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.

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
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 All Rights Reserved.

Tomorrow I leave on a road trip

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Tomorrow I leave on a road trip
With my dad

We’ve been to
North Carolina
New York
Just the two of us

We saw all the green
From a Mustang convertible
Watched Eddie Murphy on screen
Took a dip in a mountain stream
Dad worked in the next room
I saw porn for the first time
I was still a single digit

We saw mountains of glass and steel
From taxi cabs and walks
Viewed works of art
Ate well
Dad went to a conference
I crossed the Brooklyn bridge
and smoked
I was in my early 20’s

I’m 35
We know each other’s vices
We’re driving to the deserts of the Midwest
We’ll see strip malls
gas stations
fast food
On our way to beauty

I’ll grab my watch
Hold its hands

© 2020 All Rights Reserved.

And my youth is…

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

And my youth
is running out
and your age
is coming
to an end
and our time
has been
short lived.

So when my time
let it be
in the embrace
of a hug,
the verge
of a smile
that wave of
that crashes into
a new parent
when they hold
their child
for the first time.

Let it be
in the silent scream
of a shooting star.

Where are my teeth?

A short piece of prose, or something.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

You get so up in your head that you want to flash back to your BMX with the two pegs to ride down the street and back as fast as you can.

Weeks go by. Years go by.

You get so far into your projections. You want to change.

Years go by. Decades go by.

You see your family the same but they’ve all changed but they haven’t stayed the same. You make the same mistakes but with bigger consequences. All around you the t-shirts change, the science changes, sensitivity changes but it’s all still the same.

The body ages but the mind grows chaotic: A frantic camper in the rain racing to drive down stakes into mud. Stuck to stories growing mold, fuzzy but always staying the same.

The sandman doesn’t sprinkle you with dust. St. Nick can’t give you what you want. Christ could be relatable if only he’d made mistakes. You bought the world’s spirits, elixirs and potions but snake oils only erase time for nothing in return. The tooth fairy took all your teeth but I think she also has your innocence, and you never saw a dime.

Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup. Too many voices in your head spoil the creativity. You can spend time but you can never buy it.

The only option is to drive down stakes into moments you never want to let slip.