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Friday, September 28, 2007


by David Chorlton

From the safety of our breakfast we observe
a line of monks passing
like fire across the television screen
so early in the day they could
be the remnants of a dream
in which we sought an image
to express a wish too easily
suppressed: that stillness in the face
of force can bring
it to surrender. Then there are clothes to be washed,

though none are so red
as the robes in the procession,
and the routine to pursue with those chores
that continue no matter who rules us.
Dust, sweep, wash the dishes, water
the plants and put seed out for the doves
who don’t know they’re a symbol of peace.
The work is neutral, and deflects

from issues of the spirit or from thinking
about how best to show
resistance. Fold the laundry, visit the store,
watch other people as they keep their views
inside themselves. Nobody wears red today
in my city. Nobody is marching. Nobody
has to clean a bloodstain from the pavement
where it pooled around a lost pair of sandals.

David Chorlton lives in Phoenix, writes and paints and keeps track of local wildlife. His newest book, The Porous Desert, was published this summer by FutureCycle Press, and testifies to his having internalised the desert during the past twenty-nine years. Some of his art work can be seen at