Sunday Night at the London Palladium by David Chorlton

He meant nothing by it

when he leaned forward in his chair,

shot a finger toward

the television set and blurted

He’s Jewish

prompting the response

How do you know?

to which the answer was always

You can tell by looking at him

followed by an innocent


and the ensuing explanation that

You can just tell – it’s obvious

leading to the further question

What does it matter?

begging a logical reply

as the performer took a bow

while the audience applauded

It doesn’t bloody matter, I’m just

saying he’s a Jew

I’m not saying it matters

and we tried to enjoy the next song

despite the following claim that

Most of ‘em are Jews on there

an eventuality that hadn’t

occurred to us

although when it was pointed out

it seemed possible

whether or not it mattered

as long as the performance lived

up to expectations

and with dinner cleared away

we were settled down as usual on Sunday

except for his uneasy

shifting that preceded

They make you sick

and our asking

although by now we knew what to expect


with the same answer every week

The bloody Jews

even as Bruce Forsyth smiled

his way to introduce the next act

while an outburst brewed

at the appearance of

Another Jew You can’t

get away from them

but he could sing and even dance

So what?

and as if it had been rehearsed all week

So nothing I’m only telling you

with a heavy emphasis on the first syllable

of telling

he’s a bloody Jew, they all are on there,

you can see it, it’s obvious

when you look at ‘em

you can see they’re Jewish

which observation brought

a flush of rose to his face

before he settled back to watch

the final credits roll

at the end of what

had been a most enjoyable entertainment

despite the constant

pointing out that

They’re all the same the Jews

and always made the point

before going to bed

that he really meant nothing by saying it.


David Chorlton was born in Austria and grew up in Manchester, England. He later lived in Vienna and moved, with his wife, to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1978. Living in Arizona has made him ever more appreciative of the natural world, while a certain bewilderment at local politics lives on too.  His poems have appeared in many print and online publications, as well as individual collections, the most recent of which is “Bird on a Wire” from Presa Press.

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