Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Preciosa

Many journeys you will loathe to speak of,
you loved them that much then. Who am I
to denigrate your child's eyes opening . . .

The Holy Land. Dead seas raise no dust
where no one walks, they have to ride
in getaway cars to see the Wailing Wall.

I don't want to take you where you were.
My cities are holy, west, south, east, north.
Hold my hand in yours, never let me go.

Lead me, love. I have work to do. I have
eyes to see my cities through your eyes.
We tour the storm you lead me through.

Seattle was my Rome, San Francisco Paris,
New Orleans its own. All the East was ours:
Boston, the Outer Banks. North, snow fell.

We go anywhere we want as long as I sleep
with you free from the demons always in you
a man put there to torture you until collapse.

Rack, Iron Maiden, Poe's Pendulum destroy
all my house holds sacred, you. I carry you
out of the dungeon, nail it shut, scrawl Closed

Forever. You are here where I will be
when you say, I want you inside me. I am
pouring my life into your body. I love you

and hold the corona of your head with its
long hair I breathe in our sleep, bodies one
body waking where our first day begins.

There is no need to dress where God rules.
He wears the stars, walks on the moon,
bathes in the sun. We are not His slaves.

My love, let me back in. Your door opens
with my key. The lost creatures below us
look up. They love us and we love them.

(29 July 2019)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander


Monday, July 28, 2014

In Silence Is Harvest No Feast Follows

The night I could not see to see the storm
I saw the fire instead, pleading, Please bring back
my baby girl before ice melts her down.
Soft, soft, goes the clock, sand is running out.
Mirrored, her only mother turns to scold
calm rivers that were flowing inside her
before the rain, the crystal in the glass.

I have never found a way to reach her,
to touch her skin in that sphere she can't leave,
come here so I can smell her summer breath.
Here the earth bleeds love, nothing will survive,
stones scream, mothers fail to feed their babies,
for everywhere bombs fall, soil lies fallow,
cold heaven embracing the heat of hell.

(27-28 July 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Arms a Cross

                    for Padre Mario Prada

When you pray, eyes open, your words
are pearls, but your arms a cross.
No one but the worldly hang there now.
The sacrifices of eternity wear thin.
You lift your arms like wings
and that way you are saved for this world.

Nothing around your neck but the scars of age,
Mario, the sacrament is always a little further on.
waiting, as though a sacrament were the body
of He whose callused nail-borne hands
reach out and you take them in your own.

In Colombia you were not far from the father
of not only words but the shapes of stories.
Now he's gone, I never look back
for him or he for me.
Arms a cross, hands stretched, fingers spines
of flight. Let me go, Lord, I have much to do.
Will there be time?

11-22 June 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Arms a Cross

                    para Padre Mario Prada

When you pray, eyes open, your words
are pearls, your arms a cross.
Only worldlings are stretched 
so thin cloud priests sacrifice them
to eternity. There you reach your arms
into wings that will never catch you up,
holy paradox, bodhisattva catolica,
you wish only to save the others first.
Stay here too restless to be satisfied
to go alone, no happiness but on this earth.

Sacraments are always a little further on,
waiting for the image in a mirror
of the body of the youth whose callused
nail-borne hands reach, refusing to grasp
your hand, there being no need for his touch.
Bodies in your Bogata, Mario, lie not far
from parables of lost children cut down
to prove only that their assassins kill.
Stories of these deaths find their shapes
in words that weep with the poor's tears.

Arms a cross, hands outstretched, their fingers
a spine for flight from rusty scars of age,
sacraments that mean nothing now
but the agony of not having lived,
born only to die. 
                              Let me go, Lord.
I have much to do.
                              Will there be time?
Was there ever?
Is silence the harvest or the feast?

(11-22 June, 26-27 July 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander




Sonneteer

               ("a minor or insignificant poet"--Webster's)

                              
          How can I believe we were so young
          she loved the cock I cunt'd her with,
          I was so wild and desiring only fame . . .

               1

The year I, twenty-nine, took her, twenty-one, for wife
began the seventh of May and only afterward
did we learn, separately, the difference between
being home in a house alone
and jailed in a cell, even overnight
(you were free to leave the house
but not the cell without permission).

After our passionate summer together all we could be,
I began to act upon my desire,
long held, to emulate not only Rodin's Thinker
but Roethke the teaching poet,
and become a poet with a professor's salary
providing us with a true home
as long as we should live.

               2

In my single-mindedness I was so in and out--
reading so long alone the night became a time
for talk of all I was reading and writing, and drinking--
my beloved was left too much alone,
and I, besotted, woke her in our bed to sleep
and return next day to the full-time job
I'd worked seven years but not the eighth
when I would have in hand the parchment
that was my price of admission to the Academy
but became the symbol of my cowardly refusal
to be her husband before all else,
rather the cur that turned my love
back to the fugitive path she had followed
before we met, learning again to live defiantly.

               3

She returned to sleep with me one night before I left,
celebrating with me my completion of the Master's.
Still smarting from my former drunkenness, she slept
on our old bed beside me all night with her clothes on.

The night we met she asked me for a glass of milk.
Why milk? I asked. I'm pregnant, she replied.
I admired her, long before we loved, before I learned
the fetus was the price her dealer demanded

for the score she had no money to pay for,
though she had the habit she had kicked already
by that night she was staying on to hear me justify
Bob Dylan's monaural LP John Wesley Harding

as part of the first course I created and taught,
"Some Young American Poets and Their Elders."

