Two Poems by Chris Campanioni



Urban Sprawl

The world moves on a woman’s hips
Just the way David said
Just the way you remember him
Saying it, & this time
With African percussion, polyrhythms
Conflicting patterns & beats

Something beautiful about being
Split, jerked, something beautiful
About walking through the city
On a curve & never turning
Around, assuming
A new life

Under a different name
Or different lives
Under the name
You’ve always been hailed
Sampled, remastered
Played back

To walk through
The dry orange dullness
Of a parking lot, tinted
& rived from each intersecting strobe
On set, scene one:
The sky silvering

Into something else
Cobalt, ash, a shade of pink
Names you never knew
Until Crayola, coinciding
& redundant
Continuous as skin

Being felt on another’s
Fingertips, continuous
As your thoughts
Overlapping, the act
Of memory or wanting
To write it down

Everything felt on the tongue
& ears, everything
Felt, a new skill learned
On LinkedIn, endorsed
To procure sadness
Made public, published

As proof, I’ve been more
Than proficient. I’ve been asking
Myself & the whole world
Questions like
What does the C in C-Town
Stand for? When you’re drunk

Everything stands for something
Even if you can hardly walk
Let alone
Sit up straight
Let alone
Be left alone

hands free talk to me

simply naked
nothing but
a bag of stacy’s
promise made

with real
baked pita bread
it’s nice to know
& even better

to have instructions
store in a
cool dark place
close tightly

after use you
fingered me
as the one
responsible for

word hunger brief
aside to my live
streaming webcam
which is playing

do the right thing
half-eaten poems
on the floor more
than five minutes

do I dare I do
save me for
a rainy day
every head

clouds without
question everything
appears at home
on television

sadness fills me
like an index
& a thumb
holding a rubber

ball sulfuric
acid some oil
we used to play
every other

week more or less
import files
splice our voices
kill the rest


IMG_7353-7Chris Campanioni teaches literature and creative writing at Baruch College and Pace University, and interdisciplinary studies at John Jay. His “Billboards” poem responding to Latino stereotypes and mutable–and often muted–identity in the fashion world was awarded the 2013 Academy of American Poets Prize and his novel Going Down was selected as Best First Book at the 2014 International Latino Book Awards. He co-edits PANK and lives in Brooklyn.


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