Cebo Campbell

When We Could Fly: A Poem About Staying Young

I heard her say,

“The risk of youth is recklessness
And the reward of recklessness
Is revolution”.
When she kissed me, I tasted
Cherry lipstick and cigarette filters.
She, the girl who spoke nonchalance and flicked out words:
Verisimilitude, subversion of dominant paradigms, recalcitrance,
And love.
We were 17.
She listened to the dangerous music
captive in jukebox prisons
where with old men drank whisky
And made love to sorrow.
Our lives were gray then.
We kept our dreams in snowglobes
Shaking them only to see the reverie of youth disturbed.

I loved her because she said to me:

“You will never again run as fast as you can.

You live real life each time you sleep.
We’ve learned to fly
Yet stand on our two feet.

Be young always.”

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I am an author and a Creative Director.

As a full-time creative (VP of Creative Services at Spherical), I spend most days writing in the nooks and crannies of my available time. I wake up at 5:30am just to get in a few hours putting words on paper. I write on the train. I write on planes. I write waiting in lines. I feel I have to write. The reason is simple: representation.

I often tell the story of Ferris Bueller; a kid who decides to skip school and, on charm alone, steals a car, impersonates a cop, drinks underage, tampers with computers, and at every step exposes his best friends to peril, only to go home and fall asleep with his mother to kiss him into sweet dreams. I asked myself if Ferris were Trayvon Martin, how might that story end? I know the answer. So do you. And this is why representation is so important. I aim to contribute more stories into the world that diversely feature regular (but beautiful) lives made extraordinary. Art, I believe, is the only way to accomplish this. All my creative work is inspired by and aims to add to all the great work in the world.