Chris Campanioni & Kristina Marie Darling: A Collaborative Poem

Strange to think of machines that way
I know the cold
Grip of confidence or how
A forgetting must
Also be erotic   How I have
Always reached for a body
Made to last
The fall   I am told
& I am still telling this
As cars part
Route 4 into
Soft focus   A point
Of Google Earth
I’ve already reproduced
From habit—I’m here
Again—A stretch
Of skin folding
Inward like prayers
Into a waiting palm
No one is expecting
Me for days or else
I’ve forgotten who I am
I can still
See myself there
Dangling like oranges
In grove   I am the first
Person to make
Eye contact
All night   Rain
Sliding across my cheek
To cut my copy
Like a secret
River   A choice
To remember or erase
Some people
Watch me & want to
Fall in love a second
Time   I want
To say something
Always survives this
Being what we
Call a witness

Sunday, December 23

When I begin the story
the question of power
seems inevitable   I don’t
know how to open that box
can’t seem to turn the key
without breaking it apart
I want to keep driving
in the same way I want
to tell you the truth
& still be able to look at you
straight on   At night
the felled trees
the telephone
wires a field of dead
aster that goes on
for miles   Which is
to say:   I am a lit
match &  I’m trying to
keep myself from turning
up the heat
You see, there are only two
kinds of weather
Yes, the storm
sirens are pitched
at a higher frequency
& now the same
dream      You are standing
there with the book
in your hand
saying over & over
I thought I knew you

Sunday, December 23

The storm, the book, the dream
The key, the match, the box
The heat   The poem
Is teaching me something
To say I have
Missed myself again   Too
Often wanting only
Something to hold up
The time it takes to hang
A copy & let it dry
In the dark   How I can
Know & even believe
I can’t help
But to move or to keep
From moving   I
Read in absence
Of the body as a ritual
The Greeks would burn
A wooden double
Of the deceased
Instead   They called
Me a colossus

Tuesday, December 26

But there are
other exhibits in that
museum: the final
room was the site
of the real violence
& the annex still
belongs to a dead
woodsman:  trophy
after motionless
trophy  You see,
even trained
falcons wear
blinders during
the hunt  At the end
of the corridor
you’ll find the next
dispatch   This is when
you forget
about the locked
box, the field,
the snow.
You realize
as the unease
blossoms beneath
your skin
you realize
you will need
the match

Tuesday, December 26


[Excerpt by Kristina Marie Darling & Chris Campanioni via post on Gulf Coast Magazine]

When I think of collaborative poetics I often think about the poetics of Relation, and thinking about what it means to be directly in contact with everything
possible, an always-open structure in which, as Glissant said, “the creator of a text is effaced, or rather, is done away with, to be revealed in the texture
of his creation.” When a solid melts, it reveals something always underneath, something at the very bottom, something inside—something new and something
that was always already there. What I want is the intimacy of anonymous encounters within the text itself, and yet to be effaced and revealed, even and
especially by my own authorial departure. And it would take the form of a repetition or a reversal; a re: verse in which we correspond lyrically; a re: verse
in which our correspondence becomes the poem.

Of course, an integral part of any correspondence is the space between things, those slender apertures lit up with waiting. It is in these liminal spaces that
possibility accumulates. We write toward this space, in response to its silences.
Because we are neither here nor there, the rules of syntax and grammar, and their implicit logic, no longer hold.  More specifically, liminal spaces offer
the possibility of new causal relationships. Which is to say, after this no longer means because of this. Since we are in no man’s land, working at the
periphery of the governing bodies associated language, it becomes difficult if not impossible to enforce any normative idea about how language, and
narrative, for that matter, should behave.

Nota bene:  the meaning of the word aperture is twofold:  1.) a hole or gap.    2.)  a space through which light passes in an optical or photographic
instrument, particularly the variable opening by which light enters a camera.

A collaboration functions in much the same way, capturing radiance as it passes from one person’s fingertip to the next.




Chris Campanioni is a first-generation American, the child of immigrants from Cuba and Poland, and the author of the Internet is for real
(C&R Press) and Drift (King Shot Press). His “Billboards” poem was awarded an Academy of American Poets College Prize in 2013, his novel Going
 Down was selected as Best First Book at the 2014 International Latino Book Awards, and his hybrid piece “This body’s long (& I’m still loading)” was
adapted as an official selection of the Canadian International Film Festival in 2017. He is currently a Provost Fellow and MAGNET Mentor at The
Graduate Center/CUNY, where he is conducting his doctoral studies in English and redrafting narratives of exile. He edits PANK, At Large
Magazine, and Tupelo Quarterly, and teaches Latino literature and creative writing at Pace University and Baruch College.


Kristina Marie Darling is the author of thirty-one books, including LOOK TO YOUR LEFT: A FEMINIST POETICS OF SPECTACLE (Akron Poetry
Series, 2021) and DARK HORSE: Poems (C&R Press, 2018), which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Her work has been recognized with
awards from Yaddo, the American Academy in Rome, the Academy of American Poets, and the Whiting Foundation. She currently divides her time
between the United States and Europe.

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