David Chorlton

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Seventeen floors.
That’s what the news report said, so
I assume it’s how it happened.
I didn’t know him well,
just the odd encounter on the street
and, way back, the time
he said Come over and we’ll jam
and my time was loose then, so I did.
His friend was watching porn.
The room smelled of clove cigarettes.
He drummed. It was
a change for me, and ever after when
we crossed paths he stopped
to give me a CD, and talk about ideas
that seemed more dangerous
because he smiled so innocently.
If he looked happy he was fear
turned to laughter.
It made sense
when I read about him just now,
considering the way he lived, that he
who was always on the edge
would eventually

Dearly Beloved . . .

A cold wind blows across the screen
that shows the Inbox
when the sender’s address is a mystery
and the message asks for more
than is ever wise to give. Always there are ailments
and religion involved, plus
bad grammar and the promise of financial returns.
Send this much, receive more.
For the password to your life
I shall send dollar bills
like butterflies
to flutter down around you.
Every day
somebody tries to find the number
with which to dial directly
to my soul, but the line is disconnected.
I’m busy watching a hummingbird
on a slender branch outside
my window. I’m walking on the tightrope
running between lies and truth.
There’s ice on my credit card
and a padlock on my heart.


David Chorlton has called the desert area home since he moved to Phoenix from Austria in 1978. He has busied himself with writing and painting, as well as keeping track of the household menagerie. His most recent book, Unmapped Worlds, features older and previously uncollected poems that asked for new exposure.