Monday, January 25, 2016

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

 A New Life, Maybe

 He was the kid who used to live
 across the street none of us live on
 anymore.  What I read in The Gazette
 told me he was up for a Felony DWI‑
 what he told me was it was the third one
 in a year and he was facing serious time
 and it wouldn't be in County Jail where
 his father the cop could stop by and look
 at him as if he were the most disgusting
 thing on earth with a junior after his name.
 I always felt he was a good kid going
 in the wrong direction on dope and alcohol,
 he said he was off for good at the halfway
 house he was staying at.  At least, when
 he blew the 2.6 they caught him for,
 he wasn't driving up an exit ramp of a major
 highway as one of my friends was from college
 who might have blown more if he could still
 breathe.  There wasn't enough of him left
 to stuff in a plastic garbage bag, at least,
 junior was flying low now, keeping the yellow
 double lines in place instead of watching
 them jumping from one hemisphere to the next,
 the oncoming headlights closing in, too close
 to avoid.

 An Evil Genius

 I looked around for the camera when
 they came in. Their being here could
 have been a documentary news thing
 and I would regret punching out the
 camera man, later, for filming it when
 law suits started being filed. 
 These guys had to be invented
 by an evil genius working the Welfare Rolls
 in lower Albany.  It's not often you
 get guys dressed in stolen clothes you
 would have had to mug a bum for,
 that smelled as if they had been sleeping
 in the Albany Landfill for seven years
 with one eye open for the rats.
 I wondered what the cabbie thought
 when they told him:"Just take us
 to Rapp Road, we live by the Landfill."
 I saw the guy from Duffy's rolling down
 windows as he pulled out from the curb,
 cursing me every inch of the way.
 I didn't ask those guys into the bar,
 hell, it was the first of the month;
 all the thawed out crazies were on the streets
 with hundreds of dollars they would blow
 by Thursday.  If the cabbie  thought
 the Stenchmen were bad, they should have
 been prepped for the guy I would give
 them after last call, the schizoid, alien
 hunchback of Western Avenue.

 A Song Without Words for a Soprano Who Has Forsaken Sleep
 She was singing an aria from
 an opera in a language she
 didn't have.  The initial signatures
 were transcribed by a madman
 and had a logic that didn't
 translate into Russian .
 She was changing languages from
 month to month that year, the next
 one would be Serbo-Croatian,
 an idea no one would recognize
 in Cyrillic although she attempted
 to augment her voice with Vodka
 and caviar. What emerged was a
 vision of a dust devil bursting out
 of a fault line saying unknowable
 words that break the skin, forming
 caverns the bats of her mind would
 fill and breed in, spreading an
 otherworldly sound, once heard,
 no one would ever forget.

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