Roger Camp ~ Three Poems

Gum-ball Jump*

Racing to the gum­ball machine
it came crash­ing down
its glass dome cracked
like Humpty Dumpty
spilling four pounds of rainbow
brains, red yel­low orange green
black and white stampeding
down the sidewalk,
cas­cad­ing off the curb,
gut­ter­ing down the street,
as a couchant girl
parts her pink lips
cor­ralling a mouthful.
Chasing the water­falling balls
into the street
my moth­er lifts a hand
to her mouth
the pen­ny in my hand

*a buf­fa­lo jump is a cliff used by North American Indians to slaugh­ter bison in large quantities


Pruning the Synapses

My crazed friend parks himself
on the Seal Beach pier
arm around the neck
of the life-sized sculpture
of a seal. Bronzed by association,
he yearns for acceptance.
Like my orange tree
whose fra­grant blossoms
car­pet the garden
in a crushed white velour
that scents my bare feet,
it’s about shunt­ing aside abundance
so the few sur­vive to fruit.
The synapses
assigned to clean his house
took out the trash too often
leav­ing his cup­board bare
a schizoid
with no fruit to spare.


Ounce for Ounce

did you know
ounce for ounce
hum­ming­birds are the most aggressive
ani­mals on earth

they will attack bee­tles but­ter­flies birds
any­one who enters their territory
locked in mor­tal com­bat with oth­er hummingbirds
they will tail­spin to the ground
from great heights

I am told they are curi­ous about people
nap­ping in a hammock
I wake often to their wings
fan­ning my face
while they study me

what if they are secret­ly planning
to attack
div­ing their nee­dle-sharp beaks
into my eye
my ham­mock spin­ning me blinded
into the ground


Roger Camp lives in Seal Beach, CA where he tends his orchids, walks the pier and plays blues piano. His work has appeared in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Gulf Coast, Southern Poetry Review and Nimrod.