Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Poet as Fierce Male Angel

I know I love the forbidden.
The stars, even the moon, know
I aim to do what I want.
That simple: I'm a fucker
fearing entanglements.
Why I leave on the first train,
catching a ride to that city
I can kiss and go all the way,
she makes me feel so good
getting there, finding her
rainy night, sleeping, pulling
her up and over me
for tomorrow, or the next day,
however long she can stand
my praise, now that I know
my paranoia has stayed
back where Job'a dun-
colored earth keeps on
bearing the weight of feet
coming, going, never staying.

I have seen one foot
cut off, my youngest uncle
Ernest's fate in doomed Detroit,
leaving the Bud Wheel plant
at day's end, coming home
to Stella, drinking beer until
he sleeps, dreaming nightmares
he's back on the Pacific war's
destroyer his mates deemed
fit only for those about to die.
Waking, one leg lopped off,
soon to be followed by
the other. A dream true
he's retired finally, living
in the Upper Peninsula,
retired now, no more 
punching in and out,
full time with Stella now
who wanted the Queen
to replace the sagging Twins.

Drink all you want, the doctor says
his time is growing short.
Keep drinking to quiet nerves
that back in the city were sirens,
but now he has greater need
to die than there, though
who knows why . . . His death
leaves me south in your city,
talking you into this love journey
farther south to see what you see,
telling you where I was going
and we go now.  
starting out for my beloved
New Orleans, where I mean
for my body to make home
be above that watery earth.
Veering west now, I welcome
your southern drawl of song,
your honey soothing my ear,
welcoming me into your hive.

Cross country to my birthplace
on the Arkansas. On its other side
the road through Oklahoma
to Amarillo, Albuquerque,
then either south to Juarez
or farther west to Nogales,
even Tijuana. Not in forty years
have the bordertowns changed
their looks. Greed keeps them
going, el pueblo dyiing,
narcoterroristas thriving.
Mexico City I shall not forget,
nor can I forget you
whom I need with me
where up high when the sky
is clear, I will show you
far off those volcanic lovers
Popocatepetl, the fat man
who loves the sleeping woman,
Ixtacihuatl. They will never die.

Be with me in my demonic city,
lover, whom I call Esperanza,
who told me with her sweet drawl,
You will have the time.
Long ago I loved a whore,
and there were none before her.
My whore asked to be saddled,
then lay back and let me ride
her out to be dry. How I lived,
ashamed to call it living.
Around the corner, 
in the cantina mornings
drowning hangovers with cafe
con leche, I called the whores
only ladies who made you
feel good if you let them
make a living.
Now you make me feel good
and I you. What we have now
we've 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

Friday, July 18, 2014

In Cristina's Place

He loves to slide two hands full of fingers
under her blouse, inside her bra,
strumming her nipples taut,
then moving down where she wants him
to pour his seed, sperm embracing ovum.
How they began this, they stir up again.
She knows he doesn't love her. He says,
How could I love anyone?
Listen to him lead her on:
You were the last to tempt me . . .
or How can I give you a child,
I'm no lover now, if I ever was.

He's straight with her, yet he can't refuse her,
this wild lass who married the widower
Danny St. Clair, asking only
that she look after his young son
now that his mother, Henrietta Murphy,
was believed to be killed in the train wreck,
moving from Pike Street to Blues Heaven,
headlining nightly like she was still alive,
whereupon Danny played his hole card
when the night turned into noon next day,
nothing new to Bobby's gambler father . . .
then the knife opening an artery to drain,
and once Danny was dead and gone
for good--no deposit, no return--
Cristina was all Bobby had,
and he grew up to be all hers . . .
She was too young to be a mother
and Bobby too old to call her such.
So it was, so it is.

The little cocksman Robert Henry St. Clair
grew up, began writing and playing music.
He married twice, to the sculptor Rebecca,
who drowned in Lake Washington
in her Austin Healey 3000 Mark II,
then to the wild girl Paula whom he loved
even when he wasn't home, but how
could she love back when he was gone?
They split, though still married, and now
he sees Paula only when she sings
and he's on clarinet playing nightly
in the back room of Hotel Congress.

Bobby loves to look at Paula. He will never
outgrow her, though she's nine years
younger. He follows her lovely body's
sinuous moves, calls her by her birth name.
When he sleeps alone, he holes up in a room
upstairs he calls La Iglesia De La Puta.
Its only window gives upon the street,
and when rain falls slowly down
streaming the glass, he reads what's there
and comes away seeing Henrietta's face.

