Alan Britt


alan britt










(For Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker)


I’m a political man,

and my fleece is white as snow.


I’m a politician

with sideburns

of glass elevators.


I’m a political man,

so get into my big black car.


The weakest link

in my victory chain . . .

just tell me,

and I’ll fix it.


I assure you, I’m a political man,

and sometimes I practice

what I preach.


I’m a political man,

though tomorrow you might find me

face down upon the beach.


But as I said, I’m a hard-nosed politician,

so get into to my big black car.


I’m a political man

who once believed in Martin Luther’s

jailhouse speech, but now I wear sunglasses,

monogrammed robes and walk upon the beach.


All the while accumulating arcane wealth,

a la dancing Liberties, stoic Indianheads

and blue steel pennies

minted to preserve copper for the war effort.







(page 2 of 2)…..I’VE HEARD OF CREAM OF WHEAT,……..(cont.)


-stanza break-


My eyes like opals in a coon dog’s eyes knifing

its gun-metal tail through moonlit hyacinths

across an algae-covered Florida canal,

sporting teeth, large enough, insane enough

to drag everyone else below the surface, where

needle-nosed politicians quiver between sea grasses

at the opening of Manon, Kennedy Center, 2009.


And from this ridiculous matinee

I recognize one final


one last clutch of algae,

one last chorus of outboard propellers

staining the massive flippers

of another humble manatee

that not so long ago resembled one

of our most beloved politicians.


I’m a political man,

so get into my big black car.




Crikey! She’s a naughty girl, this one.

But she has a right to be.

As you can see, she’s just laid her eggs

beneath this warm mound.

Predators are everywhere, so she

must be vigilant if her hatchlings

have any chance whatsoever of surviving.


Good girl. You’re alright.

Your babies are safe for now.


But it’s this fella over here,

this large male she’s mostly concerned with.


You see, given half a chance, he’ll snatch

every hatchling entering the water.


He’s been living in this pond

longer than I’ve been alive.


It’s okay. You’re alright, mate.


I’ve known this croc for 44 years.


He’s been a very good friend . . . generally calm,

but he gets a bit nervous

at times. That’s just the way he is.






Now, Gary Oldman, he could play that part

easily; he’s a good one;

I’ve seen him go deep.


Of course, there’s Johnny Depp, Sean Penn,

Edward Norton . . . Eddie Baby;

or may I call you Ted?

Teddy! Little Teddy!


What with Robin Day’s hedgehog!


Anyway, check out Gary Oldman in oversized

coke-bottle glasses, leaning his dwarf body

like a lazy stack of poker chips against a nihilistic cane.


Problem is, the son-of-a-bitch can’t see

without his glasses,

fumbling through the very god-forsaken shadows

that Kierkegaard warned us about.


But I’ll bet Gary Oldman could play that part

easily; he’s a good one, you know?

I’ve seen him go deep.







This man, pajama legs crossed

on the velvet divan,

feels a twitch, a needle-nosed pliers

pinching his heart muscle

and upon rising radiates lasers

from his fatal heart attack

exploding one of four opera bulbs

tilted in every basement direction.


Irony is, when the family returns from shopping

at Marshall’s and feasting at Taco Bell,

they’ll think the bulb blew first,

thus, triggering the fatal heart attack!






One holds the lightbulb

while the other spins the ladder.






Isn’t it funny how occasional

literal and symbolic images

stroll hand-in-hand

with splintered lust

and opaque claws?


Go figure, that wedding!


Isn’t it bizarre

how moons,

some discovered as recently as recently as 1870,

effected serious gravitational pull

on Latin American poets

eyeing up 20th Century dinosaurs

in Chicago shopping malls

just when we thought

that truth and beauty

were all we needed to know?


My god, I hear younger poets

thrashing their bodies

against the surf,

slapping 100-story granite buildings

with their bloody flags of freedom.


My god, these younger poets

defying linguistic gravity,

skirting the burdens

that threaten us each and every day

of our non-poetic, nonreligious lives,

shattering middle-aged answers

to things with terrifying images—

oh, younger poets!


You stretch sunlight

across your freshly painted casaba nails

behind the gingham curtains

of sanity!


We champion you, younger poets!


Remember, without you, we’re nothing.






The man in the pulpit said, Do this!


The man behind the barn behind another barn

said, I tried that; it didn’t work.


The man in charge of the world’s largest telescope

wasn’t contacted.


The man in charge of funding public education

passed out on cognac.


The woman in charge, well, the woman

responsible for cleaning the whole mess up

was dancing, dancing to a song

that was a hit before her mother was born;

I should know.


Neither here nor there.


An old brown shoe

like floppy hats in Rembrandt’s self-portraits,

some running, some humming,

some stagnant, some wishing it would rain

the blood of walruses.


Well . . . well . . . well.


I don’t know why you say goodbye,

I say hello?






Did you receive the cerebral hit

you’re accustomed to?


Did you?


Did you?


Did you bang your left sinus

or introduce it softly into

a minor tributary, of sorts,

via a lizard shaman

basking on a flat rock off the coast

because it’s 5:00 somewhere?


Did you really, in this micro-chip age,

expect white goats to ring

like Methodist bells or the bells

to ring like white goats cotton-dotting

Route 81 high above Roanoke?


The royal boredom of obsolete monks

& agricultural tycoons . . . so reserved,

so strung-out, spiritually strung to dry,

flipping & flopping in a tropical storm?










In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador for the first cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. During his visit he did TV, radio and newspaper interviews, read poetry and gave presentations in Quito, Otavalo, Ambatto, Guayaquil and Guaranda, plus the international literary conference sponsored by La hermandad de las palabras 2015 in Babahoyo. He served as judge for the 2013 The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. He read poetry and presented the “Modern Trends in U.S. Poetry” at the VII International Writers’ Festival in Val-David, Canada, May 2013. Recent readings include the 6×3 Exhibition at the Jadite Gallery in Hell’s Kitchen/Manhattan in December 2014, the Fountain Street Fine Art Gallery in Framingham, MA in June 2014, and the Union City Museum of Art/William V. Musto Cultural Center in Union City, NJ sponsored by La Ruche Arts Contemporary Consortium (LRACC) in May, 2014.



His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. New interviews for Lake City Lights and Schuylkill Valley Journal are available at and


His latest books include Lost Among the Hours: 2015, Parabola Dreams (with Silvia Scheibli): 2013 and Alone with the Terrible Universe: 2011. He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.


alan britt

ALAN BRITT: Library of Congress Interview:

alan britt2


Articles similaires