Thursday, August 15, 2013

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

Free Lunch for Kids

She was this enormous
loud person waddling
to the folding tables
in the church basement
with a list she starts
reading without so much
as a "How do you do",
a list that contained like
twelve different sandwiches:
roast beef, ham, turkey,
corned beef----on all kinds
of different breads, requiring
all different dressings, withs
and withouts, not to mention
a drink order, all To-Go, she says
"While you're making those,
I'll go to the car.  I've gots
some boxes you all can put
this in when its ready."
Looks horrified, stunned to
hear, "Our free lunch doesn't
work this way."
"What you mean?  Says free
lunch for kids outside."
"Doesn't say Deli sandwich
orders gladly taken.  Plus you
have to eat it here."
"You don't believe I don't
got no twelve kids?"
"I believe you might have
that many.  Next time bring
them all in so we can meet them."
"Where I gonna put them?
My van broke down.  I'm a
driving my sister's car while
she's away."
"Sorry, dear, that's not our
"You folks better get you act
together.  Some free lunch for
kids.  I got half a mind to sue
you for false advertising."

Big Mama

She was Jaba-the-Hut's
soulmate, they just hadn't
met yet, riding the #55 bus,
taking up all of the-Please
Save These Seats for the
Handicapped and the Disabled,
yelling at her kids to shut up
and sit down or else-
"You know what happens
when I gotta get hold of you."
A look beyond fear passed
across the oldest one's face
suggesting Mama must have
taught Hall of Fame wrestlers
a thing or two about Death
Grips and Bear Hugs of Doom,
those signature moves visiting
dignitaries were only too glad
to demonstrate on their once
a year visit downtown to
The Hall, a block or two away
from where Mama shook
the earth when she walked
as High Priestess of Junk Foods;
watching her moves, a man
near the rear of the bus said,
"Whoever climbs aboard that
woman was in for one hell
of a wild ride so he'd better
be real sure he knows what
he's doing before he gets on."

Like clockwork

every Saturday morning
between three & three-
thirty, she wakes up
screaming for more blow,
crack, whatever she's on,
injecting, snorting, smoking,
all of the above----demanding
that he get some more---fast,
before she got sicker, so sick
she wouldn't be able to stand
herself, would have to climb
the mother fucking walls,
coming down hallucination
demons crawling under her skin,
down the walls, filling up
the room, all the spaces left to
breathe----he says, "Calm down.
Where am I going to get such
a thing this time of night?"
"I don't care." she cries, "Just
get it!" Screams, getting louder,
more desperate, more frantic,
more out of control-----until
he smacks her.  Hard. "Snap
out of it, girl! Get a grip,
get yourself together, now."
But she doesn't, won't, starts
that Godawful screaming again----
Until he hits her, harder, this time.
Again and again. Inducing a kind
of cowed silence, she interrupts
by whimpering, nodding off, for
the moment----Their two boys
from other partners, burrowing
under the covers, no longer asking
what's going on, what's wrong
with momma?  They know, now,
how it is and how it will be.

 Free Lunch for Kids appeared in Nerve Cowboy,  Like clockwork used to appear in 147 Furman Street

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