Thursday, May 1, 2014

Two Poems by David Chorlton

The Fading
The paint flakes away from the letters
spelling Christ is the Answer
along the tall white side on a trailer
left in a yard beside the Interstate
to stand before all weathers
while traffic on its way to Tucson
passes by. The message is paler
at each journey taken; in winter
when a chill runs inside the metal,
and in summer when the heat
burns right through it. Years ago
the words stood out, their letters
had crisp edges, and the black was blacker
than any black before it. Nobody
could pretend not to have seen it;
there was no way around
considering the possibility that here
was the truth. Now the bold assertion
has become shabby as graffiti
after too much exposure
to merciless light.
Along the Interstate
It’s a clear day for the Swainson’s hawks
coming home to summer
on the flyway north, and for the turkey vultures
circling the sun
while mountains crumble
into the sky where it touches the desert.
It’s a clear light that shines on the billboards
selling lies to the open space
surrounding them, and on
the disused water tower the freight trains pass
going east, west, and east again
to where the wind blows ill across the blooming
ocotillo, toward the wreckage
blocking the highway for the next
ten hours they say
at the truck stop stocked with souvenir coyotes
made in China, but one driver
swaying gently with the country music
that plays in the urinals
says nothing will stop him
from leaving right now; he knows
the roads only birds can see.
David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and went to live 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 most recent collection is The Devil’s Sonata from FutureCycle Press. 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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