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Friday, January 22, 2010


by David Chorlton

When you stop for lunch in a landscape
three parts light to one of earth
with vegetation struggling to hold on
to the open space with mountains
pressing up from each horizon
the wind blows cold across the table
next to yours as fragments
from the conversation drift: You know
there was never an armistice so legally
we’re still at war with Germany,
a point which hasn’t occurred to you
during the drive on dirt and asphalt,
but local politics can take a vicious turn
especially when it comes to a candidate
for Sheriff who, in the event of Washington
calling for a gun grab, won’t obey
but deputise everyone in Cochise County
which, I’m reminded looking back
to the TV shows of years ago in England,
is Wyatt Earp country. Black hat, frock coat,
dark moustache, the farthest shooting gun
in the territory, the reluctant lawman
with a cause to justify every bullet fired
as if frontier justice were a blueprint
for foreign policy. Your sandwich is served
as a side dish to eavesdropping
on more complaints about all
the radical extremists out there.

David Chorlton lives with his wife, four cats, a dog, and some birds in central Phoenix, where he also organises a monthly poetry series at The Great Arizona Puppet Theater. After thirty-one years in the USA he continues to appreciate being an outsider, which sharpens vision and makes otherwise mundane observations meaningful. His new chapbook, From the Age of Miracles, appeared in 2009 from Slipstream Press as the winner of its latest competition.