For some, no going back, never forward,
past you. I wish you would write a poem,
Cathleen declared, All I read is this talk
of Irene and the others. There’s just me.
And she was right, there among cigarettes
and Scotch she was mine in her olive skin.
For us, no forward motion, always back
where we started. The Seattle houseboat.
A cat called Isis traveled the boardwalk.
She belonged to the woman who slept late,
who early in the afternoon emerged
to comb her blonde hair over her fine tits.
Cathleen taught me to see the world this way.
There was nothing she would not do to live.
There was no one to tell her how or why
to live one way, not another. She loved
to love. She called it sex. You’re my only
beloved, she said. I took that to town
when she was gone off on a fucking binge.
She was too gorgeous for her good or mine.
Marilyn may have slept late, but alone.
She liked to emerge half-dressed to listen
to me answer how I made up lost time
waiting for an Irish lass named Cathleen.
My name is Smith, she liked to say, not Jones.
I told her she wanted to mother me.
Her mother lived on Queen Anne Hill.
She drove her Fiat and took me along
to see the harbor down below. I dreamed
more dreams when I was this high. I could see
that far. Down here waves sloshed against the boat,
I was a sentimental, heartless wretch
refusing consolation, but stayed on,
waited, and one day, or had night arrived?
I slept to dream Cathleen and I, star-crossed
lovers, were constellations in some sky.
(25 July 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander