Note: This is a very simple presentation. It is basically just a posting to share the work but also to organize it in one place in preparation of the experimental word/image melding edition of our print magazine due out some time in the spring/summer of 2009.

The idea is A melding of words and images with each illustrating some aspect of the other. If it works well each should take on some flavor of the other and create a new idea. The truth is in the mind of the beholder. Read a few see if it works.

I call this poetry, it may be prose some of it is just a string of words. I call it poetry as it is meant to be read aloud. I designed it and edited it that way. The rhythm and rhyme become apparent when the thought of the words mix up with the spirit voice in your lungs, bubble up through your throat and spill out over your lips and tongue to mingle with your particular accent to become your own. Try it you might like it. Read some to your children to your spouse or lover. These words are freeze dried waiting for the taste of you to give them life.  Do it.

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MJ#9 Illustrated poetry of Love and Other Afflictions

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For samples of past work click: Mikesjournal #6: Death Valley or Mikesjournal #7: Faces of the Dominican Republic

Illios:  Illustrated Poetry of Love and Other Afflictions

by Michael Campbell

Alphabetical index : Click Here

Most recent poem Waiting for My Muse in the Chelsea Hotel- December 21,  2009

Most Recent One Minute Poetry Reading Videos:

Today At Fifty-Nine (I Saved The World)  

Boy With a Dime  

Danger of Falling In Love #3

White Flowers Falling From Tree

Free Association One - Dead Fish - The Movie

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Chronological Listing of the poems and the influential photographs

January 2006

Midnight at the Magic Kingdom


    The big flashes startled you

    So as a child might

    You slipped under my arm

    Then melted

    Against my skin.

    We were one

    My love.


The Mask

    The Mask

    Battered and bruised

    Unlike me

    This face, this mask

    I use to fend

    against the blows.

    Hit me again

    and again and again.

    Is that the best you can do?

Night Street Car 4072

Night Street Car 4072

Night street car comes

Number forty seventy-two

Iron wheels squealing round the loop

I search for faces to find you


                                        There are none

                                        Night street car comes

                                        Discharging steam and stale memories

                                        My heart sinks

                                       Night street car moves on

                                       Empty as this cold January night.

February 2004 - Carnival Vegano

Tropical Flower #4 

    Tropical Flower #4

    Orange and yellow

    To rival the sun

    Worlds in dew drops

    Memories of lions and tigers

    Passing by to kiss your sweet perfume

    Their colors in exchange for your scent.

February 2006

Roller Coaster

Roller Coaster

This ride with you

Safe but unsafe

Heart pounding blood rushing

Thrill of a crush

You a happy rush of laughter

Me both hands up in surrender

And false bravado.


Freezing Rain

Thirty-two degrees of separation

Have come between us.

I used to see my face in yours

Now I see only ice.




March 2006

Smoke on the Mountain British Columbia

Smoke on the Mountain

Before you see it you smell it

Smoke on the mountain British Columbia.

Several smoke stacks

Painting in layers,

Layers of clouds,

The chewed up, burnt up, rafts

Of snow covered logs.

The Danger of Falling in Love #1 (Missing You) 

He said

My love, I thought of you all day.

I could not get you out of my mind

The thought of you

The need to be with you

Burned terrible desire

It hurt me so bad.

She said

My love, I am sorry

Missing me made you feel that way.

I did not think of you at all today,

My heart was busy doing mindless things

The day passed for me on silver wings.

He said

My love, I am glad.

Beach Towel

  Beach Towel

Still moist from the touch of your skin

Caresses my face

Warms my body

I breathe deeply

Drunk with the idea

Of being wrapped in pieces of your DNA.



Sleeping Baby

Sleeping Baby

Sweet dreams my love.

You are me and I am you

Mystery reveals itself.

Born of love,

Lives in love,

May we be

Innocent forever.

Sweet Child of Mine

Sweet Child of Mine

I love you so

Such hope and happiness

I have for you

My heart is bursting with it


Back turned to the sun you worry.

                         The sands of this place

                         Have drifted between us.

                I reach into this heart to find the love I hold for you

                But hands come out empty

                I discover I am naked and alone.

