When was the ship lost?

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

head spinning
gasping for breath
between waves
clinging
from driftwood to barrel
from driftwood to anything
that floats
no sun
only clouds
the storm isn’t over
what did he forget?
the rigging
the sails
steering off course
the storm was too much
the ship is lost
only pieces left
to keep from drowning

© 2021 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

I hid it

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

buried
in a sunny spot
between the shade of two trees
a treasure

I hid it
you know where it is
I hid it
you know it is there

I never showed you
if I even knew
what there was
to show

I’m digging
between yesterday
and today
for that treasure

I always wanted
you to see it
but I’m only digging
and it’s no longer sunny

© 2021 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

always something before and

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

and I haven’t written in a while
haven’t even thought of it
and I’m stuck on coordinating conjunctions
as if continuing sentences running on and on
and I can’t see how the sentence began
and I know
and it’s on the tip of my tongue
and I know
but
another coordinating conjunction
it’s been too long

© 2021 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

happiness

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I can’t see it directly. Those motes around the eyes when I stand up too fast but it’s there to be enjoyed in the periphery.

© 2021 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

Best Guess?

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Best guess? The algorithm of life is scribbled by a hand trembling with Parkinson’s, guided by a brain swimming with Delerium Tremens.

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

in a marble

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

That I could
when I am small
squeeze
into the storms eye
of a marble

roll and be rolled
guided
by Newton’s discoveries
guided
by that hand
which bends trees with invisible speed

To look through
swirling globes of color
showing true
the things
all your things
skewed
to the shapes of sense
where
my brain’s waves crash

all your things
blurred into satisfaction
taming your impositions
that I could exist
in a marble

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

Hobo

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I hopped on a train
not sure when or why
But it runs winding tracks
Never going straight
Sometimes it stops
Sometimes runs backwards
sometimes full speed ahead
      Cars teetering
But I’ve never seen it run
One speed, one direction
Towards home

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

Play Doh

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I’ve found that little piece of Play Doh
went missing around the age of 4 or 5
I found that little piece of Play Doh
stuck somewhere between my
kidneys, ribs, lungs and heart.

I can’t quite make it out
but I can feel it giving way
to the pressure of my fingers
I can feel that joyful squish
running up my hands, arms
and dancing in my brain
just how I remember it

I found a little piece of Play Doh
given up for lost
I’m not sure how much is left
but I’m running it through my fingers
making fart noises, bubbles and
molding it to the shape of organs

I’m holding tight to a little piece of Play Doh
and my eyes light up
and I can’t see it
but I think it was blue
and I realize, it’s just as soft
as I am

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

bones, broken or not

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I am bones when I see a friend
I am bones when I eat
I am bones when one of us survives
I am bones when I lose a friend
I am bones when I am hungry
I am bones when one of us goes missing

I am bones because
thoughts about feelings are lanterns in dark, empty rooms
I only imagine what might be there
no light shines around the heart
and
feelings expressed as words are chattering teeth
I only hear an echo of
wet cracking and heavy flapping
the feelings lost in translation

I am happy when I see a friend
I am happy when I eat
I am happy when one of us survives
but that is not adequate

I could regurgitate a thesaurus, vomiting up excited, elated, pleased
but those are just words for happy
If you missed the expression of happiness
no words will make up for it
I will not make up for it
If I do not know if I am happy
then I am not paying attention

I am sad when I lose a friend
I am sad when I am hungry
I am sad when one of us goes missing
but these are not adequate

I would be sick all over the page with sorrow, mournful, somber
only shattered teeth from the mouth of sad
If I missed the expression of sadness
in any of its degrees
I will not make up for it with words
If I do not know if I am sad
then I am not paying attention

But feelings are blood, moving in and out
always there, always flowing
I am more than that
bones remain after death
so I will know

I am bones when I see a friend
I am bones when I eat
I am bones when one of us survives
I am bones when I lose a friend
I am bones when I am hungry
I am bones when one of us goes missing

broken happiness is sadness
broken sadness is insanity
broken bones are bones
I will say I am bones
broken or not

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

Chipping scabs, touching stars

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

standing on a pile of pain
touching that middle star
in Orion’s belt
where grandpa said he’d be
waiting for me

dancing on floor made of
cracked and splintered bone
skin stretched thin
scarred pink and white
I dance, heals chipping scabs
fingers reaching for the stars

