Sunday, December 7, 2014

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

The Flatline Cocktail

Glucose 5% and Vodka 50/50

"That was an experience
I'm in no hurry to relive.
Imagine lying in Intensive,
tubes and IV's everywhere,
drugged almost out of your
mind, virtually helpless
with nothing much to do but
watch the Vital Signs monitor
and listen to the neighboring
death rattles.  So when the
machine goes from stable to
flat line, I'm really shocked.
It was just like you see it
on all those bad TV movies
but, at least, I'm pretty
sure I'm alive.  Still,
the machine thinks I'm dead
but not to worry, someone
is monitoring these machines,
like all the time, right?
After a few minutes of this,
I'm getting a little desperate,
leaning on the button hard.
By the time the nurse finally
comes running, I'm sweating
bullets, 'What seems to be
the problem?' she says. Remember,
I can't talk, so I'm pushing my eyes
over indicating the machine
that insists I'm dead.
She's so cool, when she catches
on, after all, it's not her in
the bed is it? Says glib as hell,
'Well, we'll just have to look
into this won't we?'
I'm think, you bet your sweet ass,
you will, sweetheart.
Well, it turns out, the machine had
a simple malfunction, you know
like, shit happens.  You'd think
with all they're charging to keep
you alive, the least they could do
was give you a machine that works.
Well, I guess it could have been
worse, I could have been in the hospital
where they took the wrong guy
off life support."

The Kiss of Death Cocktail

A Pitcher of Budweiser and an ounce of Shalimar

Pressed up against
the outer wall of the bar,
skirt hiked up almost
to her waist, she is
shameless, French kissing
him breathless, all pretense
of a quiet after work
date for a drink as
forgotten as the discussion
of his wife who no longer
cares what he does;
she's more interested
              in her exercise class
than sex.  Or the daughter
he still loves but only
sees in between activities
and dates.  All is forgotten
as the half-filled
pitcher and beer glasses
on the bar, cigarettes
burned to the filter,
an uneaten double order
of extra hot as passion
chicken wings.  Each week,
after week as the semester
ends, we see them as
just another Kama Sutra
couple, she the black eyed
widow, kissing, probing
deeply with her tongue,
he the anointed, gradually
shedding outer layers,
first, the wedding ring,
then the suit jacket, tie
and pressed shirt, finally,
the bright luster of his eyes.

The Icy Hand of Death Cocktail

One third Green Chartreuse, One third Yellow
Chartreuse, One third Pernod

The Expense Account didn't
necessarily exclude strange
experiments with after dinner
drinks but I wondered
as I watched him slamming
pony glass after pony glass
of high octane liquid sugar death
how he was going to justify
a hotel expenses bill
larger than the National Debt
of a former world power.
What happened to their GNP
bled the country white attempting
to fill a bottomless void
like the one in his memory
of that night that ended with
a pony that kicked back and
the icy hand of death carried
him over onto his back
where he lay on the wash
and wear carpeting staring up
at the hovering indistinct faces,
with blank, unseeing eyes.

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