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 All Rights Reserved.

Social Security

A short poem, 2013.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

A little boy sat on a bench in a park,
watching old men play their game. 

One moved his piece,
they frowned and they slouched,
then the other accomplished the same. 

The castles moved straight,
the horses made hooks
as the black and white shapes met their fate. 

The boy slightly shifted,
his gaze never lifted,
as the sun slowly made her escape.

The men’s eyes creased wrinkles
as moves spotted became twinkles
and their hands became part of the pieces. 

The boy closed his eyes,
looked up to the skies
and asked god why this game never ceases. 

God gave its reply
in the form of a sigh
but the men and their game stayed the same. 

The boy shook with cold,
looked back at the old
and decided that he would proclaim:

“I know I’m too young
for all of your fun
but it’s getting quite cold you see. 

My mother is waiting
but I’m still debating
if this is the game for me. 

I wanted to know
before I did grow
who would be left with his king. 

So I’m asking quite nicely
if you’ll play concisely
and finish this game before spring.”

The men gave a chuckle,
one grabbed his buckle,
as the boy cocked his head to the side. 

The old men gave advice,
hoping that would suffice
but the boy sauntered right up beside. 

Without making a scene,
he reached for the Queen
and moved in a line that was straight. 

The old eyes got wide,
the boy swelled with pride
as the man on the right cried,