I know a great writer

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

I know a great writer
but you don’t
her greatness is planted
in not knowing, not
thinking she is great
and I know she is
a great writer
but she doesn’t and
she writes anyway
and I write but
I try not to think of
my standing
my standing over
or standing under the
writing of other writers
and I stand up
and I think of the words
and the words I don’t know
but that great writer writes
knowing nothing of her greatness
and I write but
I stand and go outside
taking off my shirt to let the sun
soak in
and I think of her greatness
and not my own
and she doesn’t
think of me

lazy day with nothing to say

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

lazy day with
nothing to say

the sun soaks
sludge bilks’ thoughts
mudslides smooth
peaks and valleys
to a single plateau

my mind, the sun, un-seeable
a walnut dazed
windows glazed in
snow buried, re:
whites, grays, haze
Trieved to a
Saint slobbering Bernard

Cocoa steams
streams magma flings
in loosening dreams
through the windows
of the sun, sloths
in heat buildup speed
and spew their sperm
soaked thoughts:

slow swimming sludge
obsidian’s cakes tectonics
quake meridians plates

lazy day with
nothing to say

It’s nice sometimes.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Life can be so sweet. Where I find my mind challenged by the convoluted, my heart takes in the simple.

Friends sat on concrete laughing.

Picking olives from trees with my dad.

Seeing my sister through a screen from the other side of the world.

Sleeping with the rumbling lullabies of snoring dogs.

The shared excitement with mom of new cooking utensils.

The smiles pulled up my face by memories of the blonde haired girls I still love.

Watching pre-dawn races with cousins and my aunt.

Exploring the subconscious with paint, music, dance and words.

A full throat-ed laugh with a best friend.

A bike ride.

Stretching.

Pull-ups on the carport beams.

Waving to a neighbor.

Tea before the sun comes up.

Watching coyotes cross the street.

Learning something new.

A hug, especially nowadays.

Having just vacuumed.

Filling the fridge.

Cooking.

Ice in a sphere.

Hall, Light, Doctor

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

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

In the hall, where transitions take place. Shuffling from one idea to another. On my way to eat over there. On my way to shit over here. On my way to paint in the room next door. On my way to sleep in that room.

Always on my way to something but never appreciating the place in which I make the transitions. A cheap whore is the hallway, used to and fro without a thought or care. In the middle of my house but never the center of my attention.

The light in the hall has two switches, never pointing in the same direction. One is always up. One is always down. Neither ever looking in the same direction. One is off. One is on but the light always changes when one looks the opposite way.

Where do I go from here? The hallway leads to all areas of my home. Where I sleep. Where I eat. Where I shit. Where I shower. Where I work. Where I fuck. Where I watch TV. Where I stare at the painting and think about all the things of which I need to think.

I’m 34. I’ve been to the doctor more times than I wish. They don’t know shit but what you tell them. They are hallways, clueless unless you already have a direction in your mind. They speak with authority, are necessary evils but really don’t know anything unless you have an idea in your head.

So here’s to the hallways which we all traverse, mindlessly, thinking about what’s ahead, never thinking about the journey.

Consensus, Map, Musical

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

In a dream I heard the words whispered, “Her essence is so old it no longer recognizes the shadows of life.” I don’t know what it meant but the voice was musical in my sleep but I woke up with a familiar pain. One for which I no longer have a name.

It was the ache of having lived a life uncharted, with no direction, no map. The aimless wandering of a fool searching for any glint of recognition in human or animal. Wild animals are becoming more familiar, trapped in their loneliness, distrustful of anything outside their instincts. My base desires becoming needs.

I no longer live like the others. I understand those mysterious untimely deaths. They are of habits known only to the deceased, leaving everyone living to wonder why. Close relatives believing what danger surrounded their loved one is something that used to be not knowing that the danger is. Always.

Can it be contagious? Does it become an itch to which their is only one scratch?

Underwear, Hide, Noisy

The morning arrived in a gradient of orange, purple and blue across the sky. The sun hadn’t pulled itself over the mountains and the moon was enjoying a glimpse of the day. The girl with the pearls in her eyes wept.

She wanted to hide from the noisy events playing in her mind. The potions from the previous night had not completely worn off and, more troubling, she couldn’t find her underwear. Buried, she feared, under the snoring ogres sprawled over the couches, chairs, tables and floor.

A thing of beauty she had wanted to glimpse. Not a thing, a feeling. Grabbing her knees, she forced her thoughts into the present. What’s next? No, that was the future. Where am I? She turned to look through a window but couldn’t recognize any of the fixtures through the glass. Her glassy eyes took in the room in front of her. The sleeping creatures around her were familiar in her flashes of memory from the night previous.

Where is my underwear? A chill shook through her as her questions probed deeper. Why aren’t I wearing them?

One of the ogres stirred, opening its eyes for just a moment and locking its gaze with hers before passing back into unconsciousness.

Could he know what had happened? Her mind fixated. She had a feeling. That question, and any answer or lingering doubt, would haunt her, either way. Where is my underwear?