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

I can forsake you too

A short piece.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I walk with a limp
two devil’s on my shoulder
both on one side
my right leg shakes
fearing each step

two devil’s on my shoulder
both on one side
one sat down, gently
with grandpa’s big smile
and the weight of Orion’s belt buckle

the other
splashing spirits
pressing against glass
shouting “one more”
a spluttering cry

Succorer!
grant me serenity
accepting two devil’s on my shoulder
courage
for these trembling steps
wisdom
to know which foot
one foot at a time

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

Filmed poem – The heart slaps along

A filmed version of a poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

A friend of mine and I were testing out his new camera rig, playing around with different shots at a park. He took the footage and made the below. What do you think?

The Heart Slaps Along” Written by Marcus Jonathan Chapman. Filmed, edited and read by Patrick Garrett York.

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved

Decent and good parents

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

On the corner
of Cajon and Vine
      sat at a cafe
a family
walked by

The kid
holding hands
with a woman
      I’ll say his mother
passed a Porsche
and
while swinging
his free arm
said
“I just saw a Lamborghini.”

His parents said naught
to which I thought
“No, you didn’t
it’s a Porsche.”

30 years from now
he’ll be
walking
holding his lovers hand
They’ll pass by
a Porsche
and
he’ll say
with one arm swinging
“I just saw a Lamborghini.”

And his lover
having had decent
and good parents
will reply,
“No, you didn’t
it’s a Porsche.”

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

Someone is listening

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

There is a man
crossing the street
talking to himself
or
he has Bluetooth
or
he is talking
while the Bluetooth
connects
another mind
prepping speech
for tongue
or
someone is hearing
or
someone is listening
or
someone is listening
for the pause
triggering
their own tongue
or
he is talking
to god
or
he is talking to someone
and that someone
is also god
or
he is talking to
another fragment
of god
and
between them
god is talking
to itself
or
god is talking
and
I wrote
these thoughts

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

Coffee black

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

coffee
black
like my soul
and other
poorly written
poesy

what is the soul?
nothing

coffee
black
like my lungs

coffee
black
like my humor
like fingernails
like that smoke stain
on the back of my
front tooth

coffee
black
like gunk in the drain
like dog nails
like tires

coffee
black
like letters perched
on invisible wire
chirping of the soul
of nothing

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

Cajon and Vine

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

sit
under gray clouds
and burnt sky
under waving patriotism
tattered

sit
next to bubbling youth
and bike racks
under manicured palms
weeping

sit
in the shadow of god’s cage
and tides of cars
like rolling waves
disappearing

sit
on the rounded corner
of
Cajon
and
Vine

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

Soul Asylum Radio

Hello fellow readers and writers,

Recently, I had the unique experience of participating in a podcast episode of Soul Asylum, a podcast on Blog Talk Radio. I was asked to share one of my poems, In Eulogy with the Burst.

Thank you CAL, Essama and AP Taylor for having me on. Check it out the 12/18/2020 Soul Asylum Radio episode, my portion begins at minute 20:35, but listen to the entire episode if you enjoy discussing and listening to poetry.

Tune in weekly to their show or catch up on their full catalog of episodes, they are enthusiastic and passionate about poetry.

Thank you, again, to Essama, for asking me to join and share a piece.

Made of stone

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Find yourself a house
made of brick
or cement
cinder block, if you can find it

find yourself a house
made of stone
and sit
sit in the middle

when the sun comes
and there is no wind
and the asphalt ripples with fever
sit in the house
and watch yourself baking
getting soft
sweat slapping at your eyes
sweat clumping your hair
      twisting and curling on your neck
stare at the unit
cut into the stone
don’t touch it
stare and know your body works
you have walls, a roof
and that is convenience

get yourself a house
made of stone
and sit
sit in the middle

when the clouds come
and the trees whistle
and the specter of breath lingers
sit in the house
watch yourself tighten
sealing in the juices
blood oozes and muds
blood sculpting clay
      in the fingers and toes
think of fire
suck down booze
imagine a woman resting against you
but stare
stare at those tight walls
taught as your skin
and know that is comfort

get yourself a house
made of stone
and know what the rib cage
is to the heart

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

Farting Hillary Clinton’s

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I was caught
between a train, teetering
and a cliff, eroding
hot coals spilled from the tops of the cars
but spot
would block them from searing me
the train passed and I walked back
on the highway
got on the next train and
a girl in a dress
asked me if I wanted to play video games
we giggled all the way to the arcade
I pushed in two quarters
and we
played Farting Hillary Clinton’s
then I woke up to
snoring dogs
and thirst
and the taste of iron on my tongue

