Life Story. A Poem by David Chorlton

Editor’s note: the following are the the author’s notes – this poem is about the time I taught writing classes at a senior center in Scottsdale.The Life Story class was an extra for me, and I struggled to make sense of other people’s lives I think. Photograph (from a night reading outdoors at a gathering one summer in Idaho).
 

 

The war begins each Friday
after noon
when Joseph sits down and the bombs
fall again on Pearl Harbor.
 

I ask the class who they are writing for.
Susan has three children
and needs to tell them she feared
for her life at the hand
of their father.
 
Edna wants a record of the cold
for her grandchildren
and how she left it behind
in California.
Lorraine was a dancer;
 
she writes for herself.
Take it scene by scene, I say,
enter the minutes until
they are hours, then make days.
 
Dorothy is glamorous
in a lakeside camp
and the sunlight all around her
fills the page
until the edges burn.
 

I grew up in the rain
and it drained, leaving a gloss
on the pavements
and the trains I rode away on.
 
Describe the places
where you lived. Denise
builds red rock Utah on the table,
Edna spreads a prairie beside it
while I try to assemble
an England that used to exist
but I only have the pieces
of a single room
with a photograph of mountains on the wall.
 
Ernest recently returned
to his home town. No regrets,
there isn’t much left.
Make it live with the music
you heard back then, I say.
 
Ernest answers with:
There isn’t any music in my life.
I keep hearing one concerto
with a cello
playing the grief of the hills
as they recede.
 
Think about the future
in which your stories will be read.
Betty shakes her head;
her son does not want children
in an unjust world. Imagine how I feel,
she says, when the bible guides us
to be concerned for what is close
and to leave the distance
where it is, but the family
is ending with him.
 

And I, who value art over children
and poetry over scripture,
declare the lesson over.
 
 
 

 
 
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 The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. http://www.davidchorlton.mysite.com
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (Leeds University) .

Naming the Beetles. A Poem by David Chorlton

 

A dozen beetles suddenly
are clustered on a leaf,
black with red designs
on their glistening backs
 
with six more farther
down the stem.
What can we say
we are seeing? Drops
 
of poison or a sweet
confection from
the spirit world? Pinpricks
on a lacquered base
 
or the blood
from an animal so long extinct
it has to bleed from
an adopted skin?
 
They shine in a manner
almost sinister, yet
the way they cling
to each other
 
suggests they have arrived
as a message conveyed
through space and time
as a warning to act
 
in the common interest
before it disappears.
Soon enough
they leave us wondering
 
what was here
with a gloss and such
delicate legs they must
have walked on light
 
to wherever they went.

 
 
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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, was his contribution to the Fires of Change exhibition shown in Flagstaff and Tucson in Arizona.
 
 
 
 
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Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop
 
goodreads.com/author/show/Robin Ouzman Hislop
http://www.aquillrelle.com/authorrobin.htm
http://www.amazon.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
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https://www.amazon.com/author/robinouzmanhislop
http://www.innerchildpress.com/robin-ouzman-hislop.All the Babble of the Souk

Rising. Poem by David Chorlton.

Dear Robin,
 
I hope you’re well and enjoying springtime. We have old friends here in Arizona, one of whom is a well known sculptor whose work is in several public locations. He is John Henry Waddell, now in his nineties. He has recently finished a large scale work, Rising, which we got see on a recent visit. I wrote this poem about Rising, and think it works best with the picture of the sculpture, so I thought of your format. The figures are in relief and in an ideal setting would be set on the side of a tall building.

 
 
Rising
 
 

    for John Henry Waddell

 

So many windy spirits here
leaving their routines behind
at the kitchen stove, the desk,
the production line at which
they work a living from monotony
and after years with gravity in charge
they suddenly believe in birds
more than in following instructions.
The first ones up
 
reach for those who follow,
while some look around
from above the traffic and the building sites
and wonder why it took so long
for this to happen. As it tilts away
the ground now seems
unlikely as a base
of operations, marked as it is
with boundaries and borders
and pocked with the craters
from conflicts that continue
 
without ever having begun.
It’s like forgetting what happened
today, this release, and remembering
all the days before it
back through time. It’s like
swimming out of water,
 
like turning into music.

 
 
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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, was his contribution to the Fires of Change exhibition shown in Flagstaff and Tucson in Arizona.
 
