FDR died before the school took shape
in blueprint. City fathers endowed it
with a plaque: the man standing sans wheelchair.
Seattle’s mayor roared his approval.
Unfortunately for the mucky-mucks
resolutely housed on the seven hills,
Roosevelt High was too far from City
Center, in a neighborhood of riffraff,
a new pejorative in postwar times,
I quipped (I'm Bobby, I'm from the lowlands).
When the boy with the scar on his forehead
appeared, he brought with him education
in the style to which his friends would become
accustomed. He befriended Sanchez first,
who dubbed him Huerfano after he learned
Jim’s origins, father and mother killed
on one of many hairpin turns
one rainy night in the Ozark mountains.
Sanchez pointed out the girls he might like
and introduced Jim (before he became
Huerfano) to his friends Clark and Dupree.
Clark was a dapper dresser the ladies
fawned over, capable of keeping watch
over his reputation as he fell prey
to one luscious lay sweeter than the last.
Dupree was the most moxie, he knew more
of street life than Clark, better than Sanchez
at pool but willing to teach him hustling,
most crucially how to call it a night.
Sanchez was expert at naming the girls
most gifted in the art of giving head
and those who also kept you hard all night.
I kept to myself, reading and writing,
masturbating before going to sleep,
until I was seduced by a waitress,
high breasted, long legged, hips like I loved
come to life, teaching me how to fuck her
after she got off work across the street
when her boring husband was out of town.
She worked the graveyard shift, her red hair real.
Two teachers made you want to go to school.
(Roosevelt High we called FDR’s Tomb).
The man came from Portland to teach music.
(I played clarinet, coveting the sax.)
His wife came out of retirement
to teach Latin and how to read Shakespeare
and said to keep writing if you loved words.
She loved to go with husband Paul to clubs
like the Penthouse, to dives like Pete’s Poopdeck.
Anna loved Paul, who loved Anna and jazz.
(19 January 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander