David Chorlton

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

Favourite Son

Under bright sun on the first day of the year
the Business Loop Road runs
parallel to the Union Pacific tracks
crossing avenues named for Cleveland, Lincoln,
Washington and Jefferson before
it reaches the one confirming
there’s a centre after all
to a place with a slow pulse
whose best known inhabitant was fiction
from the moment he was born;
First Blood in a last chance town.

Around what used to be
the Geronimo’s Castle café
nostalgia is shaped as a teepee
with windows boarded up
or broken in the flaking walls
around an old motel court
and a store whose only merchandise
is time. A rumble
a hundred wagons long

passes through the quiet afternoon
where distractions are few
and the desert makes everywhere look
a long way away, which only matters
to those who leave. Even an invented man
needs somewhere to be from
when he arrives at the conclusion
that shooting is as good a way
as any to get by once Bowie, Arizona,
has passed out of his sight.


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.