21st Century Artifact; Tin Can Crown with Gold Inlay 


    Twenty First Century Artifact

    Tin can crown with gold inlay

    Such was their power

    They paved their streets

    With this stuff.


Rainbow Windows 


Rainbow Windows

Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet

Real old yeller goes bad in vacation.

They line up correctly.

A symphony; these colors combine then separate

Then combine again,

Invisible music of waves.

To see without seeing we live in shades of gray.





April 2006

Coral Rose 

Coral Rose

In the afterglow of love

Your scent on my fingers still

My lips tender with the soft touch

Of yours

I am a perfect rose

Made for only you.

Not touching the ground I float

My way home

As a melody might I caress

The air a new song.

Yellow Rose

You are as a yellow rose

Layers of sweetness unfolding.

I wish to rush headlong into you,

Press my face against you,

Close my eyes and drink deeply

The essence of you.

So easy to forget about

The thorns

And a fresh glistening drop of blood

On my heart.

May 2006

First Star Wish Poem

     Star light,

     Star Bright

    First star I see tonight

    I wish I may

    I wish I might

    Have this wish

    I wish     tonight.


(No I did not write this poem - click on the photo to get the back story.)

Shadow People on the Boat

Shadow People on the Boat

Are we there yet captain?

Asked the stick man to the

Styx man who motioned to the whip man.

                                Not yet my child...

                                Try forty more and ask again

                                If you please.

                                The whip came down with

                                Thunderous applause,

                                Are we there yet captain?

Shadow People on the Water 

Shadow People on the Water

Blue on blue

We pass without footprints

Our memory a trail of foam

                                                                                                                    From here to the horizon

Then gone.

June 2006

Dead Fish

Dead Fish

You leapt into the rain thinking it was prey

Landed on the patio

Granite scales of the beast.

Each leap into the watery air

Every struggle

Took you farther from your home.

So it was you died


A fish out of water.

My tears cannot revive you now.


Little Girl With Shadow

My laugh follows your laugh

My pain follows your pain

Your fear is my fear too.

Forever connected are we.

We follow each other

Like the man in the moon

Follows us home.



The Blue Door

I stand before you and pause,

A secret bow to that moment of fear.

Oh lover mine I remember you were hard

Now you surrender so easily.

Oh lover mine I remember you and your friends

How you betrayed me shamelessly,

Books knocked to floor

Shoulder smashed blue like my blue door,

Echoed down the hallways laughter.

Crashing into lockers laughter.

Laughter mixing with the song of happy voices

In classes filled with strangers

While I stood alone comforted by bitter tears.

But here today Blue Door

With the slightest pull you open to invite me in.

All is forgiven?

No lover mine I am not yours

I am a stranger still before your Blue Door.


Misty Highway 


Misty Highway

Cannot see in front

Cannot see behind

This here and now unclear as well.

I grip the wheel

Worried about the way

Focused on the lights ahead

                    Driving like the car ahead

                    Hoping he knows the road ahead.

                    He drives like an idiot

                    Just like me.

White Flowers Falling From Tree  


    White Flowers Falling From Tree

    A wondrous sight this snow in June

    With perfume falling blooms caress my soul.

    This heavy heart is lightened and I sing.

    Intoxicated by the rush of spring.




The Danger of falling in Love #3 (Breaking Up)

We both ran

Carelessly into our feelings

Words like accidents

Smashing our indifferences

So we fled the scene

On the street again I was

Free yet with a weight of darkness

where this heart used to be.

I returned for my heart and

Found you crying

Still in love with me.

We put back the pieces

Now I am no longer light

Parts are missing

I feel it

This weight of darkness

I carry still.

July 2006

The Secret Life of Bees

The secret life of bees

They are not like us you know

You cannot trust them

What are they doing?

Messing with the flowers

Insects plotting insurrections.


White flowers with red eyes in the rain

Are secret installations for the insect race

Communication devices.


Ten foot insectoids

With their reptilian friends

Once ruled this earth

They are waiting, taking no chances

Sending secret messages

Tapping out a Morse code for the underworld

One day they will rule again.

