VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Alan Catlin

On the Road

They drove the car

as if they hadn’t boosted it

from the driveway of some 

mansion they’d knocked over,

drove as if the trunk wasn’t

full of top shelf stuff they could

pawn for pennies on someone

else’s dollars, as if there weren’t

designer bags stuffed with

watches, earrings, necklaces,

jewelry, no questions asked,

almost untraceable goodies

guys would buy for cash

and a “thanks for coming in

suckers, good luck getting away

with this”, smile, drove as if

they could go forever, top down,

wind in their hair, three hundred

dollar sunglasses wrapped around

pin pricked eyes, so high they

almost didn’t need a vehicle

to contain them, to take them to 

rainbow’s end wherever that was.

Exterminating Angels

Once they had been someone’s

little girls, off to college in preppie

clothes and jeans, who were,

by junior year looked as if she’d

been kidnapped by Rastafarians

who braided her white gold waist

length hair into dreds, clothed

them all in Marley, t-shirts, no bras

allowed, and distressed jeans so torn,

the fabric was more for display

purposes than as clothing.

All of them acquired eyebrow

and nose rings, diamond studs

where the rings weren’t, ear piercings

and bad tattoos, lots of them, everywhere.

If the punk band they formed had a

permanent name it would be:

Exterminating Angels and the one

chord they could play would be backed

by a Ziggy Stardust refugee/drummer

on speed, a blind keyboardist, and

a sax player who had won an Andre

the Giant lookalike contest.

Their voices amid all that cacophony

was an evil shriek that electrified

crowds, leaving them cold as graveyard

crypt art on a foggy night, their black

angel wings enfolding where those

listening were standing, stiff in a drug

induced haze, in damp overhead lit

spotlights, in cellar bars with no windows,

no in case of fire exits, no ventilation,

just a small portion of hell’s half acre

to lie down in.

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