Thursday, January 18, 2007

Two Prose Poems: David Chorlton

Aerial View of the Past

The aerial view of the neighborhood in which I used to live was photographed years ago, perhaps on a day I was out walking from our gravelly street to the barber’s place around the corner where the sunlight streaked across a mist of falling hairs, or heading to the bakery to buy more of the cakes that ate my teeth. I know I wasn’t going to the church, although it looks impressive from this height, but I could have been on my way to the river that flows at a constant pace regardless of changes already on the drawing board.

The foliage tells me it is summer, and the shadows speak of a day warm by the standards of the place, which were in all respects modest. Cars on the roads are few. So are pedestrians. There must be some birds in the tall trees around the big house whose owners were always so mysterious, who seemed to own more of the world than was justified. I have forgotten what they looked like. I have forgotten the street names. I have forgotten who lived next door and where the bus turned at the end of its route. After my departure long ago the forgetting continued: the buildings forgot why they had been built; the bowling green forgot it was rolled flat for games; the pubs forgot about social life and beer; the shops forgot what it was they had been designed to sell.

I don’t go back. I hear the language has changed. I hear the gravel wouldn’t recognize my feet. I hear it’s closing time. I hear there’s a double lock on the door to the house where I lived.

* * * * *

The North Pole

It is a long way to my father, across the North Pole in a plane from which I look down at the overpowering cold. I imagine such a silence that words are irrelevant. Banks of snow are sparkling as the rays of the sun climb over them. I’d like to be down there for long enough to know how it feels to be alone with the beauty of ice.

At the airport he is waiting. He won’t look up. Has nothing to say, other than to tell me that the coat I am wearing won’t be any use in this weather.

~ David Chorlton lives in Phoenix, Arizona -- his home since 1978 when he moved there from Europe. He was fortunate enough to see William Everson read in Bisbee, AZ, back in the 1980s.

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