Brown-Eyed Susan

You have a hundred names

None of them are true.

Brown-Eyed Susan

I wait for you.


Can we cross the sea?

Five years on

Brown-Eyed Susan

You wait for me.

August 2006


Flower Petal Finger Nails

My Mama said when she was five

She used flower petals

To make her finger nails.

She stuck them carefully with gum

After the flavor was gone

I wonder what she was thinking.




January 2007

Glass Building

I lived in a glass building,

No stones allowed.

I threw them anyway.

The clouds came in,

The rains came in,

The people came in,

And took me away.

Now I live in a cement room,

               No glass allowed.

               I dream about the sun

               And sparkling shards

               Trouble these waking hours.


Driving at Night in the Rain

Thunder has merged with lighting 

Wind hits the car like a living thing

It trembles

The sky opens up

I am blind.

Driving by the instruments

                                    I slow down to the speed limit

                                    My hands tight on the wheel

                                    We hydroplane on into the night.

                                    We are half alive and half living the dream

                                    Of flying.


It was with tears we were born not laughter

There will be tears when we die.

Should it be different in midlife my love?

Joys and sorrows

Tears surround them all.

We are made with tears

              Let me kiss those tears of yours

I wish to melt into your salty sea of love.

May 2007  (here Kodak plant being demolished)

Kodak my love what have they done

I went to see my love today

Brought her smiles and fresh rolls of memories.

But my love was gone

Broken and done

Murdered by a sudden onslaught

Of Zeros and Ones.

My smiles and rolls of memories

Now fade like dreams

After the magic light has gone

And only harsh sun remains.





The Danger of Falling in Love #5 - Jealousy


In a darkened room

On a bed covered with with coats

At a party of drunken strangers

I found you kissing a friend.

I remember how your naked left breast

Glowed in the moonlight

While you covered yourself

In shame.

I burned in the glow

Of that breast.

Thirty years on it haunts me still.

You said it was the drink

That made you do it

You said it was for old times.

You said you were just throwing an old dog

A bone.

I wanted to kill

I wanted to shout

Jealous rage struck me

Shot me, silenced me in a moment

I walked away as a coward might

I walked away dead

Yet walking still

With questions as from whence this jealousy came

Was it because I lost you that night?

Or was it because you did not invite me to your party?

August 2007

Boy With a Dime

Boy With a Dime

There was this dream

Of going to Mars

Of going to the Moon

Of going to tomorrow

Not because it was easy

Because it was hard

But with just a dime

It took more than a dream

More than an equity mortgage

And dollars to donuts men in suits

It took vision and innocence.                                              Innocence lost when they                                                raised the price of

Ten cent candy

To two fifty-nine.

(How it may appear in the magazine MJ #9 The Poetry Edition - Coming Soon)

Urban River

River of my youth

My love you have not aged well

You taught me to swim

We had bold adventures

Pirate dreams,

Jungle swings,

Told me secret stories

Soothed my insect bites

In your medicinal mud.


River of my youth

A prisoner now

After the flood

When in a fit youthful exuberance

Drunk with the excess of some tropical rain storm

You washed away seventeen


So they encased you in concrete

Sentenced you to a slow sad death

Scared the children away.

No more secret stories now

Your medicinal mud a festering sore.

October 2007


Breathless I speak

No sounds appear only intentions

Walls bend in on me

Lights and siren

Muffled in the rain

Should warn me to run

But the ether has enveloped me

I cannot run only swim

I cannot swim.  I seem to be drifting

It is the rain

This constant rain

And now the cold this is not nature

Mouth drawn upward

Hooked it seems

Drawing me towards the bright

I am a broken fish living in an underwater city

What can I show you for tears?

November 2007


If wishes were dreams my son

What dreams are there for you?

To walk with your brother

Hand in hand on the moon?

To sing a new song,

A tune so simple, pure and strong

A muse to make the world weep

Then fall in love forever?

To lead the brave and the free?

This can be done.

If wishes were dreams my son

I wish for you a son

Asleep in your arms

Safe in your home

No greater love I have found.