Cristina sashays back and forth from bar
to back room to serve the hangers-on
at closing time. Sanchez & Co. will never
leave: Paula's here to stay, like Bobby,
Clark on bass, Tony on piano,
Sanchez on drums. Paula sings
Bobby's songs, they're old now,
but why not? Clark was her man a while,
then she wrote lyrics, Tony did the music
while his wife Laurie looked on, glad
her man had a gig he loved to do,
and  Paula had another repertoire.
What could be better as well as true?

Cristina changes while Bobby drinks,
then they walk off to do a little more
of the night before she says,
You want to go home and fuck me?
And why should he not consent?
No danger of his animal 
probing one thigh, then both,
below her silk panties
without consummation, yet no
until death do us part
necessary . . . ever.

When Bobby thinks of Rosemary far off,
Rebecca dead, Paula chaste with him now,
and how many others he may never see again,
he mutters, What in hell am I doing here,
remembering Marlowe's Why this is hell,
nor am I out of it . . .

(18 July 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

En La Iglesia De La Puta

                                                  Hotel Congress, Seattle

On the hotel window, occasional fog, then sun, wheeling gulls.
Rain greets his return.
Southern heat stays behind.
Rosemary, her belly swelling with the seed of his loins
will never tell him, one way or the other, she declares,
if there's a child come of them and if so the name she chose.
The South nearly his downfall,
he hopped a bus to get beyond her reach,
what she wanted, he knew, and has
now he's gone so far to know what he guessed would happen.

On the street, in front of Greyhound, the women who walk
in stiletto heels, ask, You want a date? or, Like to go out?
He smiles big, for he loves each one.
If they sell their bodies to have the money to get high,
who could blame them? Not him.
Childhood here taught him what to do
with the first to say, Honey, Let me show you how.
The condom between her teeth
she eased slowly over his cock. Shivers scaling his spine,
he could not wait to make circles inside her.

There is never money enough, anywhere, ever. Still,
he knows Rosemary will get by,
living where people have known her from birth.
Such a brief time they churned and spilled their load of love.
How could he know they would part in a storm of venom
until she told him she carried the child,
a cargo she yearned to share with him,
that hell La Puta saddled her with. She said she felt a son
inside her budding between his legs.
He sees her seeing what he saw on his rain-scarred window.

None of this is true,
he hears from the little voice inside that always knows a lie
can't beat the truth.
From below his daddy would tell him that's why he was knifed
as the table stakes rose, loosing the card up his sleeve, 
like Bobby's cock roaming, a lost child in a foreign country.
Cristina, still working the bar in hip high hose,
goes back to asking him to make her dream come true:
Come sleep with me, give me a child. Knock
and I will open wide.

(17 July 2014)

copyright by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Blood Wake

Where the blood went
we know, the bones and I,
who see from inside
the wake flotilla plow,
hulls filled with men with spears,
the living going to die.
No one knows their names now.
History forgets flesh
keeps bones alive. Hands
that held the tall weapons
given to museums.
Emblems of memory
overflow: engorged
blood billows into war.

(16 July 2014)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Bones

The names are lost. He holds bones in his hands,
the feel of them quaking inside bare skin.
They are from bodies that were never named.
The heart travels its arteries. Its pulse
is a tongue that forms between absent teeth
a sound he detects as though fingers hear
the simplicity of barbarism
swearing vengeance, desiring nothing more,
or the name hollows a well in his ear
where he learns what he was not meant to know.

(15 July 2014)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Archaeologist

And what of those who populate the barren places no one else will,
where wind carries dust and flings both fistfuls in their faces . . .
Houses constructed of old clothes quickly ripped by the weather
once they are named ceiling, and sticks stand as close as sticks
can be, though wind invariably precedes or follows the full clouds
and what were once walls leave sand no longer serving as floor:

Yes, what of the poor, born to huddle in storms centuries
remember, women selling their precious bodies in streets.
How are we men when we deny shelter and love to women?
I do not care, I will sing their praises, and if we desire, make love
None of us were meant to live according to what other males say.
Off your knees, be naked with her, never fail to speak the truth.

I have shouldered hundred pound sacks equal to his.
After hours we heaved them into empty railroad cars
until their spaces were filled: the least of our labors.
We worked night and day, rotating shifts, as my village
disappeared. In the city I crossed mountains to find,
days were for excavating bony souls, nights learning their names.
 
(23-24 June, 7 -14 July 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander