Words matter

Words dangled helplessly alone
As letters stranded on an unfinished game of hangman
Unhinged rusty trapdoor drops
Royally flushed into broken clock oblivion
Revisited but once in a lifetime
By the Queen of Hearts
Carrying grocery bagged oodles of snacks
For empty stomached children of a lesser God
Drifting to sleep on concrete saddles
While the dogs of midnight keep the sheep in line
Waiting on the profit’s words to arrive
Devoured by Wall Street wrecked nods
Neatly cleaned up by dust bowl developers
And cleverly rearranged by fire ravaged coders
Into newspeak dreams of yesterday
And it’s as if no one has learned a damn thing
As the shopkeeper turns the sign around in the window

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Acceptance

The story of a woman

I was born
That much I do know
They tell me I was a boy
Yes, from the moment that I could remember such things
I felt loved
For a time
Then came a different time
A time when I should know what it’s like to be a boy
What it feels like
Deep down
Like the roots of a giant redwood tree
I saw in a magazine once
But those feelings were as scarce
As a dinosaur
I saw in a book once
I saw girls in books too
I saw myself in those books
In those pictures
In those words, my mom read to me
I was a girl
But that, I kept to myself
Deep, deep down like the fish at the bottom of the ocean
I had seen on Sunday television once
And I felt sad, afraid and lonely

I grew
That much I know
But I was increasingly uncomfortable
I played with boys
It was fine, I guess
No, not really
I began to know what misery was like
Like having to shoot your own dog
I saw that in a movie once
Why was my body the way it was?
And my sense of self the complete opposite?
I asked the question once
Maybe my mom would know
She said God made me a boy
And that is what I had to be
Anything else was wrong, was evil in fact
And hell sounded like a pretty bad place
Maybe God would know, but mom said
I shouldn’t dare make God angry by asking
One day my mom told dad my question
That day, I did go to hell
It was a painful place
I closed the world out then
And I felt abandoned

I reached adulthood
That much I know
I ceased to have a father
And sometimes a mother
I did have some friends
We understood each other
We supported and loved each other
Like the message in a Hallmark Card
I read in a store once
But we needed to keep to ourselves
It seemed people just didn’t know me
I wasn’t just a stereotyped drag queen
To be treated like some freak sex object
I was a woman now
Forgive me, I was always a woman
Well, to me and my friends anyway
Not to the government or society
Or the smirky faced creeps
That one had to keep a watchful eye on
Like all the stories that were told
Within our small group
I felt a kinship
But outside, in the big wonderful world
I was unacceptable as a human

I lived
That much I know
Yes, as the woman I always was
Some might say I had made it
But I knew better
Like the sleight of hand
I saw in a magic show once
Sure, I held down a job
Serving acceptable tacos to acceptable humans
Walking the same route everyday
To and from work
Occasionally catching the eye
Of a well-suited man
Probably undersexed at home
I made no eye contact with them
Nor did I find love
Though I would have liked that very much
Like the kind those girls dream of
For I never became the object of affection
Only the object of sexual curiosity
Once in a great while
I almost entertained going there
But I always shut that down
I would wait to be loved

I was scared
That much I know
Who was this man in the alley?
I was just wanting to go home
After a long night’s work
He obviously wanted to talk
He didn’t look familiar to me
He wasn’t ugly
Not on the outside anyway
But it was still there
An ugliness that lingered
Like the scorn and hatred
I had felt so often
Throughout my short life
He smiled and asked my name
And I told him
Backing slowly away and glancing
Glancing for anyone else
He must have sensed the scream coming
Because in an instant
He had my mouth covered
I was pushed against the wall
Looking down, I ever so briefly saw the blade
Just before I felt the stabbing pain

I was dizzy
That much I know
The man released his hold on me
As I slumped to the dirty pavement
I think he left me then
I am not really sure
I was focused on watching my blood
It was flowing out of me like a gentle stream
I had watched flow once on a trip
That I had taken with my parents
To visit his father
I would like to see my mom
And, yes, even my dad right now
I would forgive them, I think
I still wondered why though
Why, people were so cruel?
Why sinful people thought it was wrong
For me to be me?
I never hurt a single soul in this life
Why did I never find love or true acceptance?
I remember once my mom said it was wrong to ask God
But I was prepared to ask God now, and directly
I was tired now, and as I closed my eyes
I felt love and acceptance

Yes, I had a lot of questions

For more, get my latest collection, On Driftwood and Oblivion on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Way Down South

From On Driftwood and Oblivion

Jaguar spotted trails
Linger, unnoticed
By man’s wasteland
Disturbed machines

Beyond cheese there
Stands the finer arts
But actress Bete
Doesn’t live here anymore

That’s a big damn wall
Water, hold me back
Charred and tethered
Take one from the king

In the gold rush hour
Time stood still
As the rotting corpses
Old and in the way

An emotionless grin
Separated infants
One destined to live
One destined to die

A vanishing act life
On the tearful road
Up from Pedra Branca
The end deceives you

Messages from Pinoty
Poison arrow reply
Peaceful persuasion
Nightmares in the making

Metal birds moan
Then are gone again
Only to return
As blue moons pass on

There is talk of talks
But Sykyry knows better
Her spear tipped eyes whisper
They will come again

And, I’ve already seen that
It doesn’t end well
To be precise
It doesn’t end at all

Read more in the full collection On Driftwood and Oblivion

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The Long March

A poem

I cannot see you, smell you
Or feel you
Yet
I know that you are there
Hanging like thick pollen
After the first breath of warmth
On an early spring morning
Silently stalking
As a thief in the night
Omnipresent as the fear
Of humankind
It is early still
The sun is barely over the horizon
The time of day, though, matters not
This death keeps no clock
It grows and adapts
Dispassionately
Like some kind of AI
Then entering, it asks me a question
Will you adapt and survive?

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Beyond Time and Space

A Lyrical Poem by J.S. Campbell

I saw him standing there, he was calling my name,
I moved to take a look, at the picture in the frame.
In a moment of realization, I recognized my face,
And began my journey beyond time and space.

It was a modern world, full of wonderful machines,
And millions of illiterate slaves, no knowledge on their screens.
And graveyards full of bones, from people who could not keep pace,
Burning through the phones, beyond time and space.

I searched for the green and blue, and found some people who cared,
We gathered in the colors, as others stopped and stared.
We hoped that they would join us, but that proved not to be the case,
They ran us out of paradise, beyond time and space.

We split up there, each going our own way,
Searching like a seed in the wind, for a place to take hold and stay.
I came upon a village, where a man talked about the race,
he was so full of knowledge, on everything beyond time and space.

I felt at home there, I liked listening to the man,
He said we’d play a game of cards, and I’ll tell you everything I can.
He said he’d give me cities and kingdoms, but he slipped himself an ace,
And cast me out into the wilderness, beyond time and space.

I crossed many miles through the desert, and came to a line in the sand,
Beyond it only black and white, I sensed destiny at hand.
I knelt, and I prayed, for God’s knowing grace,
As the picture weathered and aged, beyond time and space.

The latest poetry collection, On Driftwood and Oblivion available now.

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