Feature Poet: Alan Catlin

Alan Catlin has been publishing since the seventies. He is convinced we are determined to relive the sixties, and have learned absolutely nothing since then. Welcome to deja vu all over again.


The Circus of Death

His milieu is a skit
like Saturday Night Live
playing leader of the free
world with Old Mr. Bones
as his mentor

guiding light

inciting fear and trembling
around the world
with ill-conceived plans
all of which could end
the world as we know it

Has succeeded in creating
domestic chaos and unifying
the opposition while fracturing
everything else

while moving the hands of
the Doomsday Clock
further forward than at any time
since the 50s with each
rant 140 characters or less

Who knew this was how
you opened The Seventh Seal

Who knew that the world
would end not with a bang but
a twitter


Unknown Soldier

He was born on The Fourth of July
beaten at student demonstrations
in Madison

He was shot at by national guard
troops at Kent State
arrested and confined in solitary
after Jackson State

Bitten by police dogs at civil rights
marches in Alabama

He was Vietnam Veterans for Peace
at anti-war marches
well into the 70s

Was tear gassed
billy clubbed
pepper sprayed

But he never gave up
and he came back
and you can see him marching now

He is your father
on crutches
with prosthetic limbs
riding in a wheelchair

Follow him and
shake his hand
if he has one


All Hail! Alan Catlin’s latest full-length collection of poetry, American Odyssey (2017), is available via Future Cycle Press. Please, click on the cover image below to learn more . . .

Previous Feature: Melanie Browne

Melanie Browne is a poet and fiction writer living In Texas. She doesn’t like to go without A-1 on her steak. Her poems can be found at various places, including BAD ACID LABORATORIES, INC., In Between Hangovers, and Pulp Metal Magazine. You can link to more of Melanie’s work by visiting https://about.me/melaniebrowne.


Trump in Oz

D.C. is a clattering clinking clanking
collection of frivolous trash!
I represent The People’s Guild!
The People’s Guild! The People’s Guild!
I’ll get the bad people if it’s that last thing I do!
Dorothy is great, her and her people,
just great people. They invited me up to
Oz and I said I’d be delighted because
they are great people and there were protests,
yes, can you believe it? The wicked witch
Nancy Pelosi and ol’ cowardly
Chuck “Lion” Schumer out there protesting on
the steps of Oz . . . so embarrassing . . .
But Dorothy, she’s a great lady, she
brought us inside for some lemonade
and introduced me to some fabulous people
like Glenda, who was fantastic!
And Dorothy kept saying, “Well this isn’t Kansas
anymore. Can you believe it, Mr. President?”
And we had a good laugh, me and Dorothy
and Toto, her little dog, too.
I mean, it was just outrageous
those protest going on in such
a beautiful place. And the decorators
did such a great job, such a great
shade of green, I’ve never seen anything
like it. I have to run, but we are going to meet
up in Kansas with Dorothy and Glenda , who have some
great ideas, and I love the food in the Midwest
too, just fantastic! Not too spicy! I love that.
Those people, just great!


All Hail! Melanie Browne’s Heaven is a Giant Pawn Shop (2009) is available via erbacce press. Simply click on the cover image below to learn more . . .

But wait . . . there’s more! Portrait of a Bad Sailor Girl (2012) is also available via Melanie’s Lulu site.

Previous Feature: Howie Good

Howie Good is the author of Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. His other books include A Ghost Sings, a Door Opens (Another New Calligraphy, 2016) and Robots vs. Kung Fu (AngelHouse Press, 2016). He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.


Simple Simon

The smaller of the forest animals have started hanging out together for mutual protection. Meanwhile, the firehouse dog asleep by the stove dreams of people demonstrating in the streets, fires burning underground. It’s been quite a shock to discover that an American president might be a Russian agent. Simple Simon says, “Go totally nuts.” I want to shout, “Fuck yeah!” and throw blood at the wall and decorate my face with it. But, of course, what happens? There’s now a cookbook of everything Brad Pitt has eaten in a movie.


