David Chorlton

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Bumper Sticker Freedom

When you take a word so nasty
it’s impossible to use it on somebody else
without becoming one yourself

and set it in Lucinda Console typeface, you have
the language of graffiti
printed with precision, crisp

and professionally set,
referring to the governor
of our state in four thirty-six point letters

in black on white
as the news fit to print used to be,
and now it shows the point

of free speech is that you can say anything
and the disappointing part
is that someone always will.

Painting of restaurant by Gene McCormick

New Year’s Day in Willcox

From Willcox you can see
last year’s snow
through a hawk’s eye
on the mountains to the south
and the almost greens
in January’s desert
underneath a cold, blue sky.
Lunchtime has passed
at the Plaza Restaurant
except for the man whose hat
is a permanent fixture
and whose checkered shirt
is a close match for the red
bandana knotted at his throat,
and whose companions
shuffle in their winter coats
for comfort. They’re eating fries
cooked in the country music
playing on the radio, and burgers
served in buns flavoured
with love lost in three quarter
time. The waitresses relax,
the range land softens
in afternoon’s glow,
the trucks along the highway
sail on a constant hum
of movement rubbing against asphalt,
and would you like
more coffee? Hell, yes.


David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in England, and spent several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in1978. He pursued his visual art and had several shows as well as writing and publishing his poetry in magazines and collections, the latest of which is The Devil’s Sonata from FutureCycle Press. Although he became ever more interested in the desert and its wildlife, the shadow side of Vienna emerges in his fiction and The Taste of Fog, which was published by Rain Mountain Press.