Shostakovich - David Chorlton

A cigarette burns down adagio
with the ash refusing to fall
while smoke climbs from it in strands
that weave around each other
in the light from a bare light bulb.
Music is written here.

The window is a collage
with snowflakes and the light
from a street lamp.
From a certain angle
it appears romantic

the way a passage played on strings
might briefly suggest
a happy ending
but we know

when we listen all the way to the final
entrance of the brass
and insistent drumbeats
that power has its way
in any key.

David Chorlton came to Phoenix from Europe in 1978 with his wife Roberta, a violinist and Arizona native. He quickly became comfortable with the climate while adjusting to the New World took longer. Writing and reading poetry have helped in that respect, as has exposure to the American small presses. Arizona’s landscape and wildlife became increasingly important to him both as a source of pleasure and a measure of how precarious the natural world is. Thirty years ago, he regarded the idea of “nature poetry” as one tainted with sentimentality but today it appears ever more relevant and even dramatic. David has done a lot of painting and after a long break from taking it seriously, he began water coloring again in 2020. One project that combines watercolors and poems is “The Inner Mountain,” a sequence with accompanying images and published by Cholla Needles Press in Joshua Tree in 2021.