Chris Campanioni

FIVE FRENZIES by Chris Campanioni

Intruder Gets Within Steps Of White House

The comment underneath this reads, Building a third ass cheek can be daunting. & in parentheses, (But so worth it). Did you know that sixty-seven percent of people polled only remember I have a dream & nothing that Martin Luther King Jr. said afterward. A privileging of the dream over what proceeds it, which is reality.

A friend says, “I know something that’s a great deal more fun.” The dream presents this great deal more fun.
One grows fat on the things served in company, so I say everything done should be done in private. & what would we do without such security? & how might we secure all of this, for later? A narrow suggestion like the outline of a building from where I am standing on the corner of 33rd & Seventh.
You make me feel as if I had missed something. What is it?

Did that mean shame it meant memory it meant remembering a certain some time & sometime there is breath & sometime there is only the feeling just after.

But is there any better feeling than the feeling of a hand that isn’t yours above your hip to undo a belt, or button? Holding the static like an unthumbed fruit.

& you think to yourself, or you Tweet, silently: Where does she get the words which she puts into my mouth?
(Let us hope that the duration of this dream ride was more satisfactory to her.)
It was not a question whether I considered the grapes sweet or sour, for I no longer had a tongue on which to place them, to taste them, to savor the taste.



(The wish to drink originates from this sensation.)
Upon completion or consummation was a small reward, a gift of words, an invitation to the play, a scenario I’ve yet to install in my headset.
The fortune you seek is in another cookie.



Innocent Teen Tricked & Used
(4k clicks & counting)

But the word quickly is striking enough to demand a special explanation. If asked to describe the smell of my underwear I tell a friend the first thing that comes to mind: Shroud of Turin, length of linen cloth bearing the image of Jesus of Nazareth which of course is visual & not olfactory but the best kind of accountings are the ones that pervert the senses & turn water into wine, wine into blood, blood into this growing thickness inside of me. I’d never thought of that phrase If only you could see me now in any other way until I was dead.


(The Ten Things You Need To See In NYC Before You Die)

Everybody wants to know why I kept doing it, why I keep doing it, if I hate it so much. If I hate what it does to a person & to the people looking. If I hate it so much. & what a person & why. Sometimes I pretend to be a different kind of person but I think I’m a lot like anybody else. Like anybody else, I wanted to go through the fire. I felt I had to feel it, to know that it’s there. To know that it’s here. We go through the fire. & we burn & we burn & we burn & we burn & we burn & we burn & we burn for it. To know & to feel.

& next time, I’ll do this harder.

& how & how come & come in to come out. Out there & over. & to cast your nets you have to go into the water, which is another way of saying you can’t reach new shores if you’re afraid of getting wet, or drowning. I make you feel
Like a natural woman. You make me feel you without asking. In another room, Seamless is offering me ramen, describing our potential encounter like a hug without the awkwardness. You must give me the pleasure of telling me what would best please you. Besides ramen, I mean, or an awkward hug, or a hug without awkwardness. Sometimes you have to choose & sometimes the choice is already made for you. Trump To Spare Dreamers in Crackdown, the rolling text reads, & I would suggest we tread lightly. I want to show you what the public can only imagine, in their most private moments, with their eyes closed & on repeat. When the dolly pulls out it’s as if you can finally see, inserting yourself wherever you see fit. If your lower half aches it’s because you’re hungry. Trust me. Everyone dies of consumption in a Henry James novel & in everyday life. The white stuff that is good for the stomach. As a kid we called it getting last licks.

The Ghost In The Mirror
(The Beast In The Jungle)

You read a poem called “God Wants You To Go To Jail” & it’s your favorite poem this year; you read & re-read it & if asked, on the air, to read something you enjoy, you’d read “God Wants You To Go To Jail” because you like the poem & you like the title, especially, & if asked to explain the reasons why or what it means to you, on the air & in the air, taking so many extra breaths or one big breath—it all comes out like that, sometimes, like you’re choking on words or silence—you’d say that God wants you to go to jail because in order to be counted, to be recognized, to claim presence in this culture, one might have to enter into our prison industrial complex; one might have to become registered an offender in order to be realized an inhabitant of culture in a culture which has abandoned them. Rendered & reinstated, which means to place again in one’s possession. A process of dehumanization for the means of participation, for all dehumanized bodies. The ghost in the mirror. The beast in the jungle. No one is on the air, anymore, no one is here, no one is asking, but these questions still need to be asked.

Have you ever read a police report of your own arrest? & compared it to your own arrest?

