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Poetry by Gabriel Campos

Tchotchkes

I am in no hurry to dream
When my waking breaths are precious.
Here are the dimensions of my anchorage:

  i.
Calacatta marble, with idillio streaks along his forearms that you traced, trancelike, with your index finger. Acid rain and chlorine fumes smoothed his face into a mask. Years later, he will be misremembered as a political ikon and violently dismembered. Without a body, he warps canvas and disappears on video. He sublimates into art that does not concern him, just like this.

  ii.
Amburana wood, glass, and fishing wire. A parade of ducklings, individually encased in glass cubes. You could hear a soft quacking through the ventilation ducts.

  iii.
Rawhide and unfired clay. A veiled woman, kowtowing in fear. She was shipped with a metal cylinder filled with choke pears, so you laid small flowers by her exhibit in solidarity, never pity. She moves when the lights are off.

  iv.
String and oxidized iron. Caltrops suspended from the ceiling, tapered to a killing edge. When they’re kept in storage, they flood their shoebox with blood, so they remain on display at all times. You felt a saint-like pity for them and hung logs of salami you bought from the deli on their hooks overnight. In the morning, we find them swaying in an imaginary wind.

  v.
Wax and human hair, wooden sticks. A set of melty rabbit dolls mounted on thin shafts. Their shadows enact a pantomime of a mommy rabbit and her kittens happily eating grass in a locus amoenus of shade. You wanted them transferred to a campus we’ve never heard of.

  vi.
Plastilina, copper wire (endoskeleton), speculums, paige capos, ash. Vulpine beast with hastily sculpted skin, held open and pinched shut by instruments. You had taken a mental health day the day she arrived. The clay was still wet.

  vii.
Polyurethane foam (distended with carbon dioxide), electrical wires, bijous. Five bovine figures stitched together with electrical wire strung with antique Christmas ornaments. Featureless, except for their plentiful legs that grow like tumors across their bodies. You listed a penetrating stunbolt gun as a company expense”.

  viii.
Polyethylene and silicone, varnished with wax crayon, rice powder, concrete mix, dried vomit. Donated by the South Miami mall. A plastic rainbow meant for a children’s play space, now sporting a long head and tail that make it look vaguely equine. You called this decay art”, I call it homeopathy”. It is violent, so visitors must sign waivers. There is nowhere to administer tranquilizer on its body, yet you bought a crateful anyways.

  ix.
Wood, plaster, gauze, oil paint. Unidentifiable white object. You were the only person it spoke to. It was the only person you spoke to.

  x.
Drywall, insulation, electrical wires and sockets, PVC pipes, porcelain tiling, wooden cross-beams, paint, lighting fixtures, corpse. People smiled and forced their children to take pictures with you. They said, so this is what contemporary art has come to!”

Gabriel Campos

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