From Here to Eternity by Alan Catlin

Early for the poet’s Open Mic sign up,
he wander into the venue, grabs
the live feed and improvises something
like a song, “I’ve just met the most
beautiful girl in the world….”
Seems stumped by the possibility of
another line, repeats himself and
begins a long monologue instead,
“So it’s poet’s night. Not many
people here.  I’m here, though.
That’s all that matters,” pauses for
effect, barely focusing his hard brown
eyes surrounded by a sea of yellow
and red, ”I’ve just met the most
beautiful girl in the world…….”
“That’s enough. You made your point.”
One of the poets says, staring him down,
“ I guess, I’ll just head on down the road.
Grab me a beer and relax, maybe I’ll be back.”
“And maybe you won’t.” The voice says.

Later, outside, the Fuze Box, he’s grooving
to the oldies on the juke, the ones that are
only slightly muffled by the closed door
and plate glass windows. He can be heard
explaining to know one, “I went to my bodega.
Asked for my regular brand, Jaguar Piss,
and the clerk says they no longer carry
this particular beverage. Can you imagine?
They No Longer Carry This Particular Beverage,
snooty as you please, then he offers me
something he called, Mexican Urine in
a bottle. And it sure looked like it too.
So I asked him, ‘What’s it taste like?’
‘Like what I called it, only worse.’
Boy was  he ever right. I had one,
then I went back and bought two more.”

Turning from his imaginary friend, rumpled
brown bag in hand, he sees The Voice from
the reading, says, “Hey, you look familiar.
Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
“You sure do. I’m your worst nightmare.”

The one after last call, all the bars closed,
bottles empty, no way to get back inside
where all the alcohol is.

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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