David Chorlton

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Seven Deadly Engravings

In an age when money
flows without being seen
from account to account in the digital dark
Avarice seems more of a scent
than a sin,
               or a sin translated into
corporate language as virtue,
while the crossbows still shoot
arrows at the sack of coins
hanging on a pole from someone else’s roof
and the naked poor sit shivering
in the shadow cast
by the usurer’s stall,
                             so far
from where Vanity struts
with her mirror beside
a poor peacock who doesn’t know why
he was born to be impressive
and who gazes around
at a mundane population
each of whom is convinced
                                          he or she
must be seen to be appreciated,
although only the rich
are considered truly beautiful.
Yet even they
                    want someone else’s
something,  whatever Envy has chosen
from the catalogue of desires
while Anger turns wishes
on a spit, after marching through
centuries with a knife
between his teeth
and thinking all the way
about proposing marriage
to Gluttony,
                 who waits where all rivers
flow into her domain. She loves her suitor
but loves herself more. In the land
of never enough, she rents out a plot
to Lechery and insists
on watching everything that happens there;
the couple in a giant clamshell
and the reptile with a whore
                                            who doesn’t care
about being observed. It’s an honor
to be included
in the all-day, all-night sessions
that lead naturally to
who means no harm
but can’t escape the scorn
showered on him by Avarice,
who knows that sleep
is capital’s enemy, and a reflective life
too easily
              becomes an unprofitable one.


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 Collected Poems 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.