"I see so few white boys in here sober."
"I gotta be, girl, or I get crazy."
Dancing close gives a broken man new life,
not just hope, which is a copout for dread.
"My name is Jill, what’s yours? Do you live here?"
"Juan. I live in Seattle. Hablas espanol?"
"No, pidgin English. Parlez- vous Francais?"
In the Black & Tan, in the Central District,
Juan moves among intensities,
women who make themselves available
to men if for no other reason
than dancing. Jill leads Juan, who follows her.
When at last he tells her he was broken
she is sitting with him on a front step,
and asks for more. Others walk by, open
the door. Juan answers her. "I died back there
where no one comes out whole. Being born here
makes you never want to live to be old."
(10 August 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander