3 poems by Travis Campbell

 

Travis Campbell is an undergraduate student at Ball State University. His splits his time as a full time student and the Beta-male of a mid sized coyote pack in his hometown of Franklin, Indiana.

 

Celebrar su vida

 

He was a cowboy.

 

A loaded water gun

swaying at his waist,

a plastic badge shining

from the drivers-side-saddle

of a horse named Equinox.

 

A gift from his father,

man to man like

the morning cough,

and always ringing ear.

 

He’ll remember when

he sees her at the bar,

drinking fruit punch

and fabric softener,

 

her head tilting

the way it used to,

he should feel sad.

 

Adulthood is listening

to soulful white guys

with long hair fingering

guitars and singing

songs about loneliness

in small Georgia towns

 

and pissing away good money

on bad beer, and trying

to focus on the backs

of all the pretty blonde girls

 

instead of the sugar skull

(etched into the shoulder

of the beauty from out west)

smiling behind her veil

of dark hair.

 

Cowboys don’t get sad.

 

 

 

Stories with Darius

 

The neighborhood’s own

broken arm; old rusted limb

an iron antenna, reaching

for better reception

 

though static drip

drops from high wire

and soaks the brim

of his hollow head

 

as I sit with a fire in

the smoking driveway

that stains the cloudy street

with a second hand story

 

about happiness and the effects

of the internet on trees

 

and rusted ears

collect echoes of jazz

and occasional debates

of suburban owls

 

as the white cars oblige by

and by always, like the ghosts

of February and melted snow.

 

Middle Children

 

The opposite of bread is a broken

collarbone and a scar on my brother

harsh, like an orange shade.

We sit by ugly lamps

 

listening to hometown radio,

police scanners and street names

Banta, Forsythe, King

pepper in our teeth

 

from eating marshmallows

and cottage cheese with our heads

pressed against windows crackling

 

 

with sleet, like the crow

told us in Petty Alley,

our own prophet

on a phone pole.

 

 

 Travis Campbell

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