The Counselor by Alan Catlin

He looked as if he were the body double
for the original Incredible Hulk gone
to seed.
Wore a not quite large enough XXL
orange T-shirt that said:
“Florida the Gunshine State”, on the front,
and “Shoot ‘em as you see ‘em” on the back.
Had a chewed-to-mush stogie in the left
corner of his mouth near the scar he got
calling a Cubano drug runner a wetback
greaser in a bar in Miami a man had to have
a serious death wish, or a posse large enough
to talk down the James Gang, even to think
about walking in.
Used to stub out a lit cigar on his forehead
to impress women he wanted to sleep with,
or dealers he did business with once, and once
only, to show how tough he was, and impervious
to pain, a trick that came off as something
only a seriously deranged person would
attempt. This too had its advantages.
That is, until the scarring got so bad,
grown men blanched when they got close
enough to see what he had done to himself.
Whores began charging him double just to be
alone with him, triple of he got near enough
to touch.
Didn’t have a personality so much as a series
of traits that ranged all the way from vicious to
cruel and everything in between.
Would have looked perfect, if he lived long
enough, outfitted with that metal collar that
got applied to the neck of Brad Pitt as a sleazy
shyster in that Cormac McCarthy scripted flick,
that collar that was a self tightening, vice like
iron maiden thing, that gradually squeezed
the life out of the wearer, severing the head
from the body, as it clicked shut.

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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