David Chorlton was born in Austria and was taken to England within weeks, before he could protest. After growing up in Manchester, he moved to Vienna in 1971 and seven years later he came to Phoenix. That leaves twenty-two years of writing, operating with small presses, and carrying on a parallel life as a visual artist.

(Please visit ARTifacts, to view several of his paintings)



David Chorlton's publications are poetry collections. They include:

External link opens in new tab or windowOUTPOSTS, a book from Stride Press in England

External link opens in new tab or windowFORGET THE COUNTRY YOU CAME FROM, a book from Singular Speech Press

External link opens in new tab or windowTHE VILLAGE PAINTERS, a chapbook from Adastra Press

ASSIMILATION, a recent chapbook from Main Street Rag

Several of these, and others, are accessible through Amazon.com, but David Chorlton is the most reliable source at 118 West Palm Lane Phoenix AZ 85003

Email: External link opens in new tab or windowviolon@mindspring.com


Mark where the wall should stand

with a sprinkling of lime.

If you have nothing to hide

and nothing to keep out

this will suffice.



continue by considering

how large a shadow the wall will cast,

and upon whom.

Plant sticks at the height you desire

and tie a string between them.

If you wish only to make a gesture

stop here. Should you need more

permanence, collect rocks


and stack them. Use mortar

only if you are prepared to sacrifice

aesthetics for function.

When resting from your work

read about Hadrian's Wall, the Great Wall

of China, and the Berlin Wall,

all of which will impress you


with the gravity of your task.

Check local ordinances

before you go too far. Do they consider

walls as metaphors, or simply engineering?

Concrete is best for more height

and you can build a monument

visible from space, one


that is impossible to scale,

good if you don't care

about appearances. Concrete

takes graffiti well. Spray paint is best.

The wall


you began for its function

will become a  record

of the aspirations of all

who stand before it

with their imaginations loaded,


every one with a finger

on the trigger in their minds.


By David Chorlton


Breaking Down


Everything breaks down in time;

the cassette player

speaks in tongues,

software doesn't function,

and the soul

slips beneath a shadow.

When my online provider stops

providing, I dial

a number that tells me

to dial another

and so on

until I reach a living voice

that speaks with a dusting

of Indian spice

offering me an upgrade

to a more costly version

of frustration. An inspirational

speaker claims

from the television screen

that problems are illusions.

He starts me thinking

about the people whose jobs

left them behind

when they moved overseas,

about the ones who sleep outdoors,

and those whose lives

have broken down

beyond repair. We need to connect

with our inner selves, the speaker

says, to find our way

to the light from which

we emanate. I dial again,

calling long distance

for directions to the source

of life. Please enter your zip code

and date of birth, please turn

inward. If you seek happiness

don't look around, the world

is broken in places you can't reach.


By David Chorlton


Vermeer and Mars


The letter a maid hands to her mistress

might contain startling news,

that a small device has landed

on Mars, and jerks forward over rocks

like a child's toy guided by remote control.

But the costumes are those

of an earlier time, a year television images

cannot reach, and whose days

pass in longhand. Johannes Vermeer


was alive then, enthralled

by shadows, quills and pearls

and cloth that thickened in the hands

arranging it. A door closed when he died.

Mars flickered like a candle flame

as his soul flew by, leaving behind


the table with an  empty wine glass,

a globe stalled beneath the geographer's palm,

and the clay pitcher

filled with darkness instead of milk.

Three hundred years later,

the guests return: the soldier; the courtier;

the gentleman with lace at his wrists

and a sword at his side;

to sit down as if nothing had happened


to smear the sunlight with industrial

fingerprints, or to stamp a brand name

on the food we eat. They find

their old rooms just as they were,

only the streets outside have changed.

And we, who have grown accustomed

to noise and anonymity,


stop to look at their faces. We want

to touch the velvet on chairs

and the meticulous tiles, and feel

the intimacy inside an envelope

as it changes hands. We want


to breathe the polished air

between the river and the sky

in Delft, but Mars is breaking in

to our lives, a planet of drought

with no shores, god of the wars

that drives economies. Its images arrive


like letters from the future

describing a journey lasting years

and the marvel of technology

we trust without understanding.

Meanwhile, we are drawn to the astronomer


with charts surrounding him

at an open window

holding dividers

that measure the distance

between belief and imagination.


By David Chorlton


Permanent Resident



My face is bleached. I look away to my left
appearing to be caught
in headlamps glare,
but I am only gazing past my number,
country of birth and the date

on which I expire,
toward a fingerprint that could be a map
of the land I crossed.
The card is all that separates me
from those who entered by night
and turned to smoke

after circling for days
with the heat boring tunnels
inside them. Every ten years

I renew my status
as a stranger. By now I know the way
between the dry arroyos,
through the eyes burnt into rock,
and across the broken stones.
Once in each decade

the desert crackles under my feet
and I take all the water I can carry
in a pack, lace up
my shoes, wait

for the clouds
to cover my run
until the silence of the stars
surrounds me
and I stop to look for the others
who share the journey.
They wave me on,

say go ahead, don t wait for us, don t give
us away. I make it every time
and leave them gripping level ground
as if it were a cliff.