Friday, March 4, 2011

Tchoupitoulas Road

I don’t want to be sad tonight, she said.
She said it for him: He didn’t either.
He thought he might try writing songs again.
But all he could do were silent lyrics.

You had to imagine all the music,
and somehow it was just not the same thing
as banging parking meters with lead pipe
till they sounded like Hampton’s vibraphones
doing Midnight Sun. They had in common
the same memory, each one owning half
a story of desire thwarted by love’s
aging appurtenances, closing
times deeply carved in the skin of the mind,
locks set by timer like some bank’s treasure,
his desire to die like Christ for love’s sake,
her need to be joyous, fully alive . . .

How much they had in common, she said.
In the photograph of her looking down
below the bottom of the frame, beauty
is the least of what she lends to his eye . . .

He might try writing of the sepia.
He always imagined the past like that.
What was gone was what lasted forever.
Her naked neck. Her swan’s eyes. Skin like smoke.
Her entrance, he knew, would light up a room
with her startling voice, the brilliance showered
across the spaces between their fingers
joined like someone stitching them together,
the need to kiss her lips and hers kiss his,
to find an Eden where they could make love . . .

I know neither of their names. I could say
Ira and Adore, Juan and Maria,
God knows some stories never can end,
they are so full of holes, of dark back roads
where you can get lost and never get home,
all for the sake of remembering how
you got here by not going there, and won
her heart losing yours just over the hill,
the gas gauge on Empty, the car slowing,
stopping. Now, love her and let her love you . . .

(4 March 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander

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