Saturday, August 9, 2014

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

Hell Hounds

"Do not eat anything in the underworld"

Wherever they had been,
their environment had treated
them in an unkind manner,
unless they were accustomed to
wearing clothes that had seen
the inside of forest fires, lakes
of industrial wastes that could
only be encountered wading,
knee deep, through concrete
sewage pipes into culverts
where stagnant runoff bred
mutant insects, plants-resistant
to every known defoliant,
every toxic killer spray
currently in use.  Surviving
these ordeals had made their skins
tougher than rawhide: sunburnt
and cracked where thin coats of
muscle, sinew, flesh covered
bone met their clothes that had stiffened
into something like denim armor,
layers that glowed in the dark with
a strange phosphorescent aura of
other worldliness that made their
eyes mostly off-white with pale
shaded liver spotting where irises
should have been, their black tongues
flicking broken stubs instead of teeth,
their breath a visible waste cloud
as they hissed something about a
powerful, more than one keg of beer
thirst, a kind of smile on the desiccated
strips of skin where their lips should
have been, their cheeks the last firewall
of resistance for what burned inside.

Pond Scum

Where they came from
pond scum was a delicacy
to be served as a side dish
with roadkill, toad stool
mushrooms and raw leaves
of rhubarb for a special
night sitting around before
the brand new black and white
TV stolen from a CVS store,
eating that old time favorite dish
of road pizza with melted pond
scum on top and a healthy
coating of grated animal feed
pilfered from a badass guard dog
with an attitude, “Hell,” he sd.,
“if animals can eat it and live
to a ripe old age, so can we.
We’re all animals underneath,
aren’t we?” An argument,
under the circumstances, that
was so persuasive it was
impossible to refute.

Evil Twins Separated at Birth

these two teenage girls inside
the shotgun house barely
sheltered from the rain, wet,
stringy hair limp about their
heart shaped faces, black mascara
streaked across their pale, white cheeks,
full lips sensual even as the eyes project
totally afraid.  Rain smears
the cracked windows at their
backs, the unpainted, unadorned
wood, protruding nail heads
where picture frames once hung,
mirror glass broken adding seven
years to lifetimes of bad luck.

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