There’s a certain way she looks at you
that embodies everything she makes beautiful
by reflection. She doesn’t see it, or does
she? I can’t tell her what I see. She becomes
more than beautiful, as though her face
contains all her body shimmering upward.
Norma, her accomplice in the boutique,
dropped in next day. The sight of her was love
in waiting. Cathleen was love eternal, you see
what I mean, reader, how sentimental I am.
Or am I a fool for love, like Guillermo said
who observed I could not let Cathleen alone.
Norma brought Cathleen up to date, accounts
receivable, accounts paid. Summertime boom
was on. Tourists up and down Geary Street,
in and out, already dressed New York nines,
loaded to buy that casual San Francisco look.
All Norma’s news is good. Cathleen shines.
She said I could drive the Morgan, keep it up
and running, park my car in the underground
garage and go anywhere you want. I drove
to California Street. As long as I was there,
I thought to call Rocky, see how The Saloon
was. Roosevelt was going back to Arkansas.
When he does, can you see your way clear
to taking over, or should I look for a buyer?
Rocky said he would have to check with Belle.
She liked his hours the way he worked now.
Would he have let me know before leaving?
Sure, Rocky said. I just put off calling . . .
I started the Morgan. It coughed and purred.
Such pleasure to drive a stick shift again!
I crossed the Gate, to the top of Tamalpais.
The deer refused to flee. Was it good omen?
I thought of Adore, young Jason, Questionmark,
loas I left there . . . or were they sleeping here?
I went for a long walk, at the top looked down
at Sausalito, Marin, the Pacific I always loved.
Those years in Massachusetts and the Atlantic
in its white slate dress never compensated for
this rippling blue following the flowing curves
of shores, a woman wanting to make love . . .
if not with you, then some man, had tried women
and no dice, she said, she needed that hard cock
inside her, flesh not rubber, a man’s hot breath
. . . Why worry about sweet man Roosevelt,
he just wants what’s good for his children . . .
Why worry Rocky? Belle will come around.
I drove back, through Lagunitas, wanting
to see Bolinas, went out to Point Reyes,
walked down to the shore’s edge, felt ocean spray
my face. In Bolinas, a new hangout:
The girls are pretty, the men boisterous.
You can’t worry when you live in California.
(17 April 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander