Monday, March 18, 2013

Alan Catlin- Two Poems

                                               The Mysterious Stranger

                                                walked in after a lifetime sunning
                                                himself in a place where the ozone
                                                layer had completely been deleted or,
on the edge of some rain forest
where the climate was changing so rapidly
                                                it radically effected anyone who went there
                                                in ways that can only be imagined. 
Maybe it was the unspeakable
                                                rankness of his rotting clothes covered by
something that might either have once been
mud or engine grease, and permanently
sealed with a impenetrable slimy gloss
                                                like a polyurethane scented with assorted
                                                barnyard animal feces, and the bottom layer
                                                of the rare bird room of a Bronx Zoo,
where it was conceivable he might have been
a regular, dreaming of a lottery win that
would bring unlimited pints of Wild Irish Rose,
                                                and Cheeze Curls for a years, until the cash
                                                ran out, or was stolen.  
I watched him trying to complete a thought
that began, “Could I have----“ and ended with
                                                him standing up, addressing a tree alongside
Western Avenue, a newly acquired one dollar
bill in his hand, a locked door at his back
                                                ----a moment of your time, a draught beer
                                                anything at all?

                                                To a Person Sitting in Darkness

                                                sitting at the far end of the bar
                                                after hours, the silent TV,
                                                flash dancing MTV images in the cold,
                                                harsh, early dawn lighting.
                                                What is left of the bar’s interior,
                                                covered in spilt beers, rank whiskeys,
                                                smoked cigarettes; all the filled up
                                                ashes trays of post-midnight dreams. 
                                                Five pints of Bass Ale, and two double
                                                extra dry Robert Roys, for the road,
                                                doesn't touch, or remove, the darkness
                                                lingering inside. The only motivation
                                                to move, a force of nature, 
an empty glass.

Alan Catlin is a very retired barman. Twenty five of his thirty years of service were spent behind an Irish bar and all he has to show for it is a button that says 98% Blarney Free and a blinking, green, Miller Lite bottle cap.

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