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Thursday, October 22, 2015


by David Chorlton

Relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq have claimed a partial victory after Sir John Chilcot announced he would finally set a timetable for his report on the six-year inquiry into the war. The retired civil servant’s announcement came just days before the expiry of a deadline set by grieving families of some of the 179 British soldiers killed in action, after which they had threatened to take legal action if he refused to set a release date. It is more than a month after Chilcot finally confirmed the end of a lengthy right-of-reply process for those criticised in the report, known as Maxwellisation, which had been seen as the final obstacle to its publication. —The Guardian, October 15, 2015

A misty arc of rainlight spans the sky
between the darkest
and the brighter clouds
whose shifting moods drift over
a city whose lost dogs run
in circles and whose doves flock back
together when a shower ends.
There’s a man by every traffic light

with a sign that says he’s had bad luck, please help,
and a world of music
inside every car that stops beside him
to drown the misery out
interrupted by a bulletin
of news announcing a delay
in peace negotiations, suspended
talks on reducing pollution,
and the latest postponement

of the report’s release
that tells who lied about invading
Iraq, while there isn’t enough
patience to go around, not even
here, where a pedestrian pushes a button
four times to ask to cross the road

and the mechanical voice repeats
wait, wait, wait, wait . . .
so he pushes again
wait, wait . . .

David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications on- and off-line, and reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. His most recent book, A Field Guide to Fire, is his contribution to the 2015 Fires of Change exhibition shown in Flagstaff and Tucson in Arizona.