Friday, April 15, 2016

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

A Near Miss with Vincent's Ear

I figured he was
following a personal
torrent of spring
into the bar, a refugee
from a South Eastern
Asia range war he was
still fighting in his mind
as if he had been to
the real thing and in
homage to his ghost
buffalo soldier bros,
he had donned clean
camouflage fatigues,
a red hair covering
bandanna and a pair
of aviator glasses con-
veniently missing lens
for up close and personal
seeing the nitty gritty
of how his latest scam
was coming down,
"Check these out.
This is the kind of
alcohol you should be
stocking and drinking.
All the celebs are doing
it: Tom Jones, Barry White
Otis Redding, Jim Croce----"
"You forgot Ricky Nelson."
"What?" "Never mind.
Van Gogh Vodka, huh.
               What is this? Flavored
firewater to cut your ears
off to?""It's what the Brothers
drink, my man.  I don't see
no brothers here, now, do I?"
"You don't see anyone here.
Especially with those glasses on."
"Are you dissrespecting me?"
"Don't see anyone else
around to dissrespect so it
must be you."
"That's just what I would
expect from someone who
'wants to turn the country
of Yugoslavia into Otis
"The only country Otis is
turning into these days is
Atlantis, ten thousand leagues
under the dock of the bay."
It was a crappy, mixed metaphor,
but it seemed to strike a lot
closer to home base on Planet
Nine or wherever he was,
than the Vincent's ear one,
so I had to label it a successful
one, as these things go.
I didn't even have to
explain to him how much
better he would be able to
read his brochures by street
light, standing on the double
yellow lines of Western Avenue
then he could in here as
I usually did, just before
dialing 911.

The Other Side of Nowhere New York

She spent her time between
Long Island and Paradise and
he divided his between New York
and Never Never  Land, their primary
functions in life: clubbing, texting,
doping and screwing, often all at
the same time, like performers in
a new kind of Wild Wild West Show
on the Lower East Side of a depleted
ozone layer in their brains curdling like
milk left in the sun so long the smell
was just this side of Johnny Rotten three
days dead and unattended, a rankness
that went unnoticed by everyone that
they came in contact with, all suffering,
as they were, from the same kind of disease
of inattention and excess, all claiming
to know the real story of what happened
with Syd and Nancy, how the body double
died and the happy couple escaped upstate
to do time in the foothills of the Adirondacks
and the Twilight Zone.

They Came Back

The last few people that came into
the bar were like characters out of
a Hermann Broch novel, Sleepwalkers
and circus acts, side show performers
with their one trick ponies, their novelty
tricks learned at the feet of illustrated men,
bearded ladies, ten penny geeks nothing
was too degrading for.  After awhile it felt
as if someone had isolated the bar and
the drinkers, by drawing a kind of sheet
between them and the outside world to
show movies on, creating two dimensions
in one, overlapping realities almost
indistinguishable, one from the other.
Wee Gee’s off duty black and white
performers sipping cocktails at the bar,
images transposed on their faces of all
those people who had died now inexplicably
revived, legions of them parading in the street,
laconic, wan, non-threatening but intent
on resuming lives interrupted, lacking only
a vital animation that made them human once.
Their failure to interact, to readjust, finally
compelling them to seek their own kind,
the people sitting at the bar, drinking as
if there were no yesterday, no tomorrow,
all of them listening to music, in silence,
only they can hear.

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