NICOLAS JAMES HAMPTON
Nicolas James Hampton is a 27 year old Michigan State University
dropout and former student of Diane Wakoski. As a former poetry
editor for The Litribune, he helped publish the first three issues of the
magazine. His poems have been published in several online journals,
including Elimae ("Dear Marianne Moore" was previously published in its
Jun/Jul 2011 issue), Short Fast And Deadly, Gutter Eloquence, and DecomP
Magazine. Nicolas currently keeps himself busy functioning as the editor in
chief and poetry editor of Asylum Lake Magazine in Kalamazoo, MI (USA).
Dear Marianne Moore,
I'm not sure if the book you began
is the book on my shelf. Terribly dry,
the heat of my fourth floor loft curls
pages to the edge of brushfire, and I can't
afford to use the AC. It takes age greedily,
but I live a secret life of youth that throws
no fat in with this morning's bacon, refuses
to come home at decent hours on the weekends
or weekdays that float bills on prayers
and guilts thick as bibles. Only the avian
songs from the college radio station
pull me toward the light that leaks
in through these blinds at noon, but soon
their funding will also dry and wilt
like something left in a vase by a woman
who saw it alive, and eventually dies on
your kitchen table while she's gone.
You have left this book on my shelf,
never bothered yourself to read it aloud,
and now it sits there like a gavel & jury,
a paper nests of WASPS. There's no money
for exterminators, Burroughs is dead
as is his wife, the brains. They rest in
peace on the shelf below you
and your book, comfortable,
I have no heart to wake. Those letters
are done. Sleeping, I can hear the courtroom
it's Pounding cantor and bad puns
in my dreams. I think you did this to us,
you left us in trial, in disposition
with breath and its natural length on the stand
in self defense & nightmares that wake
freedom in cold sweats.
Is what's written on my shelf what
you heard, what called to you, what
dressed you like a nun in a casket?
In Damascus, was there a brilliance
to this light? Was God a good fuck
with a voice that could bring an ear
to its knees? I think better of you.
I want to, at least, and the language
doesn't want to be alone anymore.
Language has been on the fourth floor,
a pedestal above
the firm hands of a carpenter, crying
in vowels too quiet to hear. If you
read this Marianne, and never reply,
never return, you should know I'm taking her
to the bar tonight for a few rounds.
It seems she's had a hard...well,
she's had it hard.
Nicolas James Hampton.
A Snuff Film
The sun is out, normal traffic on a
Monday, unidentified man stands at the corner
as a chicken in a bad joke: a Black Cat, waiting.
Saw him, or something like him, the day before.
Tar and potholes on Main, exhaust
over the street. Unidentifiable man, in wet towels
& gasoline, unintelligible, hot
screams. Just a few clouds, one black
and rising with noon; Nothing, a sight
to be seen & to be forgotten; a teaspoon
of something buried deeper than God.
Nothing's Gonna Change Our World
Inspired by Across The Universe, a song by John Lennon,
and Song Of David, a lithograph by Marc Chagall
Tonight, Lennon faces the East in England,
knowing as David knew when caught
by the key of a memory in light.
The timing, the notes, Metatron's
words just beyond the page, a piano
in some distant dyslexia of god.
Yoko & the boy are asleep upstairs
in the bedroom. McCartney's pulling away
at an easy blues on platinum hairs
like you'd do a saddle in the road.
No one's truly watching but
a Dixie cup, less than a thought, an
& the way it matches
the curvature of the calf;
An innocent youth, humming
in henna; disappearing ink,
a body of words who has passed
shimmering & forgotten into tomorrow,
hung up on the hits.
He can hear the world remember this.
Remember the gun and daisy conflict
the brute police acted upon when faced
with crimson charlie and a jungle cat
black as the burn of a fire hose marching
on the precinct to the cadence of paratrooper
blues bombs in the summer love of yasgurs
farm with the moon and a magic bullet looming
high above camelot in uncivil technicolor
zen like factories of paintings that make
no sense inside the canvas soup,
but they won't remember this,
Nothing will remember this.
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