Saturday, July 13, 2013

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

Trout Fishing in America’s

cover: a long-haired hippie
and his woman, suggested
the Aquarian Age, Woodstock,
Free Love, drugs, rock n roll,
all the good things the sixties
had to offer we were leaving
behind in the new dark ages
of Nixon, Altamont, Charlie
Manson, wars of containment
by attrition, police state riot
gears, Maxwell's silver hammer
of death, all the baggage DC
carried within him as a silent
soon-to-be-killer, a suicidal
disease no one recognized
until it was way too late.
He picked up my Brautigan, sd.,
"These people look really
blissed out.  Happy and free."
Lifted the book along with
the poetry text he was borrowing
for a class he'd attend on
different drugs determined by
phases of the moon, all his
favorite rock stars dead or dying
along the twisted mined super-
highway in his head that divided
him in two like some kind of
blacktopped Mekong swollen by
monsoon and atrocity kills he felt
obligated to explore, fishing with
hand grenades, hot shrapnel in his
brain, a lure for later, when life
got seriously fucked driving blind
and crazy, way beyond alcohol
and drugs.  When all the shit hit
I wondered how far into the trout
stream he had gone and which dead
rock star was going with him
to that no exit place of no U-turns,
no reverse, no get out of jail free

 appeared in James River Review

Long Distance Driving

A wind so cold, skin froze
when touched, peeled in
layers after pushing cars
from snow banks, ruts,
flesh adherence to metal an
epiphany of pain, even
medicated with high grade
weed, second wind inducing
black beauty speed trips for
long distance driving white
outs after dark along Rte 69,
destinations west of nowhere,
we wandered all over the road,
only guard rails and low stone
abutments keeping us from
going over the edge.

"Some velvet morning when I'm straight-----"

Sunday at the Marine Bar
watching the Miller beer sign,
neon tracer rounds highlighting
the clock face, stretching out
the mostly-dark behind the bar,
two longneck bottles of beer to
drink from, one for the left,
one for the right, "Gives new
meaning to the phrase: two fisted
drinker," she is saying, "Buy
me one?"  "If I had the money,
I'd buy you two." "It's, okay.
I buy back.  I always pay my way."
"Take one of these, I haven't touched
either."  And she does.  Who is she?
Where did she come from? How long
has she been here?  Gaugin reimagined
in terms of a barroom; more like
Van Gogh in composition, Absinthe
Drinkers, Potato Eaters, Self Portraits
from the ruined end of the palette-----
She says, "How about a shot?  You do
whiskey, don't you?" Like the movie
They Shoot Horses Don't They?
Marathon drinking, trying to outdo
the form in the mirror drinking with
you. one to one, knows no limitations----
"Whiskey, Scotch, whatever, nothing clear,
nothing that burns, nothing that changes
color over ice."  "Scotch it is. Two more,
please, the good stuff." Whatever that is.
I thought, how many of these had we done?
I have no clue, sinking further into the deep
black hole of my depression, my darkest
imaginings and she with me, grasping
a hold, digging her nails deep into my
bare skin; the snow and the ice outside
pelting the windows, making the roads
impassable, the sidewalks skating rinks,
outside of wherever I am, staring through
cigarette smoke in the Marine Bar or lost in
her arms somewhere, in her dream or mine,
the unimaginable weight of alcohol
pressing us together, pulling us down, an
unknowable face in a bar mirror staring back.           

                                              appeared in Art Mag

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