Sarah Chapman (poetry)


The Last Waltz

The light today isn’t real,
the photograph of the four of you
standing grinning, I never knew Tom’s
teeth were so big, when I kissed them,
they crossed over, your little brother
will hear of the time he lost it in the
swimming pool that made fake waves,
you send me emails that
make me think you are trying to tell
me that you’re doing something great
with your life. Like a cinema, on a boat,
in Paris.

The Pull Away

He took my photograph
Against the white pull down
Sleeve and said, ‘you can smile’.
He showed me the photograph
and I hadn’t. I said that’s fine and he said
Usually people ask for at least
A second shot. I know
I will look back and think
What the hell was I doing
and playing at, it’s just the
Way my mind works, it’s
Not fully developed
Like a photograph, it’s
blue and waiting in
ultraviolet solution.

The Moon

When I was eleven, I had to write a poem
Based on a picture of the moon.
It said the moon was an apple core
Tossed over a wall at night.

Since We’ve Met

I think since we met I may have encouraged
a small amount of nothingness.
It’s not your fault, it went through you like
invisible. You could be a mixture of girls
I’ve only known through friends or the
telly and even though you live in a shithole
you arrive at parties looking fabulous.
What is your secret, you’re mysterious other
life. Do you know so many that they are
just movie stills? I mean I roam around
at work with jumper marks in my face, all
because I slept on the couch again, if I slept
on the couch through childhood I would be
infernally bent legged by now and a serial
killer in training.
I know marriage
with you will
be swerving the mundane traps that
other couples fall into; that you plan
to keep things spontaneous only by
the way you see things but the pressure
of you’re marvelous river filled brain
makes me distant because you can find
another person at a gallery opening.
But even the voice of the policeman
was soft and you knew not
much could be done, it
is not because I want it perfectly
it is because I want it clean,
an even playing field so that the
time we seriously considered
buying tropical fish,
something happened.

There is Nothing In This World

I have not yet seen
without knowing half heartedly
“That I will not ever really see
it, I know I will not have
courage, or do what is necessary,”
I know I will avoid and leave things
to the very last I suppose
it could be
I think of you as my teacher
my invisible poet,
the invisible student
sometimes I think
what a small world you live in,
that this importance can swell so
can be so pressing important,
until I realize that
it is not the whole world,
and I cannot expect
this world to wait and accept
me fully, without
me showing it taming it,
tearing at it
half heartedly, there are so many
who are out there,
who work on all levels
I know, know I will not see
everything I need to see
it happens so
effortlessness and pointlessness.
If they say,
I should say, and write
about but where I am
Dear love, there is nothing
that swells nor sways,
nor speaks without words,
we are all really only
the putting together of words,
that’s not a nice thing
to say you say, I say that.
Is what it is, that is where we
are, sometimes sitting
on the fields empty where
footpaths of horses have
gone before, and will come
again no doubt, next year.
He made me a sinner

I wonder what it is like for
an old primary teacher to
see his students grow
easily imprinted in one’s
mind, of how little changes
when minds occur products
of environments. Instead, I think of the
photograph of me
in a school friend’s
velvet pink dress and
foam platforms, the
copy you handed to me –
did you develop two
films? I of course
those did well and had
comfortable happy lives,
even the ugliest found
it, even the proudest found,
even the slyest found, even
the genuine found,
of course they did,
of course they never
knew the impact they
have, of course,
they are all not like
loose ends. I wanted
to use the term, empty
abyss. But I won’t.


by Sarah Chapman

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