If it was me, Adore said . . . It wasn’t.
He called San Francisco. Irish
Cathleen wanted him to come. He could stay
with her and drive her car, she would take care
of his needs. He knew she had needs.
What would she do with her bevy of men?
She wasn’t asking how long he would stay.
For years they had tried to love. When they met
he had just turned twenty-one,
she was a month away from eighteen.
Dear reader, you can find the whole story
elsewhere, why tell it all again . . .
Forty years and more had passed.,
Irish Cathleen had already left there
to go to Massachusetts with him.
When Carlos disappeared, she fought with him.
He could no longer remember why.
Would she? That was twenty years old,
her flight back to the West Coast.
She drove. In Wyoming she got laid.
Guy at a restaurant on his way east.
Juan thought it was fitting she would tell him.
She was beautiful, and knew it–
her olive skin, her dark hair, black Irish
painting her nails red, everything he loved
in a woman . . . she was bright as the sun
at noon, her voice gentle yet strong,
her body voluptuous, her step light
from ballet, fingers carved for piano.
Irish, men said (not adding Cathleen,
only Juan said both names), was a woman
no one would pass without a second look.
When he got off the phone it was all planned.
He would fly out for a week, stay with her
on California, near Golden Gate Park,
drive her Morgan to the peninsula,
see Monterey and Carmel,
and stay near Cannery Row like old times.
A story you know already, reader.
I surprise myself going over ground
where once around already ages you.
Don’t ask me what I mean. Just remember
the year 1962 and the girl
dancing through the dutch doors
into the street, empty once she was gone.
That happened near midnight in Monterey.
Carmel had more sun. Next day he drank wine
on the beach and when the bottle was gone
he slept. He woke. Sun charred his swarthy skin.
He rode the bus back to the city,
white buildings looming above the blue bay.
"A man in himself is a city,"
the good doctor Williams of Paterson
had said. Juan remembered and wrote it down.
He didn’t need to reopen the book.
Irish Cathleen wanted only one thing.
Any man could fuck her, wine and dine her.
Only he would make her life worth living.
A day with him, she forgot years without
him. The only man who never bored her . . .
(21 March 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander