Photosynthesis-Jimmi Campkin

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I cannot fly but your words whip the wind under my arms.  Just a smile and wink, just a poke in the ribs and a kick in the shins, and I am no ones.  We stare at the dead brown leaves stuck to my shoes as we kick through the dead drifts, and I wait for something profound.  You are too busy staring at the end of a bottle, pointed towards the sky, as a telescope for the stars.

I get it.  You aren’t scared by thunder anymore it makes you feel alive.  You’re strapped to a table, waiting for the electricity to hit.  I made sure the knots were tight around your wrists and ankles, as I tied you to the bed and opened the window to the storm, but you still insisted on more.  More!  I Want More!!  I am no weatherman.  I am no God.  So I filled pint glasses with water as you screamed up at a disappointing belt of nondescript cloud, threw them across your writhing torso, and wondered when I might see the calm eye of this storm.

I remember when you pushed a sewing needle between the webs of my fingers and you told me; we can’t be calm and safe…we are the autumn leaves that cling to the branches and turn green again.  I have no idea what this means.

Probably it doesn’t matter; but it does.  I am directionless and you offer me a path…the wrong one, but a path nonetheless.

© Jimmi Campkin

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Brakes-Jimmi Campkin

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When I look into her eyes I see the violence of a life disappointed – the crush of society and the comedown of feeble Men. I see those pupils glowing amber in the sunset and red for the rest of the time. I know about the Bowie knife inside her jeans and I know about the expulsion from school as a teenager for trying to hang a boy who lifted up her skirt.

In arguments, I see her sometimes reach for the blade, but she toys with the hilt as a stress relief. She tells me I’m fucking other women, I tell her she’s destroying other men, and neither of these things are true. She only kills boys – those not worth losing sleep over – and the rest of us have to keep our guard up.

She told me; I have this weird dream where I wake up paralysed, and I feel my flesh melting into the bed, and then through the floor, and then I somehow become… I dunno….at ‘one’ with the world. I can hear plants growing and the soil turning and the plates of the Earth floating and bumping. And then I wake up, and I realise I can move, and I feel sad. She looks at me with an invisible question hanging between us. I wish I knew the answer she needed. I wish I knew the question.

One day I will confess the big ‘L’ I feel about her….

I want her always, so I can ‘Live’.

©️ Jimmi Campkin

Original photograph by Jimmi Campkin

Stalker-Jimmi Campkin

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I lay in bed, setting fire to pieces of books. The smoke dances around my fingertips as the words dissolve and are set free into the fresh air.  Maybe humanity will change, or maybe this is futile destruction.  I feel the air waltzing around the hairs on my legs and arms as I dream of stockinged legs, like broken pillars either side of my hips, and the wet, vibrant warmth of her embrace on a humid summer evening.

When we last embraced, her dry lips scraped against mine in the fetid atmosphere of a subway, surrounded by the desperate, depressed, and drunk.  In that artificial neon miasma, her curls caught the light like scythes in an autumn sunset.

Taunted and haunted by memory, I feel too depressed to go downstairs and face the world with its textures, shadows and reminders.  Instead I stay upstairs in the glow of unattached memory, looking out my window and into the infinity of the sky and the clouds; I listen to crackling old vinyl that smells of time capsules. I wish I knew where I could find purpose.  Even the thrill of the chase would be better than stagnation and regret.

When I sleep, I dream about walking in black and white on the middle rail of a five wide railroad with steep concrete walls on either side.  An old Diesel train clanks up to me, pulling six coal trucks and a guard van, seemingly empty but filling the air with the stench of dry charcoal and oil.  Inside I can hear children playing games, although I can’t see them.  The cab is black as a moonless night, and tar oozes from the steps leading in.  I don’t see the driver, but I feel eyes staring down at me with disdain and suspicion.

Someone emerges from the van to the rear and stumbles on the ballast towards me as I stand, breathing in the fumes.  Dressed in a muddy blue uniform and with no arms, the sleeves sewn up to the shoulders, the Guard waits in front of me and tilts his head as though trying to see under my jaw.  I can see soot and dust in the creases of his face, and his jet black eyes reflect back the faces of people I once knew, cramming for attention as though scrambling for the only window in an airtight box.

He shakes and trembles, and as I try to reach out and hold his arm he jerks me away violently, breaking my forearm in the process with a shock I feel down my spine and into my ankles.  I stumble and collapse to one side, resting my good arm on the rail of the next line.  The guard shambles back into his van; and the train begins to grind away from me, the children’s voices growing in terror and intensity, as I feel the rail under my elbow vibrate.  I know something is coming, and I realise that I don’t want to move.

