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Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights
October 2007


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The New Pornography
January 1996


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The Darwin Vampires
October 2010


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A Promiscuity of Spines: New & Selected Poems
October 2012


Slow Clocks of Decay

Patrick Chapman

ISBN: 978-1-910669-42-6

Page Count: 92

Publication Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cover Artwork: Heroic Rose © 2014 by Sean Hayes. Used by permission.


About this Book

Slow Clocks of Decay is Patrick Chapman’s seventh poetry collection, his most mature and expansive to date. Exploring universal themes through the lens of his remarkable imagination – the loss of friends to suicide; the insidious nature of depression; the inevitability of ageing; and the destructive effect of religion – Slow Clocks of Decay culminates in a bravura sequence that conjures the poet’s own final journey as a fantasia of Hitchcockian intrigue set in a Paris of the mind.


Author Biography

Patrick Chapman was born in 1968. Slow Clocks of Decay follows Jazztown (1991), The New Pornography (1996), The Wow Signal (2007), Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights (2007), A Shopping Mall on Mars (2008), The Darwin Vampires (2010), A Promiscuity of Spines: New & Selected Poems (2012) and The Negative Cutter (2014). He has also written an award-winning short film starring Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen; and many episodes for children’s animated television series broadcast around the world. His audio credits include writing adventures for Doctor Who and Dan Dare, and producing B7’s 2014 dramatisation of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles for BBC Radio 4. This starred Derek Jacobi and Hayley Atwell, and won Silver at the 2015 New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs. Chapman’s writing has won first prize in the Cinescape Genre Literary Competition, been shortlisted twice in the Hennessy Awards, and received a nomination for a Pushcart Prize. ‘Omertà’ from this collection, was a runner-up in the 2016 WordsOnThe Waves Awards. With Dimitra Xidous he edits the poetry magazine The Pickled Body


Read a sample from this book

Teleport Memory

Eighteen winters on, I find your jet-black 
hold-up in my box of old remarkables, 
the rubber garter still with spring in it.

I drape the stocking long on the bed 
and try to imagine your pale slender leg 
filling it toe to knee to thigh and beyond 

in a matter transmitter reconstitution 
of you with a physical copy that holds 
your consciousness, your memories, 

your tenderness, your wit still dry – 
while out in the real, the original you 
has surely diverged in directions I can’t 

follow: some of your people passed on; 
you a mother, an aunt or alone; and every 
cell in your body, twice overwritten.
 
If that you can bear to think of me 
it may be with disdain for who I was 
at the end but listen, my old love, 

he has been replaced so many times –
no longer that young cripple who, 
out of repression and pain, cracked 

your heart and in its fracture fatally 
punctured his own. So far undone is he 
that even teleport could never bring us home.


Not a Bird

Ciao Bella Metropolis. I order the pizza bianca.
Then I whip my Anglo Americans off to look you 
in the eye but you deflect my beam by turning on 
your Merlot, staring down your own gaze frowning 
up. Trying to hide your gratitude. Sure you’ve an idea 
of what I am about to say but please, don’t mention it.
Make nothing of my sacrifice. 

 Just now I heard a plane 
go down, hundreds of innocents screaming as the brace 
position failed them. The aquiline nose-cone of the DC-10 
crumpled on the runway. Shockwaves splintered back along 
the body of the bird, ripping the wings away, crushing the pods 
– the tires burst – pop-pop! – great balls of fire flushing the cabin 
with lightspeed inferno and I, I could have saved them but you, 
well, you needed to meet. See how much I think of you, Miss Lane.



Omertà

Toss the dead babies into the furnace. 
Their fumes we will capture 
to waft from our thuribles.

Throw the sick babies in with the sewage. 
First we will gather and filter their tears 
to power our petitions.

Snip babies’ fingers and slice off their toes.
Such innocent flesh 
we will press into host.

Cut babies open and rip out their innards.
The pulp in their tummies,
we’ll offer to succour the poor.

Hack babies’ tongues off and burn them in jars.
We will raise these as lanterns
to light the Camino.

Carefully peel away baby-smooth skins.
We will sew them together
for chasubles, cassocks and habits. 

Shave all the baby-fine hair from their heads.
We will sell it to plump up the pillows
for incorrupt saints to repose on.

Pluck babies’ eyes out and drain into fonts.
With this we will bless 
in the name of the father, 

in the name of the son, 
in the name of the ghost, 
in the name of the mother.

