Enjoy Being Human

Robert Campbell

Post-Apocalyptic Platitudes

Every dark cloud has a silver
tractor beam to carry away
your screaming children. Tentacled
things come to those who speak
their ancient names. If a task
is worth doing, it is worth doing
with a laser. In this world, change
is the only command phrase
the werebots understand. Boys
will be alligator–manchild mutants
will be the new overlords. What doesn't
kill you makes you hunger
for human flesh. The grass is always
greener at night due to radiation–induced
phosphorescence. Time travel
can prevent all wounds, but may
alter human evolution
in horrifying ways. It's always
darkest before the mechanical
gods descend upon us. Everything happens
for a reason known to the Intergalactic
Wandering Eyeball. Live and let
rule via parasitic occipital
compulsion. Forgive and forget
your singular consciousness, becoming
only hive–mind. If life gives you
lemons, genetically engineer an army
of intelligent lemon trees to serve you.
Money can't buy happiness, but
it can ensure the reprogramming of those
who defy you. All's fair in love and
conjugal cyborg self-destruct protocols.

Answers for the Wolfman

Because you bit
the moon in half.
Because you devoured
the villagers. (A moth
will flutter miles
after it dies.) Because
your liver lacks what
pills provide. Because
your coat is coarse
and black. (The curse
must run its course.)

Let's admit to lunacide.
We've killed the moon.
It's true. Astronauts
shouted warnings from
their far-away orbits.
In space, the spine
lengthened within us as
we drifted among satellites
and debris, unburdened
even by each other's
gravity. How a shadow
grew there incrementally,
filling craters, plugging up
its stone-cold glow.

What is it I wanted
to say to you at last?
Something about the night
sky reflected in other
people's swimming pools.
Smell of chlorine. White
tablets. I'm drifting there,
weightless, disembodied
almost, slippery as your
final destination, ready
for the space-dark's freeze
and thaw. Here, anyway,
is my inadequate paw.  

Vampirism for the Dental Hygienist

Polish torque wrench. Tighten
plastic cheek retractor. Mutter
things like, I vant to inspect

your cuspids. Soothe patients
with hypnotism. Practice
your Say Ahh, but not

before a mirror (you have
no reflection). Instead
of smoke, practice being

a cloud of nitrous oxide.
Employ your knives to dither,
rattle, and poke. Tell

tasteless jokes. Fear
garlic. Aim for the narrow
artery, and prick. Lay lead

capes upon them with
a cackle and a whoosh. Go
home famished. Inspect

for fangs. Lay yourself up
in a bed of dirt. Speak
prayers to hunger and to

thirst. Fold your long, thin
fingers. Imagine the other,
animal you roaming fields

of snow, scraping your hooks
along the bark of trees
instead of plaque along

the edge of disappearing
molars. Dream of being
alone in a hushed, black

forest, some far Romanian
wilderness, where, with your
two hands, you dig to bury

in cold dirt all the teeth
you will never clean. Hear
them clinking at first like

little tea cups, dropping
into the pit, then rushing
forth, a treasure trove of dentin

and enamel, seeds which you
will sow, and then abandon,
rushing away into the night.

About Robert Campbell

Contributor headshot, Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell's poems have appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Nashville Review, Columbia Poetry Review, and many other journals. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Murray State University and an MS in Library Science from the University of Kentucky. He lives with his husband and animals on a winding country road in the bluegrass region of Kentucky. Read more about his work at robertjcampbell.wordpress.com.

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