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Tuesday, April 22, 2014


by David Chorlton

Tucson, AZ  -- The Arizona Department of Water Resources has approved a massive groundwater pumping project that will drain the Upper San Pedro River in Southern Arizona. This decision comes despite opposition from the property owners along the river and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and ignores the project’s impact on the birds, wildlife, and local residents and businesses that are dependent on a healthy river. --Earth Justice, April 16, 2013

A river soaks slowly into statutes
piled upon it by way
of the arguments
that a hundred year supply
of illusions is guaranteed.

By paragraph and case law
the current is diverted
while promises are laid
instead of foundations
for houses for whom

the weather forecast is running
dry. With cufflinks shining
like spring runoff
a developer listens closely
to his counsel say

that taking away the water
will have no adverse impact
on the river, begging
the question whether language
can outlast meaning.

David Chorlton has lived in Phoenix since 1978, and still sees his surroundings with an outsider's eye. This helps his writing projects, which include a new poetry collection,"The Devil's Sonata," from FutureCycle Press.