The most pervasive crime committed in New York City is MTA violations. Offenses include walking between subway cars, occupying two seats on a subway car, putting a foot on a subway seat, putting a backpack or bag of groceries on a subway seat, using a loved one’s MetroCard to enter the subway, asking another person to swipe you onto the subway, sleeping on the subway, begging on the subway or in the subway terminal. More men & women of color get arrested on subway trains & in train stations than anywhere else in the city. Public transport provides an ideal backdrop for public degradation; shame & surveillance have more in common than we would like to admit, even though we won’t stop watching. The ghost in the mirror. The beast in the jungle. The mirror, the mirror, the mirror.

So there were like all these cages in which we were put into, basically, & like locked there.
& there were like no seatbelts or anything like that um, & it was like, just like we were sitting in a car like that with your hands tied behind your back, like, with also—with cages too—of just like—just having like, nothing at all to hold on to—I think some people were falling over & hitting themselves. What I remember most was how they talked about us or how they talked around us & over us. They talked through us. & how they kept referring to us as bodies. They kept saying, “We have to move the bodies. We have to transfer the bodies. The bodies are late; we’re going to be late with the bodies.”
I was an object or I was his object. & like I was his. I was his body.

(Watch Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” Music Video)

A dinner party. A castle or mansion that ends with a fire, a murder or murders, a game that is being played (VR?).
He is en route on three different trains or buses, trying to get back home in the rain.
On the last vehicle (a van or minivan?) see the faces of various strangers & high school buddies (Tom?), a joke is made about the tennis team & all of them having to shave their ____ (the word is never spoken) before the season starts, which no one has done except the person speaking, unbeknownst to him. He leaves so he can verify himself in the mirror, which is when I wake.
A hotel or castle that doubles as a city. Each room leads to another in which a woman I am currently or recently sleeping with dwells. I move from room to room, hallway to hallway, always wondering if I’m going to run into someone when I’m with someone else, always wondering if someone will open up the door to the room I’m in while I’m sleeping with another. While I am with another or while I am another. These thoughts keep me up so as to prevent me from sleeping. I lie, silent, with my eyes on the door, the knob of the door or its keyhole. The hotel or castle is all one floor with a terrace for watching.

A dream that ends with you looking for food in a vaguely South Floridian urban cityscape; during the walk you come across your Eleventh Grade Chemistry teacher, Ms. Winters. She asks you if you’re alright (You are now sitting down, at a café or on a park bench, writing these notes.) You nod & point to your drafts; you say something like, “Look at all I’ve written.”

Ms. Winters smiles or frowns; you can’t register which. (Outside the dream, you remember many moments spent masturbating to her image, in the Eleventh Grade & possibly later.) Inside the dream, she puts her hand on your back, on your neck, & says something like, “No, I mean you were there. For the shooting.” Your thoughts move to a shooting that took place prior to your search for food or maybe because of your search for food, your general hunger, your need to consume, to keep consuming; on a restaurant’s tropical patio where you were standing besides an older man, someone you’ve never seen before with dark hair & a thin mustache, just before he blows his brains out, a murder-suicide with the gentleman to his left, someone dressed in military garb. The point wasn’t to annihilate one’s self but to perform as an assassin. To kill or become death.

Tears well up in your eyes as you recall this & Ms. Winter frowns; without question, she’s frowning, her hand on your back, on your neck. You can feel the tears but mostly the feeling before the tears, which is a lot like choking, or the decision to wake up.

She likes to dance on the veranda. On the verandah dancing.

“You were at the concert,” she says, from her spot on the verandah, between songs. “I saw you.” (The slow-moving panorama of dusk in Havana.)

“I didn’t think you saw anyone,” he says. (He lights up his cigar; she takes a drag of the one he’d offered her, when they’d begun talking, before we were here to watch. She holds it in one hand, raised up, pointed, like a pistol or a prayer. All the fading lights of Havana, or a Havana that I dream about, a Havana that resembles the Havana of my father’s memory.)

“I don’t look in the beginning,” she says. “But at the end, I take in the crowd. It’s like …” (She pauses; the camera pulls back to show the crowd of buildings, the purple blue sky, each of them in frame, in medium shot & approached from the front, she in white, he in a gray suit, holding themselves up, elbows on the stone terrace.) “… Sleeping with a stranger,” she says, “& then asking for their name on their way out the door.”

“To validate the intimacy?” he asks.

“Or,” she returns, “to invalidate it.”

The camera holds before it circles, like a kite, or the smoke, or the white gown in the warm breeze. Circling & circling, toward a vanishing point of the past or imperfect future. The sea’s keening. The audible, unseen waves. The purple blue sky. The smoke of the cigar. The clouds. The clouds. The clouds. The intimacy of feeling without recognition, or touching without knowing why. (In the dream, I am the camera.)

A voice says, Freedom isn’t seeing the ocean. Captivity is something you hold within you.