Poetry from J.J. Campbell

Poet J.J. Campbell
scare yourself back into existence
angels laugh at the
ache in your heart
they taste the blood
in your fear
they help you tie the
rope around your neck
and find the sturdiest
tree in the town
it is your unwillingness
to step beyond these
mortal thoughts that
confuses everyone
why be tied to just what
they want you to know
expand your brain
into the darkest hole
you can find and scare
yourself back into
give the world all
your secrets
break these chains
and never be afraid
of falling down
but never think anyone
will ever help you back
a frantic phone call to my mother
i remember taking my mother's
diaphragm into show and tell
one day and said i used it in
the sandbox in the backyard
to sift the sand
there was a frantic phone call to
my mother from a horrified teacher
my mother had no clue what
i had done
i figured i was getting an early
start at being a standup comedian
of course, it was the 80's and
we had no clue how to actually
encourage an active imagination
in a child back in those days
they were too busy trying to get
me to understand conformity
and division
i was already reading at a college
level and no one understood what
made my mind tick
none of them ever did until i got
to high school and found an english
teacher who knew immediately i
was way beyond anything he had
planned in his class
so, he told me to go write a book
of poems and show him what i was
working on

best teacher i ever had
abandoned buildings
i sometimes find
myself drifting off
these days
i'll hear an old
massive attack beat
in my head and start
thinking about doing
drugs in my youth
abandoned buildings
the cemeteries and
open fields where we
would count the stars
and give them better
and it's not that those
days were better or
more open or free
they just held a sense
of a better possibility
than these days
stuck in a digital world
of faceless souls and

juvenile criminals
the dotted line
engulfed in flames
trembling hands
and a dotted line
a little scotch used
to calm these nerves
now it takes more
than anyone should
comfortably drink
in public
it's not every day
you're signing away
the right to live
but you understand
this is the best for

everyone involved
the horizon looks bleak
i used to mark
the days on a
calendar with
a marker
now i do it
with blood
the horizon looks
bleak and then i
see a mirror
haven't shaved
in years
no reason to ever
love me screams
like a woman in
i have prepared
for my death since
i was a child
the life goals i was
allowed to pursue
have all been
checked off
now i just need
a sunset
a trusty shotgun
and a little music

to send me home

J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is old enough to know where the bodies are buried. He’s been widely published over the years, most recently at The Rye Whiskey Review, The Beatnik Cowboy, Dumpster Fire Press, Misfit Magazine and Horror Sleaze Trash. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (https://evildelights.blogspot.com)

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