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

Out of living bone

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Make me a phone
out of living bone
Caulk it with marrow
wrap it in tissue
strap it with muscle
give it some skin
            Taught but thin
pump it with blood
valve in some veins
connect it to nerves
massage in a brain
calve in a heart
            some pieces missing
pop in some eyes
maybe some thighs
wedge in a nose
             maybe some freckles
tack on some ears
            oh
            the eyes should have tears
throw on some arms
            and fingers that hinge
toss on some legs
            with toes that wiggle
slap on a mouth
            one I can kiss
call in a soul
            one I won’t miss

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

A text from Saul at 11:56 AM

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

How’s it going my favorite fuck face?
Got off work at 10 already buzzed
working 6 days and this is my day off.
Sandy got sick last week so I couldn’t
come out. Come to find out third Covid test
is a charm. Now everyone in the house
has it except Tommy. He stayed at
grandma’s house right when she really got sick.
So grandma doesn’t want visitors.
Totally understandable.
I’ve been calling him, and he just gets sad.
I offered to send him toys and help me pick.
He said I want my papa for 100 days.
Shit day off.

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

The ants are back

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

The ants are back looking for my food
out from their hole in the dirt and weeds
through the gap in the sliding glass door

The ants are back looking for their food
and I don’t see them until they wind
around the trash can and chair legs
to corners un-swept and dots sticky

The ants are back looking for my food
and they are ready and I am not
I say tomorrow, they eat today
my food, their food, the ants go marching
one by one, they are ready, I am not

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

This heart

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

This heart
belongs in a zoo
next to hyenas and baboons
next to lizards and bones
it
thumps boorish grunts
beats, cleaved,
in the curling tines of its cage

This heart
pumps
fossils and weeds
dying wheelbarrows
squeezing out rust

this heart
presses
black coffee
shatters windows
splinters doors

this heart
pulls from barbs
lights Molotov’s
rolls in whiskey and glass


this heart
hisses and smokes

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

Only marrow enough

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I am bone tired
the tongue no longer salivates
there is no roar
in my chest
only enough strength
to listen

And beauty slathers itself
on rusted sheds
cricket legs
a field of dust and weeds

only marrow enough
in my paintbrush bones
to listen

and the beautiful
hums in the fridge
slaps in the leaves
whistles in my nose
wheezes in my chest

My chest
just strong enough
to listen

for beautiful

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

The heart slaps along

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

The heart slaps along
sticking
to hot asphalt
with each rotation

pulling from gravel and tar
with each bounce

spurting ruby and blue
leaving rust in its dust

green shards from broken Mickey’s
orphaned bougainvillea
plastic straws
French fries
bottle caps
abandoned black rubber
cigarette filters
chewed gum
yesterday’s papers
sand
and
dust
stick to it

The heart slaps in a puddle
swelling
with oil, rain and gasoline
stopped

Send it back
spinning and rolling

Pulling from the road
with each bounce

send it
slapping along
wrapped
in flowers and glass

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

In eulogy with the burst

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

And I see
not much more than
string
wet and woven
through bags
pregnant with tea
and bloated
from water and
the bubbles cluster
clinging
to the side of Styrofoam
shaped cylindrical
and the bubbles
bounce
in eulogy with the burst
and I taste their bitter
tears and set down my cup
licking my lips and thinking
not much more than this
and I know
it is everything

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

And of the toilet brush

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

And of the toilet brush
next to porcelain bulb
resting in its holster
all bristles even with the lip
save one
curling up
from the pubis of the brush’s handle
curling up and away
from the toilet brush’s
downward
destiny
curling up and away
from shit
and piss
and vomit
and gism
and I have never seen
a violence
so complete
as that bristle
curling upward and away

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

Beautiful thing

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I’ll see a beautiful thing
and I’ll think
I’ve seen it
I can do ugly

And that beautiful thing
will stay
and then I’ll do ugly
and the ugly thing
will stay

and the more beautiful I see
the more ugly I do
and the more ugly I see
the more beautiful I do

