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Con Chapman






Love, to the Music of an Unknown Composer

. . . we finished, and there we lay

throbbing to Enescu,

or something like that,

according to the DJ.

There was frost on the crazed

window that would be there

when we woke; it, like us, barely

warmed by the light of the morning.

It was a piano piece—

delicate, precise. I thought

you would rise to write down

the name and opus number.

Instead you stayed

beside me, our pulses beating

in syncopated rhythm

until we slumbered.

On Learning a Former Lover Had Died a Suicide

I got the news that you had died a suicide as I was

 eating American chop suey, watching the Celtics.

This was, I recalled, an issue for you, that I knew

 when every game would be on TV, but hadn’t

 enough time for you. Also that I was such a

 peasant that I would rather eat such stuff than

 take you to Le Bocage. We had our times, but

 you were not made for my world, nor I for yours.

The caller said you’d checked yourself out of

 the dementia ward; they thought you were taking

 a bus into Middletown. Instead, you left a note

 behind that you intended to “do myself harm,” 

a stilted phrase, formal, just the sort of thing you’d say

 when you were in an uprising against the world.

Apparently no one found it for several days,

 touching off a search of the deep river, where

 they found you. I found you on-line in motley, a tie-dyed

 t-shirt, staring into the camera, one nostril smaller than

 the other, that being the side you slept on, next to me,

 as we listened to Enescu that night, our bodies humming

 for once in tune with each other.

About the Poet

Con Chapman is a Boston poet whose work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Light, Spitball and other general circulation and literary magazines. He is currently writing a biography of Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington's long-time alto sax, for Oxford University Press.

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