Award-winning poet Luís Campos is a native of the Dominican Republic and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. A member of the original Venice Poetry Workshop, which began in 1969, he has been published in the Los Angeles Times, VENICE 13, Bachy, and other publications.
AT THE HOSPITAL
Are you a relative?
She’s in Room 412,
Mental Health Clinic;
the attendant will unlock
the elevator door.
Do not discuss unpleasant subjects,
Do not ask difficult questions,
visit ends at 9:00 –
If she cries, comfort and reassure her,
let her know that she’s loved –
do not use words such as suicide
or income tax,
do not keep looking at your watch,
it may be necessary to repeat what you say,
it may be necessary to repeat what you say…
if the patient is depressed
do not attempt stand-up comedy,
maintain a hopeful attitude,
but don’t cite examples
of crazy people that have recovered.
Do not use the word ‘nut’ for any reason.
Should violence occur, hum the secret word
which today is ‘mantra.’
Enjoy your visit and drink as much water as you wish.
The phone rings… it’s Mitch,
Andrés is dead from bullet wounds
after being held up in his taxi…
Sunday, in Whittier,
we gather at the Jewish funeral parlor…
at the pulpit, a man who had never met Andrés
recites a pre-packaged eulogy…
the roses I brought
fall next to the coffin,
traditional small loose rocks
are on many of the tombstones –
tears slide closer to the dirt…
Back to the Santa Ana freeway –
in Hollywood we meet at Tony Torres’
for a noisy, stoned farewell
to the tune of Puerto Rican bongoes
the black taxi driver gets drunk,
David and I play chess…
large tokes & small conversation.
SHOOTING ON W. 92ND ST.
New York City —
an I.R.T. production,
featuring franks & sauerkraut,
with green stop lights
and Italian ice.
the actor-director wears overalls,
the leading lady’s nipples
are not star-shaped.
Lights, camera, distraction…
“Quiet on the set!”
For the take, the first transvestite
lights up an oregano joint,
the second one sucks
on a Marlboro…
I am a Konica —
Downstairs for the dog attack sequence,
a trained Doberman at $100.00 a snarl…
“Let’s try it again!”
a fake plastic arm
& 57 varieties of blood
Back to the apartment, scene 48, take 3,
on the bed the two male cops
kiss full on the mouth
as the transvestites romp…
“I had him by the balls!”
and forgets the next line.
“Cut!” – All faces sweat,
the room is New York hot…
“Nine o’clock call tomorrow,
everyone on time!”
We ride to the Village to see the rushes,
we enter the basement studio
past an iron gate & four locks.
Featured photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher