Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Two Poems by Alan Catlin

The Dead Nazis


Maybe it was the white power

haircuts or maybe it was just

the profusion of really crude

offensive tattoos of screaming

banshees and death head rock

band logos, that put me off,

whatever it was I thought,

"Time to reach inside that

old box of barroom dirty

tricks for the shot that stalled

an alien invasion." I acted

calm and vaguely respectful

said, "How would you boys

like something really different?

Something no one has been

able to drink more than two of

and remain upright?"

"What's it called?" 

"I don't know if I should tell

you or not.  Might spoil the

surprise." Their response was

about what you expected,

"What's it called, asshole?"

and they made it sound like

a threat.

"Okay, you asked for it,

The Dead Nazi."

"We'll take two to begin with."

"If you're able to drink those,

the third one's on me, as in free."

"Start pouring and don't worry

about how many we can hold,

we'll take care of everything."

"I'll bet you will." I mixed them

fast, under the bar, so they

couldn’t see what was in them

and filled a couple of shot

glasses before they changed their

minds, holding enough elephant

tranquilizer in reserve, for the next

couple of rounds. I watched them

going for it as if it were some

kind of perverse game of liquid

Russian Roulette, started clearing

off all the remaining wads of

cash from the bar; where they

were headed, money wasn't going

to do them any good.


The Ernest


Maybe serious drinking became

an avocation instead of recreation

after Papa had taken one too many

African safaris that ended up as

Bushwhacking a path through

a jungle wall of vegetation after

the plane crashed, instead of

the more traditional routes and

methods of hunting as: on foot,

with porters & machetes, guides

& with a specific destination in mind.

Or maybe it was after he got to

the point where he could only

write word one after he'd had

a morning constitutional, the kind

poured in shot glasses that he'd

drink with sipper straws until his

hands stopped shaking. Judging

from most of what was published

from that period, after he took

the back of his head off with a shotgun,

his manuscripts were better off as kindling,

or lost in a briefcase on a train to nowhere,

like the youthful writings purportedly

were.  In those early days, drinking

was all part of making the scene,

an Art to be refined along with

everything else & it never took place

before noon & was a reward for hard

work well done instead of the be all &

end all of everything.



Bio: Alan Catlin retired from bar wars after thirty four years working in his unchosen profession as a barman in various establishments in the capital district including twenty five years at the Washington Tavern. He has published well over sixty chapbooks and full length books of both prose and poetry. Some of his more recent books are "Near Death in the Afternoon on Becker Street", "Self Portrait as the Artist Afraid of his Self-Portrait" both from March Street Press and "Drunk and Disorderly" a selected poems from Pavement Saw Press. To date he has received twenty Pushcart Prize nominations, seventeen in poetry and three in prose, but has never won one, which must be some kind of record for futility. 




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