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Other notable work by Alan Catlin.
Love at the Space Station
She breathed life into my hollow artifacts
of artificial being
like a massage artist kneading smoke
into skin of dead martyrs,
& I liked her cool
duplicity that comes with jaded aplomb,
plus how she spoke of her family
in the petty heat
of professional passion,
studying the wild birds in her feeder
pecking madly at seed-gray atoms;
then love could slip
into her crevice of fast forgiveness
where so many others spent time
carving initials into her pink clock
sounding its musical alarm
parody of Beethoven, a cell’s
ring tone at stardust.
Yet how could I leave later
(not looking back)
poetry or art,
just another body
in android heaven?
Bury Her Heart On Highway 61
Now strays my monarch (from her watchful throne
of old mattress, worn blankets, & warm debris)
to walk with the homeless in her spirit’s long sleep.
Stirring mangy calico cats from slumber
to join together in some midnight ramble
down mainstreet’s slick lamp-lit yellow
way (& shimmered slant), almost
following my monarch’s sleepwalk wend,
singing her strange lullaby
to a whirl of speeding cars unheeding her;
she’s bi-polar, on leave from Hollywood too,
between jobs & maybe even lifetimes
superseding this one … O monarch,
dressed in your glittering boutique rags
soiled, ripped, & rumpled by unkind use.
Walking like a Rock zombie through traffic,
daring the senseless metal brunt
to bury your heart on Highway 61,
just before someone star-gazes
into a last crash’s wild drunken skid,
our cell phones buzz.
We built this city on Rock & Roll, you said,
and its sounds equal grace
in perpetual aural motion
of heavy metals … “How else find Van Gogh’s ear
to worship in?”
Yet now we hear just echoes here, I replied,
vibrations of strife reverberating
like musical confetti notes shot to pieces
by crime all around us,
& this city exists only as an afterthought
of some dreaming deity’s malice,
where deaf mutes sing in silence.
What Fills The Vessel With Dandelion Wine
You want words to wash clean
Katrina’s bacterial flood waters,
When it was the flood itself Nature deemed
a rebaptizing of the land
man-sullied from stubborn edifices & ways.
Dirt, cinder, weed & blade
murk carried torrentially away,
Until once regal earth lost dominion
& man-made dikes broke free
Under the weight of natural punishment.
When the flood stops, the slate is clean,
Bible prophets huddle with carcasses
while burying life forms bloated
by the dominant aqua element,
& fish lie motionless with human dead.
And does your Father, in vaporous light
linger by bayou brine, praying for
The dispossessed on island rooftops,
from houses where underwater ghosts
Drink river toasts to lost fishermen?
PETER MAGLIOCCO, writer/artist/editor, has spent over 20 years editing the lit-zine, ART:MAG, from Las Vegas, Nevada. His bio appears in the Marquis’ Who’s Who In America, 2004-06 … His recent book of poetry & art, Ex Literotica, is from Publish America. He has poetry online & in print at The Smoking Poet, Freefall, Heeltap, Hudson View, Scars and elsewhere.
“What can you tell me about Neruda’s sleep?“
after a question posed by Clayton Eshleman
The jade bust of Neruda’s sleep
is made from Isla Negra stone,
leans against a convex mirror
of an Extravagaria until it falls
through glass dislodging the buffed
soft skulls of malignant nights
made porous as stretched-to-its-
limits skin, pale light filtering
through as splintering rain amid
jungle leaves, through leather
stockings hung like beehives in
the midst of soldiers of a counter
revolution, their spastic eyes, lidded
melanoma death is wriggling through.
“I walked on the moon when they didn’t even have cosmonauts”
after a statement by M. Chagall
free of gravity like the two-headed
lover: one face looking up into
the eyes of his mate, the other,
down, on the village, all the people
rooted to the earth, their hands
sprouting leaves out-of-season,
livestock floating free aside the newly
dispossessed: farmers and peasants,
warring soldiers and government spies
recently released from an upside down
steeple, a bandstand shaped by a Cubist’s
dreaming forms, compositioned as scores
by Shostakovich exhorting the dead to
mingle with the living in nightmares
of Leningrad, Petrograd, Moscovy iced-in
for the ninth month of the Winter, giving birth
to icemen so brittle they break into pieces,
mosiac tiles for stainglass windows,
portraits in blue, backdrops for a Magic
Flute, time and space rearranged, I walked
on the moon, saw the earth rise from
the firmament, continents on fire and
I wept, wept as I knew the earth would
rise again but no one would see.
“I keep thinking I’ll find the places that I dream about”
after a line by Kate Hunter
Those endless papered walls,
forests primeval full of melting
trees, wax fruit and flowers
haloed, then redefined by unnatural
light, the convulsive heat of it
rising in the rusting, knocking pipes
exuding clouds of rust, tainted steam
that drips down discolored walls,
peeling the paper as it falls,
leaving nothing behind.
Alan Catlin has published dozens of chapbooks and several full length books of poetry and prose since the early 80’s. He expects a full length book of poems from March Street Press in late 2007, Self-Portrait of the Artist Afraid of His Self Portrait. March Street has also published two earlier titles of his, Stop Making Sense and Playing Tennis with Antonioni. Most recent chapbooks include Our Lady of the Shipwrecks from Finishing Line Press and Still Life from Black Buzzard Press. Forthcoming in 2008 Effect of Sunlight on Fog from Bright Hill Press. He has been nominated for seventeen Pushcart Prizes, four in short fiction and thirteen for poetry. His selected poems Drunk and Disorderly is available from Pavement Saw Press.