE COUNTRY

Our Greek friend told me that in his country
one funeral is not enough.
The body is dug up in six months' time.
Maggot-stripped bones are put
in a box and slid into the stone shelf

of an ossuary. The family is gathered
together again. This, the ritual
his mother and sister love.
At last or for once I entertain the thought
that maybe women wanted it:

to be the earth to which all bodies
are returned by interment.
That persistent uttering of the womb-tomb
scenario - we couldn't have said it better
ourselves, might have said it

ourselves. And why not take it all
on, redeem our shortcomings?
The gurglings of our psyches
and our most haphazard
remarks made visionary:

A woman blessing a fence,
tapping first this part
then another, then the grass
at the post, stepping away
to pass by, coming back to tap more.

My pelvis shifting - the pain
of your thrust like a memory
of a child's head trying
to escape, a memory
that hasn't happened yet.

The seanchaí's tale of the bountiful cow
wandering off to die
reprinted in the paper and read out over breakfast
like a horoscope for all born
under the sign of ingrate.

Even still, a distant relation's letter
about her son's disease -
When I look at his suffering,
I think of what our Blessed Mother
must have gone through -

makes me wonder who
‘our blessed mother' is,
and try to remember
who this woman's
mother is, to me.

We fail to grasp even the usual
symbolism or become self-important.
And when asked to explain why
all the trouble over the six counties
while eating meat-laden salads

in America you said of the Queen -
We must remember that most
of the word symbolic is bollicks.
Of course. The Greeks have double
funerals because of a space shortage.

The woman with the fence is mad.
The cow story couldn't happen in real life.
And yet you drove me to the stream,
the stream that held your mother's ashes,
on the day I arrived in this strange country.... more »

Now

I.

Now the wracked bodies
of charred rabbits
have disappeared
from the fields
and the village is flooded
with people who can't
speak the language.
Each day we help each other
peel back our eyelids
despite the sun.
We prepare food
with a rusting knife
made by a child
we don't know
laboring
on the other side of the world.
We sharpen
a hundred pencils each
and work on new lines
to press into our palms
new veins to line our legs
new omniscience
to goad our hearts.

II.

To displace
the obelisk's
stacked stone
To invent new trumpets
tubas saxophones
To march
To attack first with rosemary
then predictions
to demand money
to accept tears
To run up the street
from our offices
in high heels
to grab our babies
to feed them
from our breasts
then and there
To light candles
in the grotto
to light so many
it will explode

III.

I squat over these rising white ribbons,
these maggots reaching
and twisting themselves

from a rotting leg joint.
They promise me
there are salves

for all of this.
Salves stronger
than nuclear waste

with a smell
that could fill a church
like incense.

Biologists say
a maggot's whole body
is covered with ocular cells,

eyes that never blink.
They always
respond to the light.... more »

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