Saturday, February 20, 2016

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

All the back road

grit from every
twisted turnpike
broken double
yellow lined
not on any map
sold in this
territory, state or
country highway
was imbedded
about his person,
said, “Son, make
it a longneck,
doesn't matter what
kind & a double
Yukon neat. What
you lookin’ at?”
He said, observing
my reading the worn
lettering on his way
faded, oil stained,
shirt that said,
He smiled pounding
down his brand of liquid
fire, washing it away
with Imported from
Jersey longneck swill
signaling for dos mas
as he swallowed the last
of his beer. “Anyone can
shirt. This one you have
to earn.”

Seamless Surgery

We were waiting on
some hot shot PHD
surgeons, policy makers
too busy making important
decisions, drinking latte
or whatever it is they do
locked behind closed
door conference rooms
while us working technicians,
with a mere 30 years
or so of actual field work,
are cooling our heels
waiting for these specimen
sheep to either be no longer
viable specimen, or to cut
themselves open, finally
my partner Bob says,
“I'm not waiting anymore.
Let’s get started.” As these
sheep weren't getting any
younger or showing signs
of instituting self-surgery,
we started in with the biopsy
business, had everything
squared away when the big
wigs finally condescended
to show. “Well, let’s get started,”      
the head honcho says,
“Started,” I said, “We're finished                  
already.”” Finished!? Where's
all the sponges? The blood?”
“When I do chest surgery,
we don't need sponges because
there's never any blood.”
“I don't believe it Who taught
you that technique?”
“Only the best in the business,
Dr. Salvatore, Mafia Surgeon.”
That always gets a big laugh
as they think it’s a joke.
It did this time too. 
For the life of me, I can't
understand why they think
I'm kidding.  The kind of work
                                           that man did, he couldn't
afford to leave any blood
behind and there's no reason
why I should either.               

I'm not going to

say he's weird but I was over
at his place to check out
a job & asked if I could use
the phone.
He says, “Sure. Let me
show you where it is.”
We get to this little cubby hole
where the stairs come down into
the front hall & he says,
“Over here is where I talk to God.”
Now that's a line that begs for a
come back but I wait to see if,
maybe, he's kidding & when it looks
as if he isn't I say,
“And does He talk back?”
“All the time,” he says.
Now, I'm wondering if he's
got a party line set up with
the Unabomber, Son of Sam
& Charlie Manson &
I'm thinking my call really
wasn't that important.
I wouldn't want to take up
potentially valuable phone time,
so I say.“Never mind, I'll call later.”
“You sure? I don't mind.”
“Absolutely. Positively. Sure.”
By then, I'm convinced he’s got
                                           layers of aluminum foil concealed
in the ceiling & walls to screen out
all potentially harmful interference/
transmissions like mine.
Nothing must interfere with
this ongoing dialogue with God is
definitely the prime directive
around that house.
Makes you wonder just what
he and God talk about:
World Affairs, politics
religion, sex? How about
them Yankees? I almost asked
but my mama always said a man's
religion is his most private thing
and you have to respect that.
I was really curious but some things
you are just better off not knowing.
Besides, I thought I might never
get out of there if I had asked.


  1. Great poems with a raw style that cuts sharp.
    I really enjoyed reading them.

    1. Oh, and I originally from Brooklyn, New York so I get it...