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Winter 2019/20

Mel Campo


The billboard above the Citizen store
takes a picture of the plaza:
a bricked over triangle of Broadway packed
with clustered groups of schoolchildren
and families on holiday from abroad
and girls in earmuffs and Korean tourists
in stylish coats and moms on Girl’s Trips
and adult men in letterman jackets,
and matinee-goers that drift up
from 42nd street and catch
on the upturned-face shoal
What are we looking at?
The mob’s corpus drifts
around the edges where people take selfies
with the lights in the background
and photos with the locals:
two bored uniformed cops with a dog,
three fresh-faced and feathered topless
girls in wedges and body paint,
Buzz Lightyear, Winnie the Pooh,
Dora the Explorer, four off-brand Elmos,
two Cookie Monsters, one dejected
Iron Man and another in sneakers,
Spiderman, Superman,
and a small actor on stilts
in Lady Liberty’s dignified
green dress, face, and t-shirt.

Below the billboard, they cheer
at the return of the camera.
On screen, phones uplifted and flashing,
they all are waving and smiling
as the picture settles on the center
of the mob and zooms in closer
and they jostle to find the perfect place
and it finally stops just framing the faces
of a young couple who lean in as the countdown begins
and his thumb hovers over ‘capture’
as she leans in and puckers
3, 2, 1
and then a pause

and the kissing couple looks up
and the camera snaps

their startled faces checking to see
if they’d gotten their shot of the money shot
kissing on the billboard, starring
in the ad: Love Times Square


Mel Campo is a writer, artist, playworker, tarot reader, and queer facilitator working at the intersections of art and self-directed education. They live in Brooklyn, New York.


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