A Fellow Pedestrian
What she said was:
I might just cut somebody’s throat
so don’t let people near me,
she picked up her little dog, the black
and white one with a red harness,
and held it to her chest
as they crossed the road on red,
the two of them
against whatever comes.
On Phoenix Streets
It’s a long walk across the city
when you’ve nobody to talk to
the temperature reaches
a hundred, even dry, degrees,
and you’re overdue on your fines,
unlicensed, unloved, fresh
searching for the court of ultimate mystery
while the dollar you saved for bus fare
is still a quarter short.
His living room is not for living in.
His possessions possess him.
He keeps what he needs
and needs to keep more
than he could ever use. Every magazine
he’s read is stacked
and waiting just in case
he wants to read it again, but he
can never find the one
he’s looking for. His money
is collecting interest somewhere
but he doesn’t miss it
because he lives sparingly
and his currency is the coupons
he clips from the Sunday edition.
Waste not, want not is the creed
by which he lives
and he wants everything
there’s space for
to have and to hold, for richer
or poorer, even though
he’s beyond being able
to tell them apart.
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.