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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


by David Chorlton

Join Amnesty International's Write for Rights - December 4-12, 2010

First stop Missouri, USA, to give Reggie Clemons
some hope sealed into envelopes
from people he doesn’t know
who can’t envision
the bed in which he sleeps to dream
each night of the execution
chamber. Then it’s off to a town in Romania
with a bundle for the mayor
intended to persuade him that the Roma
are human and need houses with doors
to close behind them
even when they sing at open windows. After that,
Iraq, with a sack full of questions
as to why a certain Mr. Ahmad
has been alone in a cell for ten years
without anyone telling
anyone else
why this should happen to anyone
anywhere. There’s never time to rest;
not with the letters addressed
to Pasteur Street in Teheran, all beginning
Your Excellency, but signed with angry pens
at the end of the appeal
to release a student leader
and turn off the machines by which
he is tortured. There’s a sick man in Ghana
with months yet to serve
in a prison only compassion can open,
Mr. Karma, incarcerated in Indonesia,
who raised a flag in peaceful protest,
and a Guatemalan lady in fear for her life
yet nobody investigates. Always so far to go,
and so many locks
but the letters are folded
thin as knife blades, slim enough
to fit through what little space there is
between the doorframe and the door.

David Chorlton lives in Phoenix, likes to shop at the Supermercado and has his alarm clock-radio set to a Mexican station to wake him up with a reminder that Arizona benefits from its recent immigrants. His poems have appeared recently online at Stride Magazine (UK), The Blue Guitar (Arizona), and Pemmican. Chiron Review, Poem, and Pembroke Review will feature more in print soon.