The sky is mottled with pregnant clouds

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

The sky is mottled with pregnant clouds
Contractions of wind huff harder and harder
Trees protest throwing down leaves
And still I stay outside

A cricket plays a solo
A neighbor laughs
My hair blows over my eyes
And still I stay outside

The cup of tea has lost its steam
My skin tightens into untouched dunes
My fingers tighten while they tap
And still I stay outside

Bukowski’s liquor breath escapes his jowls
Love is a Dog from Hell flutters and howls
My little dog scurries from door to lap
And still I stay outside

Of grunting and groaning

Thoughts on politics, more specifically, the September 29, 2020 presidential debate.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Like a good American I am more concerned with what I’m having for dinner, playing with my dogs, checking to see who liked that picture of me on social media and protecting my right to leave the house freely and unencumbered. I wear a mask, of course, mostly to ward of judgement, but I do it. I’ve been keeping my distance from all of you all my life, so it’s great that everyone else knows to stay 6-feet away now as well.

A presidential debate, you say? Sure, I’ll watch. I care about the future of my backyard.

So it began.

I got up in the middle of the “debate” to roll back the sliding glass door to the back yard. My dogs ran out and sniffed for their spots in the dust patch I call a yard. The English Bulldog on left and the Boston Terrier on the right.

The bulldog scooted his hind legs underneath and pushed out his rear dumping a couple mocha jumbo-sized carrots. The terrier scooted her hind legs underneath and pushed out her rear, dumping a few dark-chocolate tootsie rolls. If I get up close to either one, I can hear them grunting.

They kicked up dust and ran back into the house.

The debate went on but I had a realization: That I could not watch my dogs take shits anymore. Why should I know so much about them as to describe the length, girth and color? All I can do as their owner, is pick up the shit and keep the yard clean and free from stench. I thought about a scenario in which I would no longer need to pick up after my dogs. When (and I hope this day is long in coming) I would have to put them BOTH down. I’d never want another dog again. A big change for sure, but a different life could be found afterwards. I could manage.

The debate ended and I thought about my grunting dogs and cleaning up their shit.

I am a man

A short poem, 2013.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I cry
I curl up under blankets with my hands between my knees and feel safe
I squeal and feel my heart bouncing when I see my dog or baby cousin
My body is beautiful with all its hair
I admire my tattoo’s
I take time to do my hair
I enjoy compliments
I have a hot temper
I am confident in changing a tire
I tremble when jumping a car battery
I struggle with expressing emotion
I feign humbleness when receiving a compliment
I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner
I am a man

Juicy, Cynical, Spit

The little bitch whined all night. A heavy sigh with a whimpering high c-note at the end. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had just quite smoking, the dog would still be alive. That incessant whimpering crawled into my ears, clamped down into my brain and roared into the area that inspires rage. You might call what happened next cynical.

“STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPP! SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Spit flew all over the kitchen. My vocal cords vibrated, and squeezed together, forcing me to cough. For two, maybe three seconds the dog lay quiet. Then started its whine again. With each breath a whimper, so soft and pathetic but each one built up a wave that lapped at my sub-consciousness. Until I whipped around and stood up, lifting my chair above my head and slamming it down next to the sad beast.

Now it shivered. I shivered as well, holding two splintered legs of my only kitchen table chair. I was blind with anger.

The fucking dog kept whining. I picked it up and shoved it outside, into the snow. Then I grabbed the lighter and began touching the flame to everything that would catch. All around the house, I danced and paused, kissing the lighter to the corners of paintings, books, magazines, towels, jackets, shirts, anything reaching out its pursed lips to make out with my lighter.

I no longer shivered as the house glowed with oranges and reds. I tossed the lighter into the dirty clothes hamper and grabbed an un-kissed jacket from my bedroom chair. I threw it on and went outside to keep my dog company. It’s whimpering no longer affecting my mood but reflecting them. Its whimpering echoing the same hopeless sadness and anger I felt every waking moment of my life.

Now that life was burning 10 feet from where I stood in the snow, keeping me warm and melting the billions of frozen flakes around my feet.

I patted the dog on the head, who seemed to stop whining when I joined it outside, and watched that little bitch of a life filled with empty things burn. I patted my dog and we stayed warm.

Through the sliding glass door, I heard something hiss and gush, something that sounded juicy. Then I heard a shriek, followed by a pop. Shit, I forgot about the cat.