In the Moment

“Death steals everything except our stories.”

                                                      Jim Harrison

No one is more in the moment

than the laughing rummies of

Lark Street. Like Zen acolytes

with a pint stuffed in their sagging

jeans back pocket, they stroll in a

kind of single file, content in their

confusion, embracing chaos, time

meaningless in the void where thought

should be.  Walking, theirs is a kind

of death march, draughts of liquid

courage maintains, sustaining rigid

smiles on their cracked lips, the high

color of their waterlogged skin almost

purple, all of them covered in a layer

of grime and dirt from sleeping raw

in the park under benches and picnic

tables and, later, after the daily, nocturnal

rousting, in cul de sac alleys between turn-

of-some-century brownstone buildings.

The Roshi among them drinks Olde English

40’s from brown paper bags, cracking wise

to his fellow travelers when he is able to

speak.  Every one of them carries a Zen

Death haiku in a leather pouch tied to a

belt loop at their waist for when they go.

Alan Catlin has two new poetry books scheduled for 2023: How Will the Heart Endure (Kelsay Books) referencing the life and work of Diane Arbus and Listening to the Moonlight Sonata (Impspired Press, UK) unvarnished personal narratives from an often-chaotic life.