VOICES FROM THE FIRE: J.J. Campbell

running on empty

i started a vision board

for my life, it’s still empty

a lonely saxophone wails

in the back of my mind

yet another empty for the floor

the latest year of death

comes to an end

how many times does this soul

get to escape what it deserves

i had an old lover tell me she

hopes i die alone one day

i told her she should have stayed

longer if she wanted me to feel

misery

penniless

the imagination running on empty

i live in a town near a highway

with plenty of banks

you do the math

i’ve been running from something

for most of my life

i remember first trying to kill myself

at eight years old

the day jesus stopped loving me

also, the day i learned how to smoke

J.J. Campbell

burning through the horizon

another rainy night

drinking away the

pain

yet another broken

soul set into the

hindsight on a

howling wind

any chance for a sandy

beach or one of those

sunsets you brag to

your grandchildren

about faded away with

the first drop of blood

scars add character

they don’t add a

personality or the

ability to be filthy

rich

and sadly, money seems

to be more important than

everything in this world

hell, even the sidelines

aren’t cheap any longer

ashes to ashes

there is already

plenty of dust

a fire burning through

the horizon

my grandmother always

told me hell was somewhere

west of the big river

hopefully, i’ll end up

there one day

without missing a beat

a buddy asked me

the other day if my

father was still alive

what would i ask him

without missing a beat

i said how incompetent

do you have to be to go

to war wanting to die

and not be able to do

so

my buddy choked on

his drink and said really

yeah, stupid fuck went

to vietnam to die and

instead came back home

and gave me all his

fucking problems

he took another drink

and asked what would

you ask your mother

i said she’s still alive

she knows all my opinions

on life-changing situations

at the age of seventeen

he chuckled and said no

wonder you’re a poet

i laughed

yeah, i never had the

patience to be a serial

killer like i always

wanted to be

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