Thursday, April 21, 2011


And the same shit begins again:
What to do about The Saloon . . .
He will approach it like a man,
as they say, those arbiters of manhood:
Men fight, women fuck, men make money,
          women stay home;
unlike women, men let nothing bother them.

When he picked up Cathleen, they went
to Solomon’s. Juan loved a hot pastrami
sandwich and a bowl of onion soup.
Cathleen let him order for her.
They had the same. Next time
          she would order
and he would have the same . . .

They were walking past the Geary Hotel
when it hit him: he would see Roberto:
he knew about running a business,
liked to mix drinks, was as amiable
as anyone Juan knew in Marin . . .
They drove to his two-story house
          in Mill Valley.

Roberto, an orphan, adopted by the couple
who owned Geary Street’s original hotel,
grew up around drinking, nightly poker games,
          observing closely
and learning the way of the world,
and when he reached his majority
inherited the money he lived on now.

Because he was bored, fighting with Maureen,
trying to lose himself in the etchings
he was famous locally for,
Juan’s offer not only appealed to him,
he wanted to know when he could start . . .
I could live in New Orleans as happily
          as in Athens,

Roberto declared, having loved Greece
because he loved the lovely Lelli Rallis,
who had gone home to live in her birthplace,
          the Peloponnese,
after coming to the States, married.
He went to Athens every year
and she came to the city to be with him.

Lelli Rallis was a small dark beauty,
Maureen was blonde and more Bob’s size.
Lelli loved Bob and said so, said she would
          never remarry
unless with Bob, who did not marry Maureen
because Maureen had been married once
and it was hard for her to live with him.

Juan said, Maybe Lelli would like New Orleans.
Bob said, That’s a wonderful possibility,
          I’ll ask her.
Juan said they would fly there tomorrow
and Cathleen could come along. She said
she had to stay to see a buyer from Paris
eager to see designs she had made for him.

Juan would make the reservations and call
Roberto. They drove to Lagunitas and made love,
then Juan made the reservations for two,
called Roberto, and after making love again
          slept fitfully in the bed
in the front room until Cathleen soothed him,
doing with her tongue what no words convey.

(21 April 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander

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