Friday 5 May 2023

5 Poems by Don Kingfisher Campbell


Why can’t I walk
On this pebbly dirt

Why can’t I traipse
Up rocky brown slopes

Why can’t I climb
Ridge by ridge plateau

Just because it is too far
To reach without a ship

Just because there’s not
Enough money for a mission

Just because I will be dead
Before an expedition leaves

At least I can enjoy the robot
Photographs from the rover

And without hesitation believe
I am seeing familiar earth

Minus plants, animals… now
Sporting human-made debris

Joshua Tree Trip

smiles in the car
two hours later arrive
petroglyphs on rocks

balance ourselves beside
boulders that dwarf us
we stroll hand-in-hand

past the many arms
of Joshua, single-fingered
Yucca, sit on stone “benches”

view Coachella Valley vista
Palm Springs tiny buildings
haze over Salton Sea

San Andreas Fault
pose with peaks
climb edges, bark

at the bluest sky
while nature’s personalities
show in formation

volcanic birthplace
rising and defeated limbs
perform poetry to space

Buddha-like mountains
silent sentinels patiently
outlast manmade windmills

Sunny Vale

Morning ball of fire rises
creating light blue sky

Black crow in tree branch caws
to the still high half moon

Air hugs the sides of passersby
whether car or man
on this asphalt river

Sidewalk banks decorated
with green oaks and bonsai bushes

They front each wooden box
where parked metal eggs rest
ready to convey via circular rubber

The small stick-like vertical beings
dressed like the flowers scattered
like ornaments through civilization

This Must Be Heaven

Everyone who doesn’t live
in LA says we’re the city
of lost angels. But for those
of us who drive we believe
our pathways are populated
by individuals in heavy armor
zagging about directing with
pulsing hands and shoes
changing speed inside

carpeted compartments that move
from home to driving interest.
That is what trunks are for,
to collect booty for placement
back in our shrines to ourselves.
Open any door and discover
placed portraits of souls on
display waiting for judgment
or earthquake. Either way

tangible detritus left behind
seem to wait for our return.
That is our faith, that we will
live to breathe another day
full of possessions which we
know will ultimately break
like bodies. This must be
true for any place wealthy
enough to have wings for sale.


My silver Saturn was parked in late afternoon shade, curbside on my street. But the sun did hit the orange Lakers antenna ball on my car aerial as if it were a perfect example of a planetary sphere suspended from a wand, complete with textbook shadow. Only, it didn't seem to rotate, like a planet would, and there were no visible life forms from this distance, as I observed simple perfection from the sidewalk, a relative forty million miles away. Not an inkling of embossed basketball lineage or hint of logo, until I went to open the front passenger door to pick up my little black journal, tucked away from plain sight at this angle, on the rear bench seat.


Don Kingfisher Campbell, MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, taught Writers Seminar at Occidental College Upward Bound for 36 years, been a coach and judge for Poetry Out Loud, a performing poet/teacher for Red Hen Press Youth Writing Workshops, L.A. Coordinator and Board Member of California Poets In The Schools, poetry editor of the Angel City Review, publisher of Spectrum magazine, and host of the Saturday Afternoon Poetry reading series in Pasadena, California. For awards, features, and publication credits, please go to:

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