Ode to Steve by Alan Catlin

Ode to Steve

“demons
wave at me

still my only
friends.”
Steve Richmond  i.m.

If all it took to be
the American Rimbaud,
that true mad poet genius
of the streets, was H,
crack and acid, man,
it would have been you,
hands down and arm
tied off. Still, damnit,
you came damn close
to being him, navigating
all those self-erected
obstacle courses, at
war with yourself, feeling
the demon teeth in your
neck, clawing their way
through your body until
they exploded on the page.
Steve, there were so many
of them! It’s almost impossible
to imagine how you survived
as long as you did, especially
after inheriting a buck-fifty,
that’s a million five,
brother, a druggie’s dream,
to live on easy street with
unlimited funds and a house,
hell no,  a mansion, filled
with angel haired hipsters,
dealers and crack hotel whores
who screamed every morning
at four just because she had to.
You knew it wouldn’t last
and didn’t care.  Knew Morrison
before the Doors, one of you
had a real gift for poetry,
the other one was a rock star.
And you were a no bullshit
friend of Bukowski in his
prime, arm wrestled the demons
to rare Shinto music, holding
your own longer than most
would. But the fuckers always
win, Steve. They sure as hell
beat the shit out of you.
Thanks for the lyrics, man,
no one wrote them like you.

Alan Catlin
Alan Catlin is the poetry editor of misfitmagazine.net. His latest books of poetry are American Odyssey from Future Cycle and Last Man Standing from Lummox Press

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