Cops by Alan Catlin

When I first started out
in the bar biz, I was just
another long haired college
kid who’d read too many
books and hadn’t been in
enough fights. I had lots
of strange ideas about how
things ought to be in an ideal
world I was slowly learning
didn’t exist.  Maybe the most
lasting lesson was the cop
who hung at the same place
I liked to drink who knew
what I did and hated me on
general principles.  One night,
out of nowhere, he said,
“When you get in trouble
behind the stick, who are
you going to call? A hippie
or me?” I thought about this
and the last couple of fights
requiring outside assistance,
the long haired stoners and
the short haired teachers and how
ugly it almost got. It didn’t
matter the short hairs started it
figuring the authorities would be
on their side no matter what and
everyone involved knew they
were right.” It’s my job
to answer calls from assholes like
you,” he continued, ”and we both
know I’d break up the fight.
It’s just a matter of when I got
around to it and how.”
I thought about this for awhile
Bought us both a round when
we were dry.

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

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