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  • Because I Sent a Disdainful Text to My Wife in Reference to Her Lover and Wherein I Quoted Hamlet, and: The Myths
  • Erik Campbell (bio)

Because I Sent a Disdainful Text to My Wife in Reference to Her Lover and Wherein I Quoted Hamlet

To be honest, I was surprised she recognizedthe allusion, but it does explain why

a crisis team was standing in my living roomat 3 AM, trying to give me a raison d'être.

And it was a lousy time to finally feelShakespearean, because I wanted to crack wise

and quote Brando in The Wild One ("Whaddya got?")when they asked why I might want to hurt myself,

but instead I stared at my shoes and I thoughtthat when you put a ring around anything

you don't, after a time, know what it is.By 5 AM they decided I was "future oriented"

(they could tell because I still kept a calendar).I put a ring around their words and waited. [End Page 113]

The Myths

for Joseph Campbell (1904-87)

Despite all that time in the belly of the whale,his myths are misbehaving again.

The first object for every subject is mother,whispered the white-bearded prophet with defined triceps.

This morning has an Ithaca breeze,and the tea ceremony begins inmoments,but moments isn't enough timeto prepare for such precision orsneak a quick drink.

He thinks that Adam hated being a gardener so muchis why he ate the apple overed.

And with the Minotaur guarding Ganesh's trunk,we have to bow and pray in all directions all dayand who has time for that?

Anymore the flowers won't become flamesbecause they refuse to do mythy things.

Six days a week Prometheus reminds us he caresless than nothing for Zeus, shouting, fetteredfrom his rock: Non servium, pal, do your worst.

A man in a big city opens his front doorand finds an Arthurian knight in full armor."It's too demoralizing to quest without a forest,"the knight says, "Can I borrow some of your context?"

One day a week we're with Job, covering our headswith ashes and shame. The shrink asks us whywe're so anxious. This morning at breakfast [End Page 114]

he was trying to read the Vedas againwhen the God of Economic Utilityasked him politely to please pass the salt.

There was a loud explosion and moments later,his ancient historian hustled into the kitchenand found him mummified and grinning,covered in orange juice, Sanskrit, and salt. [End Page 115]

Erik Campbell

Erik Campbell's poems and personal essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, Iowa Review, Rattle, and other journals. His poems have been anthologized and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His first poetry collection, Arguments for Stillness (Curbstone P), was named one of the Book Sense Top Ten Poetry Collection Picks.



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