WHO IS SHE?
Who is he?
Why don’t they use their natal names?
How do you know they’re not?
Juan Flores, Leila Shulamit–too exotic!
even Johnny Flowers . . .
WHO IS HE?
Who is she?
Who is Leila Shulamit?
Who are you to ask? Wait until you
are introduced. No one says
you have a right to know.
WHO ARE THEY?
Don’t they have all they can do to work
for money to feed themselves
and their families?
They look after even their dogs and cats.
WHAT ARE THEIR ANIMALS’ NAMES?
Now you’ve tested my patience
and not until the inferno freezes
will I answer you.
Juan has too many, Leila too few,
and it’s no business of yours who!
WHY ARE YOU SO PRIVATE?
Because I’m not.
Why are you so public?
Try loving someone. Try loving more
than one someone.
What do you think would happen?
WHY ARE YOU ASKING THESE QUESTIONS?
Why do I even bother answering?
They are answers I want to get out of the way.
I want to devote my life to my work.
I wish you would turn and try to do the same.
There are reasons the world is the way it is.
HOW IS THE WORLD?
How are you? Multiply that by God only knows
how many live or die on the surface
of the earth, the planet careening
on its axis, awaiting another Chile,
and I don’t mean Pinochet . . .
WHO IS PINCOCHET?
The son of a bitch Augusto Pinochet,
now dead and not a moment too soon,
should have died before Allende.
I want to smear worse than dog or cat shit
over his grave, over his stone. Blot him out.
WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?
I’m not. I do no more than remember
I simply heard the news that day.
I was sad beyond words. I wanted to go
see Allende’s Chile before September 11, 1973.
I planned the trip for the summer of 1971.
WHY DIDN’T YOU GO, THEN?
In those days I was freed after eight years.
I walked away with two thousand dollars.
I went south, naturally.
Planned to go all the way to Santiago de Chuco,
when I learned a great friend had suicided.
WHY DID YOUR FRIEND SUICIDE?
Because of bastards like you, who won’t leave
well enough alone, you have to get your digs
in and pitch out the courage inside like earth
when the gravediggers arrive to do their job,
and all this done for the health of greed.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?
Yes, to continue the indictment: you and your ilk
are the scourges of the planet, you were then
and you are now. I sometimes look in the mirror
and say, Who do you think you are?
You look just like them, but as happy you’re not.
ARE YOU UNHAPPY?
I may be the happiest man alive because I am alive.
In two days I will be seventy-two.
I now am in love twice over, mind you.
I have been, I am, in love with four women in my life,
more wealth than any rich man’s stolen bounty.
DON’T YOU HAVE TROUBLE BECAUSE . . .
Because I’ve loved and do love four women?
How crazy can a civilization be to ask the questions
you insist upon?
Why don’t you look into your heart,
find something open that’s not a bank . . .
BY THE WAY, WHO ARE THE FOUR IF I MAY ASK?
The four women I have loved and do love?
Irene Castenada, Paula Joy, Irish Cathleen, Leila Shulamit.
Aren’t you glad you asked?
You must’ve thought I was whistling past the graveyard.
(29 December 2010)
copyright 2010 by Floyce Alexander