Monday, April 29, 2013

Alan Catlin- Two Poems

Season of the Witch
His idea of a fun that Winter was
jumping naked from a second story window,
into a six foot high snow bank outside the dorm
window, screaming at the top of his lungs as
he flew and threatening to do it again until,
“He got it right.”  A blanket, a few blasts
of cheap bong wine, and another stick of primo
Cambodian Red and he was flying right,
wrapped in some  blankets and seeing
the kind of flying monkeys who came for people
who didn’t live righteous lives; visions that,
obviously, had nothing to do with him.
Someone suggested taking a spin in his wheels,
the used hearse in the parking lot along with
all the others, “No man, it’s cursed. She put
a hex on it.”  She was the witch he’d been screwing
since he arrived on campus two years ago as
a second semester transfer freshman, with hair
down to his ass and the most dynamic
sound system in a way-beyond-it’s-useful-life,
rig. “Man, everyone has a hearse. It’s the 60’s.
Or a Beetle. But mine has a reel to reel.”
A game breaker for a witch who rode shot gun with
the devil, always in black, pentagram amulets and
wild gypsy hair, dead things in her crocheted
shoulder bag along with great weed, mystery powders,
and spell casting shit.  “That girl was wild, Man,
beautiful and a heart stopping body once you got
rid of all those clothes. I don’t even think she, like
owned, underwear. Only goes with guy’s who have
a hearse.  Says she dug the vibes.  And the music.
Man, I loved her but she blew me off. Said I was
dragging her down. Stole all my Donovan tapes.
‘Season of the Witch’; that’s her life story.”
It would have been funny if everyone hadn’t seen her
around, climbing in and out of those vehicles,
late at night and the sound of things dying inside
that could never have been misinterpreted as something else. 

 Jungle Rot

 "I'm one of the real old Vets from the Nam.
 People don't understand what we went through. 
 I wasn't exactly a kid when I enlisted. 
 It was a righteous thing.
 We were  going to kick some butt and come
 right back home.
 Didn't work out that way.
 I did two years over there in the escalation time.
 Got this spot on my cheek they said was jungle rot.
 Inside of a month, I had it from neck to my toes.
 Still, I was one of the lucky ones, my groin
 was spared.
 When I turned up at home, I was this twenty‑four
 year old warrior, smelling like a swamp, with this
 disease all over my body.
 I expected like a warm welcome from home,
 but all I got from my old man was,
"Jesus what the hell is that?"
 I said, "They told me if it doesn't go away
 in two weeks check into the VA."
 "Good Christ, no one who looks like that
 is sleeping in my house."
 Some welcome home after two years eating shit
 in a rain forest, dusting gooks.
 Everyone had it.
 The Rot. 
 Maybe that's how we lost the war.
 We slowly rotted away. 
 Back home, for sure, no one wanted to know us. 
 All I felt like doing was a case of beer
 and ripping the lungs out of anyone who stood
 in my way. 
 I was used to ripping people's lungs out
 and I was good at it.
 No one ever told me how to adjust Stateside.
 Two failed marriages and three kids later,
 I'm in line for a major job promotion.
 Still it's 2:30 in the morning and I can't sleep.
 In the Nam, I used to do strange things:
 kick up flares and shoot things for the hell of it. 
 You know what I mean?
 Kill things.
 How about another beer?"

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