 
 
www.facebook.com/PoetryLifeTimes
www.facebook.com/Artvilla.com
robin@artvilla.com
editor@artvilla.com

 
 
goodreads.com/author/show/Robin Ouzman Hislop
http://www.aquillrelle.com/authorrobin.htm
http://www.amazon.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
www.lulu.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
https://www.amazon.com/author/robinouzmanhislop
http://www.innerchildpress.com/robin-ouzman-hislop.All the Babble of the Souk

Shadow Land. A Poem by David Chorlton

 

The jaguar’s a deity
running away from those who believe in him.
 
He blends in with the mottled light
that falls on rocks,
turns to breath passing through long grass,
and guides himself by memory
 
across territory he knew
when he moved in a different body
 
centuries before
it was settled and mined and divided.
He is so bright now
as he descends from a ridge
 
the land is the shadow he casts.

 
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David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and lived for several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. Arizona’s landscapes and wildlife have become increasingly important to him and a significant part of his poetry. Meanwhile, he retains an appetite for reading Eugenio Montale, W. S. Merwin, Tomas Tranströmer and many other, often less celebrated, poets.

 
 
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goodreads.com/author/show/Robin Ouzman Hislop
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http://www.amazon.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
www.lulu.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
https://www.amazon.com/author/robinouzmanhislop
http://www.innerchildpress.com/robin-ouzman-hislop.All the Babble of the Souk

Rehabilitation A Poem by David Chorlton

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The mockingbirds in the bougainvillea
raised their brood among the thorns
where they wriggled and slipped,
one after the other, as chicks do
to find a cooler place,
down through the tangles and the shade,
and caught on a vine before reaching
the ground. Each rescue
led to another, while the temperatures
stayed late summer high
long into the evening
and next day was the same, with another degree
added to the record, and birds
on every continent
feeling the change without knowing
why skylarks are fewer
each year and deforestation
leaves lyrebirds to sing
the chainsaw’s song. It happens
while the stock exchanges measure
loss as currency; it happens
day and night, while surveyors
look through a theodolite to see
the new division they prepare for; and while
a rehabilitator raises the young
of mockingbirds who sing and chase flies
into the dusk.

 
 
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David Chorlton came to Phoenix from Europe in 1978 with his wife Roberta, an Arizona native. He quickly became comfortable with the climate while adjusting to the New World took longer. Writing and reading poetry have helped in that respect, as has exposure to the American small presses. Arizona’s landscape and wildlife became increasingly important to him both as a source of pleasure and a measure of how precarious the natural world is.
 
http://www.davidchorlton.mysite.com/
 
 
 
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www.lulu.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop

From Agassiz Peak. A Poem by David Chorlton

    photo Roberta Chortlon


 
 
From eleven thousand feet the shadows
cast by clouds rock
back and forth as they float down
through volcanic light
to the forests where they break
apart between the pines
and disappear into late summer grass.
 
Windgusts at that altitude
slide from a raptor’s wing
and dissolve in thin air
while the view from the treeline
runs sky-wide and frost-bright
to the point where Earth and rain
pale into each other.
 
A misplaced glance
would slip back a thousand years
to be swallowed by lava
and leave no foothold
on the crater’s edge.
 
Prairies tumble, edge over edge,
while forests tighten their grip
against winter, which begins
its descent from the first
aspen leaf to turn yellow.
 

 
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David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and lived for several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. Arizona’s landscapes and wildlife have become increasingly important to him and a significant part of his poetry. His Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press appeared in 2014. The shadow side of Vienna provides the core of The Taste of Fog, a work of fiction published by Rain Mountain Press. http://www.davidchorlton.mysite.com/
 
 
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Interstate Moments. A Poem by David Chorlton

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#1
A roadrunner has climbed the concrete slope
from roadside weeds to where it meets
the bridge’s horizontal, and he stops
with his beak directed
at the angle in which a patch of sky
illuminates his profile.
 
#2
The yellow and the white lines meet
straight ahead at perspective’s
farthest point, where blue mountains divide
Earth from the storms
about to break in Heaven.
 
#3
Along the rails that run beside
the interstate, an eastbound freight train
leaves daylight behind it
as clouds churn into the sky
with red lightning inside them.
 
#4
A nighthawk’s wing
above the traffic flow
slides between the day
and a night of endless
taillights.

 
 
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David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and lived for several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. Arizona’s landscapes and wildlife have become increasingly important to him and a significant part of his poetry. His Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press appeared in 2014. The shadow side of Vienna provides the core of The Taste of Fog, a work of fiction published by Rain Mountain Press. And the poem follows
http://www.davidchorlton.mysite.com/
 
 
robin@artvilla.com
PoetryLifeTimes
Poetry Life & Times

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