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PATRICK CHAPMAN

Patrick Chapman’s poetry collections are: Jazztown (1991), The New Pornography (1996) and Touchpaper Star (2004). His fourth collection is expected from Salmon. Chapman won the story category of the 2003 Cinescape Genre Literary Contest in LA for A Ghost. He was short listed twice for a Sunday Tribune Hennessy Award (1995 for poetry, 1999 for fiction) and once for an Ian St James Award (1990). His poems appear in many anthologies, including Poesia Irlandesa Contemporanea (Libros de Tierra Firma, Buenos Aires), Human Rights Have No Borders: Voices of Irish Poets, Real Cool: Poems To Grow Up With and Something Beginning With P (O’Brien Press, Dublin). In 2001, he collaborated with Gemma Tipton on her acclaimed trilogy of art exhibitions and a related book, The Foot Series. Burning the Bed, Chapman’s first film script, is adapted from his own short story, which was published in The Irish Times. Directed in 2003 by Denis McArdle, the film stars Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen. It was named Best Narrative Short at the 2004 Dead Center Film Festival in Oklahoma.

 

 

MOON SEA TIME

 

Some irregular night hour. The moon, anaemic, low-slung

In the tide of tissue-cumulus soft-circulating upwards

Toward the outer-atmosphere dissolve. I take my instruments -

A pair of black binoculars and camera - outdoors to the sky: a star

Field trip, over to the barrier that breaks the Irish sea before

It’s able to ingest the terraced houses in small increments.

I think of your low white corpuscle count - the doctor

Told you yesterday - while up there hangs the moon,

Not running red, as in some prophecy of death,

But ashen-faced, its craters clear as to an

Astronaut in orbit of its changeless body; smaller,

Though, as fits a man who’s never left the Earth.

They say that when our time is gone, when every human

Being has evolved into some other form, and when

The Earth itself has died, and when the moon

Awaits that final flare of nuclear fire - as the solar system

Gasps expiring breath; they say what will remain of us

Are footprints in the lunar dust, without a sea to swallow them.

 

 

WEST WINTER STREET

 

October cloud dissolving black -

Glaucoma night becoming blind.

Behind it, sky was ocean -

 

Moon became a weathervane,

Tethered to the bed by cables:

Silver, braided moonlight. Down

 

Below my tired lover told of Hopi

Women, in seclusion, in the moon time:

Visitations, debts of passion; apparitions

 

As substantial as a Brave or soil or buffalo.

Meeting with the redcoats, they

Brought visions to the shamen.

 

Soon she drowsed. The clouds had left

A violet sky, a cowl for coming

Moon time in the world. I kissed

 

Her lips goodnight and slipped away

From underneath our eiderdown,

A subtle tang of iron on my tongue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

copyright © Patrick Chapman