Thursday, July 7, 2011

What the Head Says to the Heart and Hears in Reply

Sometimes the heart has more to say
than the head wants to hear.
In the wake of your three score and ten
the heart wants to confess your life.
What is there to say
that would not be better left to tongues
other than yours?

In Paris the Virginia gentleman
wanted to woo the English beauty
in what Virginians called "the worst way,"
meaning "fully" . . . you know, "passionately."
She was, however, married
and his head said, You are a widower,
isn’t one dead wife enough?
His heart replied, You must accept your fate.

Therefore, Eleni Rallis lived in Athens,
ex- husband by the Pacific Ocean,
and I with my most stubborn love, Cathleen,
in the snow and ice country,
for Seattle was too rainy
even if it was where we met
more than fifty years ago.
Lelli’s "ex" married an Englishwoman
and that too is over . . . but why go on?
Eleni lives in New Orleans now.
Roberto would marry her, but no,
his black-hole cancer will swallow him whole
and she will be left a widow.

. . . Juan overprepared this event:
re-read Thomas Jefferson’s dialogue,
his letters and Maria Cosway’s;
remembered Sally Hemings
to be sure
to not forget her lover-master's means
to buy and sell human beings . . .

Juan thinks of Leila Shulamite
networking for a job in New York,
served canapes from trays that come around
balanced on ten brown fingers,
and though her skin’s the same shade and hue
as the servants’, she is dressed to the nines
and on paper more educated than they.
If "irony" now squares with "agony,"
what passes through Leila's head
on the way to her heart?

(7 July 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander

1 comment:

  1. Are you referring to Lelli Rallis who used to live in Portland in the 1970s? I'd love to be in touch with her. Nick Allen, thanks