Steady rain
soft bossa nova
in Rio.
I wandered off the sidewalk
the sidewalk downtown
though in which town I didn't know
I felt drunk.

I was drunk at sunset
the sunset was red
red like some of the neon downtown
I kept along the sidewalk
the sidewalk kissed the sunset
a goodbye kiss
an indifferent goodbye.

There was a bench under some neon
a welcome for the weary
I sat on the bench for an hour
maybe two hours
or even three
three hours of sitting
sitting and thinking
thinking about neon
neon and sunsets
and if there's such a thing as a hello kiss
I was sick thinking about goodbyes
goodbye kisses
and sunsets.

I closed my eyes to think of daytime
fantasy daytime
daytime when things keep moving
when it all moves without night
without the heavy blanket of night.

Behind my eyes were pictures
new pictures
pictures I hadn't seen before
fun times in faraway lands
fantasy pictures
fake photos.

I woke up in a movie theater
a small theater
a box for one
one who didn't mind a cell
at least for a while.

Magic movies played this time
though time didn't much matter
no boring pictures
no stillness
vivid movies instead
a little too vivid
vivid meaning colorful
bloody colors
primitive colors
but with strokes of emotion.

There was meaning in that box
that box of a theater
the prison cell with pretty pictures
I was confined for a bit
but content for too long
long enough to imagine movies
personal movies
movies you see twice
but you wanted to never see
movies with a little too much truth.

I was still drunk in my box
too drunk to stay awake
too tired to want to move
to leave
to love.

The last movie was colorful
colors full of neon
neon lighting up a dance floor
a dance floor with drunk dancers
dancers without cares
cares or compassion
dancers with nothingness
nothing but new clothes
new jokes
jokes that are too personal
too personal for the clumsy dancers
the dancers asleep at the movies.

My last thought was black
black like the night
but not dark like the night
more silent than cold
a summer wind
calm but urgent
but also patient
black that smothered thought
smothered it all except for light
light that owes itself to emotion
not to celestials
or to dieties
but to mankind
to her and to him
to love.

I strolled out of the theater
and it was bright
it was morning
the morning after a long night
the longest night
a night so dark
blackest dark.

Everything was light now
Her hair was light too
the Girl on the sidewalk
the sidewalk across the street.

We walked together
walked together for a good while
I finally saw She was real
not a pretty picture
not a neon dream
a real Girl
a Girl that was different
different in a familiar way
familiar meaning fateful
though I wasn't familiar with fate.

She was real
Her warmth was real
warm and caring
considerate of things
things about nature
and about family
things about nothing too
but also things about Me.

I don't worry about the night
the long night
the blackest night
She holds Me
holds Me gently
holds Me against Her
faced towards the sun
away from any night.

Her embrace isn't small
small like My old box
with My movies and pictures
She holds the world
holds all of everything
but also holds a place
a place for Me.

I live in love now
not under cheap neon
but in indomitable light
Her light.
It's okay not to be okay.  The world turns and our lives move forward.  When we inevitably escape the black moments of our lives, we are sometimes fortunate to stumble upon people who seem to reward our endurance.
Fragile ice
under northern lights
her green eyes
For my girlfriend.
  Aug 2017 Benjamin Campbell
There is a picture on my desk
reminding me of the man I was

and a mirror on my wall
that shows the man I am

somewhere in between
I've lost the man I ought to be.
Along an unknown path
Distant from the place you call home
Voices summon you in the distance
Edging you to claim your destiny
New legends unfold and lessons learned while
Traveling to new lands
Under the strings of fate
Reach out to that light within and
E**scape through your dreams to release your inner self
Brooding busy boys
dewdrop grass in muddied dirt
bent-back summer day
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