My Girlfriend Wishes I Would

By Chris Campanioni

give people less access to my life. I am interested in the intersection between all the public
interaction we have in private & the paradoxes which exist because of this divide in logic &
space. I teach a class on Internet & intimacy at Baruch College that endeavors to make the
same connections, especially between a rise in narcissism & an accompanying decline in em-
pathy. I think this poem came out of my girlfriend’s belief about privacy, or the lack thereof,
but also Freud, something he theorized that has always haunted me: humanity’s innate
compulsion (& desire) to repeat. This poem moves from the desire to repeat specific mo-
ments in a life to repetition as a form & a means to an end. Where does this end? Wish ful-
fillment? Voyeurism as un mode de vie? The century’s mistakes & our mistaking communion
with cannibalism? Before I began teaching, I worked for several years as a model, a role that
required my image be repeated, proliferated, & sold as any other commodity. I think these
issues are at the heart of a piece that is very much a “Personal Statement,” ending as such in
a moment of cultural & familial clarity. I don’t know what replaced Hackensack’s Fun Time
Pizza after it was torn down, but in the early nineties it was a sort of sanctuary for me when
my parents moved from the city to the North Jersey suburbs. Robotic animals performing
on stage became friends with whom I could share the most intimate details of my life, even
though we never actually spoke out loud. Has anything really changed?

All the best & thanks again for your consideration,

Headshot of Chris Campanioni

Chris Campanioni’s recent work has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Carbon Culture, Fjords Review, and Prelude. He 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. Find him in space at, or in person, somewhere between Brooklyn Bridge Park and Barclays Center.

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