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Poetry: Alan Catlin 

THE FAITHLESS

I lost my faith
tossed it away
like pennies dropped
from the Observation Deck
of the Empire State Building

I watched them falling
toward 5th Avenue
and thought of those
animated dots moving
so far below

and how they might
look up and see the hot
copper weighted rain
as it fell

O’KEEFFE REQUIREMENTS

Landscaping all
the stilled lives

of a New Mexico
in the mind

requires a death’s head
with white roses,

eye sockets hollow
as the wind, multi-

colored studies:
hot house flowers,

storm struck tree
stumps, shallow

caves of bone;
transformations,

black abstractions

SURREALIST SUNSET

over North Point
Lighthouse

a red phantas-
magoria

the eye refuses
to believe

the light
will fail

#89 FERAL GIRL, BOGOTÁ, 1999
after Wm Vollmann

This wild child is
so far beyond pain,
beyond hunger and
neglect, her face
is a locked jaw snarl,
a warning to all who
might think of touching
what is hers or in some
way interfering with
her life

Camus called the wildest
creatures in The Plague
pariah dogs after how
they were unwanted,
vicious, beyond dead,
untouchable

and you would see
them on the streets
of Bowles’ Morocco,
their ribs showing,
mange-infested,
so addled by the heat
and hunger they can
barely move

no shelter for succor
for these creatures,
for the wild girl,
vinyl hood thrust up
to deflect the rain

“THE ARDUOUS NOWHERE” I
after Stephen Hannock

defined by dark
vermicular vortex

dense cloudscape
that dissipates against

gray-green sky;
formerly trapped

within the occluded
spherical mass,

a bright concussive
light released


“THE ARDUOUS NOWHERE" II
after Stephen Hannock

False dawn’s finish;
a wary stillness

spilt by a singular
vein of oracular light

ANNE’S DOLLS

Some dolls are signifiers,
others are just dolls.
The ones that signify appear
to be resting on shelves in
display cases or lounging on
furniture on the way to another
place, another life, eternal as
a child of the undead is, denied
youth but cursed with an
understanding, a desire that can
never be realized or fulfilled.
The dolls with one eye open
and the other shut are observers
of tragedies, travesties involving
a sickness of the blood, indiscretions
so perverse nothing living is allowed
to see.  The other dolls all have their
houses to fall back on, beds on which
to lie; their lives are simple, they never age.


Schenectady poet Alan Catlin has been writing for as long as he can remember. His next book of poetry will be Self-Portrait with the Artist Afraid of His Self-Portrait. He is at work on a fictional memoir about his unchosen profession as a barman, to be called Hours of Happiness.

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  • Seven poems from Schenectady poet Alan Catlin.

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