pris campbell | mind meld & virgins

Mind Meld

for John Bennett

In an accidental mind
meld with John Bennett,
he sends me an apple
disguised (cleverly) as a tomato.
It floats in front of Meg Ryan,
playing an alcoholic,
while Andy Garcia tries hard
to save her.
I take a bite, lose
my innocence, of course,
paste on three fig leaves.
Shards parachute into Eden.
John’s not trying to save me.
He just wants me to dance.


Felled by illness, my friend,
veins once plump with boldness,
tells me the Virgin appeared
in a cloud of rosedust,
instructed her to lie in bed
suffering for all of humanity,
and so she gathers icons, burrows
into her dim bedroom, tv droning,
dreams of salvation and Armageddon.

I think of other virgins-
Somaly Mam and those thousands
of Cambodian children sold
into the sex trade each year
to be raped and re-sewn,
becoming virgins for sale
all over again.

Locked into dark cages
Maggots stuffed into their mouths
Filled with the semen
of faceless men
day after day,
their childhood rises
like giant blackbirds
to flap blindly across
the brothel ceilings.

My words scream for them
across this useless fragment of paper.

I think of Somaly Mam’s torture,
her miraculous escape,
her returns over and again
to free more girls–some so terrified
their mouths won’t open to speak,
their minds lost in darkness.

I wonder what the Virgin would say to them.
Do I sound cynical?
I intended to.

I think of grandfather
pumping his stench into my mouth,
how my rage still turns into
an inferno some days, my hope
that there is indeed a hell
for these masters of frightened children,
so certain young weeping voices
would never rise above a murmur
to haunt them.

0 Replies to “pris campbell | mind meld & virgins”

  1. both poems are wonderful, pris, and i’m so pleased they were published. the second has a special meaning to me, for falling ill to me-cfs is, in many ways, similar to being raped as it steals one’s life away… the picture is haunting. xoxooxox

  2. You have captured the horrors of child abuse and child prostitution as I’ve never seen before. It makes me ashamed to admit that so called human beings participate in this disgusting ritual abuse. And the fact that it is as prevalent today as it ever was. It does not bode well for the continuation of the human species on this planet.

  3. I would admire almost anything you wrote, Pris – even a laundry-list! But Virgins is something special, powerful, designed to shock – and it does! It demeans us all as humans to think that such things go on today.

  4. Mike, Keebler, and Geoff, I appreciate your kind words on my poems. Yes, it’s shocking to think that what happened in the Virgins poem still happens today. The Somaly Mam foundation has still been hard at work with rescues there, but then there’s the sex slave trade all over the world…..not to mention private bedrooms in homes everywhere or priests with little boys or pediophiles. It boggles the mind.

  5. I lived like the girls you described
    I’m lucky to be alive today
    I’m safe now
    relearning my worth and how i’m still good

    in my heart i am there sometimes

    I want to save all of the others

    I want to feel safe

    I want everyone of them to get the chance to heal as I have and for all of us to feel safe

    thank you for writing this

    I hope it reaches many

  6. i’ve only read “virgins,” and that’s all i have to read to know you’re a major poet. you do what poets do at their best: expose truth. in this case, you speak so eloquently, painfully of the existence of evil. bless you, my friend.

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