Wednesday, January 12, 2011


or milagro, the middle of the week
another miracle of endurance
wherever you were, and here was the worst
conundrum: What do you do with a drunk
when you know he has everything he wants?
Why does he keep on dancing if he does?
Is he celebrating his good fortune
or is he looking for a miracle
he didn’t even know was possible
until the music began and his feet
stepped out, found the floor where flowers blossomed
where bear learned to dance happily with deer.
After that she had nothing left to say
because he had said nothing important
much less miraculous. He was fucked up,
he knew that much and he rued the city
for calling him here with the false promise
of making up for missing his mother
on view at the funeral home that day
he told the undertaker what she was,
dress her in what she loved, provocative
and bold like they say in the fashion world,
and he heard the man titter, clear his throat,
and assure Mister Flores, You got it.
Lisa, you don’t know how much I miss you,
but I don’t know if I can come back there
now that I know we would be happy here.
He began to lumber from side to side
and sound upset and she didn’t know why
and wanted to turn tail and leap away
into Chicago’s demimonde thicket
where she went once and got away alive,
and he kept on shambling going nowhere
and she said, Sure, I’ll come if you want me
to that bad, but I’m Mexican, a Jew
as well, and you know how they treat black men
taking their women to give them babies
and flaunting their power, taking money
and shaking it in the face of the man
whose wife lies moaning and he can’t reach her,
a Mexican woman they would throw out
the door when they were through with her, a Jew
–well, baby, you know they’re worse than any
down there, and he said this woman’s father
was a Jew and the most powerful judge
in New Orleans, she married white trash
and he warned her but she wouldn’t listen
and one night he was stabbed to death down there,
Calle Tchoupitoulas, he liked the French
Carlos brought home from Saigon, Tu Do Street
Rue Tu Do, and she said she was staying,
and he didn’t want to growl his way out
of this thicket, he had to go around
following what light he could see from here,
hoping it led him back to where she was.
You won’t fly down to be with me a while
till I find what I’m looking for, you could
. . . and he did go on, promising this, that,
and as much as he could think of to lure
her where he was now, so she said Not now,
I have to think about what I’m doing
before I do anything, you know me,
how quick to love life, and how long it takes
to heal.
               It was the middle of the week.
There were miracles every goddam day
and here was his, the freedom not to love
and suffer all you fucking want, it ain’t
worth it, loving a woman if you can’t
give her at least as much as she once had,
protecting her from the New Orleans
she didn’t know and he knew she was right
to shy from the rednecks, mafioso,
all the wrecks of the human retablo
of greed, murder, slavery in the church
of Pandemonium, John Milton’s own
Lucifer in his tux and tails and out
for a night with what pleasure he can find
in this Eden where even snakes wipe off
flood scum wrapping themselves around the tree
of doubloons hanging like moss from the limbs
and waiting for beauty to come walking
his way and talking her into a night
on the town, all she has to do is rub
him dry, let him buy her all that she wants
and let her go home, back to her Adam
naming things and wholly unto himself.
My god, boy, you are being literary
like you used to get when you were a kid
who had too many books secluded from
the maid not to take one to the levee,
a long walk from where his mother lived now,
sit a while to let his mind disappear
into those black letters where he would go
nestle against the white space and turn down
her fancy collar, feel her all over,
do what he had to do to have his way
and her smiling closing both eyes kissing
him all over where she knew he would like
to take her hand and lead her out of here.

(12 January 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander

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