If

If words could bring you

Back, I would write until the

Breath refilled your lungs.

-DC

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Perfection

Perfection is an elephant
That sits in the middle
Of my chest,
Causing respiratory distress
As I constantly
Contemplate my flaws.

© Dustin Campos November 201

Fire

Blue, red, and yellow 
Tongues lick the air,
Dancing methodically
Against the deep
Blanket of the night sky. 

I can feel
My skin begin to glow
As waves of
Warmth tenderly kiss
My cheeks. 

Closer I lean,
Until that warmth morphs
Into an uncomfortable heat. 
That glow I reveled in
Replaced by the sensation
Of liquid pooling
In pockets under my skin. 

Blisters. Pain. Agony. 
That’s what I get
For playing with fire. 

© Dustin Campos November 2017

Keeping Up Appearances

It’s embarrassing,
The way my house looks. 
The way multiple 
Projects, once started,
Are left unfinished. 
It makes me look lazy,
Unskilled in working,
Or worse,
Financially challenged. 

One speck of dust on
A hardwood floor
Stands out like the
North Star against
The pitch black
Night sky. 
One fingerprint on
A screen door is
Enough to send me
Into a frenzied panic. 

So I clean, sweep, mop,
Repair, and attempt to
Give the appearance of
A well-organized and
Structurally sound home. 
I buy fancy furniture to fulfill
The need I feel to
Keep up with the Jones’s,
To fit in with the crowd,
To give the impression
That I’ve finally achieved
The American dream. 
Just like all my neighbors. 

But I stress. 
And I worry. 
And I work myself
Until my fingers bleed
And my muscles scream
In agony,
Until my brain pleads
For just a few hours
Of sleep,
All in order
To make everything look
Neat and orderly. 

Meanwhile,
The attic leaks. 
And the floors creak. 
And the termites have
Just settled in
To enjoy the buffet
I’ve afforded them. 

But the windows sparkle in
The sun’s gleam
And the brick has been
Power washed to
A remarkable degree. 

As passerby’s
Glance out the windows
Of their own clunkers
Wrapped in the body
Of luxury cars,
They think to themselves
“What a nice house”
And have not an inkling
That the interior
Lies in shambles. 

And I look at them,
And think
“What a nice car”
Not knowing that
The oil hasn’t been changed
In years,
And the tank is on empty,
And the engine
Under that shiny hood
Is covered in rust spots
And is barely chugging along. 

Oh white-washed sepulcher!
Dazzling on the outside,
But inwardly
Littered with the remains
Of dead men’s bones. 

© Dustin Campos October 2017

Island

How did I get here?
I’ve been lost on this
Island for what seems
Like an eternity,
Yet I know I haven’t
Been here my whole life.

I haven’t seen a person
Since I’ve arrived.
Only the ghosts of people.
They appear maybe once a week.
I speak to them on occasion,
But they only reply with
Meaningless words,
Superficial syllables
That don’t
Carry any weight.

Dangerously dehydrated,
Surrounded by beautiful
Blue water on every side,
Tortured by seeing it
And knowing that if I take a sip
It would be to my harm.

I’ve tried it a few times.
I’ve taken deep drinks,
Only to find myself heaving
Onto the dry, hot sand
Minutes later.
The salt scratching my throat,
The burning sensation
Only intensifying my
Craving for the real thing.
I vowed to never
Drink from this poisonous sea
Again, only to find myself
Diving into that same ocean
A few hours later.

This water will kill me.
Every time I taste it
The regret is immediate.

But still, I’m
Tempted to plunge
My face beneath the
Cool blue surface and
Gulp greedily.
I’m dying of thirst.
If I can’t have the real thing,
This will do, right?

Wrong

There’s no substitute
For the genuine article.
I’ve been here long enough
To realize that.
And I still have vague
Memories of what
Pure water tastes like.

I have to get off this island.
But there’s sharks in this water.
I’ve been bit a few times.
They circle the land,
Daring me to make a break
For it. Fear floods my mind
Every time I catch a glimpse
Of those dorsal fins
Protruding from above the
White caps on the sea.

And what if those people
On the mainland see me
Out here in the ocean,
Wet, weak, drowning,
Vulnerable?
They all seem to
Have it all together.
When I finally drag myself
Out of this salty soup,
They’ll always see me as that
Vulnerable man
Who could barely swim.
I have a reputation to protect.

So week after week,
I carry on my meager
Conversations with these
Insubstantial ghosts,
Craving a real discussion
With some weight behind it,
And a glass of that pure
Water that I once knew
And all of the life giving
Properties that it contains.
But pride comes before the fall.

I hate this island.

© Dustin Campos November 2017

Chains

Bound by chains. 
Tethered to the ground. 
But it’s not like I
Really want to rise up. 
What’s so great about the sky
Anyways? 
I like it down here. 

Me flesh enjoys
The feel of the cool dirt
Against my skin,
The tickle of the
Tiny legs of insects
As they scurry across
My epidermis,
Brushing past my hair follicles. 

And yet my spirit 
Does not agree. 
I find my inner self
Yearning to break free
From those chains,
My soul recognizing 
The filth and degradation
Of the dirt that my flesh
Is inclined to bathe in
Longing for the weightless
Sensation that awaits me
In the clouds. 

The duality is bemusing. 

No matter how frequently
I unsuccessfully attempt
To break free or
Pick the padlock
Dangling from the 
Chains that bind,
I remain in these
Lower altitudes with only
The worms as my companions. 

I may rise a few feet
By sheer strength,
But ultimately,
I’m pulled back down
To that familiar ground
That my carnal self
Has become so fond of. 

It seems that we can never be
Truly free
Without a Mighty Hand
With a Master Key. 

© October 2017 Dustin Campos

Sand

I’ve seen massive metallic
Marvels of modern architecture 
Crumble into heaps of garbage
In the wake of a strong wind
Or a shifting of tectonic plates
Beneath the surface of
The earth’s crust. 

But I have never seen the
Ocean venture beyond
The boundary lines of the sand
And invade the dry land permanently. 

The metal, widely considered
To be strong,
Is toppled. 
But that soft, pliable, sand 
Contains the raging sea. 

We must admit our weakness
And become soft and
Moldable, like the sand. 
Only then will God empower
Us to control those raging
Storms within our soul. 

© Dustin Campos October 2017

Beautiful Symphony

Imagine what it would look like
If Christ’s people stood together;
One body
One mind
One Father. 

A symphony of beautiful music
All tuned to the perfect pitch
Of the Maestro’s flawless
Tuning fork. 

Different instruments
All playing the same song. 
The world could not help but dance. 

© Dustin Campos October 2017