December 2007

The Danger of Falling In Love #8  (Separation)

Clouds After The Rain

My heart in tatters

Its blood, my spirit

Now stain the heavens.


The essence of me

Flew up to the sky to follow you

My tears sank into the earth

Followed your river songs

Towards the sea and gone.


I am dry now

A shell trapped in some strange spider’s web

With lines of communication

That cannot touch the sky.

January 2008    Mikesjournal magazine - Volume #5

Volume #5 contained a lot of poetry. It was written as a long tone poem exploring issues of memory, birth and death. here are a few samples. We donated the proceeds to the Canadian Alzheimer's Society. The first edition is now out of print however reprints are available from the store.  Proceeds from sales still go to benefit the Alzheimer's Society of Canada.

From Mikesjournal Magazine #5 pages 5 - 6 Ghost Train

Ghost Train

I ride a ghost train

Time ticking along these lonesome rails

My past a memory

My future uncertain

Here and now

A cacophony

Of sight and sound.

From Mikesjournal Magazine #5 pages 15 - 16  Rebirth


In my dream I was reborn

From blood and dust I came

To the light of new

I was drawn




From Mikesjournal Magazine #5 Pages 13 -14 Butterfly Dream

Butterfly Dream

In my dream I was a butterfly

Above a field of rainbow light

It was there I fell in love with a flower

In my dream I became a flower

But ashamed I was for beauty not beheld my form

This cold chrysalis longing to dance with the wind yet shivering in the cold

I hungered for the flower so in my dream I ate the flower

Then the wind took me

Cast me away

Condemned to be a butterfly again

A flower only in my dream.

Mikesjournal Magazine Volume #5 pages 21 & 22 - Awakening


In my dream a fear awoke me

But dreaming still was I

And in a dream where I was lost

before me so many

Lonesome rails

All paths to heaven

But which was mine?

They looked alike

I could not choose

Frozen with indecision

I lost my way.

Mikesjournal Magazine Volume #5 pages 25 & 26 - Red


I learned to sing

I sang of flowers and fire

Of love and fair ladies

I sang the colors

Like red

Perfect and pure

I sang so beautifully

The angels wept for me and gave me life.

Mikesjournal Magazine Volume #5 pages 27 & 28 - Friendship


A good friend will never end

Miss Madison said when we were ten

The rules of friend

The rules of spelling did not bend

A broken glass you cannot mend

Not so with a friend

When you are ten.

February 2008 - Mikesjournal #6 Poems from Death Valley

Pages 11 and 12

Strange Water 

Strange Water       

Looks cool

Is hot

Looks wet but not

For drinking

Cow Creek salt pools

Reflecting fresh mountain ice

                                           Close yet miles away

                                                Beyond the reach of crawling.

                                                Strange water

                                                Does not quench this thirst

                                                Nor cool these blistered feet

                                                It burns.

Pages 41 and 42



With footprints

We marked these dunes

Up and down we marched

like monstrous soldier ants

Names, carved initials, tracks and tracings

Into the willing earth,

                            As master painters might

                            We marked these paths

                            So clear our trails that others might follow

                            Forever it seemed.

                            Soon everywhere we looked

                            We saw footprints.

                            Soon everywhere we stood we saw power

                            Our marks eternal.

                            And in the morning

                            The wind kissed the dunes

                            Our footprints gone as though

                            We had never been.

Pages 19 and 20


Desert Flower


This face is an old one

Cracked desert clay

with flowers

And love beyond measure.


Pages 15 and 16

Lost Highway Comes

Lost highway comes

And we are naked

Salt and sweat

As this earth is

Salt and sweat


                   Strange journey, endless and instant

Infinite yet not yet started

I look and see salt and sweat

I am naked with the sound of this body

Loud labored breathing

An ancient steam engine

Fueled on fear and habits

It struggles along this lost highway

And wonders if we are there yet.

March 2008

In Shanghai

In Shanghai

In a market stall

I heard the caged bird sing

A yellow bird with feathers trimmed in blue

I knew she sang for me

With words my heart could feel as true


She sang…

Kind sir for twenty Yuan

You can set me free.


