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‘Measuring Distances’ and four more prose poems.



Measuring Distances.

THE FISH IN the case were looking shocked to find themselves laid over chipped ice. Though of course they couldn’t feel a thing. The bread was suitably crusty and dredged a channel, as desired, through my cold soup. This is how the opening of the review went, but I didn’t buy it. Instead, I referred you to the three inches of candlewax covering the pavements between the two churches on opposite sides of the city, as well as the minute measurements required to build the passage tombs located in several other not too far away places we have been. I underscored my point by drawing you the iconic human throwing light from one hand to the other, if that is indeed what is happening. The human so depicted, and depicted so often, is measuring distances. I tell you this is why we come here to get away from it all.


I WAS MAKING do with the costumes and repetitions available to me in a new place. The previous night you carried up cloth bundles of perfumes, incense, fabrics and jewellery to store in my room. Our meal was a canned vegetable dish from a petrol station shelf. It steamed my windows and we easefully fell to the floor. Over time a fallow scent began to pervade the rows of merchandise. Though we suitably oiled ourselves in all activities we still caused each other pain. I took exams that required me and hundreds of others to consider such cases from various angles and in a range of contexts. Each time I filled the lined notebook, every page. Each time I handed-in early and left.

The Language.

JUST WHEN YOU had learned what was happening, what direction to face, how to move and what to carry where, the language changed. You were reassured it was all still working and the transformation would be total, just as before. The books don’t know what’s inside their covers, or they don’t care. We could go to the top of the dune and play with the roots in the sand. We could even kneel down and twist them around our hands and wrists. From my understanding, the heart can be seen to beat if you can get a glow to show up properly around it. Any background will do.

Make Up.

HAVING A CLEAR sense of the extent of your technical prowess is vital. Followed by shading, contour and the overall message you want to send. From what I can recall, an old injury to my right shoulder is what makes my hand shake, which brings about its own particular limitations and flourishes. As a result, it can be easier to emphasise the symbolic nature of any such activity in order to make up for those aspects that I am less adept at demonstrating, such as writing or slicing vegetables. If you wish I can pour you a glass of wine, but it is better if I make larger movements, like opening the corked bottle in one go. That is if I am to appear less vulnerable and more impressive, which I assume you prefer me to be.


BODIES CIRCLE THE park at a good clip. An increasingly regular activity. A spin or ramble through a city denuded of visitors. I try to settle in. We’ve been circulating too much, like substances, like blood in the body. Some writers become irritated when blood is depicted as red. They believe blue to be its actual colour as shown by ancient hierarchies and modern-day charts.  The underground tombs are open now, the ones created when the graveyards were denuded of their occupants. In the northern islands they have found abandoned cities with beds dug into the earth, including some extant stone pillows. We have to imagine the people had some kind of bedding to make it more comfortable before they fled.

Kimberly Campanello’s most recent project is MOTHERBABYHOME, a 796-page poetry-object and reader’s edition book comprising conceptual and visual poetry on the St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Ireland, published by zimZalla. She was recently awarded an Arts Council Ireland Literature Project Award for a digital writing collaboration with Christodoulos Makris and Fallow Media, as well as residencies at the Heinrich Böll Cottage on Achill Island and the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.

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