the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




TWO WORKS
BY MATTHEW CAMPBELL

ANONYMOUS

If I remember back to my childhood,
if I can at all, when I do,
then remembering becomes easy,
but hard of late.
Then I think hard of, but a few,
many separate images
like alleyways (like they were),
converging to one, not like rivers though,
but one structured darkness pervading
an ill-defined memory.
No! But more like shadows,
which converge all the solitary days as if
all were made up by light
and light alone,
but defined so truly by shadows,
so many without a defining shape,
and only this memory,
that creeps toward the light
like an eye peering down a telescope,
toward one circular memory
surrounded by one dark shadow.

================

IN THE WAKE OF NUCLEAR TESTING IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN
--For My Wife

Walking to lunch in Bangor, I'm tripping over words,
Trying to tell you about the paleomammalian and
Reptilian brain layers under the neo-cortex.

Like a lizard you turn and stare,
"I'm not getting it right now, maybe later."

Why? You tell me you're concentrating on walking.

An old man on a street bench waves us down.
You walk on as I muddle towards him.

He says, "Can you spare anything to eat?"

I look for you and find your fading back.
I say nothing, walk on...

When I catch up I am naked, carrying two bowling balls in one hand
And a loaf of bread in the other.
You bend down and stick my calf with sowing needles.

I tell you not to make it any worse.
You are mad now.

I order samosas, pakoras, and aloo mutter.
I tell the waiter to make it hot.

You tell me we're off cue today.
I tell you the hinges on the door are crusted with dirt.

The food is perfect, I want to tell you we are eating the silence of disaster.

I think there is a poem in this somewhere.
I can't find it. I order a Coke.

The waiter places the Coke next to my water...

You leave early for work.
You apologize for a "not so good lunch."

I say it was good.
My first communion.