Saturday, December 19, 2015

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

Sammy introduced

a whole new concept
of Christmas gifting
at the bar: wrapping
and giving, well-thought
out presents that were
designed to be the most
inappropriate, sure-to-be-
hated item ever.
He gave each of most
disliked happy hour
regulars a professionally
wrapped item like Pete
the Nazi’s Malcolm X
t-shirt.  What more could
a simple minded, virulent
racist ask for?  No one had
seen Pete since and it had
been years. In fact, last
glimpses of Pete was of him
swearing ad tossing his
Malcolm in the dumpster
behind the bar.”It was
worth its weight in gold.,”
Sammy insisted,” just
for all the free beers I got.
Chasing Pete away was
a bonus.” No one liked
Pete, least of all me.
Every time the subject
came up I bought Sammy
one on the house.


Sammy's idea of

a down home get
together at the bar
surprised everyone
Not that a guy
who did twelve
different kinds
of pills, from
laughers, to downers
to in-betweeners,
with his beers
and red wine,
was known for some
spectacular surprises:
first, he placed
the box on the bar,
ordered a pint
for himself, and
a half for his
mother, who never
really was much
of a drinker, "Right,
Mom" he said
to the box.
Everyone just sat
there, quietly finishing
the sentence he had
left incomplete:
"When she was still
alive…" but no one
said anything out loud.
In fact, it was so
uncommonly quiet in
that bar, you could
almost hear the head
bubbles evaporating
on her beer.

You could tell

Sammy had tuned out
what the guy was saying.
He’d spent a lifetime
tuning out negative comments
after all. Hell, everyone knew,
especially Sammy, that he
drank too much, that he’d
wasted his life, that he had
more prescriptions from more
mind altering drugs than
Timothy Leary and his merry
band of friends, I mean Sammy
had long ago given up fighting
the war with life, so why was
this guy going on so?
“Sammy, you have a degree,
a good one, and look where
you are: a pissant on a bar
stool.  What are you doing
with it?”
“Lately, I’ve been cutting
my lines on it.  I’ve found it’s
just the right size. I’d offer
you some but I snorted it all
in my office before I came
out.”  You had to hand it
to Sammy: he didn’t kill
conversations, he murdered

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