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Poetry

Alan Catlin

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Alan Catlin has been publishing for five decades. His latest full length books of poetry are Walking Among Tombstones in the Fog from Presa Press, American Odyssey from Future Cycle Press and Last Man Standing from Lummox Press. His chapbook Blue Velvet won the 2017 Slipstream Contest.

The Meltdown

Life had been incredibly
unkind to him, pushing him
head first into The Slough
of Despair without proper
all weather gear and left him
there to find his way back
onto some elevated transcendental
railway of the mind that only
existed in fairy tales of New York,
Grimm Brothers tutorials on
how to hook your way into a
self inflicted China Syndrome,
complete psychic meltdown
with near fatal implications to
outer extremities of his lean body
not so much toned as flaccid,
skin the texture of wet rags
used for skimming the crap off
the bottom of body bags left too
long in the sun on the way to some
morgue just this side of his next
permanent address, Potter’s Field,
his life already underwritten in
the city’s fading light, all but over,
banshee’s wailing in his ears like
EMT sirens on the way to a multi-
vehicle DOA scene, body washers
primed and ready for the final touch.

The Telephone

“This would be hell, I thought”
Kevin Brockmeier

rings, ringing in the living room,
the study, the mudroom, ringing
in the basement, in the bedroom
near where you are lying, immobile,
paralyzed somewhere between waking
and sleep, ringing on land lines,
cordless phones, cells, insistent,
urgent, everywhere at once, more
phones ringing than you own, could
ever own, would ever own, ringing
here and everywhere else you have
ever lived, would ever live, even
the phone in your missing child’s
room, the one you feel you must
pick up, hoping to hear her voice;
holding a Playskool toy against
yourself as if it were her body,
the one you will never see again,
reaching for you, speaking to you
across an unbreachable gulf.

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