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One Direction by Chris Campanioni | Word Riot

October 15, 2015      

One Direction by Chris Campanioni

Listen to a reading of “One Direction” by Chris Campanioni.

In a stranger’s ears
Or whoever I make out

As I cross the street
& cross myself

In prayer another
Outrage or just

Another day
Without consolation

We get angry & we stay
Put Why is that

Pop track still humming
In my memory

Everything might be different
Except today it might be

Different the wish
We make each time we

Raise ourselves
To stand head over

Heels we’ll pay
To make it bigger

Lines sliding
Through a feed

Read like discarded
Horror scripts

A cause for caucus
& another Caucasian

Behind a desk
To tell me why

It’s our God
Given right to self

Identify the way
We all are

Headed North
America was always

Backward only
Change is now

It takes no time
To process

KY clerks
Men who hide

Their hate behind
A badge, our hope-

Ful next President
Who wants to fire

Everyone who doesn’t
Look like him

Poets who pretend
To be anything

But white & whit-
Tled the whole

Canon of poetry
To say nothing

Of our women & men
Who barely escaped

The cannon or the guillotine
All of us others

Who waited a life
For a chance

To kneel before
The emperor’s feet

6901inblackandwhiteAbout the author:

Chris Campanioni has worked as a journalist, model, and actor, and he teaches literature and creative writing at Baruch College and Pace University, and new form journalism at John Jay. His “Billboards” poem that responded to Latino stereotypes and mutable–and often muted–identity in the fashion world was awarded the 2013 Academy of American Poets Prize at Fordham Lincoln Center and his novel, Going Down, was awarded Best First Book at the 2014 International Latino Book Awards. Find him in space at or in person, somewhere between Brooklyn Bridge Park and Barclays Center.

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