She was realizing that something inside her would become stuck, no matter if she left this place or not. Her consciousness screamed at its daydreaming brother for details, but she was answered only with a feeling. More likely, a mixture of emotions that stirred in her a macabre feeling.

Anxiety, depression, sadness and darkness, if that could be called an emotion. It felt like more feelings were to blame but she had to force herself to become unstuck from that place. Her underwear was missing, she would not be. The front entrance was only a few feet in front of her, though sleeping giants lay in between.

She forced open the window and climbed out. Her skin tightening from the cold of the morning and the pearls in her eyes shining even though the sun was still hiding behind the mountains.

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.

Resonant, Rich, Testy

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

I imagined one day that I would have money. Not that I definitely would but I imagined what it would be like to have money.

I remember the movie Richie Rich, Macaulay Culkin living in a mansion with a roller coaster and being transported by helicopter. I remember Scrooge McDuck diving into a vault filled with gold coins. He would do the back stroke and spit out coins like water.

Now I’m older, fortunate to have as much as I do. Now because I’m able to get my car’s oil changed or buy all the groceries I want I feel rich.

It’s an appreciation of wealth. I don’t mean me saying “I’m grateful” I mean since I’ve been able to work and earn money, I understand the value of money.

The realities of having a rollercoaster in the house would be a nightmare; all the maintenance, security, city permits (of which there would be a plethora for safety, zoning, expansion, etc.) not to mention that riding the same ride would get old. Not that I could afford to have a roller coaster but even if I could I would not choose to afford one.

I think that’s what being wealthy means to me, being able to make decisions on what I will choose to afford so that what I need to afford won’t make me broke.

There are a lot of reasons I’m at the point I’m at now. Yes, I have worked hard but really I had a lot of opportunities and help from people who cared, (or at least I think they did). I think that makes me rich as well.

I have a friend who talks about not having much money but their personality is such that they have a wealth of friends, acquaintances, people they’ve met who would provide opportunities at the mere mention of needing help. Not that this friend likes asking for help but people feel like helping.

I know that when it comes to topics of money, wealth and privilege, people can get a bit testy. I can get a bit testy. Privilege is often loaded with politics. No one likes to feel like the things they have are not deserved or even earned.

I used to think about the idea of a “self-made man”, perhaps an out-dated term but it applies to anyone who claims to make “it” on their own.

I don’t know that I believe such a thing really exists. There are people who work hard and look for opportunities, then get them. There are people who work hard, look for opportunities and don’t get them. There are people that don’t work hard, know people and get opportunities.

You see where I’m going. There’s any number of scenarios in which people receive or do not receive opportunities.

Something that resonated with me recently was an exercise that Mr. Rogers used to do on his who and with his crew. It was to take one minute and think of one person who has helped you get to where you are, even if it’s not all the way to where you want to be.

That resonated with me because while I don’t believe in a god, I do believe that other people are as important as myself, and Mr. Rogers’ exercise is a good reminder that we all get a boost from time to time.

Constitute, Vernacular, “Sea Foam”

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
These three movie titles provided by @audreyfankhanel

Something comes over me when I watch an episode of Seinfeld. It’s a familiarity, a closeness with humanity. The characters and scenarios make me feel that I’m part of the whole, that I’m not the only one concerned (perhaps overly so) with superficial things. Besides that, and more to the point, it makes me laugh.

If I were a character in Seinfeld, I’d more than likely be George Costanza. Maybe George on the inside and Jerry on the outside. George speaks a language I can understand. he exudes a pettiness and unchecked passion for the principles of things. I understand him, as despicable as he may be to some.

Jerry has a laissez-faire attitude. Things happen to him but he stays at the same level of comfort, neither better or worse off than the beginning of each episode.

Kramer’s character, as I heard Michael Richards describe him, isn’t dumb or crazy, he’s actually one level above everyone. Unconcerned with what others think, the world is his playground. And so he finds himself in situations like golfing with pro’s, being serenaded by legendary crooner’s, finding and living with the discarded set of the Merv Griffin show.

Kramer lives, I believe, as most of us wish to live. His careless abandon allows him to be exactly Kramer, Cosmo Kramer.

Elaine Benes is the more functional Kramer. Maybe I’m wrong, but her confidence and charm give her the opportunities Kramer is unable to receive, simply because he stands out for the wrong reasons, according to societies rules and expectations.

Elaine expresses all emotions without shame but is also able to pull it together when it matters. Because of this, she often comes out on top, fairing better than her three companions.

All four main characters represent different aspects of humanity. George is primarily emotion and passion. Jerry is mostly logic and reason. Kramer is pure joy. Elaine is responsible yet mischievous.

I think one of the scenes that captures this dynamic is this: The four are sitting at a booth in the diner. Jerry is next to Kramer and Elaine is next to George who is telling his adventures as a Marine biologist.

“The sea was angry that day, my friends.” He begins and the scene cuts to a beach, sea foam rolling up on shore.

So that’s 20 minutes of straight writing. I must of just been watching Seinfeld.