II. The Doctor :: Rafael Campo

Essential hypertension, uncontrolled,
Is almost immortality. The pressure
Of blood inside the arteries I measure
With mercury, reflecting on the soul:
Both liquid and a heavy metal, trapped
And beautiful–a subtle trembling–cold.
I hate to watch my patients grow old.
I watch as blood pressures ascend, hearts stop;
A cancer dimpling a woman’s breast,
As if to pull her in, inside herself.
On certain days, I want to die myself,
Then live forever by a perfect test:
My blood shows infinite cholesterol
And nothing cures me of my needs, and I’ve
Among my bitter medicines no salve
To calm my troubled, trembling soul.

— Rafael Campo

I. Rebirth :: Rafael Campo

Inventing panaceas late last night,

I stumbled on a formula for life.

I mixed a wine glass with a paring knife,

And ended up with blood. My blood was quite

Remarkable, and red, so red it turned

The water in the bathtub red. I knew

What I was giving up, but tell me, who

Could choose mere comfort over the return

To blissful, everlasting peace? The sphere

That I inhabit now is full of us.

We’re angels, infants, stars. We’re numinous,

And hate the weight of words. We may appear

To you, as deja vu among the frozen foods,

Or on the highway in the form of deer

You almost kill before your speeding car–

There is eternal life. Damn, is it good.

~ Rafael Campo