And that ugly thing
will stay
and then I’ll do beautiful
and the beautiful thing
will stay

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

You know

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

When that orange burns through the gaps in the leaves
and you pull your sweater just a little tighter
and the rush hour of thoughts put you in a daze
and your faced with another night sleeping alone
and the dogs are whining for their walk
and you’ve mindlessly opened and closed the fridge
and you glance at the clock 90 times in one minute
and you turn the dryer back on without even checking
you know
you know you’re alone
but that little blue ball
Bukowski’s little blue bird
still hops
in your rib cage
keeps you pacing
you know your spirit
can take it
you know

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

At walls’ full of platitudes

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I saw him
And I used to see him
All in the same place
The coffee shop
Now they sell beer as well

I saw him, first
12 years ago
Drinking and staring
At the young women drinking coffee
He, old but taught
Defiance in his eyes
His stare a rebellion against gravity
Rebellion against time

I saw him, second
In meetings anonymous
Old and bruised
Bewildered and staring
At walls’ full of platitudes
Fear in his eyes
Earthquakes in his wrists
Now gravity rebelled

I saw him, third
The coffee shop
Old and limp and loose
His eyes set in cement
The defiance shaken out
A servant of gravity
I saw him
He didn’t see

I saw him
And I knew my own history
Back again
And I saw my future
With no humbleness
No fight
To bend the knee or
Have it bent for me

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

They pile up

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

They pile up
and you want to stop
and you don’t know where to start
and you can’t stop
so you don’t start
and they pile up
and you lose sight
you start stopping
and you never stop starting
and you start to write
and that doesn’t stop
you write about stopping
and you can’t start
and they pile up

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

I don’t want to smoke

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I don’t want to smoke
and I sneak away
to coffee shops
and think about smoking
I drink coffee
read
Listen to people talk
people laugh
and I read the same line
and I read the same line
and I read the same line
I close the book
and don’t stare
don’t stare
don’t stare
I finish my coffee
grab my book
head back home
and I read
I think about smoking
and I read the same line
and I read the same line
and I read the same line
I stand up
pace outside
get in my car
and go to a coffee shop

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

Now I have the time

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Now I have the time
to pay attention to the names
of musicians
both living and dead
      Michael Nyman
      Philip Glass
      Alexander Borodin
      Katie Von Schleicher

and I take pride because
I feel what they create
and now I know their names

Now I have the time
to pay attention to my
backyard
the gophers have gone
I killed all the weeds
the wild parrots, escaped
from the pet store
50 years ago, gather
on the power line above
my easement
the Blue Jay’s cocking heads
and hopping
around the gopher holes
finding grubs
And I take pride because
they are part of my lot
and now I know their names

And now I have the time
to pay attention to the names
the names not belonging to me
or to the other one
I have the time to pay attention
because I have only time

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

I know a great writer

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I know a great writer
but you don’t
her greatness is planted
in not knowing, not
thinking she is great
and I know she is
a great writer
but she doesn’t and
she writes anyway
and I write but
I try not to think of
my standing
my standing over
or standing under the
writing of other writers
and I stand up
and I think of the words
and the words I don’t know
but that great writer writes
knowing nothing of her greatness
and I write but
I stand and go outside
taking off my shirt to let the sun
soak in
and I think of her greatness
and not my own
and she doesn’t
think of me

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

lazy day with nothing to say

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

lazy day with
nothing to say

the sun soaks
sludge bilks’ thoughts
mudslides smooth
peaks and valleys
to a single plateau

my mind, the sun, un-seeable
a walnut dazed
windows glazed in
snow buried, re:
whites, grays, haze
Trieved to a
Saint slobbering Bernard

Cocoa steams
streams magma flings
in loosening dreams
through the windows
of the sun, sloths
in heat buildup speed
and spew their sperm
soaked thoughts:

slow swimming sludge
obsidian’s cakes tectonics
quake meridians plates

lazy day with
nothing to say

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.

Inside my chest there lives a cat

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Inside my chest I found a cat
I called it names to which it spat
‘til desperation made me scream
I know not, love, for what you dream
and then it nuzzled, flicked its tail
a cry of love found holy grail
still at my touch, bared tooth and nail
so I stay hid from love’s impale

© 2020 writesmarcus.com All Rights Reserved.