Alan Catlin

The ones with no souls

always come in pairs,
making the night club scene
their own personal floor show,
wearing wraparounds so dark
they need guide dogs to find
a free place at the bar, wear
too much makeup and a scent
that lingers for days after they go.
He wears a too-tight black,
silk shirt that would have looked
ridiculous on someone ten years
younger than he was and his woman
looks like a fashion plate left behind
at a banquet in the 30’s someone
forgot to clean up after, cloaked
in the fur of an endangered species
that slides down her bare shoulders
to reveal designer logo skin art
that does everything but glow in
the dark. It’s a tossup which one’s
nose will begin to bleed first, given
how much abuse their sinus cavities
have been made to endure.
Manage to order something that goes
unheard in the din of the band and
the strangled-by-professionals voice,
imitating songs, she has no business
listening to, much less singing.
Barely notice their bartender’s choice
cocktails in front of them, in fancy
glasses, you could have poured expensive
poison in, and it would have been acceptable
as long as the look was right.
They sip and smile, content in their
self-contained vacuum sucking everything
into the black hole of their lives;
all of us there the same, even me,
behind the bar, maybe even, me worst
of all because I knew better and I still
didn’t care.

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