Thursday, March 8, 2012

Summer's Winter

1. August 3, 1962:

A year and a month plus one sad day more,
Marilyn Monroe lost her voice.
No confessions of Kennedy assignations,
narratives of how she climbed out of hell
and found herself back there, in her childhood . . .
her mind worth more to her than her body–
the tabloids would do her talking for her,
her life story easily found
in Confidential, The Police Gazette.
Every randy American lad mourned her death.
When the most beautiful woman leaves you,
what else can you do but make love
with her famous nude calendar
or buy a whore and love her forever . . .

Around dusk Bobby walked to Ravenna
to see Jim but really he came for Marge.
She was painting her toenails red.
Jim asked him how long he had left in school.
Marge took him outside to set up a date.
Her nipples pushed against her blouse.
He watched her shapely ass flounce back inside.
He waited until Jim came out. Jim said
nothing about Marge losing her baby.
Bobby felt like a goddam common john.
He wondered if his father was the way
Jim was, selling his mother to pay off debts,
telling her she loved fucking men so much
why not get paid, we would all die some day.

2. After July 2, 1961:

The year before, during his twenty-second year,
he no longer saw much of his old friends.
He stayed with Lovely and she stayed with him
each night after they had worked through the day.
Paul and Anna went on being happy.
Paul played music loud enough to reach out back.
Anna read what he wrote and told him the truth.
Melindra read what she liked when she said so.
When Sanchez found him he tried to talk him
into joining his new combo, he needed reeds.
Clarinet was fine, he could play the saxophone
if he knew how. Bobby said he would stay
with what he knew and try to get better.
Sanchez said, I’ll be back when the time comes.

He walked by Dylan’s one night Lovely was working.
Jacqui was there. She walked him to the Red Robin
across the bridge. She lived above the bar.
She plied him with wine, or so he saw it later,
pleasantly drained, having spilled himself into her
without so much as a word hinting of desire.
Afterward she talked of literature.
Born in Red Bank, New Jersey, birthplace of
Edmund Wilson, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s pal.
Mother left her father, Jacqui followed her to Seattle,
worked on call with Kelly Services as secretary,
in a gig now with Manufacturer’s Life Insurance.
Bobby chided her, You must clean up with unions.
Walking home he asked himself why he’d left the house.

3. After August 3, 1962:

Marge said she missed doing him: Come see me
when you can. Once they were finished
she told him about losing her baby.
He did not know what to say, so he said nothing.
She showered and left
after he paid her.
Bobby preferred her to Jacqui,
who resembled elephant woman in Kama Sutra.
Marge was the mare, distinguished for her heat
with more than enough fire to spare.
You had to know she took money home
so Jim could keep driving his Cadillac.
He collected his trust a year from now.
Maybe then she could keep more for herself.

After straying, Bobby followed his guilt around.
Melindra drove him to the Olympic Peninsula,
out to Dungeness. He loved the place as much as she.
They were called lovers (as his teacher’s poem says).
As Lovely drove through the dark, Bobby wrote:
Rain drips from trees, rising into the sky.
He took her to dinner at the Viceroy.
She admired him in the dinner jacket.
Dungeness crab went well with Chardonnay.
They ate and drank and began to talk love again.
While they bantered he tried to read
her mind, and she his.
He took her dancing and they closed a cabaret
on Third and Yesler.

(4 March 2012: II)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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