For twenty Yuan I brought her home

But silence was her song for me

The tiny bird with feathers trimmed in blue

Watched from cage the sky and tree

No song no chirp

She shivered afraid of me.


So from window ledge

I opened cage and away from me she flew

Towards the city it seemed

Towards the market and her home.


In the market stall the morning next

I recognized a song so strong and pure

A melody to break my heart.

My yellow bird with feathers trimmed in blue

Caged again with song...


Kind sir please

For twenty Yuan

You can set me free.

May 2008            The World On a Blade of Grass


The world on a blade of grass

Collapses into the infinite

With my best lens

I see a world awaiting

Closer I look then within the world I see

A boy on a blade of grass

Contemplating a dew drop

In the sun




October 2008

Quality of Line 

The Quality of Line

The quality of line between us

Is not a straight one

We follow the great circle route

The shortest distance between two points on a sphere

Two points on a sphere is what we are

To get together we must take the long way around.




Dark Flower  

Dark Flower

I curse this romantic love

This joy and sorrow of knowing you.

I am filled with tears

What good is this?

Our time together is too short

Away from you the pain too much to tell.

Without you my days are gray and meaningless

                                My only thought how much I miss you

                                Your love has eclipsed the sun

                                We are dark flowers now

                                This occult love a cursed thing.

Mikesjournal #7  Faces of the Dominican Republic




Taina, Africana Y Blanca

Lovely mixture full of fun and grace,

School girl bubbling like a mountain spring

Strong woman you run beside me, a river

You brush against me I blush

               I fall in pretending I know how to swim

               Your happy laughter takes my breath away

                I could drown asi forever



Blind David laughed when I asked if I could take his picture

Go ahead he said

While turning his head

And holding for me his very best profile

All the while laughing at the concept.

                                                  Go ahead he said

                                                  While caressing his chin

                                                  And the twenty-five pesos
                                                  I slipped into his hand.

We Came to America Seeking Healing

We came to America seeking healing

The diagnosis a shattered life line

The diagnosis a broken heart line

Prognosis not good

Born at the wrong time

Born at the wrong place

We came to America seeking comfort

We found the place in ruins

The doctors on rum

The nurses on merengue

 he orderlies using medicine to sweeten their café.

We grew wild seeking freedom

But soon melted into your island charm

Willing victims of a few million stars

An India-ink sky and love beyond measure

The life line was not shattered

The heart line was not broken

They led us here our lives a tropical morning.

November 2008

Happy Birthday Marisol


Happy Birthday Marisol

Happy 29th

Or was that thirty?

Just like that

With lies like that

Innocent daughter

At first we believe everything

                                        And one day we learn

                                        To believe nothing

                                        Yet the truth remains

                                        "Dominicana" was written for you

                                        Written in blood

                                        Ah there I go again....

                                        Not in blood perhaps

                                        But a with really nice pen and exclusive paper as well.

Last Leaf of Summer

Last Leaf of Summer

Rusty red in the fast fading light

Comes to rest against

The Blue.

Last Leaf of Summer

So tired

Unaware this rest is not a rest

                                                It is the end of the journey.

Discipline One to Three

Discipline One to Three (for Mai Song)

To speak without words

To see without looking

The weight of nothing

Grows difficult to be

In waking dream burdened by joyful melody

This song shared with none.

The Danger of Falling in Love #12 (Mortality)


The Danger of Falling in Love No. 12

It is not that we grow old and beauty's frail fleeting form

Shall leave us,

The beauty of your love has no ending.

It is love, immortal love in this unworthy aging shell,

Love's endless radiance and now a desire to live.

                                                  A desire to live to see two hundred.

                                                  More than that,

                                                  Two hundred is nothing compared to love.

                                                  Love's sad gift; mortality.

                                                  Before love I was immortal

                                                  In love I realize I am not.



Pray the silent dead

Disarm these troubled dreams

That disquiet

This waking life.

May peace come

And none may hear

The noise, the shake, the breaking hearts of babes.

The blood will not go.

It comes again and again

In sudden shards of shock and surprise,

In unexpected moments I quake.

Pray the silent dead

Embrace me in forgiveness

                                          Give me rest.

