“4 O’Clock in the Morning” by Alan Catlin

Alan Catlin


and my mad mother’s eyes
are my eyes
the lampposts are breathing fire
and there’s nothing wrong
I want to talk about
I won’t talk about
the clock hands all
swinging the wrong way
the bus tokens all becoming
strange forms of solid
silly putty
or the leeches sucking my gums
or when I hail a cab
the world stops moving
and still there’s nothing wrong
I want to talk about
not even the masked man
slipping out the side door of my house
with my wife
nor the children playing cop and robbers
with a loaded gun
not even the bearded man on the roof
of my house sighting me up
with his gun
I mean who cares
about grids at a time
like this?
I mean who cares
about this mad woman
shouting in my face
screaming at the top of her lungs
slapping me
once twice three times
as hard as she can
who cares about this woman
claiming to be my mother
claiming to be something to me
Are you for real?
I mean
at a time like this
who cares?

from Rattle #16, Winter 2001


Alan Catlin: “I felt safe and warm on a walk on a winter’s day even miles from Los Angeles until recently when the next group of songwriters and singers from the ’60s began dying. Not yet willing to concede Leonard Cohen’s vision of the future as murder, though.” (web)

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