The Dead Man Walks His Dog
He should look older but he doesn't, he's been dead too long. His skin should be wrinkled but it isn't, his face is as smooth as a silk sheet. He should be emaciated but he's not Let's face it, his body odor is unbearable. He is, well something of a dead issue even now as he walks his favorite dead dog down main street holding the leash near soiled fire hydrants watching the traffic with a stiff, vacant stare. All the neighbors comment: "What's he doing now?” “Walking his dog?” “He should know better and keep to his own kind." That old dead fool walking his favorite dead dog this one last time.
Dead Man Don Juan
He's not exactly Casanova a wilted rose affixed to his lapel, musk cologne redolent of moss and earth, dark eyes hard, lusterless as cat's eye marbles. The words he whispers are hardly words of love, the chill he sends down a woman's spine is not one of lust or even merely fear. Fixing his hair in the mirror is an impossibility, no reflection stares back. Cancer warnings on the cigarette packs are nothing more than an old joke among friends, gathering by the light of the moon to exchange strange tales of how it was and how it will always used to be.
The Dead Man in the Graveyard
The dead man has gathered flowers in the graveyard of his dreams, intending to place them at the foot of his grave. He kneels down on the ground beside the place where he has been lain to rest and brushes back a tear with a cold, pale hand. He thinks, then, "What have I become? What about all those things I could have done? and all those things I would like to undo?" The dead man rises making a sad gesture of farewell to himself, suddenly realizing that the cold white hands, stabbing through the ground are his hands and that the night surrounding him will be black, forever.
The dead man buys a round
with the copper pennies he has retrieved from the eyes of the companions, he has accompanied from this world to the next and back. The beer is cold and frothy a welcome relief to a throat so long without liquids. Along the bar, the men ask no questions about this dark stranger buying beer, singing softly to himself ancient tunes no one recognizes, asked questions, he neither replies, nor acknowledges, merely smiling in a dark, enigmatic way, signaling the barkeep for more beer, a bowl of chips, a last shot for himself, and all those who stand along the bar.
Alan Catlin has published dozens of chapbooks and full-length books of poetry and prose. Among his more recent books is Asylum Garden: after Van Gogh (Dos Madres) and Exterminating Angles (Kelsay Books. Forthcoming this summer is a book based on the life and work of Diane Arbus, How Will the Heart Endure (Kelsay Boks) and Listening to Moonlight Sonata (Impspired)
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