The Souls Rising to Heaven 


    They are like stars

    Like angels too

    The souls

    Rising up to heaven.




Strange Cat  

Strange Cat

Comfortable kitties

Attracted to any face in a window

Make their homes where the light shines best.

Comfortable kitties go when

Windows darken.

My strange cat

Has one home

They come to her home

Bring her flowers and

Promises of luck with affection

But strange cat

She stays.

Boy on a Hand

Boy on a Hand

I was lifted by your love,

At first dazzled now frightened by the heights.

The world without you turned cold,


I pray you remain always gentle

                                               With my soul.

Done for the Season


When all this memory

Is blurred and forgotten,

I will remember you.




Loving Parents 


    Loving Parents

    Do not shout

    Hit and clout

    Smack and shove

    Take and take

    Refuse to give

    Refuse to live in love.

    Loving parents

    Do not scream with rage

    The right their name for God

    While children shake with fear.

                                           Loving parents love.

Child Soldiers 


Child Soldiers

After the men were gone

They began recruiting children

For the war.

To get volunteers was easy.

All was needed were uniforms

And promises of free jumps from the plane.

Generalissimo said

                                                If he knew it was that easy

They would have started with kids

In the first place.

The Walls are Weeping - November in Mumbai


The Walls are Weeping - November in Mumbai

The walls are bleeding

What have we done?

The walls are weeping

Where have they gone?

Hate noise broken promises

Kill the infidel

Destroy my brother

      The walls are bleeding

      Weeping and the moan of Mother

      Where is my son?

      Kill the Mother

      Where is my Mother?

      Kill the son.

      Make God happy

      Insanity rains

      Follow the commandment

      Kill everyone

      Madness reigns

      Infant cries

      Kill the child.

      What have we done?

      The walls are weeping

      The tears are blood.

      Tear down the walls

      Destroy everything

      God commands this

      What have we done?

Illustrated Index and explanations to the Poems of November

(13 new poems) 

December 2008


A Tree in Winter (Winter Tree)

Called out to me

It's spirit song

Rasp-like and a weep of blood.

Family tree

Encircled and enfolded

Male and female at first embracing

To ward against the winter cold

Then melded into one to become many.









January 2008


Patience you said

Is the best remedy

For every trouble

This fortune cookie philosophy

Is a bloody knife

Over my heart.

No admittance you said

Positively no admittance

Yet you have

Applications in the office.

You could let me in

Yet make me wait

Patience is not the best remedy

For every trouble

It is a bloody knife

Over my heart.

Motion Blur

In ordinary Moments

Combing your hair

Washing your hands

Singing to me

A melody so pure

Eating so wonderfully

Drunk with the taste

Like a refugee child upon an overturned

UN food truck by the shore

Food coming in like ocean waves

You a splash in it

Such haste, such concentration

Such joy this taste of you

I love you best

A motion blur of the noisy reckless child.

Abandoned unnoticed in these ordinary moments

In this way I love you best.

Without You (From the Chinese)

There is no land without the sky

There is no family without the land

There is no you without the family

There is no me without you.

Sky and land are we.


Blue Reeds

A quiet song

A delicate song

Heard only by my heart and spirit

Lead me to a grove

Where blue reeds moved in rhythm

To a sway and sensual dance.

They touched, they separated

And then they touched again.

The sway and sensual dance

Of blue reeds in the grove.

Where Have You Gone?

Darling one where have you gone?

My husband, lover, brother, son.

Across the seas for glory bound?

To fight, find honor, fortune found?

A letter arrived special post today

In it they mentioned your name

So I called to you in my spirit voice:

Darling one, where have you gone?

Your spirit voice answered shhhhhh

A long sigh and swish in the trees,

A breeze, a light nudge on my shoulders

The wisp of a touch, the hint of smoke in the leaves

And trail dust curling up to redden my eyes

Is how your spirit voice answered me.

After The Work Was Done

Danger of Falling in Love #7 - Unrequited Love

Why do I love thee

Not because you love me

Because if you love me

It does not show.


