Poetry by Alan Catlin

Senior Citizen Day at the Supermarket

Old ladies with shopping carts,
blue hair freshly permed, blocking
the aisles as they talk, oblivious
to people trying to pass, ‘excuse me’
entreaties ignored, offended if someone
wants to reach across for something
on a shelf they refuse to budge from
in front of, delving into suitcase sized
handbags for snapshots of extended
family, whole albums worth, mixed in
with rosaries, prayer books, face cards
of the dead they carry everywhere they go,
frustrated shoppers reversing course,
backing down terminally blocked aisles
only to confront more old ladies in
mechanized carts, bumping into each other,
turning in widening arcs as they fiddle with
controls they can’t begin to understand,
bumping into one another, anything in their
way, hopelessly confused but determined
to shop on regardless of who might be
in their way, might wish to pass, all of them
bearing expired coupons, wrong items that
don’t match on-sale fliers, check books
with no checks, no longer valid plastic
cards, all of them armed and ready to go
with lists written in pencil on the back of
envelopes smeared with grime so faint they
can’t begin to read what is written even if
they had the right glasses, all these old ladies
with shopping carts and their bus idling in
the parking lot, driver chain smoking as he waits
wondering if this trip will ever end.


March Madness

Everyone dressed in green: green derbies,
green love beads, green shirts with shamrocks
that say, Kiss Me I’m Irish, green floppy clowns
pants, skin paint a color like sickness, gangrene,
music by a Trio from Hell: electric bagpipes,
fiddles, even penny whistles, so loud anyone
without mufflers is made deaf, even the singer,
whose voice resounds like a mute person’s
discovering speech, articulation in a nightmare
of green corn beef, discolored beer, even the
Stout blemished with food coloring like a
festering wound, a bruise that won’t heal;
nothing deters the drinkers, ten deep at the bar
and being pushed from behind, so crowded
it’s impossible to breathe, to order, to escape,
even the bartenders immovable objects rooted
to one place, watching the glacial pace of the
impacting crush wondering when, if ever,
this will all come to an end.


About Alan Catlin

A former Ray’s Road Review contributor, Alan Catlin has been publishing for five decades, a fact that makes him feel like the answer to a baseball trivia       question. During that time he has published over 60 chapbooks and full-length books of prose and poetry. His most recent publication is Books of the Dead: a memoir with poetry. Forthcoming is a chapbook of poetry, Beautiful Mutants, and a full-length book of poetry, Last Man Standing. He is the poetry editor of the online poetry journal Misfit Magazine.