|David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in England, and spent several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. His newest published books reflect this concern for the natural world. They are Waiting for the Quetzal, from March Street Press, and The Porous Desert, from Future Cycle Press. He recently had a poem included in the anthology, BIRDS, from the British Museum, won the Ronald Wardall Poetry Prize for his chapbook The Lost River, from Rain Mountain Press, and the Slipstream Chapbook Contest with From the Age of Miracles.|
Visit David on the web here: http://www.davidchorlton.mysite.com/
The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by David Chorlton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
I’ve never been to The Philippines. How is the weather
there now? Wetter, I imagine, than here
in Arizona where spring has arrived with its bright scented energy
and a dry taste that follows the runoff
after late winter rains. I can hear you very well, we have
a good connection. It must be nighttime now
for you, a darkness spread in thick layers
with insects drilling into your ears; am I right?
What kind of owls do you have? A little screech owl
came to our yard two years ago, right in the city centre.
We were thrilled at its call, just to feel
nature vibrating in this modern, technological world. Help me,
I can’t connect. There’s a problem here, somebody
cut through a cable and I don’t understand what happens
when all the lines are dead and it’s quiet
enough to hear my pulse. I’ve been lying awake recently, listening,
since before the problem started. I worry
about where the coyotes will live
when the desert has been built on, and once
I’m awake I can’t get back to sleep. That’s when it’s useful
to log on and while away an hour or two
staying in touch with the world, with countries far away
like yours. It is special to be able to talk to you. Does anything
keep you awake? Perhaps when you don’t hear the insects
you feel uneasy about what’s happening. You must become accustomed
to the dissonance of tiny legs rubbing together, telling you
nature is intact. We had phone service restored
but no internet, so I called the provider who told me
I had to call you. It was a lady in India, she was nice
but didn’t speak as clearly as you do. Did you study abroad?
India must be interesting. Spicy food and elephants. She didn’t grasp
the issue though, didn’t realize how lost I am
and asked whether I’d seen Michael Jackson’s funeral on TV.
I hadn’t, yet she, probably wearing a sari and with all that ancient
history surrounding her, had. She recommended I call you. I’m glad
I did, although your voice has become very quiet. I wish you could place
your telephone outside so I could hear the insects. Of course I can hold
for someone else. Hello, I can just hear you.
Have you ever been to Arizona? I’m in Phoenix. A cable,
someone cut a cable. Maybe it was a Mexican. We have a lot
of Mexicans doing the hard work here and where they come from
they aren’t used to cables so I’m not laying blame. It’s fate.
Pure chance. Americans don’t deal well with fate,
they like insurance and lawyers who find reasons to hold
somebody accountable for whatever happens. Anything,
it seems, but rivers drying up or frogs dying off. I’ve tried
everything from rebooting to following instructions on the Help page
and nothing helps. Frogs are fascinating. We hear them
croaking at a specific place we visit and always feel happy they’re still
there. It’s a comfort. A little corner of the world just as it was
centuries ago. The Philippines must have changed.
Have you noticed it a lot in your lifetime? You sound young. A child
of the internet. Thank goodness somebody understands it. Some of us
depend on it more than we intended to. A habit. Whatever we want to know
we type the name and click. Click to a picture of Manila. Click
to a frog that became extinct. We got the internet just in time
to see it. But not today. All I know
is that the cable is broken, the chain that binds the world
has snapped, and I’m floating into darkness
on a raft across a sea of ones and zeros. It seems
silly to worry, after all some days all I get is a forwarded message
from somebody who means well but can’t
find anything more to say to me. Such technology for a joke
or pictures of kittens, but it holds loneliness at bay. You may
be glad not to look at a screen when you’re off duty.
Do you feel alone then? It’s odd to think that while I enjoy
talking to you I wouldn’t pay to do it. If only
you could offer a solution. You can’t possibly know what’s happening
down the street from here but yours is the only number
I have to call. Can you speak louder? I’m afraid
you’re fading. Is India closer than The Philippines? Should I call back there?
It is almost dark in Phoenix. The songbirds have stopped singing. There’s a web site
that says they’re declining. What will replace them? How quiet
a world is worth living in? Can you help me? Can you hear me?
It’s dark, you’re fading. Fading.
Kelli Stevens Kane
|Kelli Stevens Kane lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Spider Magazine, Denver Syntax, Word Riot, Mythium Literary Journal, and The Mom Egg. She is the recipient of a Serpent Source Foundation grant for an oral history work in progress about the Hill District of Pittsburgh. She was a selected participant in the 2009 VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation) workshop, “Building a Poetry Collection,” taught by Willie Perdomo. Her first poetry manuscript is currently making the rounds in multiple first book contests. For more info visit www.kellistevenskane.com .|
The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Kelli Stevens Kane and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
if I keep my feet up
wings will sprout out the sides
and my baby toes will give birth to peanuts.
if I keep my feet up
my knees will stare at my eyeballs
and my sunblock will give birth to a pirate eye patch.
if I keep my feet up
my eyes will be sewn together by lashes
and my lack of sight will give birth
to a better sense of taste
if I keep my feet up.
all the visitors went to the flea market
opened their arms wide
and hugged the life out of second hand schemes
until nothing was for sale
the price tags blown back to their original positions
as leaves on the trees
in the shade