I sent you love letters

So many love letters

None came back postage due

None came back


I crushed a postman

I created a shortage of stamps

With so many love letters

And none came back

Not one word returned.

March 2009

Brown Eyed Susan

You have a hundred names

None of them are true.

Brown-Eyed Susan

I wait for you.


Can we cross the sea?

Five years on

Brown-Eyed Susan

You wait for me.

Sharing Intimacy


I came to shore

seeking intimacy

I discovered sand and sea.

In the sky

A single star.

I studied the star and wondered

If across the sea,

Someone might be

Seeing that same star just like me.

Searching for intimacy just like me.

I sang a quiet song,

A bittersweet melody

With words like

“Are you lonely too?”

Then echoed in the waves

A bass and percussion to my song

Which joined a chorus of breeze and seabirds somewhere

In a voice as one I knew:

“Not lonely I sing for you

Across this sea I sing for you

This space between the me and you an instant

The twinkling of a star

I see the light and there you are”

I returned to bed and slept

Not alone

With you once again in dreams


Very Early Memories #1

We met the first time like this

My people brought me to your village

By boat

I was burning with fever

The river was black

Your hut yellow and gold

With smoke and cinders

The mat I lay upon

Gray and red

You fed me bitter tea

You worked on my wounds

Your hands were soft

It felt good to be there

I remember your tears on my body

I tried to thank you

I tried to ask why the tears

But I was spirit then and gone.

April 2009

The Wall

With a brick it began

There was no plan.

It started with a brick,  

A brick and a slap

Of sarcasm

For glue.

Then another brick

And another.

First one from me

Then one from you.

For good measure,

We did the windows too.

Me on my side,

You working for you.

When the windows were done we put in bars

Pretty soon we were through

We created a wall

Where once we were two.

May 2009

Today at 59 (I saved the world)


Today I am fifty-nine

For the first time fifty-nine

Today I bought a bunch

Of flowers

To the florist: Expensive flowers please,

A birthday bouquet for a boy

So she chose wood and thorns and shades of blue.


Today I took myself out for lunch

Wood oven pizza

Thin crust, well done like me

A small salad and  good wine.


Today I wrote a poem so sad and strong

 it made me cry

Immune to my words thought I

but this one

So powerful it could melt the world

In tears.


To save the world I tried to shred the thing

The shredder overheat and jammed

Oily parts flowed like blood,  like tears,  like,

I pulled on the poem

The shredder would not let go

I want it back I screamed to the machine

Give me back my poem those words are mine

To release the words could

melt the world in tears

But the shredder groaned

 it cried

the words

Tore at its big rusty heart

Made it live then die in a flash of smoke

Razor blades and a confetti of words.


So I took the words

I threw them to the wind

The clouds came

The rains came

The words poured down the street and flowed away

In a wail of weeping and wind.


In the sewers alligators

shed real tears

the words flowed to sea

mixed with the salt and were gone.


At fifty-nine I saved the world.

June 2009

Love and Other Afflictions

 Love or madness

I passed the point

Of knowing

You are within me

A second heart beating in tandem

or demon spirit  feeding on my soul

I don’t know.

 Surrendering in your arms

Time has no meaning

We are light, we are air

Morning comes

You go.

 Faces in the street remind me of you

Remind me all

Stranger’s faces remind me of you

Stranger’s faces the voodoo pins,  

I am the doll

 Without you time

Is some kind of eternity

Clocks stop

Minutes, seconds in a quantum field of emptiness

A weight I carry

Love or madness

I passed the point of knowing.

There are Times

There are times when it comes down to this

The freedom of sunlit mornings

Warm with gold and ribbons of amber and orange

A bird outside my window

Singing love songs

Cool air fresh with the scent of pine

Your body beside mine

Warm and comfortable

A gentle reminder; your kiss

We have no better place to be.

Will There Yet Be Love

Will there yet be love

when our skin is the paper

of a sun dried iris

and the beauty we share

exists in mind's eye and memory alone? 






July 2009

The Prisoner

I will wait to eat although I am hungry

I will not sing although my heart is bursting with song

I will not fly although these wings are strong enough to reach the sky

Chains of fear hold my legs to the ground.

