Poetry from Alan Catlin

After Reading Charles Burchfield’s Journal #1

Last fading light after sunset at meadows
end. Wildflowers lose their color anticipating
an encroachment of trees. Nighthawks ravage 
the venous skin of leaves clustered between
the thatched tents of pupae evolving into
cabbage moths and insects that might be black
like flies. Once roused these predacious 
swarm becoming an infectious, stinging mass,
virulent as diseases spread by poison gas.
Walking here we are on the cusp of something
new but we don’t know what it is.

Nascent moon shadows well-worn
	path; solitary man
walking hears nothing moving.

Court Artist Jane Rosenberg’s Portrait
of an Ex-President of the United States 
Asleep in a  New York City Courtroom
During Jury Selection for His Criminal Trial

Slouching in his chair, bracketed by
legal counsels, the massive bulk of him
in weirdly tailored suit, unnaturally
orange tinted make-up creating an unhealthy
face, an imitation tan. There his thin, blow 
dried, artificially blonde hair, teased to cover 
a large bald spot, a caricature at rest, 
slack jawed and jowly, swollen pouches 
of excess fat, frown lined forehead, 
unruly eyebrows vaguely satanic looking, 
so much of him, looking aged, beaten, 
too tired to go on, almost peacefully sleeping. 
His silence is merciful, a blessing.

Sophie Calle’s True Stories: photos and essays

One stolen shoe: left-red
Nose before plastic surgery: a closeup
Self-Portrait as topless striper with blonde wig
Portrait: Real life artist model sketch defaced by razor cuts
Burned bed in the street from three stories up (hers)
Self-portrait with pig’s nose
TV Guide page in grandmother’s house after she died
Single die in jeweler’s ring case
New Year’s Eve resolutions: No lying, no biting-the husband’s
Las Vegas Drive Up Marriage hale-Open 24 Hours
Fake white wedding marriage gathering with family and friends
The breakup: the coffee cup, the breasts (hers)
Red Wedding Dream on Roissy airport runway
Dumped in August: two bird legs mounted on a stick
The View of My Life-cows grazing as seen through a window
Dead in a good mood-from her mother’s diary
When my mother died, I bought a taxidermist she named Monique (after her mother)
Death of the beloved cat: laid out in a coffin with a blanket
My Mother, My Cat, My Father (gone)
Caution sign: END

Time Reordered: From the Table of Contents
	Of Jackie Craven’s Whish

Under anesthesia I remember a moon
Dawn dreams a new upending
I’m speeding the Quantum Highway
My misery sleeps through sunrise
3 A.M hovers on a balcony
Half-Past Yesterday sleeps in my bed
A clock lives inside my looking glass
2 A.M. blunders into the damp city
8 A.M. broods beneath a gray umbrella
Half-past yesterday has abandoned me
3 A.M. hovers on a balcony
Clocks can’t be trusted in the electric city
2 A.M. jolts awake in the dining car
63:13 raps at my door
63:13 lodges in my sister’s frontal lobe
5:15 paces hospital corridors
Urgent care has no time for us
As her steel frame expands, the Human Clock writhers and turns to smile
Dawn dreams a new upending
Half-Past Tomorrow slumbers in the rear of the freezer

burned out by promiscuity: 
Byron’s life and letters excerpted

The first gonorrhea I have not paid for
A world of other harlotry
The Trinity college (stuffed) bear
I have quite given up concubinage
A Turkish bath-that marble paradise of sherbert and sodomy
I shall confine myself henceforth to the strictest adultery
There was never a man who gave up so much to women

We have been burning the bodies of Shelley and Williams 
	on the sea-shore
Cash is the sinew of war
I was a fool to come here (Greece) but being here I mut see
	what is to be done
Back! Out of my sight! Fiends, can I have peace, relief from
	this hell?
Come; you damned set of butchers(his attending doctors); 
	take away as much blood as you will: but have done 
	with it

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