Alan Catlin

The Little Darlings

They celebrated their thirteenth

birthdays under boardwalks,

felt sand in soft places rubbed raw

by young men who wore leathers

like emblems of doomed youth,

making love with pubescent,

another rite passed on their

journey to twenty five to life

in some upstate pen they would

never leave.


The Little darlings wore leopard skin

toreador pants that almost fit, matching

scoop top blouses and black bras when

they wore anything at all.


None of them had boyfriends

but all of them had fuck buddies,

interchangeable as spare parts,

some who worked better than others,

all of them with manufacturer’s



Their single moms worked 9-5

that’s PM to AM, turning tricks,

though they called it something

else, might see the sun six times

a year, by mistake, waking up

from some drug induced coma in

a place that let the outside in.

Brought home men who thought,

“.45 long Colt, S&W, the gun

that you can’t miss with” was gospel.

Had the words inscribed on their

chests in case someone needed

to quote chapter and verse.


No one cared what the Little Darlings

did when the adults weren’t around

as long as the place didn’t burn down

and they were quiet as choir girls, or, on

the nod, when they were.



The only book the Little Darlings

ever read was “Dancing on the Grave

of a Son of a Bitch”, found in a backpack

of some hippie chick they gang banged

for booty and for cash.  Thought the title

sounded like the story of their lives

and, in a way, it was.


All the spare cash that wasn’t spent

on weed, butts, or booze was stored

in a jar labeled, “Tips for Tats for Tits”.


Their goal in life, to live until they

were sixteen; to acquire painted

birds and butterflies and affix them

to already-showing-signs-of hard-wear,

canvas of flesh.



Re-evaluating the classics

Sid Vicious sang

“My Way”

His way:

raucous & mean

down & dirty

all the slick

Sinatra sounds,

moves, swept

away, removed


Just before the end

Warren Zevon,

an American Werewolf

in London, dying

of cancer sang,

“Knock Knock

Knocking on

Heaven’s Door”


It’s still too dark to

see if he got in.


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