Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

Coming Home 1968

No one had to ask,
"Where have you been?"
nights he broke free
from the compound/house,
parents secured, that is locked
in their bedroom, all lines
of communication severed,
illegal weapon set on lock
and load as he readied himself
for a solitary patrol dressed in
full camo and black face paint
using light of a quarter moon
to lead the way down Garfield
Place to the jungle on Ocean
Ave where Charlie was dug in,
sleeping, just four blocks
from home and a half a world,
half a lifetime away.

Beneath the Wheel 1970

Life  in that year was a traveling
circus for him, an experience
somewhere between a religious
conversion and a mystical vision
of demons and devils competing
for first crack at a mind already raging
out of control with a draft notice
in one hand and an invitation to
appear at Whitehall Street in NYC
for a physical that could be the major
determining factor as to whether
the next few years would become an
expense paid jungle vacation in
South East Asia or studying another
corpus, the dead white men also known
as the major English authors; began
living in a gulf somewhere between
being a kind of blind leading the blind
student teacher of disaffected youth,
and the living dead, becoming a
different kind of walking casualty/
work in progress as  an unemployed,
unemployable long hair/ walking stress
machine on the edge of a precipice
of an inherited schizophrenic malaise
exacerbated by depression especially
now that a child had been born and another
was on the way; he wasn't quite broken on
the wheel of life but was riding on the rim of
the blown spare, half way to hell and asking
directions for how to get all the way there.

Our Big Night at the Movies, Utica, N.Y. 1969

Thursday night, one showing only
double features: Russ Meyer,
quadruple Double D babes,
Flesh Gordon takeoffs, soft porn
with a sense of humor, underbelly
of Hollywood stars and starlets:
Cynthia Myers, Long Dong Silver,
Donna Does It, John Hardwood,
Betty Boobs. Posted: No Alcohol Allowed
sleazoid theater, beverages snuck in
by the six pack in oversized,
multi-pocket, Army surplus jackets.
Weed smoking in Men’s Room timed
piss breaks, “a little weed will do ya”,
shifts. Ushers paid not to really care
or notice, dirty old men and long haired
college students, as long as they don’t
burn the place down. Extra charge
for Special Foreign Import Features”
“Carmen Baby”, “My Sister, My Love”,
Fanny’s Hill”. All almost as boring
as Carmen’s whore friend chewing gum
and talking on the phone as she got laid.
Still, Carmen and extra long necked Chianti
bottle, was the best thing on stage anyone
had seen since The Inferno burned down.
Ugly hooker working parking lot after flicks,
group rates available, “I’ve got the real
stuff you boys are looking for.”
“Hold that thought, Sweetheart,”
exit lines as cars sped off, mid-term
exams, overdue papers, Vietnam War,
could wait for another day, another
week of cheap beer and Mary Jane,
Oh, Sweet, Merciful Mary Jane.

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