               4

Years later, with the same degree in hand
I believed had led me to throw away our marriage,
she returned to The Life to earn her daily fix.
To sleep she filled the vein that had left no tracks.
Then to cop her next load, she stayed awake
as long as it took, even if she must fill her booty. 

Not until I lived in the house where I moved finally
after staying too long in that apartment Rebecca fled,
and still living alone, hosting one night a reception
for the out-of-town poet following his reading,
did she appear for the second time in our lives
and as that night ended I asked her to stay.

Next day she did not leave, and now she says,
I never left . . . though a half century has passed.

               5

How much we remember. The book would be too long,
and now that she is sixty-six and I seventy-five
how could the book end other than how we all end . . .
The day we found each other again, she learned I was
married to a woman I had known and loved longer
than her, and she was married to a sax man she met
in the club he was playing and she passed out the night
he took her to the hospital, where she dried out again.

He took her into his home, watching over her vigilantly,
keeping his sax in the closet, afflicted with rheumatoid
arthritis, working as a flagman for the highway department,
devoting himself to her sobriety, loving her as she deserved
until he died. She sold his house and moved with her cat
named after him in honor of saving her life time after time . . .

(26 July 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Poet as Fierce Male Angel

I know I love the forbidden.
Even the moon, the stars know
I mean to do what I must.
I'm that fucker, the poet
fearing entanglements.
Why I leave on the first train,
catching a ride to that city
I can kiss and go all the way,
inside her, she makes me feel
so good getting there, finding
her rainy night, sleeping,
pulling her up and over me
tomorrow and the next day,
however long she can stand
my praise, now that I know
to spare her my paranoia,
my child dying to be the man
where Job'a dun-colored earth
bears the weight of dusty feet
coming, going, never staying.

I have seen one foot cut off,
my youngest uncle Ernest's
fate inside doomed Detroit.
Leaving the Bud Wheel plant
at day's end, coming home
to Stella, drinking beer until
he sleeps, he has nightmares
he's back on the Pacific war
destroyer his mates deemed
fit only for those meant to die.
Waking, one leg lopped, soon
to be followed by the other,
he drinks to quiet the nerves
that in the city were sirens.
In the Upper Peninsula now,
no more punching in and out,
he knows he has little time
to live full time with Stella,
who always wanted a Queen
to replace the sagging Twins.

When he dies, I am with you
in your home near the Atlantic,
loving you, and you showing me
around where your mother moved
you south from Virginia, the name
you gave yourself once you knew
your father was gone, never why.
Your long dream was you were
Virginia Dare, for whose lost home
we searched, seeking her shadow.
Now I am talking you into going
farther south to show you
what I saw once, though never
again will I see the city before
it was my mother's New Orleans,
my beloved, demonic city
where I mean for my body to lie,
making its eternal home in an urn
above that watery earth, so like
the floating, monstrous Mexico City.

I love the pitch your Southern drawl
makes into song, your voice honey
soothing my ear, your body
welcoming me into your hive. 
Veering west, I will show you
my birthplace on the Arkansas.
On its other side the road goes
through Oklahoma to Albuquerque,
then either south to Ciudad Juarez
or west to Nogales, musky Tijuana--
towns greed keeps going, el pueblo
dying, narcoterroristas thriving.
I shall never forget Mexico City,
nor will I forget you with me there.
When the sky clears, from high up
we saw those volcanic lovers
who are said to live forever:
Popocatepetl, the fat man
who loves the sleeping woman,
Ixtacihuatl. They will never die.

Be with me in our sprawling city,
my love whom I call Esperanza,
tell me again through your lips,
You will have the time. I know,
though long ago I loved a whore.
None came before or after her.
My whore took me in her saddle,
then lay back and let me ride her
until we were spent. How I lived,
ashamed to call it living.
Mornings, around the corner, 
in the flourishing cantina,
drowning hangovers with cafe
con leche, I called the whores
ladies. And they were. They made
you feel good if you helped them
make a living. They were so many.
Now only you will make me feel
the way I hope to make you feel.
We love. What we have now
we have come here to share.

(18 June and 7, 23 July 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Of Rebecca

Juan Flores invariably asked why when crowded with a question the tongue refused to answer
there, in the mob of celebrants where the woman with him, who would become his wife
when all this was ended, this glee followed by unfathomable sorrow, where she was stolen
for the room she occupied as long as the rapists wished, where she was taken one by one
to the brink of sexual idiocy, the very reason his mother had opened her New Orleans house
and then, with her coffin floating in the Gulf after the worst storm in the city's history,
he had come back to learn more and found her gone, like the woman he would make wife
to ease the demons inside telling him You could have saved her, you only needed to hold onto
her hand all the way up Bourbon to Canal, where they would walk the rest of the way home,
the motel where the foul examples of his sex dumped her on the sidewalk and the black man
working as a porter without a train carried her to the room Juan found her in, in a pool of blood.
Someone asks, inevitably, What happened then? Before he can answer, he asks himself why
he cannot say for sure, having walked as far as Tchoupitoulas, back and forth, and each time
he told this story he left out why she was there, to be with him on the long journey home,
his home, one night in the St.Charles in Vieux Carre, upon arrival in the city drinking down
in the long and wide room where all the voices heard would be a cornucopia of languages
they wanted to speak between them and settled for the only words in such polyglot they knew,
his cock penetrating her cunt, her insistence he not give her another child, one was enough,
and so spilled his sperm on her belly and above her watched what there was of him to her
memory the gate that opening parted its flowery Eden and precariously close to his birth.

(22 July 2014)

copyright by Floyce Alexander