I am a prisoner in a cell maintained by my thoughts alone.

I asked you to release me and you agreed

Then I would not go

There are no guards you pleaded come with me and see

I was frightened of knowing the truth

So I denied your rescue

And you left me alone.

September 2009

Naked (With gratitude to Ricardo Arjona and Wesley Norman)

So this is what it feels like to be naked.

You know me from my toes to my hair

To how I sleep

To the sound of the struggle

Just breathing makes

Like some ancient steam engine on a difficult incline


With drool in the night

Mouth open to let the wetness of me

Escape to a pillow



This is what it feels like to be naked

With pictures of me that amuse you

My neck all wrong and

WTF happened to my face?

Yet you tell me you like them

Love them even

These pictures of me

I am here

Naked with tubes and wires

Blood in bags drip drip dripping down

To painful sores deep inside me

A heart ready to quit


I am naked and you rush to embrace me

Jump start love so strong and pure

I am slammed against the force of it

Eye to eye, I to I

Against pictures of me that amuse you

Pictures of my neck all wrong and

A stranger’s face I see instead of me

Let me learn to love me

As you love me

Lift me to see what you are seeing

That I may deserve your love.

September 22, 2009   In Spring In Yoshino

In Spring in Yoshino

In spring in Yoshino we learned to slow our hearts

To the flow of cherry trees painting mountains

From the bottom to top

Each day a wonder as we

Climbed the hills to see more flowers

At night to effortless sleep

Then awake again to the laughter of children

On their way to school in the morning

The universal language of joy

Children moving in happy dance

Uniforms crisp white, blue,

In Yoshino we drank tea

Beside koi ponds

Marveled at painters strokes, dabs of color

Charcoal and orange the fish

Our hearts at peace like those lazy fish we were

Brushing effortlessly against each other

Our bodies as one

Slowed, relaxed in time

Our lives a precious tea ceremony

While cherry trees painted mountains

We learned to slow our hearts.

October 9, 2009        The Danger of Falling in Love #4  (Desire)

The Danger of Falling in Love #4 (Desire) 

The ache of your touch

The sweetness of you

Overpowers my emotions

Like a caramel on a rotten tooth

The heat of you against me

Is a pain as we part

I ache in your absence

I radiate vibrations of you

Like some migraine of love

Exquisite pain of desire

I called your dentist

Looking for a shot

He was out

Howling at the moon.



October 20, 2009    Behind the Veil       




Behind the veil

I wonder what you see

Am I seeing you ?

Are you seeing me ?







October 29, 2009   Autistic


There are no words to teach

What you need to know

How to see without looking

To hear the song a heart sings for you

A thousand miles away.


To feel the pain

Your thin knife of silence as you

Look away without wonder

There are no words to teach these things

There are no words.




November 7, 2009 Cherry Leaf

Cherry tree
Now at rest in the sunset
From your blossoms in spring
To your last leaf in fall
You are beautiful.






November 26, 2009

Outpost of Desire

I have this imaginary friend
Whose sanity went on vacation.
Parked itself at the outpost of my desire.

Just for the weekend
She said.
Just until a few things get sorted out
She said.
Now she nuzzles like a friendly sheep dog
Eager for play.
Knocking over table lamps
Jumping up and knocking me down
Like she means to stay.

Just for the weekend I say
But she whispers
It's a long weekend baby.

Her sanity has taken a ride
To the outpost of my desire
Where the weekends last
One hundred years and counting.

I drink the wine, smash the glass down
Give my sanity a leave of absence
Cut it a fat cheque
With a roadmap sketched on the back
This way to desire.

                     Written by Ma-Li Calder and Michael Campbell

December 21, 2009

Waiting for My Muse in the Chelsea Hotel

I wait for my muse

In the Chelsea Hotel

With Marc Chagall and Beethoven Fidelis

New York City Winter

Knocks against the window

Rattles the pane

Dylan Thomas’s Fireplace

Is out of service

The winds that took my lover

Move the curtains ghostly

And moan.

My lips grow cold waiting.


Written by Ma-Li Calder and Michael Campbell

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