To be named by Chris Campanioni

 

What a beautiful rite
The before & not
Knowing a being
Yet disclosed & neither
Clothed in any
Thing other
Than flesh
The lapel
Turned back &
Meant to be
A continuation of
The collar
Something
Which binds
The throat
I dream I was
Born without a face
Or title &
Titled to only what
Ever this body
Confluence &
Each wave
Brings in
The shore at dawn
Floridian pink
Obelisk & I am in
The middle of this
Ritual taken upon
The altar
Marked & mark
Eted to fit
Enduring versions of me
Shiver like
A stone before
The mirror of
Others & each camera
Eye recording
Velvet tongue so
Sweet say anything
You like consensual
Hallucinations the screen
Of my interior
Which very few
Will ever enter my
Deleted thoughts throat
Without a tongue
City lights re
Ceding but what beauty
To be named only
At birth when I
Fell out & felt
My new skin &
The sheen
Of this turbulence
Trembling in
Another’s palms & held up
For others to
Look at & call
Me what You will

 

CHRIS CAMPANIONI’s new book is Death of Art (C&R Press). He teaches at Baruch College and Pace University. 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. He edits PANK and Tupelo Quarterly and lives in Brooklyn.