in & out of jean shorts (the reel catches)

in & out of jean shorts (the reel catches)
By Chris Campanioni

Picture a flower dreaming
of its own future
folded inward, enclosed within its seed
& its surroundings
my nascent
homosexuality is that
I love every body even

as if it were my own
which is to say
I love every body as if
I were myself
tasked with becoming both
object & the offer
of adoration begged

by it Is it
wrong to think
If I weren’t sitting
on a bench overlooking the Vieux Port
not considering each vessel
approaching the Canebiére but
where each one has been only

recently this would read
otherwise or not at all
which is to say I am indebted to so many
forms & what can
only be gifted by our
swift encounters I bow before
velocity & haphazard excess, the latent succulence

contained or carried by
words, a generous
invitation to plunge or plummet
or to be the hole itself
out of which something always
something blossoms (count the number
of times naugahyde appears in the text)

(count the number of times hypnotic & ass mingle
in my mind) Reading Puig from memory
I can place myself
at the beach &
every time or so it seems
I wish for sex out

in the open, to have
some strange body
glide over mine, to collide
as if to butterfly
underwater required not one
but two sets of salty
chests & jutting

calves (last
night’s intermittent dream
where my penis appears
in public, veering in & out
of jean shorts almost violently)
& Puig’s wish (how could I
forget this?) to grow up & not

to become movie star
but movie, which means
assemblage, network, motoric
scrapbook, the discontinuity of the act
of filming—set pieces
rushing across the set & the set
itself but also the future

of the subjects within the frame—
not just the act of filming but its unknowable
points of view, simultaneous & multiple
months or only moments later & always
to return & to beg reception
draped in dark or the privacy
of some well-lit home, alone

or in the company of people
one has only ever seen in passing
reimagined through this allowance
for difference, which is my own
inability to say where Puig’s wish
comes from (other
than Puig himself, speaking

as if he were still a child, unless
Puig, at 43 or 44 or more, awaited a life
of substitution & self-adaptation
unless Puig, ever exuberant
is still awaiting to be, the way in place
of source or reference I find only my own origin: my
meticulous way of copying out

everything that comes even everything
that evades me)—is it me
is it Puig is there any difference?
The opposite of authorship
is feverish attribution, my tendency
to assume all thoughts
I have belong to everyone

& doesn’t
a changeover
imply the endeavor to move
by rapidly opening
& shutting one’s eyes? The real catches
only if I deny myself
its recognition

From: Catapult Magazine

Chris Campanioni was born in New York City in 1985 and grew up in a very nineties New Jersey. The son of exiles from Cuba and Poland, Chris is a writer, multimedia artist, and instructor. His debut novel, Going Down, was selected as Best First Book at the International Latino Book Awards in 2014. His poem “Transport (after ‘When Ecstasy is Inconvenient’)” received the Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize in 2015, and a selection from his cross-genre Death of Art was awarded a Pushcart Prize in 2016. Earlier, he was awarded the 2013 Academy of American Poets College Prize. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including a 2019 CHCI-Mellon Global Humanities Institute fellowship to join the Transnational Joint Research Center for Migration, Logistics, and Cultural Intervention; in 2021, he became a member of the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean, where he continues to broach the multiple, intersecting, and extant repercussions of the Cold War. From 2016 until 2022 he edited PANK and PANK Books, launching PANK’s Folio series in 2019 and its translation imprint, Transmission, in 2021. 

His essays, poetry, and fiction have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese, appearing in BOMB, Diacritics, Life Writing, Catapult, Social Text, Los Angeles Review of Books, American Poetry Review, Fence, Ambit, Nat. Brut, Kenyon Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Tupelo Press Quarterly, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics, 3:AM Magazine, DIAGRAM, Poetry International {this list is long … & I’m still loading}, M/C: Media & Culture, Prelude, RHINO, Gorse, and several other journals, anthologies, and edited volumes, including Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era (Routledge, 2019), Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities (Sundress, 2019), Open House: Conversations with Writers About Community (Tupelo Press, 2023) Migration, Dislocation and Movement on Screen(Berghahn Books, 2023), and Transmedia Selves: Identity and Persona Creation in the Age of Mobile and Multiplatform Media(Routledge, 2023). His translations have been published in Beginnings of the Prose Poem: All Over The Place (Commonwealth Books, 2021), his multimedia work has been exhibited at the New York Academy of Art, and the film adaptation of his poem This body’s long (& I’m still loading) was in the official selection at the Canadian International Film Festival.

Chris’s research on queer migration, surveillance, and the personal text has been presented internationally and he has served as a visiting author and writer in residence at universities and MFA programs across the United States. Outside the academy, he has performed at public symposiums including TED Talks, the Transatlantic Poetry Series, and the &Now Festival of Innovative Writing.  From 2016-2022 he served as a MAGNET Mentor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, with the primary goal of getting more students of color into graduate programs in the humanities. He has taught Latinx literature, creative writing, media studies, and journalism at Pace University and Baruch College, where he’s been awarded the Diana Colbert Prize for Innovative Teaching, the Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Department of English Excellence in Teaching Award. Today he is a Visiting Lecturer in the English department at Baruch College.

A Few Notes:

Some of you may recognize Chris from his modeling. He was a model for C-IN2, and he has done other modeling as well. However, he is also a prolific writer and intellectual.

Also, and this may show my ignorance, but I had to look up who “Puig” was that he mentions in the poem above. Manuel Puig was an Argentine author. Among his best-known novels are La traición de Rita Hayworth (Betrayed by Rita Hayworth, 1968), Boquitas pintadas (Heartbreak Tango, 1969), and El beso de la mujer araña (Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1976) which was adapted into the film released in 1985, directed by the Argentine-Brazilian director Héctor Babenco; and a Broadway musical in 1993.

Also, I had to include the second picture of Chris because it is of him speaking at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, which recently announced it would no longer be holding classes/residency in Vermont anymore. I am familiar with VCFA for several reasons, not least because for a brief while, I dated a guy who was attending VCFA, but it never really went anywhere.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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