I have lived in Phoenix since 1978 when I moved from Vienna, Austria. Born in Austria, I grew up in Manchester, close to rain and the northern English industrial zone. In my early 20s I went to live in Vienna and from there enjoyed many trips around Europe, often as an artist working in watercolor. My poems have appeared in Slipstream, Skidrow Penthouse, and Poem, among others, and my Selected Poems appeared in 2014 from FutureCycle Press.
Poetry in a Political Year
Statistics say few people care.
That prose is the winner and the winner
takes all. Like in elections.
The Electoral College doesn’t pay attention
to line breaks and even when Lincoln
was elected didn’t recite
anything that rhymed. It’s lonely
among the lyrics. Hard to stay motivated
in the in between zones
where every image counts. Where suggestion
means as much as a manifesto.
There’s no gray area
for candidates whose every speech
is a political slam. Expansive thought
uses up their time. Better to go
for the verbal jugular. Simplify.
Boil the language down to its bones.
Until it means only
what the speaker wants it to mean. So what
are we to make of this poetry
that seeks to keep a record
of the spirit
in a violent age? Of the quiet
moment in a loud culture? Of the poor
among us standing at an intersection
on a piece of ragged cardboard
begging for attention?
On a Line from Yves Bonnefoy
They lived in the time when words were poor.
For lack of the words to describe them
the most elaborate
and colorful hummingbirds
from places they had once
inhabited, and because
nobody knew how to say
these are the last of the grasslands
a certain sparrow can survive in
it was allowed to die out,
while there now
is much talk about the Passenger pigeon;
how they were so numerous
before there were none
and many speak in affectionate terms
of how they were beautiful,
they are missed.
©2016 David Chorlton