Peter Chapman Poetry

Moonlight Sonata


the ingredients of this new deodorant
the label says here
include coriander, tea tree, alpine lichen
and lavender plus aloe vera

it's mostly organic, a product of some care
tested without cruelty,
a cool white & green applicator so tidy in its utility, so agreeable,
so nice with all the protections, to find this thoughtful one

soon you'll be in the lavender, baby, towns full, gone over the ocean
for your birthday with your mom
to bend your mind to the pale flower's bursting
up and down the redolent route de la lavande,
everywhere you go, the shops, the cafes,
to your small closet at night, to your toothbrush in the morning,
it'll be there, now in the panties you take from the bureau,
near the window
looking down on the shadowy square,
the plucky scent of loss the cap to something rolled to a stop
behind the castered leg of the corner desk,
left from the hope of new importance, the nerves of heroes
subduing the urge to bend and look

remembering, in the lavande at dusk,
nearly painted in swirls, the tensing adorage of blooms
how we'd gotten prosaic
you said,
dancing in Baltimore
hooking me spinning on your warm back
through the lasers and smoke
so we were wings

your arrival in the fine land of frogs, has it fitted
you to a disillusioned mind? the breakup
into Europe, bereft, then you notice, one day,
a speck of a man on a distant hill,
slapping his hat to his face, the thrill


I pulled back your hair and traced your ear.

I put my finger in the curls
to feel the tug.
I traced the freckles below your eye to your lip then up.

Soundlessly you slid next to me, and smiled so close
with sympathy, we had one eye for our living there,
a trellised smile amid the lips and looks, hips and knees.

Late winter rain fell off the years.
Icy limbs froze the tears.
We lie in our soft pressure.

I went into your hair again.

The blanket slipped to the floor
then the winter

nothing more.

Moonlight Sonata

another warm day

a grocery store!

it'll be cool in there


i should be in orchards!
i hope the pickers are getting some of that money;
red delicious are more reliable now--
i never minded the sweetness and they crunch
like sugary red jicama

what's this? a man with the most implacable face

dead to guile
aggression, hope

you could hit him with a shovel and his eyes would hold the directness of marbles

is punching, over and over, his pin #, the line is getting longer, and patience rots;

it shows no balance, the cashier says

he leaves with a friend who's been coughing dryly


one time
i tended bar at an amazing house on the water,
an old place, sort of sleazy, with a porch with thin mats and fans and great pots of ferns
and old portraits, the languid odor of voodoo termite incense

i'd love to buy that house for us
and take you there, blindfolded

we'd want the paper and good coffee,
we'd never need to leave
or want the knack of disguise

like Madame unsticking herself
from Sargent's paint
after hearing someone say her beauty
had appeared, just a little, to have slipped


this unworked music plays softly now

and worries me, that i won't like walking

down a dim alley, old guy looking for a place to pee,
hearing the nervy tap at the windows, the summer moon a Dickensian wash

those guitars and flutes, and just now (hear it?) the violin
bringing the soft whispery edge
of relief