The next day I called Roberto, who answered, "The Saloon on Bourbon."
I said, I hear the old magic’s back. He thought I was talking about Lelli.
I wanted to talk about the loas, but Bob knew nothing of the loas. I was
not sure I did either. Just because they knew how to make me aware . . .
You know how you call someone from halfway across the world, and I
was thinking I had, and nothing is said but what happens to be nowhere
it was before you called, all you want to do is listen and say as little as
possible, you suddenly find yourself missing something, and maybe it’s
not the voice on the other end but someone you should have called instead.
Leila Shulamit. How she used to make me buoyant just listening to her.
I told him I hoped someday I could hear Lelli say, "Mister Flowers,"
as only she could say it. He laughed and said, You had your chance.
When we finished discussing business, debits and credits, all that jive,
I told him how it was working out here, that it had never been better,
going on at some length so he would not think he might be usurping some
one thing neither he nor I had thought of, at least not to tell the other.
We said our farewells the way no one ever does now, actually saying goodbye
which means go with god as every aging hombre y mujer knows everywhere.
Now you just set the receiver down on its cradle when you’re through . . .
I sat down then and wrote once more about the loas, which you’ve already
read. Rain was falling again. When rain fell I felt a jones for Judy Ewing.
Rain falling into the river I was wading that day I came upon her . . .
I went out and stood in it. I thought it might refresh the skin I wore,
give me a bath at least, feel ready to go inside and get dressed to go
to San Francisco. After a while, soaked, I went inside and called Cathleen,
told her my car wouldn’t be able to make it today, and I didn’t know why,
my skin was crawling, I said, that usually means I better not try anything
involving machines, man, I had that bullshit down pat, I knew what it was,
she said Sure, there’s no need, I’m always here, I just wanted to see you.
I went back out into the rain. I loved living where nobody could see you.
(30 May 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander