Oppressive night, so thick
with the heat, air clots in
the lungs, and humidity leaves
a stain on the skin as florid as
a bruise that darkens, then deepens,
as the night goes on and on and on.
Long necks from the overworked
fridge, lose their chill at the lips,
beading, condensation like sweat
bubbles on brown textured glass.
There is no taste to it going down,
is a kind of carbonated pain,
six swallows kills, and then it is time
for another. And another after that.
Drinking solves nothing when sleep
refuses to come. The street hazed
by heavy fog, static haloes of street
lamp light disfigures the pavement
into odd shadows beyond definition.
Lazy eyes droop as the stillness
becomes a weight pressing into
swollen flesh. Somewhere, up the road,
over the hill, sirens; the smell of
something burning, black plumes of
smoke rising from a glowing place
streaked by embers and crackling
light as an animated, nearly silent tableau,
so unreal, even the unmistakable scent
of death that accompanies it fails to
change the presumption that this night
might never end.
Alan Catlin has been fortunate enough to publish several books in the last two years. Most recent titles include, Asylum Garden: after Van Gogh and Memories Too(Dos Madres) and The Road to Perdition (Alien Buddha).