Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Alan Catlin On Padded Walls, Cave Paintings, Drinking In The End Times, and Kafka's In The Making

The Voice at 3 A.M.
after C. Simic

is the Lunatic after he has
escaped the asylum, after
he has bent the bars of a solitary
life as an acrobat would,
scribbling in the dark the code
of warped genius gone bad
on padded walls before he
finds a place to reside where
only changeling wolves
will go.  Here, among friends,
he stutters, but all who gather
to hear his words know how
easily prophecy may be confused
with truth. Paintings on cave
dwelling walls tell an epic tale,
but what does it mean?

Adios Amigos

After all the false alarms,
it was just another End Times
gathering, even with embossed
invitations, that seemed like
just another excuse for
a party.  Not only had
the novelty worn off,
but the pretense as well.
If a nude descended  a
staircase, no one would
have noticed or cared.
After awhile, even the black
humor, sick jokes about
death and the hereafter,
felt like hollow testimonials
for a deceased office colleague
everyone openly despised.
Only the drinking was real.
The drugs.

Working Class Country Children 1914
                    after August Sander

There is something curious,
something not quite right
with these children.

The two boys dressed in
their Sunday best, heads
shaved to the nubs like
junior Kafka’s before
the metamorphosis or
after the kinder-transports.

The girls are not exactly stunted
but have eyes that are too far part
to be normal, seem unusually intense,
are the kind of growing curiosities
that would be out of place
in a Borges bestiary.

There is a kind of native
intelligence in all these
children’s eyes. The kind
that is harmless now
but in adults, unspeakable.

Alan Catlin has published many chapbooks and full length book. His most recent chapbooks are the movie inspired Hollyweird and Blue Velvet winner of the 2017 Slipstream Chapbook Competition.

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