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.

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.

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.

Base, Meet, Deep

A short story incorporating three random words, written in 20 minutes.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Lemuel picked up the ring on the table, size 4 finger. It had fit for a while, then in the middle of their marriage she had gained some weight. After much struggle she was able to slide it off. Butter, go figure. When she slimmed down again, the ring was back on for a week but came off again. A lot of things became off after she lost weight. Lemuel’s base instincts knew something else was off.

Then a few months later, like a bad movie, he found the evidence that became the catalyst to their divorce. She would meet others, Lemuel didn’t know them. She wouldn’t answer the phone. Lemuel couldn’t sleep. She never slept with him. Lemuel puffed out his chest and stuck out his chin as if it didn’t matter, but there was too much darkness down deep to keep pretending his confidence came from the light.

Lemuel tried, for a while, to pretend it didn’t bother him. He reached out to friends, family and without telling them what was going on, pretended to have a change of heart that bent towards connection. Really he was trying to fill that new crevasse that had split him open after the earthquake of her absence.

Because he had reached out to loved ones, they began reaching out to him. But the darkness was taking over, even if he didn’t realize it. One day he was in its shadow and the next he was swallowed whole.

After a night of hard drinking, Lemuel loaded his dog into the car, grabbed some clothes and food, and drove in one direction. East. East would let him drive farther, too far west and he’d need a boat. Too far North or South and he’d need a passport. All things he didn’t have the capacity to deal with.

He stopped. There were rows of wooden cabins that looked like something gold miners during the rush of early California days would build quickly to sustain them for sleep and food. An inn that allowed pets and plenty of space from one room or cabin to the next.

Lemuel paid for a week and moved all his things into the room. Keeping the dogs in the air conditioned inside, a detail that he was thankful to be added, despite it’s historical gold rush inaccuracy. Lacing up his boots, grabbing a bottle of Bulleit Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey, or what he referred to jokingly with his ex-wife as his dancing shoes. And so Lemuel laced up his dancing shoes and waltzed into the desert.

Taking shade in an outcropping of boulders, Lemuel rested. A pain emanated from his stomach. When he pulled up his shirt, he saw something moving underneath his skin. Always carrying a pocket knife, but rarely using it, Lemuel found the perfect opportunity. He flipped open the knife and poked his stomach where the bulge had emerged. The stab hurt, but it was a duller, less urgent pain. Sure the blood would run and he might feel faint, but it wasn’t the sort of pain that wrapped his head and heart in butcher paper, pounded by a tenderizer 24/7.

The bulge emerged at his side, between his last bottom two ribs. He poked and dragged the blade, this one made him wince, but nothing came out. However, he did feel a small sense of release which also felt like relief. He stood up and wandered back to his cabin, wondering what HBO might have on their station this evening.

Parallel, Adjust, Water

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
words/phrase provided by https://wordcounter.net/random-word-generator

It was right there next to me, the entire time. I never realized it was there until it was gone. And not just the good stuff, but the bad as well, I realized it all.

I saw a kid kick the cane an older man was leaning on. The old man stumbled, did his best to catch himself but lost his balance and fell. That’s almost what it feels like, except the kid would have had to take a step further and snap the cane over her knee.

It’s like losing a leg. No, it’s not. That’s probably worse and better left to those who have that experience. But I can imagine that losing a leg is a lot like suddenly realizing your life was in parallel. Each walk was left, right, left, right, left. Now you’re left with right and have to find a way to adjust.

Another thing that’s confusing is all the racing your mind does in moments like these. It can’t stop, won’t stop thinking. It only takes a small crack for all the fissures to splinter off in all directions. Eventually consuming the mind with all sorts of nonsense that I think holds water.

It usually doesn’t, the thoughts usually don’t. The simplest answer is usually indeed true. But something about us, something about me is still drawn to conflict, still finds its way to war. What they call that necessary evil. Would it be necessary if there were evil? Well how do you get rid of evil?

And that’s what I mean, my mind need only focus on my immediate, personal problem but it wants to find the underlying issue. That single unifying, unavoidable trait in humans that causes pain. What theists call sin and atheists call human nature. Beyond all of their bloviating over “ifs” and “whens” and “proof” there is still our existence. There is still us, our experience.

I think therefore I am tortured.

And again, I’m wandering away from the practical, wandering away from solutions and diving deep, deep into that hole of self.

It’s a bottomless pit, self, a never-ending chasm of self-doubt, self-loathing, self-harm, self-pity, self-denial, me, me, me, I, I, I.

It’s a trap. When I stand parallel to myself and look in the mirror, I see a different man. Sometimes he’s more handsome than yesterday. Sometimes he’s uglier than yesterday. Self-esteem.

Back to the problem at hand, how does one trust when there is nothing concrete on which to rest trust. Reason for no reason.