Adore said, Honey, I don’t mean to tell
you what to do but you wait long enough
and she will slip out of reach forever . . .
Juan went back to HOT HOTEL to ask when
he could rent a room for his wife. He lied
with sun hiding his eyes like dark glasses.
He had no excuse for renting a room
in this flea-bag establishment, please God
if she came they could stay in Adore’s house.
The man reserved a room until he paid
in advance to hold it. He would come back
tomorrow with the money. He went out
into the sun. He liked Johnny Flowers.
He would return with the money to pay
for the room. Regardless of what happened
with Maria he would wear dark glasses
going into and out of HOT HOTEL . . .
He decided he needed his own place
away from Adore, a room for telling
the blank page what she told him, her story
of where she was born, how she named herself,
her study of the elements. Gris-gris . . .
ju-ju . . . air, water, fire, earth . . . and music
even a white boy from the blue mountains
picked up on his own listening to jazz
coming from a horn that was no bugle,
the one collecting dust on the mantle
back home before he took it up one day . . .
worked on the docks until he had money
enough to buy a horn from a pawn shop
and stay up all night to play it to sleep.
He started playing at the club at night
. . . well, the early hours when the band was paid
. . . a pick-up band and he stayed on
finally walking away from the docks
to play for money, he was that damned good . . .
She saw him across the room, he saw her.
That’s how she started telling him the tale,
mothering him and talking of Ira
all the time because Ira was his kin,
His mother was dead. That’s why he came here.
If he couldn’t find Nell in her coffin,
he could make a lonely woman happy
before she went to the cemetery . . .
All he had to do was tell the blank plage
what she told him. He walked to the water,
sun glinting off the surface blinding him
until he reached shade. Half of him was day,
half of him night. How could he turn the moon
into sun? . . . in his soul . . . would Maria
have magic now no other woman had . . .
And would she bring her magic back to life?
She called it Santeria, her magic,
the kind of sorcery she said turned night
into day to let the light in to breathe . . .
(11 February 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander