Saturday, August 15, 2015

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

“the day flings itself upon you”

“We’re all fucked. It helps to remember that.”
                        George Carlin

“When you are young everyone sticks a knife in you.”
            Poncho in “Ride the Pink Pony”

Slumming in just-this-side-of- suicide bars. 
Fooling no one they belong there, except,
maybe, themselves.  Among those unemployed
longshoremen, stevedores, men who broke
heads for a living or else who just liked the
feel of blood on their fists or in their mouths;
loving the after taste that near-death experiences
always leave after the event.  Indulged as
trust fund babies, people who might be good
for a few free drinks or as marks to be
overcharged in bad drug deals they would
be long gone from the scene after, when the poisons
reached the destination they were intended for.
Their women only good for copping a feel or
some compelled oral penile stimulation in
storage rooms no one else had the key to.
The ones who survived the ordeal had
confused stories to relate where none of
the connections would quite cohere.
The places they went as closed as closed can be.

Desperate Characters

They hide in the shadows of buildings
brought down to tumultuous ruin,
stand behind DO NOT ENTER signs
as of by being there no one could
see what they really were.
They all claim to be from somewhere
else but their scars betray them as
their clothes do like uniforms worn in
battles between states of mind and body
as the escapees from prison riots
that they are, always on the edge of
desperation and death. Their bodies
are marked with inscriptions, blood
oaths that can never be revoked,
they carry weapons stolen from private
armories, drive war machines super-
charged and well-primed for abductions
and assassinations, renditions personal as
blood libel.  Their creed is a kind of cult
worship divined from black art bibles,
are coven killers whose turn-the-earth-
black way shows no mercy, draws a shroud
over the sky and tears holes in the fabric
only to let new birds of prey in. 
There is so much emptiness inside them,
letting it out creates a vacuum nothing can
survive in. If they tell you a new moon
                                                         is full, you believe it.  What else can you do?

Lounge People Listening, Waiting for “The End”

Young America 1970, half wasted
drinking from the keg of perpetual
flowing beer, sacred font open 24 hour
a day, for charter members of Roosevelt
Drive Social Club, duplex of dharma
bums, a month away from graduation 
and a letter of greetings and salutations
from Uncle Sam draft board;
black robes and mortar board hats in May,
jungle fatigues by October, flag draped
coffin by the first of the year, full military
honors; it had happened before and it would
happen again.  No one mentioning what lay
ahead, but everyone aware of the elephant
in the crowded living room, the Woodstock
Live album on so loud Jimi Hendrix made
ears bleed the national anthem,  taking you
higher as Sly and the Family Stone and
the hydroponic weed smuggled in from
who knew where, classes some kind of Kent
State nightmare no one bothered with any more.
Interiors so crowded early spring afternoons
relocating all the furniture outside on the lawn
under the high flying drinking flag: a martini
with olives on a cresting wave, seemed the only
way to fly, all the summers of love over,
young ladies on the daybed/couch dressed
in funereal black, white skulls on gold chains
around their necks, dead eyes and too red lips,
all the gone tomorrows, today, that seemed to
say, abandon hope all ye who enter here.

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