Poems by Jack Campbell 2017

Jack CampbellJACK CAMPBELL grew up in Oil Field country, Lea County, New Mexico.  He writes about folk, relationships, loss.  Pictures in words, stories come spilling out–some of it is even true.  Jack has a few publishing credits, Africana.ng, flexwriters.net, and Reflection Mag.

Mr. Campbell is active with the Lea County literary scene and attends local open mics giving readings as opportunity allows.  He hopes to convey the essence of the Oil Patch culture and its people through his writing.


The glue that holds us
Pine tree in august weeping
Resin that welds us.


She bends her ear to the glass
listening for the wine to speak.
Light and shadow blend as the flame
dances on uncertain air.

The wine whispers
the sweetness on the tongue
is first then the bitter hits
the back of the throat.

She wonders why she waits
at this wooden bar
pale polished by a white rag
when the moon is somewhere singing.

Box Unopened

Box left on drawer chest.
Pretty bow, colored paper.
Left unopened, like heart.

Old House

It hung on one battered hinge.
Oak frame, inset diamonds.
Wind creaking and shadow
wavering in moonlight.

The only door left,
the only way to get home.
How many doors would be
left open had you stayed?

That old house been fifty
falling down.
That old house got only
one door left to shut.

Then time comes to stand still
at the grave of bones
of doors left open
for too long.


Today I run flailing
The ski is upside down.
I feel like I’m falling
With no way down.

Commanded Words

Do onto.
That is the rule;
that is the truth.

The words speak
of their own accord.
They Command according
to their speaking.

The Words speak the truth.
Truth born of the heart.
Truth perceived in the mind.
Truth spoken from the tongue.

Do onto
According to the Word.

Turning a Deaf Ear

Scarce heard whatcha said
as you ladled out the red beans
over the cornbread.
To be honest was paying more
attention to the smell of hot bread
and to what you were cussing about.

High time to put and end to it, ya know.
Always ranting on the same subject
that you can’t change nohow.
I guess it makes you feel good
to git the noise off your chest
but really, what does Trump
have to do with you?

Whether good or bad he can’t help you.
Not where you need it; Not now when you need it.
So why go on like you were second cousins
or something. Shoot, Kailey could do more
for you than he could any day.

Well, that’s the problem, ’tain’t likely
you gonna get a personal reply to yo letter,
nor ’tis it likely you gonna be getting a phone call.

Anyway yo done wore the ears out with this topic
and Simon is coming on the boob tube
so let’s eat and put this conversation to bed.

Speaking of Words

Preacher be preaching.
Man on the cross.
But, do he know
what it is like to be
stretched thin.

Words like swords
cut across one another.
Like men taking spears
and thrusting.
Do he know
what it be like
to be pierced?

The intersection of thought
and feeling, when the emotions
seem to know more
than the intellect.

Passing in the night
from dusk to morning
where today crosses over
to tomorrow. and somewhere
another man dies.

Stretched too thin
to know the difference.

Fallen Leaves

Without the wind there
would be no song.
No voice would sing
in the night air.

Without the wind
the leaves would clump
at the foot of the tree
and languish in winter’s embrace.

Without the wind
the would be no one
to sing this lamentation
for the dead do not
feel the wind.


Night storm growling wind, flash bang.
Weeping skies, tears of raindrops.
By the ditch road floods grass stalks
become like reeds by the shore.
Pools from storms find dawn.


Mexicans call it chilie,
My folk said Cheyenne.
Green pods of heat
hanging on a low bush
of a plant.

Dry it out, grind it up
light a fire and start cooking.
Going for the burn
A kick to the tastebuds
set the mouth on fire.

It’s about the sensation
the memory of the first time.
When the fire was the hottest
and the flame burned white hot.
Salsa, step left, step right
and rumba.

The heat slow and sensual
waltzing the night away.
Then breakfast, eggs over easy
with chili sprinkled across the top
to keep the burn going.

Cinquain in a Minor Chord

You made me weep,
The notes wept morning dew;
each key pressed like ice shattering
the heart.

Fall Down

Fall Down.
The songs says we all fall down.
Implode, crumble like an old
skyscraper past beyond
its days.
Fall down.
Like a paper boulder
tossed to the waste can
tumble around the edges
and then the hangman’s drop
short stop.
Fall down.
Come the end of days
when the sun runs out of gas
and folds up upon itself.
Just a bit of gas escaping
until gravity shackles the particles
and reels them in
hooked fish.
Fall down.
Fall down.
Fall down


Living, the polished sheen,
black and white, river of sound.
Morning and the stretch,
wiping sleep and kicking the yawn
to the curb.

Rise to the cup, steaming.
Tea and a bit of bread.
Sit and caress Ivory.
The river flows on
sunlight mirrored polished sheen.

Shadows and dust motes waltz
in the window, as does the boughs
of the juniper and wind.
The morning is filled with sound
of the road heading to town.

The cat stretches and yawns
the yawn that won’t go away,
knowing that the jester is not
quite the fool that folk seem
him to be.

The ivory quiet and dim
shadows rise and fall
in the pulse between
dawn and dusk
and knowing that tomorrow
still comes is just the waiting
for the song.


That’s where you feel it first;
the undefinable shift in reality.
That is if you are listening;
listening to the rhythm of the body.

You first feel it in the bones.

Maybe it just be the change
in the state of mind.
You wake up and say
today is different.

Maybe it is the smell of rain
or the taste of snow on the wind.
It is just the sense that time
moves on.

Or maybe, the bones are
the ones that are speaking.

It’s Done

Yesterday, frightening
like a storm blowing up
from the South.

But, in the light
where is the fear.
All that could happen

All that could be lost
has been stripped
leaving even the trees

What is left to fear?
Death became a friend
who is waiting patiently
for the day to come
to sunset.

It’s done.


Unzip me,
take my skin
scrape me raw.

Write your words
upon my flesh
time and time again.

Each time erasing
what was there.
What are you trying to say?

Unzip the code
and take the parts
to make the whole.

Rebirthed, reborn, Re-purposed
Something new running
on the old platform.

Still, it’s my skin
I may want it back again
after you are done.

A Turn to the Right

A look a moment
a captured memory.
She sits engrossed
waiting; the glow
highlights eyes and nose
and shadows play
about her face.

Her laptop hums
the hard drive grinds
chewing its way through

She laughs at an absurdity;
the comic relief in some
Anime drama.

Rolled clay and yarn
she puts together an image
of a face that she pulls
from yesterday and
makes it live again.

The child grown to woman
abiding time;
til she soar on
her own.

Grinding it Down

Knee jerks and the pain
screams for a second.
You know how it is
when you reach a certain age.

Oh, you don’t?
Well, it’s like this.
When your body decides
to get even for your youth
it starts falling apart
out of spite.

Like your knees,
after thirty years or more
of pounding the ground
the soft tissue breaks down
and bone begins Grinding on bone.

At first you hardly notice it
but later, you wonder how
you will walk.
Cause the swelling
turns your leg
into a sausage.

You git on
and manage the pains.
Hobble along
as best you can.
Until, there ain’t nothing
to grind against.

Day Sliding

Pounding hammers
nails and saws
frame rising on the hill.

Only a skeleton putting on flesh
only a matter of time
before it’s putting on the ritz.

Daylight and cloud
a breeze hinting at
more to come.

Still the carpenters hammer
and cut and add another joist
while the day slides on by.