Natural Born Killers by Alan Catlin

They’d done tours of duty in places
that didn’t have names and were no
longer on maps.  What was left
of where they had been had been
looked like a lunar landing site after
a B-52 bombing raid with a napalm
chaser.  Nothing they did was ever
even remotely official and the scars
they had accumulated were so off
the charts, plastic surgeons just smiled
and walked away.

In between assignments, they shacked up
with women whose role models were
a cross between Blaze Starr and Mata
Hari. Could drink “mucho machos” under
the table, and would still be asking for
more after.  Smoked roll-your-owns with
stuff inside that either flash froze
your organs on impact, or cauterized  them
closed, and with each extended inhale acted
as if they hadn’t felt a thing.

Accepting spur of the moment, it-seemed-
like-a good-idea-at-the-time challenges
from them landed more than one guy in
a federal lockdown for extended periods of
time or in an ER casualty unit that with trauma
units, so stressed, they were triaged out of
existence.  Only read books with Suicide in
the title and had Goodnight Moon tattoos
on intimate places of their bodies that were
rumored to explode after extended contact.

“Keeping up with them was a real challenge,”
their wild men liked to say,” if you survived.”
R&R would never be the same after they
painted the town red then burned it down.

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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