Thursday, March 5, 2015

Alan Catlin- Three Poems


They all end up in the bar eventually,
on foot, in wheelchairs, livery cabs,
stretch limos, riding mowers, wearing
torn-at-the-knees tuxedos, ties askew,
wine stained and bloodied or in track
suits after running a marathon chased
by demons, plain clothes cops, packs
of feral dogs only they can see, in bib
overalls so caked in manure they can
barely breathe or in hospital gowns
double knotted at the back, their life
savings in fanny packs around their
waists, blood type and date of admission
typewritten in plastic wrist bands they
hadn’t bothered to remove or in clown
suits, rugby shirts, laid-out-for- viewing
formal duds, punked out and glittered,
their eyes so glazed they can no longer
see, all of them laughing at jokes without
punch lines only they can hear, talking
to friends so far gone they are no longer
memories, ghost lights flickering from
their finger tips where they touch glass.

False Spring

Unseasonably warm weather and
the whackjobs have left their
hibernation hovels, their cellar
dweller caves, their unheated
fourth floor walkups no self-
respecting elevator would stop at.
The mark of the elements are
on their skin, improvidently left
exposed by inadequate wrapping,
moth eaten cloth, creating an aspect
like marks of Cain, blemishes caused
at birth.  Reenergized by unexpected
warmth, they exit vehicles left idling
in primo No Parking Fire Exit lanes,
radio on full volume tuned to some
outer space network featuring disco
concept tunes synthesized nearly to
death with a heavy bass line added
for full ear rattling effect, raise their
metal tipped walking sticks to tap
on Eastern Avenue Price Chopper
snack bar double thick window,
trying to attract separated-at-birth twin,
spending the returnable container cash in
of the century on pastries and cake,
oblivious to all else, as others of their
kind continue to queue in fire lane
line, vehicles rescued from junkyards
under cover of darkness, hybrid fossil
fuel burning, black cloud spewing machines
no car manufacturer would claim as their
own, state of the art sound systems cranking
out country and western, someone stole my
pickup, my dog, my best double ought
whatever, Pabst blue ribbon and I’m feeling
blue tunes, t-shirts proclaiming: “Right
To Bear Arms” in graduated sized lettering
in case you missed the message on a first
read through, “Red, White & Blue These Colors
Don’t Run”, American eagle missile launcher
images, all the patriotic gore that fits on
a shirt we’ll print. A second line of vehicles
forming, double parking, blocking in the first
responders to the seasonal call of the wild,
beer running before the state goes dry,
a kind of informal gathering in progress,
a convention, maybe, the first of many, no doubt,
but colorful just the same, especially once
the first group returns, expecting unimpeded
passage to the new world.

 “We are all in a terrible hurry to die”

“I want to be someone the inquisition is looking for”
                        Stephanie Dickinson

Standing up in back seat
of top down convertible,
so high the point of impact
with an unpruned tree,
a Low Bridge rail crossing,
is a clean cut in the night.
Daredevil gaming, lighting
shirt fused dynamite stick fuses,
waiting to see who can hold
his the longest, who will be
the last to throw, in natural gas
leaking landfill.  Drag racing
around blind curve highway,
blockaded with stolen barricades,
law enforcement removes,
proceeding with high alert caution
to see what all the noise is about.
Drinking doubles until the last man
falls, taking the stool with him onto
broken long neck bottle floor.
Stepping out with a married man’s
wife, the offended one waiting to
avenge reckless deeds with IED’s
and a gun.  Elaborately bound couple
trussed for moment of climax in
near-death by choking sex gear,
so close to release homicide cop
would say, “It was almost comical.
You could see what they were up to
but it all went wrong.  Might have
worked too if they had loosened
the bonds, but we’ll never know now.”
Sex jokes and alcohol, hair trigger
Glock and illegal hollow point rounds,
who is going to tell them no?

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