For You, Rowena(release date 31 August)

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What lines would you cross for the one you love?

Rowena is a Helen of Today, dangerously coveted; she’s a paradoxical woman searching for self-certitude through pleasures of the flesh. Only one amongst her myriad of lovers can save Rowena from herself.

This is a story of human connection and its devastating power.


In three days, I release my third book, a novella titled, For You, Rowena. I’m honored to announce that Allane Sinclair has yet again created a cover that encompasses a universe I’ve imagined and put to paper. I couldn’t ask for a better collaborator than Allane. As always, I hope my words serve justice to the emotions that scream from her artwork. Allane Sinclair is the real deal, folks. She pours every bit of her soul into her work, and it shows.

For You, Rowena, at its core, is about self-preservation, true love, and the roads a person might travel to claim that love as their own, despite the obstacles; it’s about abusive relationships, self-exploration, redemption, and revenge.

For You, Rowena is not written in the narrative style of Magpie in August. Though two different animals, I hope that those who’ve read Magpie will recognize both the strengths and vulnerabilities I’ve instilled into the main women characters of Rowena.

For You, Rowena is scheduled for release on 31 August, 2018 in paperback and Kindle format via Amazon.

a chalk barrier in the shade of morning-Samantha Lucero & N. Ian McCarthy

He forgot to carve his name onto it—my slow-dead
womb builder. So he thatched this house with reeds
as presences and struck cymbals.

I gave its shambles to the fire, heaped its mar and its
lime, and the skeletal birdcage of it into the memory
of a tongueless August mouth.

Its chasm, a door—its screen porch, a belching Madonna.
Thin-torn frankincense fumes like god-blood from the split
of its rarefying wound, where the

whole of purgatory is a scent of goulash and of low mur-
murs; the sin of knowing, a Clorox-tinged swimming pool
rash and the sponge of wood rot.

the rattletrap where i watch
in flesh-colors quiet as the static
on play-slides gallop to a cutlass.

and decrepit with me in a malibu
it rusts in happy meals. bloats on
a warm backseat corpse savoring
in fragmented leather castled by
dehydrated fries like blades.

a baby tooth
unfastened by salty
fingers, time-lost
and swallowed and
basking where i wish i knew
that the myth of sisyphus is
me and you.

i drowse here in a moth box
missing a lock behind a thrift
store under someone else’s
magazines and kool filter kings, soft
snaking in my nose and staying
in my head.
but i appear to be
here, but i am neither here nor
in this illusions jaundiced blue eye
where i am either
one with these walls or alone
still surrounded by them.

Dew is the fever sweat of ailing evenings—I pale-clutch a
fist of roan fur along the mane of the family dog, while we
lope after mirages and tomb bones.

Greasy, the sight of this night-drenched gun—it’s old walnut,
snug-shouldered at the shade of the three-fingered thunder
god, who long-drags from a wicker chaise.

His thick forearms roll out from a work shirt, spitting still-
birthed thunderclaps from one good reptile eye, Virginia
butts kinked into rings of lamed lightning.

In this version of twilight, I am larval ashes, ghost-clung to
this rank animal pelt—the sick pig of my scalded spine lolls
to the left like a rage-fractured digit.

had i mused in those germ-days a thought to trace uphill
and to address that handmade grave entwined
in the dirt of my joints, to mythic men to sorries to isles
or reposed on a waterbed he rests

made of metal but melted like wax
in a year a twisted wick wrought
in the orient of the crucifix he was
wedged and expelled like my weight.

and i recede within myself
tinctured in the bile box quiet or the tarry
dregs of california dreams that turn to
rainwater
on trashcans inside
syringes.

I chalk a barrier in the shade of morning, after my
quiet darlings uncurtained these line-hung linens,
slid wide a new aperture with

promises of soft clay fruit. Were it only that god were a
god and no white toad in the vein, a colloid of tarantula
hairs and heat, varicose.

Should I have shook shoulders, rubbed up flank skin
with preservative salt, or sealed off sense in Canopic
urns for a dimple, or the moon

of a vocal cord? And is there a blue, if not for the red
road hymn cramped in my throat, a dry heave to milk
loathing into a lip-smeared vase?

let not these wasting days persuade nor
nap their pigtails glimmering in the nail, the
blade-bone called my back-turned
maker; go.

to clinch this golden gate in failing
dreams to fog in glary salt-black,
that neon eye, which rarely askance
stays smoke on the rheumy sea.

i could to heartbeat death palpitate
or blood-brain to that blinding place.

the mind at least survives or makes you
think it may.

but the world owlishly shuts.

 

© Samantha Lucero/N. Ian McCarthy