Ladders Cross the Blue Sky in a Wheel of Fire


It used to be a beach. There was sea. There were rocks. I used to fish. I used to see seagulls everywhere. But today there are none.  Of course, I am missing them. They were entertainment for us, watching them fly.


Failure to follow these warnings could cause serious injury or death. Nearly every night I have catastrophic dreams of swastikas, Trump, border stops. I speak to the eye. I speak for trees. You only hear the monotonous sound of the red sun gnawing at the spider. The bassoon is an instrument that deserves more respect.


WTF?! Spies are everywhere. “Grawlixes,” they reported me as saying. I don’t know exactly when I’m supposed to have I said it. The very first thing I do in the morning after waking up is take a pill that “May cause drowsiness.” And that isn’t necessarily a time to wear party hats. I just felt I had to do it.


Someone is throwing a stone at a bird. Oh good God, that guy! I look a little bit like him. Were you there? Did you witness it? Then you can kind of quietly approach people and go, “Understand? Understand? Understand?”


Poet’s note: The first section is a remix of quotes from the New York Times’ article, “On Lebanon’s Once-Sparkling Shores, a Garbage Dump Grows,” 


“Over Our Cities Grass Will Grow”

It was a Sunday, four days before Christmas. Choppers and drones were all over the sky. Tourists who had taken selfies at the Holocaust Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe posted them to Facebook. A gnome-like man with a greasy comb-over said, “Everything is art, everything is rubbish.” You made up your own myth, and when you did, hoodlum types were observed entering expensive autos. But was that necessarily a problem? I myself became distraught at being left stranded on a dark road, especially as the I Ching advises, “Wait in the meadow.”


Preliminary Material for a Theory of Sleep

Pubescent girls dump menstrual blood into the street in protest. You can’t imagine it if you haven’t been there. We’re living in a preposterous age. No one will ever figure it out, including me. A mob passing by the window chants, “Fuck the clown! Fuck the clown!” They don’t understand the difference between art and crime. A 90-year-old widower phones from Florida in the middle of all this. “What’s another word for ‘nonexistent’?” he asks, as if trying to trip me up. That’s the point. I just sleep whenever I feel sleepy.


All Hail! Edited by Howie Good and Dale Wisely, White Knuckles Press specializes in publishing online chapbooks of prose poetry. To learn more, simply click on the logo below . . .


Previous Feature: Colin James

Colin James has two poetry chapbooks available: Dreams Of The Really Annoying (Writer’s Knight Press, 2014), and A Thoroughness Not Deprived Of Absurdity (Pski’s Porch Publishing, 2015). He has also become a student again.


Expanding the Parameters of Romanticism

A certain celebrity’s vagina is rumored
to smell like cataleptic mushrooms
from the northern regions of France,
slightly seasoned with garlic then
cooked in extra virgin olive oil.
Her rival’s sweet orifice has been likened
to a Glade room air freshener.
The unobtrusively handy, wall-mounted spray
available in nine colors including
Mouth Watering Red, Tunnel Black
and Particularly Pink. Now, how to
make myself appear interesting without
exposing surgically enhanced nostrils,
to a capably gentile mind taking
extra classes in secular nebulism. Or until
these carpeted hotel walls transcend the grunts
of pulsating catastrophic humping, my darlings.


The Tyrant of Happiness

Ethereal gadgets influence our decor
specifically gauche dabbling.
Choosing these knee-high tables
has us sitting cross-legged on the floor.
For me to roll in your direction
requires a yogi’s dexterity I don’t possess,
so rapture still defies me willingly.
The shapes that pass our nervous windows
are asking too much when they try
to project ceremonial clairvoyance.
Directions to the nearest institution
are clearly stated on four of the walls.
Simply take a continuous series
of right-hand turns to arrive.
If possible avoid the second,
as a surprising number of infidels have
metaphorically relieved themselves there.


All Hail!  In celebration of National Poetry Month, editor Gerald So is currently conducting his annual 30 Days of The Five-Two extravaganza. It includes daily postings that review previous publications at The Five-Two, along with those at other online journals including Midnight Lane Boutique, Misfit Magazine, Mystery Playground, Red Fez, Yellow Mama, and more. To take part, simply click on the image to your right. And, do enjoy!

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