Three Poems by Alan Catlin


They’d never seen
anything like her before,
this thin stick of a woman
lying naked on a bare
mattress, scratches on
her body from head to
toe, lying in her own
filth and moaning.
“Turn them off. Please,
just turn them off.”
The paras had no clue
what she was talking about:
no TV, no radio, no VCR,
nada, “Turn what off?”
the senior para wanted to know.
“The radios. 32 Teeth, all
of them receiving, all of them
tuned to different stations.
It’s driving me crazy.”
Yep, it sure would, the rescue
unit thought. Crazier than a
shit house rat. This was one
tweaker wasn’t ever going to
see the light of another day
on the outside.


Semper Fi (motherfucker)

No one took the Marine Fitness
Regimen more seriously than
he did, working out hours each
day: strength and endurance,
speed and quickness, all the good
stuff a perfect body needs.
Sparred three times a week
just for drill. Was asked,
“You ever fight professionally?”
“Strictly amateur stuff but
I like to think I’m good.”
“You mean like Golden Gloves?”
“Nah, that stuff is for pussies.
I’m in the Fight Club.
Was a movie based on a kick ass
book. Ever see it?”
“Yeah, I did. As I recall, it didn’t
end that well for anyone.”
“You don’t join Fight Club
for Happy Endings.”
“No doubt.”
“Lots of guys don’t have a
purpose to their lives once they
get out of the service. That’s
what Fight Club’s for.”
“Everyone should have a
mission in life.”
“Damn straight. I was just a kid
when I joined up and the Marines
made me a man. A lot of guys used
to make fun of me and pick on my
ass. They are one bunch of sorry
assed motherfuckers now.
I’m hunting them down one
by one and taking them out.
You can’t imagine how satisfying
it is to see the looks on their face
when they realize who I am and what
is going to happen next. ”


Florida Rum Runner

There wasn’t much he hadn’t
learned about boats and blondes
by the age of sixteen, though he
was eager to learn anything
he might have missed. Got cut off
from family inner circle after being
busted at Zero Tolerance, 50 grand
a year private school, a week
before graduation for knocking up
a teenaged townie tramp and holding
an ounce of Mexican weed.
A few years of on-the-road, learning
the hard way on the job trades,
he landed a decent bar gig and
met up with old prep school bud
married to local mob don’s gorgeous
only child. Bought a plan for a
big score running cash crop off
The Keys to the states: a few days
of clear sailing, loading shrink
wrapped bales and he was set
for a long happy ever after life.
The perfect fairy tale ending
if you didn’t include DEA agents
riding a coast guard cutter and going
down for a mandatory 30 year Federal
rap. Still it was a better deal than
his roommate got: dead of a sudden
“heart attack” at 34. Or so the official
obit said.

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