A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Don’t take the pills
Changing chemistries
Raising new ills

Those dark shadows

Let them feed
Through words
To paper eaters

Let them loose
Through color
To open windowed souls

Let them twirl
Not suppress
Give them life
Beyond the chest

Let them powder
Through noise
To wax drums

Let them dance
Through monologues
To cymbal-ed monkeys

Don’t take the remedies
Blessing new enemies
Depressing heart break

Those dark shadows

© 2020 All Rights Reserved.

Smile, Miracle, Painter

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

It crept up the corners of her mouth and stuck like the bend in a banana. She stared at the splashes and splotches of oil-based chunks daubed on her canvas. This was truly majestic. An act that defied nature, more miraculous then that J.C. born of a sexless act. The textures, colors, shapes and composition from which she could not tear her gaze were indescribable beyond the basic elements of a painting.

She dropped her brush. The desert’s grit clung to the paint stuck to the brushes toe. The once indigo splash was now a textured nib of yellows, oranges and browns from the Mojave’s sands.

Tears began pouring from her eyes, as a memory flashed in her mind. Her father calling her by her name, Lucy. The image she had plucked from the fringes of the intangible was now reinforcing the meaning of her name; light.

Lucy’s name had meaning now beyond that crass coat hangar of a word that pulled her neck to look in the direction of anyone who called it. Lucy. This was her name, all in an image. All in the ethereal. The painting seemed to twist and bend, a galaxy of exploding stars, planets created and worlds extinguished.

Lucy. Light. See.

She could not move. Her being had found root in that moment. Presence. This was her purpose, meaning, the yin to her yang. She belonged here, in front of this painting, as audience and creator. An infinite loop of admiration, disgust, praise and critique, darkness and light. All equal parts of the whole.

The sun was disappearing behind the molars of the San Gabriel mountains. In the mouth of the valley she was left standing as a sigh of relief whipped up the desert sands. The paint, not yet dry, made for the perfect trap and in a single gust of wind, the painting was erased by the desert.

Lucy, shaken out of her trance, picked up her 12-oz. Fresca, wiped the sand from the rim and took a sip. Then she kicked over her easel and walked to the car.

Nonstop, Shine, Beggar

He was back again at the dinner table. His mother, father and sister were sitting around him, eating. The sound of the TV in the other room droning at a low volume. Looking at the faces of his family around him, he reached for a bowl of mashed potatoes but they were just out of his grasp. Then his mother turned to him and said, “Look at this mother fucker, just shining.”

His eyes popped open. A few yards from him, walking away, two people looked back at him, one of them laughing. He sat up, pushing himself against the stone entryway of Citizens bank downtown. The same dream, still haunting him nonstop. No matter what he did to his mind or body, that dream always came back.

He grabbed his bag and threw on a jacket before wandering to his spot where he’d hold out a cup and shake it for spare change. In the tourist spots, he always made enough to at least buy a sandwich from McDonalds but he was out of his potions and elixirs that helped him forget. Not even a beer in his possession.

“Look at this mother fucker, just shining.” The comment played back in his mind. Someone returning home from a long night of partying must have seen the print on his shirt. A black t-shirt with silver glittery print that read Shine. It was just a shirt. He grabbed it from a donated bag of clothes behind the Salvation Army store. He never liked going into the store because it was usually filled with kids in their teens and twenties laughing and trying on old clothes for fun.

Circle, Sketch, Footprint

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
words/phrase provided by @ninajo47

In a cave, high atop a mountain there lived a woman. This woman would pick flowers, growing on the slopes above and below her cave. She would hunt for small game, rabbits, badgers, squirrels. Using giant leaves, she would form them into funnels and collect water from the rain and dew. The water would then be stored in the containers she’d fashioned from her hunted game.

All this she did not to eat, though she did consume the meat of the animals and the fruit of each plant, but to paint. Something she could not explain directed her movements and thoughts, always in the direction of creation. Not controlled but inspired.

Her first creation was a small red circle she had lazily sketched onto the cave wall by her head. She was waiting for her rabbit to cook over the fire and was hanging the skin to dry. Her hands red with blood.

She took her finger, pressed it to the wall and smeared the red around bringing it back to the point she had first placed her finger. This pushed her experience of life onto another plane.

The woman stared at the circle for days, comparing it to objects around her. Her navel was that shape, the eyes of the animals were that shape.

The woman considered the pleasant feeling of discovery she had felt when completing the circle. After her next hunt she drew more circles, covering one wall with the blood of rabbits and doves. She noticed that one of her circles was more jagged, and so she formed a triangle. She considered it then walked out of her cave and looked at the trees in the valley, coming to a point and similar in shape to her triangle.

To separate the triangle from the circle, she drew four straight connecting lines around it.

She stepped back and realized that was a shape more unfamiliar than the others. She had discovered it, created it out of a need to place a distinguishing boundary around something significant.

Her whole mind exploded with ideas. All around her were shapes, the essence of these crude shapes on her wall. Circles stretched into ovals, pulled into spheres, widened and elongated into the trunks of trees.

She stepped outside in wonder, excited to explore her new-found freedom of thought but her foot fell into a foot print much bigger than her own.

The sun became blocked and before her stood a new shape, larger, similar to her own and casting her into its shadow.