Copyright © Patrick Chapman 2016


Reviews

Review: Slow Clocks of Decay reviewed by Todd Swift on Eyewear, the Blog, 22nd May 2016

PATRICK CHAPMAN, MODERN DAY STOKER OR POE, HAS A NEW BOOK OF POETRY

I have been a fan of Patrick Chapman's poetry for the whole of the 21st century at least, and remember first coming across his unusual work in his book The New Pornography (1996) - which was at the time a radical departure for Irish poetry - and 20 years later still seems to be.  Chapman should be celebrated as one of the most idiosyncratic, strange, disturbing, and imaginative Irish writers now at work - and his gothic, atheistic, scientific sensibilities chime equally with Stoker's and Cronenberg's. We often forget the Romantics loved science and the bizarre, and mistrusted god, and are more modern than even we sometimes appear to be.  Chapman is that sort of Romantic poet.

His new collection is his best by far.  Slow Clocks of Decay (Salmon, 2016) has much that appeals to that part of me which loves Hitchcock films and sexy vampires; that enjoys bleak descriptions of life's futility, and the doomed nostalgia of long-gone love affairs; that mourns suicide cases; and wonders whether the universe is not basically godless. Indeed, readers of my own poetry will see many places where my work and Chapman's overlap, as if in some sort of dialogue. However, this collection is ultimately unique to Chapman, in terms of style, and vision.

Chapman - himself a sci-fi writer - is open to levels of scientific explication and weird futurities that I do not myself really explore.  Nor is his anti-Clerical stance ultimately palatable to my own belief system. But that is all to the good.  As a poet, I enjoy encountering poems by others that confirm differences as well as similarities.  In fact, the pleasure to be found in a poem, it seems to me, is that of a satisfactory admixture of the known and the unknown. Too odd and we cannot enjoy at all, or comprehend; too familiar, and we are easily bored.

Chapman risks (but narrowly avoids) cliché with his Novak-obsessions and his Dracula extrapolations, but his open form experiments, grotesque ideas, sense of impending doom, and striking images, make this a fresh, revivifying read. It is probably contradictory of Chapman to love fantasy, the unreal, the undead, and other supernatural beasties, but also to disbelieve in a supernatural God - he seems like one of those Satanists who believes in devils but not angels - but he is entitled to his own fanzine enthusiasms, and his lesbian vampires belong to Swinburne as much as any other Pre-Raphaelite, let alone Twilight fan.

If there were more readers for poetry their first port of call could or should be Chapman. His erotic, dark, suspenseful, terrifying, and at times funny, poems, are far more entertaining than Dan Brown or EL James, and far more artful. As for Irish poetry critics, their tendency to neglect Chapman (and sometimes his near-contemporary, Kevin Higgins) in favour of more sedate, traditional Irish imaginations, is a stupendous pity.

Future critical generations will surely recognise Chapman as a kind of Irish Poe - a figure of singularly eccentric temperament and remarkable literary ability, at home in so many genres, many of them subordinate to the more politely accepted ones. This is a beautiful and strange collection, and everyone who wants to see how twisted lyricism can be without totally deviating from the Irish canon should read it.



Review: Slow Clocks of Decay reviewed on Thereisnocavalry, 15th May 2016

My good friend, Patrick Chapman, has just published his seventh – yes, 7th! – collection of poetry. And it’s utterly brilliant.

Personally, I think Slow Clocks of Decay is a bit more experimental than his earlier works. Though, no less exceptional.

He writes of love and loss with a thoroughly modern voice.

You won’t find images of Ireland’s rolling green pastures here, but a dystopian 21st century society.

He’s one of the best poets Ireland has ever produced and, mark my words, he’ll win the Nobel Prize for Literature one day.

So, just click on the links to order your copy. And, to whet your palate, I’ve included a taster under the pic, with the kind permission of the author.

 
Teleport Memory
by Patrick Chapman
 
Eighteen winters on, I find your jet-black
hold-up in my box of old remarkables,
the rubber garter still with spring in it.
 
I drape the stocking long on the bed
and try to imagine your pale slender leg
filling it toe to knee to thigh and beyond
 
in a matter transmitter reconstitution
of you with a physical copy that holds
your consciousness, your memories,
 
your tenderness, your wit still dry –
while out in the real, the original you
has surely diverged in directions I can’t
 
follow: some of your people passed on;
you a mother, an aunt or alone; and every
cell in your body, twice overwritten.
 
If that you can bear think of me
it may be with disdain for who I was
at the end but listen, my old love,
 
he has been replaced so many times –
no longer that young cripple who,
out of repression and pain, cracked
 
your heart and in its fracture fatally
punctured his own. So far undone is he
that even teleport could never bring us home.

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