Peter Campion

September 5, 2015 Campion Peter



Here is the man who tells you

prison’s like Vietnam:

always that fear of “up the river.”

Here is the man some people wanted

dead and had reasons

standing in his living room

and holding his picture. Here

in the picture is the box he holds

so he is the man inside

the box of the gate door

inside the larger box

of the prison holding

the box he brought here

how many months ago.

And not in some professor’s

embroidery on the picture

but the picture. So the box’s a box.

And here is the ocean

under his condominium

and wedges of lemon

sun in his curtains

and sun-webbed

ocean in his eyes

as he turns from his picture

to make his point

finally clear because

for once the facts

stand still: right here. Though where

his words would be

he for this moment just

shakes his picture.

Peter Campion is the author of four collections of poetry and of the essay collection Radical as Reality: Form and Freedom in American Poetry. A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize, he teaches in the graduate creative writing program at the University of Minnesota.