Angel Heart by Alan Catlin

“Anybody says he knows just how someone else feels is a fool.”
Lucia Berlin

You might hear a voice like hers once,
maybe twice, in a lifetime and it would
always be by chance in some lowdown,
dragged out, roadside bar after a near death
experience in some primal woods place
involving a high speed blowout, or
up-close and personal, with some jacklit
creature of the night, a kind of close
encounter of the worst kind, requiring
a rent-a-wreck to get from this no account
place to another one.  This would be one of
those no tell motel nights, requiring more
than few beverages to sooth the beating
heart, this close to rescue vehicles,
and from roadside to bedside gurney

The only obstacle  keeping her
from a lifetime recording contract with a
major label, and a one way ticket to the
Rock n Roll/ Country Western Hall of Fame
would be at the bar, in worn filthy denims,
and a blue work shirt with red scrolled lettering
on the left side pocket, and he would be
ordering shots of sour mash he’d wash down
with Silver Bullets in cans, while he ignored
the show. After each dead soldier, he’d crumple
the can on the bar, leave it there, and no one
would object.  He made it known that he thought
anyone who drank light anything. or his beer out of
a glass, was a pussy and should be whipped with
barbed wire and run out of town. He would
say it such a way that it might have happened
more than once and no one was eager to
see it again.

But that voice. Oh that voice, that sounded
like cheap whiskey, unfiltered cigarettes
and purebred sex, was beyond believing.
Left everyone, but the object of her lust,
transfixed as she sang “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”
low  and sweet and in a minor key that would make
Cat Power cream in her jeans. Would make risking
a slow death on a wooden cross, sugar coated
and covered by  fire ants, seem sublime after
an hour alone with her and nowhere else to go.

acatlin multi

Alan Catlin is a widely published poet in the US of A and elsewhere. His most recent book is “Books of the Dead: a memoir with poetry” about the deaths of his parents. He is a retired professional barman and the editor of the online poetry zine



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