Nothing to remember what came before.
Wind against the bare arm out its window.
When I was alone I drove until I slept.
Troopers made their daily quotas with me
and my kind, supine across the front seat,
awaking hungry, sourdough, salami,
a beefstake tomato, in the rich days
of my youth. We were dark and are white now.
When I drove with a woman companion
we did not always find a bed, like now.
The miles mounting under the turning wheels.
Annette walked with me in San Francisco,
on Wool Street smuggled me into her skin
the night before she left for Mexico.
“It will be said in time,” she wrote at noon
in Li Po’s over a beer and egg rolls,
and handed me the book she’d bought for me,
How to Travel the City’s Seven Hills.
Elsewhere it was red hair on her pillow.
Wilshire, where John shot himself in the head,
his paintings accumulating unsold,
unseen. Betty with me at L.A.X.,
“The Second Coming” scrawled in cursive hand
and memorized before the plane set down.
I knew why “the best lack all conviction,
while the worst are full of a passionate
intensity.” Yeats was, in a word, right.
The shadow of those dying in the war
Hiroshima’d, Nagasaki’d in shapes
we could not see, we were blind to shadows.
Crossing the border I heard the wind say,
Stay. The incorrigible was over.
It would come again. There would be no end.
Stones over graves still etched in braille. The moon
full, sun gone south, white rainbows in the north,
a tangle of nerves in houses, the wounds
of love opening to release the blood
the leech of power loosed over the earth.
(14 December 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander