Lavender silk rains from above,

but there’s no longer a God to worship.


Instead we decide to worship the sky.

Sifting through purple waves, we find stars waiting.


I think they are patient mothers.

You think they are lanterns lighting our way.


We both agree that we can hear them

mourning. They are only meant to be felt

like dry ice filled with dying matter.

The separation between stars above


and ground below is little more than wind.

The sky sends a phoenix and a dragon

for us to behold. The emptiness swallows both

and spits out a new color that is sharp

at the edges, but burning at the center.


Shifting under our feet, the world

molts and we accept it. Cracked dirt gives way

to rising lakes. We try to name creation,

but only your tongue moves.

I am silent.




A Sage of Dreams

-to Li Bai



I love wine more than myself.

A red river like blood runs

through me as it ran through

you. When my mind fills

with the metal of war, I can empty it


into a cup. I don’t much care

for sitting with flowers and trees

on nights like this, but there’s comfort

in the moon. The moon’s light

embraces the dark and creates


a shadow. I turn towards it and imagine

that you’ve come to drink. I raise my glass

to you, and we make a toast to the moon.

There is no singing or dancing, though.

Spring has vanished and taken you


and your joy. I’m too drunk to care

that you’ve left me. The soft grass invites

my eyes to close, but I try to look through

blurred vision to find your River of Stars

floating in a sea of pearls. Instead, I see


the moon and her light flood the sky

and merge with the night water below.

Now I understand why you grasped

for the moon with your arms.

In her light there is an endless sleep.






Can you tell me God’s name? I think I’ve forgotten it in the grass. Monsters take out their knives to carve out shrieking chests. I dream that each blade mourns for Sơn Mỹ.


“I’m alive,” says the child.


All of her ancestors were on the wrong end of a gun. She looks into my face, but I don’t demand anything. I’m tired of everyone preaching about freedom. It’d be better to go look at the headstones of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and some 500 villagers.


“Who are you?” she asks me.


My mouth won’t answer sweetly; instead I talk with my eyes. I try to say I am from a place of trees, passion, and fire. I think those are related somehow, but I can’t put it together. The sunlight in her eyes fades. My words can’t seem to stop the clouds from coming.


“You’ll be fine,” I say.


I look for some salvation, but there is no one left to ask. I turn to America, to God, to the masses. They all turn away from me, so I turn to the jungle instead. The trees offer me the compassion of fruit, but leave none for the girl. All that’s left is heat beating down on my shoulders and mud sticking to my boots.



The Tet Offensive



The vase went missing

years ago, during the hunting

season. My uncle swore it was lost

in the Gulf of Tonkin.

I think he lost it in Saigon,

but I let his unrelenting waves

beat against my side.

His furniture fled

from the mermaids

as they rode in on green tides

and into our beige walls, leaving

a taste of ash in my mouth.

The family portraits waited

patiently to be taken

by these thieves. Instead,

the paint peeled into sirens

and waited for something new

to happen; maybe like the extinction

of the dinosaur.

I’ve been thinking,

they should have bought

better life insurance before the war.






When the solar flares woke up,

they stuffed our lungs full of soot

and exiles. Our skin sizzled,


or maybe that was just the streets

trying to stop roses from blossoming.

Now those streets stretch on


and on and on. Everyone calls it space.

I don’t know if it’s empty enough

for that kind of name.


I’m pretty blue,

but I hear that’s the color of heaven.


I try to fit my words into infinity,

but I hear that science killed god.


I’m not sure what that means,

but I think I’m going to fly out to Mars

where no one gets lost in all-consuming blazes.


Everyone calls it the End

of Days, but I don’t know

any myths that end like this.


Instead I’ll trust my eyes, filling up

with crimson dust and an old sky

twisted into a slightly new frame.




Lucas Campbell is a poet whose greatest goal is to become a professional vagabond. He currently lives in Ohio, but will always have California on his mind. While he writes about a variety of topics, he has a special place in his heart for madness, wine, and myth.