O where is your bowl, romero?
Here’s the old boot. Hits bottom when the heel
touches earth. My element. Jar up dust,
ashes everywhere. My dead. Who did not
ask to be buried. Throw the shovel in
the sea. God damn the fury of a God
who can’t forgive Its abandoned people.
I wanted only that my flesh be soft
when warm and laced with yours, Gamine. I flee
no one. I pick up my bedroll and take
leave. I run the street with eyes that see all
they have ever seen and more, with the stakes
so much to forgive. The ravens. The gulls.
How they fly without warring in the blear
skies, colliding, falling–how do I make
contrition here where I do not believe
and where would I go, how tell the rabbi
of one night so long ago how I wished
to be free by going where I could not
be seen or heard. When he asked why, I said
a litany of woes, each one from heel
to toe, my words an awkward pas de deux.
Through the glass, ravens tracked the snow. And east,
I knew gulls were searching Atlantic shores
for winter food. I wanted them with me.
Go south and they are gone when you get there.
Always. There’s no time to dawdle, Pilgrim.
Sleep in Cynosure, North Star bright enough
to light the long way. If I’d gone. I’m here.
Still. The dust, the ashes fog. I know where
I go next. But can’t see. Good thing I stayed
this side of the equator. Good thing. Breath stays
beyond leavetaking. I’m where I could weep
but won’t. I would laugh but why? How summon
either extreme, I know the way is long
and the flesh weighs its bones. All I know is
I want you, Gamine, I can’t weep or smile.
I shake with desire. I lift the bedroll,
lighter than before. Where is your pillow
for my head between your breasts. I lose all
if you go. I have no needs. My body
is a sieve, my mind a net. So many
bowing East, South, West, North . . . Not me.
I take a stick to put under one arm
and walk that way, best I can. You would think
I could find a way out of where I am,
I was here a long autumn. Is it you
stirred my bones? Was it your map I found here?
I need to find a place to sit, to work,
to love, to sleep, to work again, to love
again, but how do I to eat? How do you?
Where to sit, how to stand, go where we move:
What would it be to relive what it is
to be alive. Over there. Let the waves
shift the tide. Or signal the change, breaking
the opposite way, taking us along,
if only in our imagination.
There is also the Center. It is where
the binding together of all our wounds
takes place. Think of how it will mend our hearts.
Inside, through us, runs a river our own.
Cartographer, your lips on my lips burn.
I hold your hand and trace the river’s flow.
(10 December 2010)
copyright 2010 by Floyce Alexander