Patrick Chapman’s books include seven poetry collections, the latest being Slow Clocks of Decay (Salmon, 2016); two volumes of stories and novellas; and So Long, Napoleon Solo, his first novel, which appears from BlazeVOX Books, NY, in 2017. He has also written for film and television. His audio drama credits include writing adventures for Doctor Who and Dan Dare, and producing B7’s award-winning adaptation of The Martian Chronicles for BBC Radio 4, featuring Derek Jacobi and Hayley Atwell. He co-edits the poetry magazine The Pickled Body.


dead roses planted
in dry electric kettle –
slow clocks of decay

debutante flowers –
red and white skirts hitched up,
waiting for a bee

raindrop on a wing –
a rose denied full measure
blossoms anyway

summer flowers die –
distilled into a droplet,

cherry blossom fire
kissing the garden
to sleep


The Transient

Noon plus thirteen, Palo Alto time.
Layered lens-flare window

separates us from the local hour,
we drowsing travellers detained

behind a temporal partition. It’s
a time ship if you like, perhaps

a pocket universe, in which
I age more slowly than you do

but not by much
and not for long.

The movie is a tinted print
of Capra’s greatest picture,

an embalming in the tampering
infecting the complexions

of the characters so beautiful
by monochrome. The sky

is on the blink and not
a lightning bolt in sight to bring us

promise of a landing
when the snow clears.

Now returning to America,
carried over Greenland and its

honest wilderness, hurried over
Canada where lately the remains

of my delusion were interred,
I find myself not mended

but a quantum reconciled;
and it is better that we meet

without a history. Tonight
we’ll share a pitcher

of their finest at the Rose and Crown,
and will not count the hours.


An American Boy

The hit of test tube air, conjures the missionary aunt
now gone, who brought you at eleven a chemistry set,

a space-kit and a primer on geology. The ancient dust
of the samples had lain dormant in your nostrils. That

book was printed in the fifties, which was her age too,
you reckoned at the time, this kind old nun who came

out of the States but to the ones who knew these things,
would never stop belonging to your tiny Irish town. The

memory plays tricks, of course. On that trip home, her
final time, she also gave a Look that sent you all around

the moon, with Borman, Anders and Lovell – the three
wise astronauts attending your first noël on Earth. She

brought a NASA wallchart of the lunar hemispheres,
and a child’s pictorial, Our Universe, which, although

incomplete, was fanciful. What were we to do about
the gas-balloon creations afloat in ice-cream clouds

above the diamond cataracts of Jupiter? It seemed
imperative to finish Project Daedalus, then on to

Barnard’s Star. Now there was something else she tried
to bring, you learned two decades late: a half-formed

peasant boy, his mind aswim with galaxies,
over to Long Island for a proper education.