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David Chorlton continues a quiet life in Phoenix, writing steadily as he takes stock of the world close to home and far away He goes out into the Arizona landscape whenever possible to seek a balance for city life His writing has become increasingly entangled with nature and reflects his travels as well as some imaginary journeys His book Waiting for the Quetzal appeared last year from March Street Press
The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by David Chorlton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Step outside at night
away from the city with its glow and the hum
of traffic; stand where you can see
a desert mountain glazed in blue moonlight,
and consider the stars streaming behind it You could be standing on a leaf,
so thin is the layer
inside which you live with birds
whose colours have yet to be catalogued
as you try to remember the names
of the ones you have seen Inhale and breathe out
to say ash-throated flycatcher, pyrrhuloxia,
violet-crowned hummingbird Say kestrel
and kingbird and becard
to savour each brilliant syllable
as you form sounds out of air
and let them ripple through the atmosphere that wraps
your planet like a skin
For a Tree
The tall pine
at Third Avenue and Monte Vista
where the falcon came to find
a branch so high
he could watch over the city
before choosing the moment to fly
was cut down yesterday
thin branches first
then the boughs from which they grew
leaving the trunk
to stand knotted and bare
for the man to scale
with his ropes and his saw
which took a few inches
away with each growl
until the tree became the height
of the cutter
who continued to work
it to a stump
while the rest was fed
through a machine
that eats trees
and spits sawdust
leaving only the shadow
to pick up by its edges
and fold away
in a drawer
as a keepsake
with clothes that outlasted
We’re already braced
to see the last polar bear
brought into captivity
where a block of ice
has been reserved for him
for the silence that will follow
a warbler’s disappearance
when it ceases to be a number
on the annual count
and for the news that a forest
has been reduced to the size
of the table on which
the papers are signed
to authorise its cutting down
as if looking at the future
could save us from regret
when we have nothing more to lose.
I am a twenty seven year old fiction writer and poet, born in Los Angeles, raised on smog and mom’s romanticized notions of Jim Morrison I have been a janitor, security guard, mortuary clerk, substitute teacher, an administrative assistant in a skyscraper with mirrored windows; I am currently a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia Works of mine have been published in Newtopia and Olympia Literary Yarn, and a short story is set to appear in the June/July issue of All Things Girl In addition, excerpts from the independent publications I self-published as a teenager have been included in Zine Scene, a book put out by Girl Press, Inc.
The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Robin Crane and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Within the grocery store
Where my ex best friend and I used to walk
From up the hill where
Her parents’ house was
When we were teens and bored and came to buy a heavy metal magazine and soda —
I got older,
This same pharmacy came to be my pharmacy,
Near my own home on the hill.
los angeles birdsong. ghettoes next to mansions. a feeling of earthquake fatality exciting and proud like singing drunk.
My home was a basement apartment
Under the home of two
Sick, old toxic men who’d been abandoned
to each other and whose
whining lover’s quarrels and spying on me
Eventually landed me in a mental hospital, where finally,
There was enough food.
The pharmacy was a Rite-Aid. The pharmacist,
A caring young Asian woman with short hair
And gold-rimmed glasses,
Who never filled my heart medication
without thinking there must be some mistake.
The prescriptions that
the psychiatrist’d prescribed,
large blue hexagons and
some tranquilizers, Memory-Forgetters,
Made more sense to her,
Because I have that sad something in
My expression sometimes.
If only I’d been a baby animal curled inside a log,
sick but at least
Sometimes those tranquilizers were all I needed, me and
To make the day feel beautiful. To make us feel
smug when the movers came with my stuff
and it was only the morning but we were
Already drunk and sated as two cheetahs with fresh
Blood still on our mouths. The movers asked,
“Where should we put all these boxes?” —
the place was full of old men furniture.
I said “Just leave everything outside,”
And the next day it rained.
there was a Rite-Aid in a
Cozy suburb at the foothills
Of the San Gabriel Mountains.
It was only the heart pills I needed.
I had my surgery so
for awhile it was
different kinds of heart pills,
Names impossible to remember now.
That was a strange time, that time after the surgery. My
man at the time was really just a boy,
but we lived like grown-ups for
awhile. Meals for dinner and a Rite-Aid nearby.
There were always crickets indoors.
He seemed to get younger and younger,
While I just became more of myself.
Ah, but a lot can change in a girl’s life.
Now my pharmacy is in a distant
Part of the country,
Just a two block walk from the apartment.
And at first it was the usual stuff.
Then, wonderfully, proudly,
it was a prescription for pre-natal vitamins,
And something new for a problem the
Obstetrician discovered after running some
tests, one new little mistake
unearthed from this body.
But then months too soon
The vitamins were unnecessary.
I imagined my husband and myself as
Survivors of world war one –
We’d be back home soon and wouldn’t
Know what to tell anyone.
we’d have to be brave and quiet forever.
And I’d almost been the belle of the ball.