Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Vallejo

If I lived with a bowl beside me here,
where I do live, and had little more
to eat but the crow plucked over a fire,
needs only stirring and smoldering
rekindles and the searing enters meat
so succulent by then I can only eat
your burnished, aging but beautiful
flesh, You would be my bowl, crow,

and I would look for you everywhere,
not wait, not think, not wince or sigh
about my condition, like what I am,
on fire with words, and one woman
works without end giving her love
to my survival, while you wait . . .
Do you know the story about how
Vallejo died, Georgette by his side

and Cesar’s lover on the other side
of his final bed, letting the rain serve
as metronome to words that remained
unsaid, gone swirling with his ashes
into sky and its attendant beloveds,
the clouds, do you know how they
came to be there and why they stayed,
I will tell you, Gamine, when I see you.

I would eat crow to fulfill a promise
or two, those I have made to her
and kept so long through the fire
and this to you, my banked fire.
And on a Thursday, raining, black
stone next to white stone, a yoke
between all the bones not shoulders,
and the soft bone this lover clothes

with your flesh, and Vallejo speaks
words no one can English, but hear
like church bells in Cuetzalan, Mexico,
ring out above a cemetery rich with
peonies, the other cathedral spired
by Cuauhtemoc drawing his spear
back until those bells stop, the others
continue, followed by Beethoven, Bach,

or were the year I climbed there to die.
The doctor lives in the center of jungle
and there’s one path only. Why he was
named Vallejo God knew, his brother
in prison in the City, their namesake
buried in Pierre Lachaise Cemetery,
in Paris, or so I hear. He invites me in
and says I may stay a thousand years.

(9 December 2010)

copyright 2010 by Floyce Alexander


  1. Would love to hear you read this, Floyce. I like "English" as a verb applied to something other than golf (of course as a translator I love that phrase).

    I've often meditated on CV's haunting French verse: "J'ai tant neigé pour que tu dormes, Georgette."

  2. Mary,
    I would love to read this, and some others done since June. God knows where.
    Where does Vallejo's French appear? Is it only in French?
    How does it translate?
    "I have some snow for you even though you sleep, Georgette."
    Obviously, I know no French. Enlighten me, please, Mary.
    so that you may sleep, Georgette."

  3. The last line "so that you may sleep, Georgette" I'd intended to delete.--Floyce