How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea
Whose action is no stronger than a flower? (Shakespeare)
No one here knows what anything is worth . . . I’d like to see the value of sky measured against the earth it touches and, some say, owns. A long time ago we did what we wished. Outlaws are always even. Read the history of the pirates: They stole from each other when they could. The guy this place is named for haunted the bowl water flooded until the pumps were started, the avaricious appeased went back into their houses and tallied their loot, and he kept a blacksmith’s shop. Some later denizen with a patch over one eye required the same attire of those he employed, even ladies, including those hired to dance with customers who came here for titillation. He even bought his booze in barrels and made sure everybody saw them rolled out of the back and set up here, where sitting at the bar you can observe the professional touches once you tire of undressing the ladies with your mind.
I undressed her every night in the one-room motel room with bath (sink, toilet, tub)and lay her on the bed where we did what we did best together, though she insisted I pull out before I came. Can you imagine? A rough lad like me screwing with an Englishwoman whose roots went back to Prussia, a red-haired, long-legg’d lass who had hardly any tit at all but made up for it with those high-pressure hips and how she curled them under you until it was all you could do to stanch the flow before you lay your cock on her belly and fountain’d. He’d never been with a whore, so why should he care if he couldn’t fill her with his juices. Why? The bar was at the end of Bourbon Street. That’s how we met Ray Fox, whose establishment, even then named by him what it is now, The Saloon. He took us to Delphine’s and bought us breakfast before we took him home in a cab and came back and fucked until the dawn had turned into sun. She had her own treasure locked away for safekeeping.
I couldn’t follow her, the crowd was too thick, the one-armed lawyer from D.C. and his friend from here tagged along, talking and wondering, like they had at the bar in the Blacksmith Shop while she was dancing with the Mexican stevedore whom she escorted over to hear with us his plaint, I make more money that you, I work on the docks, he declared, and of course I thought of my grand uncle Ira biding his time when he wasn’t sleeping, after the goddam day of straining muscles, sweat in the eyes, fatigue set in like it was going to stay for good if he didn’t get up and blow the horn he’d brought from Woolwine all the way, this far, and how he loved the way it sounded, the way he made it sound, he thought it was all he needed until he looked up that first night she was standing by the door and felt her eyes and her body rapt listening with an intensity he not only felt from her but allowed it to enter his head and sweep all the way down to his fingers and kept on going until what she saw him with was reaching his loins, and he knew he was meant to be her lover.
(4 October 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander