Friday, November 21, 2014

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

“In the morning, in the evening, ain’t we got fun?”

“In the morning we spend time discussing how
the dashboard Jesus was ejected from the car
before the crash.” Helen Vitoria

Her idea of in the moment was wearing
a stretched-out halter top that would not
hold a knot, near transparent hot pants
you could almost see the twin tattoos on
her butt cheeks: one of a hummingbird
sucking nectar from a flower with a long,
pointed beak, the other of a yellow road
sign that said: Caution Men Working.
Hooked up with mad boys out of roadside
juke joints, country & western dive bars,
one pair of cowboy boots short of a bare
back ride in a field of prickly pear.
Liked the feel of wind rushing into hot
wired, top down cars, a sixer of Black Label
and a jug of homemade lightning in a jar,
heading full bore down no speed limit
highways, over dust coated blacktop,
going nowhere so fast even Death’s wild,
white broncos are little more than a blur
in the rear view mirrors.


Wherever there is alcohol,
there is violence waiting somewhere
nearby. Maybe hiding inside a thousand
dollar frock or barely contained inside
a handmade suit, one sip away from
a short jab to a partner’s ribs or an
unseen uppercut to the chin, body shots
that drop a well-made up woman to
the floor in a dead faint, diagnosed as
a bad time of the month.
Or, after a wedding/all day drinkathon,
that ends with a bare knuckle, tag team
lounge riot punch out, a bottle stolen
in melee for night caps in rent a rooms/
after-the-party rehash of the nights fun
and games; the success of an oft practiced
routine. No women allowed.  They’ll get
theirs soon enough when all the serious
drinking is done.
Or after the funeral, old scores brought back
to life: I never liked you accusations,
you’ve owed me since we were kids,
where’s that good faith cash I lent you
when we were in grade school that was
never repaid? Any excuse will do.
Or maybe after all the shouting us done,
everyone gone home from banquet hall,
bar, restaurant, club. Doors locked and
alarms set, there’s the one with a gun,
the one who brings back all his friends,
the one with a knife, the one who said
he’d be back for you, returns.
Emergency rooms are filled by us:
moaning, bleeding, beaten, unconscious
or worse, unable to recall a thing.


The clubs he liked best were
down two flights, no fire exits,
no emergency anything, recessed
lighting kept dim to hide how
shabby the place was. Or had
painted black windows, epileptic
fit inducing hot flash point lighting
eyes couldn’t focus in. Places
where he could watch women
the way predator’s culled a herd,
choosing a partner for a last tango
in never never land, thinking this
might not be the first circle of hell
but the night club next door.
Slipped the bouncers a fist full of fins
to forget faces he never saw.
Thought how much he loved
working nights, thought of all
the fun he was having, how it
would never end.

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