Image: Election campaign signs (

The mountain blushes at the sight
of freedom showing off its underwear
at the corner of 48th and Elliot
where the campaign signs have recently
appeared. What’s in a name
anyway? A little deceit, some wild
exaggerations, the face that launched
a thousand ships and sent them
down to deep water where
the cache is stored of facts omitted
just to keep the language simple.
The quail begin their morning run
through the fence and to
the shallow dish with water
that smiles back at the sky. It’s rush hour
at the feeders for the doves
and flickers as an unfinished dream
soaks back into the bedroom wall.
It was a message from the cellars of the mind
to say it’s safe to turn
the television on; there will
be no ads to scare us, no overnight
scenes with red lights flashing, no house
fires, only
today’s forecast for truth
piling by degrees after noon
when stillness comes to all, and it settles
down at everyone’s doorstep
like a missionary offering salvation
from the flames, if only
you sell him your soul
but the price goes down the closer
it is to election day.

About the Poem

Much as I like living Ahwatukee, close to South Mountain Park in Phoenix, the appearance of campaign signs offers a less pleasing view than the nearby mountain. This is especially true when I relate the signs to the nature of TV ads currently running.

About the Author

David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications online and in print, and often reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. His newest collection of poems is Unmapped Worlds from FutureCycle, and The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant.

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