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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 13: May 2022
Poem Sequence: 465 words [R]
[1]: 144 words
[2]: 183 words
[3]: 134 words
By Gary S. Rosin and David Chorlton

Talking Back to Art



In Line for the Future

After the painting by David Chorlton
All these people waiting 
in line for the future. 

Row after row after 
row of six dark overcoats, six 
covered backs, pressed 
shoulder to shoulder to shoulder. 

Here and there, the odd person, 
scattered to the side, as if 
reluctant, as if straining to see. 
But the familiar is gone. 

Now no streets, no buildings, 
no walls. Even the horizon is lost 
in a confusion of ground and sky, 
bursts and reflections, drained of color. 

Somewhere out of sight, perhaps 
a pigeon circles, considering 
possibilities. But here 
only this line, 
fading towards the future, 

only the steam of escaping breath, 
these dark rows of six, 
only hints of color peeking 
between overcoats and hats, 
wrapping the heads of women. 

Six across they stand, 
measuring their lives in shuffles, 

waiting for History’s boxcar. 




Artist’s Statement

The simple truth 
is chosen for its colour. 
It comes in shades 
with no ambition to be beautiful. 

I cannot see it for you, 

only guide your eye 
along lines of people waiting, 
and leave you to guess 

the object of their patience. 
Pictorial time 
is an instant at random. 
Turn back the clock 
or let it run 

ahead, imagine bargains 
or rationing. That is your luxury. 
This is the spare world 

I share with the enduring 
travellers, where I study 
timetables and meet them 
at railway terminals, never asking 
where they come from. Their countries 
are in tatters 

and the moment 
is their only hope. Between bright 
washed hills, I have hidden 

borders. Each direction 
is to the other side. We walk 
faster than politics 
and swear 

allegiance to our breath. 
I favour revolution 
as the way to change 

the constant rain, but armed 
for nothing headier 
than everyday routines, we persevere. 
If you prefer 

a certain red, or a story 
of your own, call a taxi, 
read another book. Had I 
meant words, 
I would have used them. 




Talking Back to Art

You say you have chosen 

the color of truth, given it 
form instead of words. 

You say you have 
captured the changing 
quality of light, suspended 

choice. But only the gods 
are free to stand aside. 
Only the gods can be mute. 
We must speak, though we see 

the truth in many colors 
though we shade it every time 
we see, or paint, or speak. 

You tell me to call a taxi, but 
I don’t need a cab to find 
a line of refugees.  Your painting 
already led me to them. I’ve been 

inside your frame, felt 
the rain of circumstance as I stood, 
as we all must stand, 

at the center of possibility. 

I, too, have chosen 
my own path out, 

and must speak what I have seen. 


—Poetic dialogue (with Gary S. Rosin as author of the first and third poems above and David Chorlton as author of the second, “Artist’s Statement”) was originally published in i.e. magazine (Number 8, Summer 1993); and appears here with permissions from both poets.

—Third poem above was published, under its original title of “Talking Back to Art: A Response to an Artist,” in Fire and Shadows: Poetry & Prose by Gary S. Rosin in The Legal Studies Forum (Volume XXXII, No 2, 2008).

David Chorlton
Issue 13, May 2022

is a poet, painter, and photographer who was born in Austria but grew up in Manchester, close to rain and the northern English industrial zone. In his early 20s he returned to Vienna, from which he enjoyed many trips around Europe to enjoy and paint its landscapes and towns.

In 1978, he moved from Vienna, Austria with his wife to Phoenix, Arizona, where his fascination with the desert and wildlife grew, along with his interest in writing poetry. His poems often reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. His poetry and paintings have appeared in more than 200 publications online and in print. He likes to see his poems in unexpected places, and one of them is interred, with desert legume seeds from Boyce Thompson Arboretum (Superior, Arizona), in the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway.

Chorlton is the author of more than a dozen books and chapbooks, most recently a collection of his watercolors and poems, The Inner Mountain (Cholla Needles Press, 2022); a long poem, Speech Scroll (Cholla Needles Press, 2020); Reading T. S. Eliot to a Bird (Hoot ’n Waddle, 2018); and Bird on a Wire (Presa Press, 2017). The Bitter Oleander Press published in 2017 his translation of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant, Shatter the Bell in My Ear. His books, A Field Guide to Fire (2015), Selected Poems (2014), and The Devil’s Sonata (2012) were published by FutureCycle Press.

As much as he loves Arizona and the Southwest, he has strong memories of Vienna, and that city is the setting for his one work of fiction: The Taste of Fog (Rain Mountain Press, 2011).

Aside from writing and painting, Chorlton enjoys watching birds and editing the quarterly publication of his local Audubon Society chapter. He often reads a poem for Maricopa Audubon meetings, and one of his poems appears in the British Museum’s anthology, Birds.

Artist’s website: http://www.davidchorlton.mysite.com/

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Five poems and a painting by David Chorlton in Moonday Poetry (2021)

Indecision and three other poems in Softblow

The Crossing and In Line, two paintings in Poppy Road Review (9 March 2014)

Ahwatukee poet David Chorlton writes with an eye for nature by R. Dockum in Ahwatukee Foothills News (11 September 2018)

Gary S. Rosin’s
Issue 13, May 2022

poetry and haiga have appeared, or are forthcoming, in various literary and poetry magazines such as Concho River Review, Eastern Structures, Failed Haiku, Harbinger Asylum, KYSO Flash, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Poetry24, The Legal Studies Forum, The Lift, The Wild Word, and Visions International; as well as in several anthologies, including contemporary haibun (Volume 17, Red Moon Press, 2022), Faery Footprints (Fae Corp Publishing), Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga (Dos Gatos Press), Texas Poetry Calendar (Kallisto Gaia Press), Untameable City: Poems on the Nature of Houston (Mutabilis Press), and elsewhere.

His poem “Viewing the Dead” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Two of his poems appear in Silent Waters, photographs by George Digalakis (Athens, 2017). He is the author of two chapbooks, Standing Inside the Web (Bear House Publishing, 1990) and Fire and Shadows (Legal Studies Forum, 2008) (offprint).

Selections of Gary’s poetry and photography can be found at his website, 4P Creations: http://4pcreations.com

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Out of the Haze, collaborative haiga with photograph by George Digalakis and poem by Gary S. Rosin in MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 8, June 2021); nominated for, and selected for publication in, Contemporary Haibun 17 (Red Moon Press, 2022)

Featured Poet: Gary S. Rosin in MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 7, March 2021)

Crossing Kansas in The Wild Word (7 February 2020); includes audio of Rosin reading his poem

Two Readings: “Apparition” and “Black Dogs” by Gary S. Rosin for Texas Poetry Calendar 2015 at the Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Texas (20 September 2014); see also Black Dogs here in MacQ (Issue 12, March 2022).

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