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Friday, October 06, 2017


by David Chorlton

He was there to play, not to party. The night before the shooting, Mr. Paddock made two complaints to the hotel about noise coming from his downstairs neighbors: Albert Garzon, a restaurant owner visiting from San Diego, and his wife and friends. Mr. Garzon, who was staying in 31-135, directly beneath Mr. Paddock, said security guards knocked on his door around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday and asked him to turn down his music, country songs. When he asked where the complaint was coming from, pointing out that the nearest rooms on either side were far away, the security guard said, “It’s the guest above you.” —The New York Times, October 4, 2017

He was a quiet man, a man
who worked with numbers and amassed
more money than he had use for
so he spent some on guns
which made him feel bigger
than he was, but still quiet.
No known affiliations
to a cause or a religion
whose god ordered him to kill.
He liked to play against machines, to watch
the cards and count the winnings.
Otherwise, he kept
to himself.
He needed to sleep to concentrate next time
it wasn’t the sense of a mission
that made him stack
his weapons in the room, suppose
he simply liked to carry them around
just in case
he ever needed them, you know,
for some spontaneous and banal reason
such as the noise
rising from the concert stage thirty-two floors down
and when it went on too, too
long, he smashed the window
and didn’t have to aim.

David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications online and in print, and reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. His newest collection of poems is Bird on a Wire from Presa Press, and late in 2017 The Bitter Oleander Press will publish Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant.