Peter Chapman Poetry

down a ravine

past old bottles, to a cigar box with photos
under a blue tree goes my dream


i'm on the sax
wild beginner in the lonesome tones,
fire moon escape, torn smelly tee


she pushes a baby in a carriage
near the dock and i know, turning over
it's not hers


Marlon and Sidney lean in,
muscles tensing
as King goes for glory to the east


Monk coming off the stage
at the Five Spot
filled with dancing to Coltrane


Miz as Joplin, the immolate face
talking so good, fun as a new car,
then dark at home, going in


my country feels old to me


we're making decisions
we shouldn't

we're not that old


and feels like
we'd rather not remember
things we've said



i'm trying to be less verbal
so people get the whole package


i bought my dictionary
because it had anomie, possibly my favorite;
inert is also good, and languor
with its need unseen, til the tongue slicks out


give me the headlines--
i'll do the stories


it is hard to oppose anything
not allowing motionless seeing
with a heart strong, from conditioning


light or dark thoughts appear,
spears of Intuit traced and flung,
the light unending


the elevator doesn't stop here


i am happy in myself
knowing what i'm doing
is what we're doing


the heron tossed a fish
too large to eat
and tossed it until i had to go

he tossed a reverent delicious chunk
of a big fish he didn't catch
and that's what he could do


of all things it's not focus or reverie
but distraction
likely to cause brilliant succeeding


In prismatic sun i sat
when a fellow approached and said

"I'm sorry, you'll have to move along sir."
Then "Oh, you look like my neighbor,
but you're not. You can stay."

As he left a man seated near,
crisp shirt polished shoes phone on belt said

"Doesn't know his neighbor very well does he."

The arc of the encounter, in every little movie


has scrolling credits.


greyhounds race early then are profusely over
but make fine poets, once they adjust
from track life to home rule.

i realize i'm getting one.


i love: being tall & getting older


a lesser mind
could lose control or a greater one


there are concerns which mollify
and concerns
of equal pressure which terrify

you have a choice. thank you for shopping here


a wasp has flown into my glass and perished
on a breezy day in october
with beauty laid up around here as ache.
i'm adding ice.

you must honor what dies on you


waking briefly from remembering
how Rudy saved
the rubber bands from broccoli


i make pasta con broccoli and eat
all of it, swooning

the phone rings, Rudy on a boat job
in NJ; i let the machine take it
giving delight its meal


it's key to make enough for two
whether you dine alone or with serpents
as Poseidon did
then devour with salt beard and spear
your myths


i do hope you see this art
as the slightly fevered aspect
of love imbued, held by charm
and trips to bountiful

25. 8

you do, don't you?


you know when you're not the author of your face,
taking pens to stay up late, rewriting furiously
calling makeup


uh-huh all right,
don't stop


working up on the wind
like what it is, clutching windward
along the soundings
of ono~mato~poetic sailing


dream omens seen:

girl running with her dogs, twice;

hawk dropping down to the yard slowly
from the side, like its kill beckoned


Karina from Russia
her perfume, her funny smile,
engrossed engorged organza


my collections include Dan
with the big fender out, crooked look
as i slowed near his boat at sunset,
coming back in


a new bridge over the river
in my hometown is named for an Irishman
who died leading a charge in Pennsylvania

To die, leading a charge.


here's to my collaborators:
Neil, GK, Lowell (not Bob, George), Ray and Richard:

a. the honey slide
b. chunking stovewood in Vermont, gutturally
c. sliding the socket down the Fender
d. writing all night after mopping the hospital
e. shooting holes in the kitchen in a tight pattern, near the clock

the glint of sun on the crow's wings,
vultures pulling the deer's airy gut

looking at her too long,
the hope of her friendliness
elusive, clouded


poems can be shimmery
on the edge of knowing
with any lick, or luck


i've been writing

when the wind lifts the edge of my awning
and the heron jumps onto the dock,
fish in mouth, feathers torn and happy


today is cool and my heart shivers
in the metallic air; witches

on bendy brooms swoop to see
what they'll haunt tonight,
cackly with moley hair


what do you need?

a question more often weighed
like dope than answered,
yet i would venture

a deep glamorous skinny biker
to love my ass off


yesterday, early, i flared with anger,
calling poor service by its name

it was dreamy when my nature returned,
feeling us all laughing
eyes big with forgiving


i favor being abstract
neck romancer Arthur Miller dancer
seeing Bill and Tess sailing naked from Eastern Bay,
Bill with electrogizmos for NASA, Tess from IKEA with spare usefulness

so i could take that division:


and make my own utility


it's not fair
everybody knows
you can't love me that much


the squirrel stood straight up
in the road, dead as bread
when i cleared him at 60
no sound, squirrel


nancy the bartender
south of here says:

i've been drinking martinis for 20 years
i don't have to think about what i'm going to have
and nobody has to think about what they're gonna give me


is a casual espousal
of receptors, there


my dream led me to be a naturalist
down the sand to the sea

in a rolling loss of plumey grass
i got the taste of the axial world
and held the pleasure
like one kissing vestments, devoted


geese cross the road at the light.
a cortege winds out of town
and i follow, for miles, so pleased
to go slow, above ground with proud birds
and the toughening dead, i say

who gets two processions in a day?


the dream again
you can always tell when you get translux,
bright yarns flowing from stretched wires
on the breeze
that something has appeared unlike anything

yes dream so real
i'll think upon waking
where i am, is there a thing to do
not to tremble?


oh dream where now

i've been pretending to walk like her,
a little shamble, forward but sideways,
head down, smile sad in one so young,
so quickly naked


Sue, who mends my clothes, is the kindest woman.
There can be no doubt about the beatitudes.
If I were troubled, we'd be praying in the sewing.


being Dylan would be unwise

except disguised
in a corner listening, with him on stage
to Jimi doing your song

how shy and high he lived


The dream asks me what I like.

To hitch up my jeans, open my shirt,
put hat in pocket, let the sun warm my head

walk all over town
with my arms spinning
like airplanes sputtering over all the barns.