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Friday, July 23, 2010


by Alan Catlin

What the earth knows,
the sky accepts as fire,
an abstract in oil
thousands of fathoms deep.
After the blowout, those
not incinerated, dive from
the burning rig as birds do,
suicides, any fate, even death,
is better than being smothered
in crude.  Once all the broken
pieces of the disaster are
assembled into a whole,
the message to be understood
is clear; no one survives unscathed.

Alan Catlin's latest chapbook is a long poem, Thou Shalt Not Kill, an updating of Rexroth's seminal poem of the same name. Whereas Rexroth riffs on the abuses of the Eisenhower adminstration, the update observes abuses of power in the previous administration with particular attention to the cynical, criminal behavior towards the Katrina hurricane victims.