"It’s the old fear that keeps out the light of the present moment."
You have to know where the sun goes to know where it comes from.
Sailboats on the lake tip in the wind, some capsizing.
You have to know how to sail to keep the boat right side up.
Skiing too is an art that requires balance, not falling
the first lesson. In the factory on the edge of town
you can find work if you’re seventeen and know somebody
works there already. You must fill out an application,
she says behind her typewriter and handing you the form
goes back to typing between phone calls. You interview
over the phone and if you make the cut you can go back
to talk face to face so the boss can watch your slightest moves.
We will call you if we have work . . . Words to grow old with
memory’s sideshow, hootchy cootchy, Hey Rube! Step in here
to view the sex sirens of the Azores! . . . and they have work.
Juan was reading about the good life. Sailboats, skis, what else
do the beloved products of America seek
before they go mad? Adore is sleeping, he thinks. He can’t
see her conjure up what the loas have to say now
about Erzalie and the color of rage. Who knows why
she suffers so? Adore does when the back door lets her in
to sit a spell. Meanwhile, Juan throws the book across the room
and because he can’t see or hear through the closed door he goes
to the street that if he were in Chicago he would not know
enough to negotiate without Maria Teresa
and she’s got enough to do just keeping her life together
as she always has had to do since she was seventeen . . .
He walks over to Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop just to feel
the way it was that night over fifty years ago . . .
The shades are drawn. The music’s from the jukebox. He has time
to drink a Coca-Cola. He could be doing worse.
If he were in Chicago he would know nowhere to go,
he would know no one but Maria Teresa, and why
would he care not knowing anyone else?
The bartender wants to talk about football. Who dat?
he grins, Weren’t those Saints a sight in that goddam Super Bowl?
Fuckin’ Colts didn’t know what hit em! Drew Brees made up for
the levees breaking, besides we’ll be getting a new golf course,
I hear, where the lower Ninth Ward used to be, that’s great news . . .
Why do you have the shades drawn? Juan asks, if you’re so happy?
Can’t stand the light this time of day, the bartender replies.
Juan thinks, Fuck you, buddy, you’re a pain in the national ass.
See you some other time, he quips, When the sun goes down . . .
(7 February 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander