Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cliché Country

by David Chorlton

There’s a gently rocking sound
of hoofbeats on the trails
that run through dreams
people have of Arizona
where sunsets are brightest

as the backdrop
for a tall saguaro
and vultures hang like decorations
in a sky obsessed
with thirst. Old men have faces

creased like maps to the gold mines
they never discovered
but they kept a sense of humour
and the skill to spit
tobacco and mumble reminiscences
at the same time. They always wax

lyrical when referring
to Spanish speaking women
but are wary of the men.
Memories survive here
on beans and chili peppers,
washed down
with a bottle of independence.
Soft as a painting

on velvet the stars
appear overhead
when smoke from a camp fire
rises and a coyote’s profile
is printed on the full moon.
Even the legislature

is committed to preserving
values so traditional
nobody remembers them from
first time around, although
with all the open space
there’s no need to feel restricted.
The tumbleweed still rides

on a wind as dry as the skull
attached to the wall
and the diamondbacks only strike
when under duress.

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