Three Poems by Alan Catlin

I Know Who Lives Here

He’s knocking,
pounding on the door

It’s like three-thirty
maybe four,

whenever the bars close

Says he lives here

I know who lives here
And it isn’t him

My wife and I
live here

I ought to know
after 35 years

We have kids
but they don’t
live here

They did
but not

I know who lives here

Not him

The cop asks
through locked doors

“Do you know
this man?”

I say no
I never saw him before
I know who lives here

The cop says,
“Go back to sleep
He’s drunk
and confused
It’s his 21st birthday
We’ll take him home.”

I hope they do,
for everyone’s sake

“Go back to sleep”

I think maybe I am

I take pills
It’s not good to
wake up suddenly

It’s all very

all so confused

I know who lives here


A Bridge Too Far

The Douglas McArthur days
were the best of his life, outlining
battle pans on maps, in day rooms,
no one else could see. Used broken
chess pieces to mark troop placements
for advancing armies against troops
so well entrenched, they might as
well be invisible.

Finally more or less socialized,
his manner in Group, ranged from
aloof to hostile. Was often openly
aggressive, claiming he had more
important  issues to attend to than
discussing non-essential problems
with civilians. The others were openly
rebellious, acting out as opposing
forces would when confronted
by an enemy.

Daily medication adjusted,
he became so passive as to be
effectively inert.  Sat in far
corners of every communal room,
eyeing chess boards where headless
kings, defiled queens, disfigured knights,
lay on the defaced field of battle;
so many pieces missing, there was
never enough for a game.


“April is the Cruelest Month”

In wasted backwater nowhere
In unheated, clapboard, no indoor plumbing, no electricity,
                 no heat shotgun shacks

In bogwater mornings, moonshine high and sweetweed

In no plates, no insurance, fire breathing, black smoke
                 spewing, bald tired, all purpose wreck on wheels

In snow melt puddles

In pine forest dark at noon,
the unwashed and the unshaven
on the prowl, mythic as creatures barely evolved from
                  four limb crawlers to walking tall men
heavily armed and horndog crazy
after six months deep frozen and in total isolation
solitary confined and slouching off toward end time towns

Their coming the stuff fairy tales are made of

There is no moral to this story

Alan Catlin has published dozens of chapbooks and full length books of poetry. Among his more recent publications is the 2017 Slipstream Chapbook Winner, Blue Velvet. His most recent full length books is Wild Beauty from Future Cycle Press. he is the poetry editor of