Pris Campbell & Tim Derr Collaborative Work:
Letters from Africa
I married in a moment of emotional dementia
thinking lust was love's cement,
but cement turned into cinderblock,
dragging me down.
The man who wears my ring
sighs over the TV, cuddles the dog,
and steps blindly over champagne glasses
flung to the floor long ago and ignored.
My love writes me from Africa....
Oh this night!
Our camp sits in the valley below a hillside
over which whirls the wind through vast corridors.
My trees bend in a decadent dance
to the will of the impending storm.
I feel so charged with life when danger looms
and I have no power over it!
I send you vibrant chills, the trickle
of cleansing rain from your drenched hair
down the curve of your spine,
the caress of full circle water.
Where are you now I wonder?
Lightning brings flash dance movement
highlighting fear on the brows around me,
yet I feel exhilarated, sensual, missing you!
I want to sweep you up like a leaf in the current,
spinning like a Dhervish through the puddles.
I see myself in the hungry eyes
of children stranded on sidewalks,
curdled in the blood of dropped razors,
and resting in the coil of the hangman's noose.
My house is filled with ash,
remnants of yesterday's hope.
I stand too close to the fire.
My mind sees blank mirrors through vacant windows.
Opening my eyes I see old women in the villages,
toothless men with broken backs.
How I remember my own emptiness
when everything sacred fled.
Then I found you.
You are wild like the wind, like Africa.
I am no longer constrained by carnality.
Your doorways are cosmic and I can
join you in the boundless place.
I pace the hallway thinking of you,
hair loose, unpainted toenails
gripping the pile of my pale carpet.
My restlessness builds, bursts into stars
scattering in pink and yellow sparks.
I inhale them.
Yes I have learned to be free in my own way,
traveling the back roads of mind memory,
catching the tail of the wind.
I am a genie set loose from her bottle,
dreaming of Africa.
I touch you. Can you feel me?
My love waits behind a lonely facade,
ice castles melting into rivers.
Oh just to know again the cool
when night spreads her fingers
across passionate flesh, wet with desire.
I walk close to the reeds,
feet bathed in dew.
My heart is heavy with remembrance and need.
I am filled with the scent of Africa and you
Only the desert knows such emptiness
where stars mate in a black blood sky.
The Nile is a woman, sacred and flowing
I wish you could see the orchids and hear the night.
The fevers have returned
and my body protests this bondage,
again in my bed.
TV penetrates the wall,
but a late bird sings--a song sent from you?
I take out our photograph;
you kissing my nose,
me wearing your old denim shirt.
Our eyes still brim with the glow
of our lovemaking.
Africa had called us, then this illness
crept like a lion out of the night,
carrying me back into my husband's den,
My love, I have found a sacred hill,
seeking wild orchids on a forested rise
I appeared un-noticed, as a mist.
I have gone there many times ,
slept on the ground in various places,
sat transfixed until day fled
and the sudden night chilled.
From the pinnacle I can look west
into the wavy distance of forever.
Feeling like an eagle
I have stood naked in the night
beneath the fullness of the moon.
When the wind rose and snaked itself about me,
I spread my arms, closed my eyes,
and let Spirit carry me aloft.
I rise with you,
arching into that charred black night, soaring
with your heartbeat hard against mine,
your hand on my breast
and the dew of Africa still damp on my feet.
by Pris Campbell and Tim Derr
Pris Campbell began writing poetry in the fall of 1999 and has been published (or has poems pending publication) in Limestone Circle, Blackmail Press, Verse Libre, The Dakota House, Muses Kiss, Peshekee River Poets, Verse Libre, Short Stuff, MiPo Weekly and Digital, The Fae Whirl, Passage Through August, Lotus Blooms, The Dead Mule: An Anthology of Southern Literature, Women of the Web Anthology and The International War Veterans Poetry yearly anthologies .Previously a Clinical Psychologist and sailor/traveler, illness has forced her to temporarily park her vagabond shoes. She now fancies herself a mermaid with a waterproof pen. She lives in the greater West Palm Beach, Florida , USA. Tim Derr shares her wanderlust and love for water. He was in the Marine Corps for four years, then worked on tug boats for 17 years. He's now a master carpenter. Still a kid at heart, Tim is a champion of the underdog, and loves to write. His passions other than enjoying life, itself, are hunting with a real flintlock and gathering wild edible mushrooms. If he had more than 40 hours a day to get everything done, he says he would probably sit and ponder the stars, instead. He is divorced, with three children, and makes his home in Pennsylvania.
Poetic Inspirations-Personal Website
Entering the Exit
He told me he was leaving
as we showered,
then entered me hard,
as filled with want
as our first time.
My parents' voices
rose and fell in our living room,
piecemeal words piercing the steam
about ocean waves seen on the long drive
here from the airport.
I said I didn't believe him.
Two weeks later,
the shower forgot,
Old Wine, New Jugs
He speaks of passion
set loose in his life
desire so intense
he calls out my name
as he spills in the night
He promised his gloves,
a love token
words of love
'not quite writ'.
Yet he pens poems of lace
under an old lover's dress,
tells how his night spills
once came with
thoughts of her face.
The gloves, the words,
I would have preferred.
The question intrudes,
brings forth a smile.
Will he send his next love
lust poems about me,
in attempts to beguile?
Yes, I see you watching.
Arm flung across that black-eyed
girl's sullen shoulders.
Body awakened by the
my skirt umbrellas,
bare feet stomping
in the smoky room.
I dance for you.
You, who have left me
a thousand times before,
for clumsy girls
who trip when they walk,
think samba a sandwich,
tango, a soft drink.
My hair fans wilder
with each turn.
Do you remember its softness,
times it fell across your face?
Do my bare feet remind
you of days we danced
naked on our bed?
Does my neck-arch
return memories of kisses
long into the night?
Your arm drops to the table,
black-eyed girl forgotten.
Eyes meet mine.
And I know
I have you again.
Crush-splattered by a Sunday driver
on the road between heaven and hell,
my father's shovel carried her soft fur
from pavement to grave.
Brown spots on white,
she had mewed after my childhood legs daily,
green eyes searching for food.
When my father lay dying, nine cat lives later,
the teen in our old home spoke
of childhood archeological endeavors--
cat bones in the back yard.
I told her the story.
Five days later,
my father was laid to ground.
When future archeologists
unearth his remains,
the cycle will be completed, at last.
The blackbird has visited
four times this past year,
singing goodbye songs
to those I have loved.
Too many visits for any one year
Now he approaches you,
hovers close, waits,
wings spread, offering freedom,
as he seduces, a gleam
in his eyes.
I shall build a perch
deep in the pines.
Cool breezes, fresh
worms to eat,
streams for long baths.
I'm a good seductress, myself.
Perhaps his interest will waver.
Maybe he'll forget, burrow
deep into his nest,
and dozens of springs will pass
before he approaches again.
Poetic Inspirations-Personal Website