Monday, February 6, 2012

Un-beginning, -ending Day

Lights go on, still dark.
Scurry of orderlies,
doors opening to close,
sanitary food smell . . .
He puts his pen down.
They get up, not him.
Midnight his light goes on.
All night he writes
on unlined white paper
beside the typewriter
Clark brought up to him.
Dupree tags along
to see what this life is like.
Bobby listens closely.
They have little to say
he needs to remember.
The teenage girls run
echoing through the halls.
The nurse he calls Lovely
carries matches to light
his smokes. Her eyes glisten.
She’s young but older,
a looker: gold blonde hair
with a lisp on her red lips.
He teases her, says she
should see him out
of school, she teases
back, Where would
we go? Are you married?
They both say no.
Before the boys leave
he asks about Jim.
Marge is pregnant.
Better than street jobs,
he remarks, hopefully.
The nurse returns.
She keeps saying her name
but he prefers Lovely.
Who are your friends?
Street thugs, he answers,
like me. She wears white
tightly. He asks for a light
to peer between her wrists.
She likes the name he gave her,
unaware he’s leaving town.
Paul and Anna ask,
Where are you going?
What of your scholarship?
Why throw it all over
for a change of scene?
Anna worries most.
He’s the son she wanted
when she was young.
Trouble is, Bobby says,
I’ve never been anywhere;
I want to stay out of here,
farther away, the better.
He knows New Orleans
is too far. He ponders
San Francisco. White city
in sun, fog, and rain.
So Cathleen likes to say
in red envelopes, her white
pages bound with blue thread
like Emily Dickinson’s fascicles.

(6 February 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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