Alan Catlin

Attrition

They are into front porch
motorcycle maintenance,
greased monkeys, Pink Floyd
concept albums, Mad Dog 20 20,
heavy leather, teenage girls,
rolling monster joints one handed,
spooking the mailman, worshipping
the devil, modifying things with
tire irons, cutting up with census,
shoving policemen through picture 
windows; one by one, over the years,
they kill themselves off.




The Family Reunion

begins outside, rows of picnic tables
pushed together, steaming red hot grilles,
quick fried foods, quarter kegs of cheap
domestic beer.  The children hit hard balls
over the fence, off neighboring houses,
the women are yelling: "All this infernal
noise must stop!" But the children are into
screaming games, tying the youngest wrists
together: Let's see how far we can stretch
them behind his back.  The men are playing
Black Jack, five dollars a hit, chugging beer,
ignoring the women, saying, "We are doing
something, we're playing cards.  They're kids,
they're having fun." Every year the cops are
called to break up their men fighting with broken
beer bottles, rusting church keys, gravity
knives; after the fighting, they cut down
the forgotten children hanging from the trees.

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