What? You need a reason?

Five things that are better than some things and not as good as other things

Dragonfly Photo by David Clode on Unsplash; Cheese Danish from Entenmann’s; Boxers Photo by Esteban Bernal on Unsplash; Space Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash; Number 5 from Amazon; Images compiled and arranged by Author

Because these things aren’t going to rank themselves and they feel bad being left off all the other lists.

5. Space

The very coolest thing about space is how spacious it is. In space, you never have to worry about whether your furniture is going to fit, or whether you’ll be able to get around that large person blocking the aisle. There are no aisles in space. Nobody is blocking your way in space. The other thing you never have to worry about in space is arriving early at your destination. Things are really far apart from each other in space. Wherever…

None should be as small as me

Photo by Kenneth Concilio on Unsplash

I wish that I were not so small
Mysteriously free
Over looking under toes
None should be as small as me
None should be as small as me

None should be as tall as trees
Trembling like two lovers
Counting five four two one three
The monster sees right through the covers
The monster sees right through the covers

Monsters fear the naming of her
Strewn upon the dew
Counting five four three one two
I’m so small and so are you
I’m so small and so are you

I’m so small and shed of you
A small place we won’t…

Ancient Mysteries

A Matter of Vital Importance

Drawing by Brigid Chapin ©2021

A lot of thought has gone into why this happens. The philosophers and eleven-year-olds may have their clever little joke and regale us with their clever little answer — to get to the other side — which is both trivial and tautological. But as you would expect from tenured academics or children on the cusp of puberty, no thought is given to the practical outcomes of the situation. The much more important question.

What happens when a chicken crosses a road? We’ve been consumed with why the chicken is crossing. But what’s going to happen when she gets there?


Image by Gary Chapin (Photo of couple by Damir Spanic on Unsplash)

How do they sleep at night?

Dept. of What Was I Thinking as a Kid?

My Fall Album Anthem

The first week of September you go from horrific, humid, no sleep nights and haze, to the crisp fall morning. Digging out your sweaters, you wonder what that smell is. You go outside. You can smell the end of the summer. Sunlight raises sweat, and the wind chills it. Someone has already — already! — started a wood stove. You look into the woods and see the first bits of yellow and orange and red on the trees. The garden is on the edge of ruin. Falling to pieces. Going to seed. The end of the cycle. Entropy. Compost. Decay…

Bawk Bawk Bakawk!

Beware the vengeance of Beatrice

Photo by Hana Oliver on Unsplash (edited by author)

The chicken, Beatrice, appeared in my yard mixed amongst a recently acquired flock of Speckled Wyandots from Newfoundland. The flock was — can I say, “normal?” Okay, yes, they were normal, according to standards of the time. They pooped and laid. They scratched. Their heads bobbed. They made noises. Chicken noises. Normal chicken noises.

Beatrice was not normal, but I did not notice these abnormalities. The tolerances by which I measured “normal” in a chicken were lax. She held her head too still. Her eyes moved with unchickenly intention. Also, she would always move to the same corner of the…

There are more ways than you think

Photo by Isaac Ibbott on Unsplash

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” — Frank Zappa

I write for The Free Jazz Collective, and recently got a note from the editor asking if, in a particular piece, I could talk more about how the music actually sounds. It was a good note. I love good notes from good editors. But you might be thinking, “How do you write about music without talking about how it sounds? If you’re not writing about how it sounds, what’re you doing?” So much.

Like every critic/advocate, I have a bunch of different ways of writing about music, and only…

for sunshine

Photo by Natalia Luchanko on Unsplash (Graphic by author)

this i promise u
i promise i will b
an absence of absence
adhering to our adherence
abundantly affectionate
and and and

all ways

every day
after today
and tomorrow
after tomorrow

yes yes
after ever
even ever after
even in sickness
even in health
even in song
even in story

in this story
u knew before i knew
but i still surprised u
by accepting ur offer of this
pact against cosmic loneliness
a surprise beginning

this i promise u
i will grow old with u
i will read books with u
i will…


Photo by Mila Young on Unsplash

When I was asked
“What is the name of your favorite wind?”
I couldn’t say.
I don’t know the names
Of any of the winds
And have never even thought
To have a favorite wind.
I didn’t know that was a thing
You could have.

We don’t name our rocks or
Winds or ask them what names
They might already have.
We name some mountains
But part of us prefers K2.
We name some hills, but
Usually for the people who
First owned them.
We use names like flags of conquest,
And don’t hear them like the stories they are.
We don’t name our winds,
Or learn the names they come…

Haunted and nourished


Albert Ayler, “Spirits Rejoice” (image from Bandcamp)

Oh, my blattity-blat-blat!
Reed and mouthpiece romancetragedies and
Bow and string envelope misshaping cello
Revery puke blurp burn scrotchity-scratch lorp
I love you, Skronkity-skronk!

Acknowledgement. Ascension.
Tearing the fabric of spacetimebeat
Ayler heard from Heaven
Intercessory wailsong
Hymn and harrow march.

He’s frightening. He’s frightening.
Like God is frightening — creating new
Colors to wreck the old colors,
The very idea of pigment is incoherent
(says God) just like pitch. It’s always been true.

And all the newthingtruths have always been true.
(Ayler with that big tenor saxophone
Fuck you to Gabriel and
His “horn.”)


Gary Chapin

I write. I have always written. I play accordion. I have an extraordinary ability to be fascinated by things.

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