Three Poems by Tara Campbell






Abortion Sonnet

When I have fears that I may cease to be
before my pen can punctuate the brains
of all those smug-ass pricks who only see
the world beneath their thumbs; the ones who say

all lives are precious, valued, even though
they fail to give one solitary fuck
about us, who oppress us with their faux
compassion; those who pluck at psalms to suck

the mercy out of their own god, then spit
on us for not obeying their demands;
if their theocracy can only sit
in unreflecting power—then understand

I’ll rage against their sanctimonious shit
and drag their raggedy-ass empire to bits.

W/apologies to Keats

Rage Sonnet #12

When I do count the clock that tells the time
and see all reason battered by the Right,
when trash judicial dockets toe the line
with silver-haired oppressors in the night;
when lofty ideals I see barren of fruit
which erst created opportunity,
and Liberty’s all tangled in lawsuits
and borne with books into a burning spree;
then of our nation’s future I do ask:
will we among the wasted empires go
or will we set upon a brighter task?
We could decay in fear, or choose to grow.
And nothing but compassion can forestall
our pride from shambling into our downfall.

w/apologies to Shakespeare

When thistles war

When thistles war, anathematizing God
and briars break and nettles split their pods,
the clandestine apostles hide their pricks
and Job waits up to catalog the tricks
while stalwart nuns direct the thunderclaps
and garish pollen sanctifies the lapse
of reason when a solitary brood
of passions rise to demonize the nude.

And if I tremble, if I question fate
when flowers rumble and reciprocate
with ghoulish laughter, can you wonder why
I’ve lost my faith? Who would decry 
the crass deportment of an errant weed
or criticize the mutinous behavior of a seed 
in transit? Do I have to quantify
how many dancing angels have ere died 
by pinprick? Can I possibly excuse 
the tendency of rosaries to lose?

I cannot. No, I simply can’t explain
how thickets thrive where furrows only gain.

Tara Campbell is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, fiction co-editor at Barrelhouse, and graduate of American University’s MFA in Creative Writing. Her publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Wigleaf, Booth, and CRAFT Literary. She’s the author of a novel and four multi-genre collections including her newest, Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection. Connect with her on Twitter at @TaraCampbellCom

Image: Thistledown a method of seed dispersal by wind from Pollinator under GNU Free Documentation License

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