Saturday, June 30, 2012


Nowhere to go now, he wanted to stay
where stars go clicking off and on,
sun turning into moon and back again.
Where the city ends night begins,
day billows back soft clouds. I wake,
he told her, something gnaws at me to say
until words die on the tongue unspoken.

Paula was going to do what she could
as wife what love had never done for her
where streets led one way and life the other,
where water falls away from waterfall,
a body confined to railings
and walking in circles to catch the spray
that never touches unless the wind blows.

But wive she would not. Nor would he husband.
He started reading Wulf and Eadwacer
and discovered the rest of it missing
until someone said poetry like that
back then was spoken not versed and reversed,
besides woman mourning man was old hat,
ten centuries passed just like that.

You are on that island, she said, with me
marooned on this one. Come free me fast
before I, big with child, die with music
trapped in my throat. Life’s become but a scale
to run, a refrain to hear melody
I need more than you now that sound holds me
captive, all wisdom vacant in these men.

To my people one who offered battle
will be welcome if he threatens to come.
Nothing will save us that we thought or lived.
My Wulf is over there, sea surrounded
I here. If he come I dare hope, but where
are those who will do nothing but battle.
Wulf, you have gone and stayed when I was sick
and lonely. In the rain your smell left me,
soon your rival’s touch I welcomed warmed me,
no need to leave now. Old love is the whelp
of a cur you made in me, the winds flush
through the tree branches sagging with children.
Do you hear, Eadwacer, the forest cry?
I grasp the knife with purpose, I plunge it
and widen the slash until life pours out
easily, what we never were was joined.
He bathed my body in the sea with his.
I glimpsed his soul, his body loved me more.

Bobby unriddles what is not to be.
He does no harm. He does no good. He fails.
Why praise the dead. Nothing is born of words,
they do not build the frame, walls, roof, windows
of this house in need of a floor for feet,
and the wind comes through cracks we never closed.
We are in love and we are lost at sea.

(11, 30 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, June 28, 2012

O Evil

In the night he draped the Celtic cross on its chain around the turquoise Navajo ring.
They fell, the cross was found but not the ring. Some witch from Winslow? Could be.
It fit his middle finger only. The cross has always pulled down the Dine, from the start.
He looked around without resorting to prayer. Some things require sacrifice. Was this
evidence of too little faith? Can’t forget. Sleeping with Paula he’s dreaming of Katya.

Paula went to hear Rose sing. Takes time off from her studies. Studies Rose, her voice,
her poise, her gestures, it’s all new to her, some may say Rose’s voice is an instrument,
that’s nothing new, it’s her eyes that riveted the eyes of the audience and took them
all the way to the stage and set them down, body by body, in the heart of the blues
Rose knew from now back to way before she was conceived, let alone thought of.

Bobby, pissed off at himself, got pissed at those he worked with in the Black and Tan.
When he served a brother a drink, he looked past them at the stage where he was
when he got himself up and later felt happy and Paula was too, they knew the love.
Now he used the phrase, knew the love. He knew more now than he would ever know,
because he was love’s agent, its fleshly angel alighting in the land between her thighs.

Love had him by the balls and was twisting his cock, making him feel better than ever
now he'd met Paula coming his way and he going hers, then there was no need to say
everything, that was what made him think, after the fact, she lived the way the blues
got put down on paper, if ever. She came home that night and he told her all this.
She sat across from him, her eyes aglow, listening to him go on about Baudelaire–

maybe he thought she was Jeanne Duvall’s double, as she watched him pour his love
into her, as she drifted where she saw herself in a mirror, alive and happy, how could
she not be? this side of her own hell. He was saying the poet’s phrase les fleurs du mal,
flowers of evil, it was what the priests ranted during his annual appearance at church,
railing against what they insisted naming the glamour of evil, all those lush pleasures.

