The Tribe

David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in rainy Manchester in England, and after spending most of the 1970s in Vienna he moved to Arizona. Since arriving in Phoenix he has pursued his writing, and been active in various capacities in the poetry world. The Bitter Oleander Press recently published his translations from the poetry of Austrian poet Christine Lavant as “Shatter the Bell in my Ear,” adding to collections his own original work over the years of small press activity. He does not complain about the heat, even at the height of summer, but does often register discontent at other circumstances, and come to believe in a balance of aesthetics and edge in art.

The Tribe

The tribe has walked for centuries to reach us. Its surviving members have been reported at the edge of the city, gathered in their tattered costumes and lighting fires on which to cook their food. Police say they act suspiciously and display no manners when they eat. They say the tribesmen are indecent and the women lewd, but others who observe them tell of their fine, if weathered, features and the grace with which they move. They douse their fires and continue into the city, dragging tent poles and skins as they go, looking at the buildings around them. Closely watched, they seem not to care but hiss at anyone who comes too close. Traffic has been stopped and parents carry their children to safety. Perhaps they bring a disease, or a message of salvation. We can only guess. Meanwhile, it has turned dark and the tribespeople have settled down again, this time on a waste lot marked For Sale, where they have taken the wooden signs to burn as they lie down and sink happily into the weeds.

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