Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

Leaving Cohoes

was trading one lifestyle
for another. He sd., "You leave
all those burned out
buildings, slum dwellings,                             
garbage pickers on sidewalks
mucking with the trash.

Up river we don't have
none of them darkies
polluting our neighborhoods.
Got me a nice, cheap
cold water flat needs
a little work and it'll be
paradise compared to what
I just left behind."

By cold water flat,
we guessed that meant no hot
water, his excuse for not having
showered in weeks during record
heat wave or shaving his Ho Chi Minh
beard, wants it to be called a Fu Manchu
claiming he never heard of Ho,
though we knew for a fact he came
of age in the 60's.

Certainly none of the values of
that Aquarian Age like Peace, Love
and Brotherhood clung to him
except maybe a need to wander
on the cheap overseas to:
India, New Zealand, Australia

where native painters
drew aboriginal song lines through
figures meant to represent his heart
left temporarily slack to be pulled taut
at a later, unspecified date.

When the line is made tight
a crow flies and paleface dies.

We could sell tickets
if we only knew when

After the Limelight

Facially, he looks his age, 60,
but has the arms & upper body

of a much younger man, could
almost have stepped in & played

the way he had in his prime,
long before gray hair, game leg

& back from career ending
car wreck, no education, a rare

undrafted, no college, player,
almost unemployable at any

position, a one dimensional,
one skill player without a high

school diploma either, no one
asked for when he could flat out

fly with any football that fell into
his hands, the problem not

what happened after but before,
getting the ball into his hands,

rumor was you pointed in the direction
he was to run & said, Go!,

& he did, which was great for kickoffs,
punts even, at which he excelled, could

still be seen on Classic Sports TV
returning with the All Time Greats

when he drove sports cars
ran like a man possessed

& buses were for kids to ride
from one game to the next


Some days
she wears an embroidered
blouse-scrolled lettering spells:
Princess-highlighted by
a bouquet of flowers:
blue, pink & green

Other days
she wears a custom made
belt buckle with her worn jeans,
faded plaid shirt, long hair
the color and texture of straw-tied
tied tight as broom bristles
beneath a red Harley Lover bandanna

a worn hardcover copy
to her chest of 'Princess Daisy'
or the latest trials and tribulations
magazine, scandal sheet, hard or
soft cover book, on the life and times
of Princess Di

While she is waiting
for the bus, regular riders observe:
"That girl travels about like
some crazy woman but she never
goes anywhere."

The Princess may press her leg
close against a male passenger's leg
making him, this stranger wonder,
"Is this some kind of nervous crowding thing
or a come on, pick me up, move?"

Who knew,
really? She never speaks,
can't, in fact,
mistrusts the spoken word as the deaf
& dumb will, preferring thoughts, ideas, words
transmitted through reading material,
in books or on-line,

once she has traded commuter bus riding
for a home computer,
for more or less, safe Internet surfing,
subject searching New York Public Library
holdings for shadowy tales of royal
blue bloods throughout history,
all the phantom love experiences
she craves, haunting the stacks,
our pale lady of the lovelorn
presiding over morgues of the recently
living and the dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment