Tuesday, June 2, 2015

David Chorlton- Three Poems

. . . only one father, one spirit;
the heavy set man in a folding chair
fishing beside the park lagoon
has hooked a passer-by with his voice
and won’t let go:
if your family don’t believe
there’s nothing you can do, not
a thing . . . and he adjusts his cap,
the one with Marines
embroidered into it . . . he died
for us all . . . while the listener stands
and nods occasionally
with no intention of moving away
although the clouds could break
into a shower any moment . . . I pray
for them anyway . . . the water is ruffled
by the wind blowing in from the golf course
on the opposite bank and the line
hangs slack . . . most people
don’t believe, ninety-nine point
nine nine nine percent of all people
don’t believe . . . he tugs at the rod
but nothing tugs back . . . you got
your Muslims beheading Christian women
and your Chinese Communists
and . . . as raindrops begin falling
from the darkening sky neither
man moves for shelter . . . nothing
you can do . . .
Small Town Deputies
When you reach a small town
that becomes smaller
the closer you are to it
Sheriff’s deputies are watching.
After a long drive through the desert
it appears as a mirage
and the best bet for lunch
has a flying saucer
held up on a pole just taller
than the palm trees along the main strip.
Founded 1872
a sign says, and Population
1,950. The average temperature in July
is 109 degrees
but each air conditioned space
is so cold it’s a relief
to go out into the heat. The deputies
sit in their vehicles then
waiting for the seven inches
of rain that falls every year
to begin, but their windshields stay dry.
The only nightlife
is a bar, the shopping center
is a Dollar General store, and you’re just
one right turn away
from the nineteen-fifties.
The deputies hold their positions
at each intersection. You may think
they want your fines
while their true purpose
is to slow you down
to the pace of what surrounds them.
The way ahead looks clear
as indicated by a trail
that slants a little to the left
and straightens as it climbs
until the sharp turn right
at which it disappears behind
a mesquite in bloom
leaving no indication of where
the story goes
after the backpack is deposited
and a plastic bottle
has been thrown down the slope
as far as the chuparosa
where it caught and came to rest
with sunlight filling it
all the way to the open mouth.
David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and lived for several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. Arizona’s landscapes and wildlife have become increasingly important to him and a significant part of his poetry. His Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press appeared in 2014. The shadow side of Vienna provides the core of The Taste of Fog, a work of fiction published by Rain Mountain Press.

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