What have you been reading, Bobby? Trying to puzzle out the poems of this doomed
maudit.  Hell, he thought, they were all doomed, every poet was a wildflower rooted
in wind, destroyed by cold or drying up in warmer climates, blown the way they arrived,
blown about all their lives, and only the seed cared, the soil, where there blossomed
stamen and pistil within the bloom for plunder by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

(10, 28 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

To Coeur d'Alene and Home

So much is unknown. That’s how he likes it. Her too . . .
Who says? She kisses him, hands balancing her waist,
fingers brushing the breasts she complains are too large,
but not now. DG and Myra pay close heed.
The J.P. is glad, he says, to see a couple
bring their friends to give them away.
Bobby says, I’m lucky in every place I am.
Paula takes the flowers the J.P.’s wife hand her;
they’re part of the financial arrangement.

Bobby knows he was high, Paula too, DG passed
one joint then another all the way across state.
They sat on a bluff overlooking the lake.
Bobby recalled to himself being here
five years ago watching the hydroplane races
with Cathleen and his friend John Friel,
a painter living hand to mouth in L.A.
The three drank then what these four drink now,
but with not a single stick of what Doug
mischievously called tea. Paula took Bobby to bed
and next morning they sealed their vows.

Myra drove most of the way home. Started at dawn,
home by late afternoon, wet from no air conditioner.
Doug played tapes. Most were with Monk on piano, horn
courtesy of DG, as you’d expect. All the way,
Bobby’s kisses covering Paula in the back seat,
hands sliding along skin, laughing together out of joy
they shared. Then Moses Lake, dusty and barren.
Filled up with gas. Ellensburg, where they ate,
was filled with farmers. In a late-lunch coffee shop,
farmers sat hovering over their hootch. They must bring
their own, Bobby said. Where do they think they are,
Oklahoma? Doug said maybe the laws were the same,
buy a bottle at the liquor store next door,
bring in your own booze and buy it back
drink by drink from the waitress: trays full of glasses.

If Bobby didn’t stroke her yielding flesh each hour,
Paula kissed his lips with hers. Nothing else
was so important as tasting her love
where they cavorted, the back seat now full.
Myra let Doug sleep; then he took over
at Snoqualmie. No snow here’s very nice,
the back seat agreed with the front,
no questions asked, no encores, nothing but sweet love.
By the time they reached the Floating Bridge
and turned off to take the drive looping down
and around, past Rebecca’s place
where Bobby had lived with her married
before the drowning, he felt finally at home.
He didn’t want to look at the house, but why not
exorcise what was more painful to remember?

(9, 27 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Call'd back"

I told a friend, I’m like Emily Dickinson,
I choose the moment of my fame.
I told him of her entombment out of disgust
with her family’s love of boredom.
Veins and arteries trade places in a poem
the way you are anybody you need to be.
On what rocks must you wreck to dash all hope
between the thighs, clamber of legs,
the body’s impossible odds . . .
Metaphor mixed with sand and water yield
a muddy feel of the soul grinding its largesse
into oblivious rage . . . My friend walked
across the Connecticut, the old bridge swaying,
saying, I’ll go see my squeeze and count ribs
between kisses that tongue my heart’s left side,
the one that keeps pumping if the right side
don’t decide to up and die. I’ll survive
my ladies, but how brave I need to be!
One may be older, one younger,
but by no more than a day of kisses
turned to fuck my cock when I swim between
their common channel, with your cache of guns
loading the chambers of my flesh.

                                                                                  to K & D

(9, 25 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Catullus at Work

During lulls Myra Jacobson left where she lived with DG and went with Paula
somewhere they could smoke while drinking. Myra said she’d be happy as hell
when dope was legal, not that she wanted to use, but Doug would do better
if he didn’t have to resist temptations just to stay out of jail or, worse, prison.
For dinner they usually walked to Chinatown to eat egg rolls and chow mein
behind a curtain and make cracks about how such privacy could be employed
by enterprising young whores who needed a place they could rent with food.
That reminded Myra of the love for Clodia that Catullus embodied in poems,
this well-born Roman lady who couldn’t stay true to him and hired herself out.
Besides, she was married to a jerk who used her as his trophy wife. She might
as well whore, even give it away for free, she liked her poet calling her Lesbia,
as though Sappho were left so alone on Lesbos she had to lie with randy men.
Paula still preferred Homer but she could see how Odysseus would be incensed
after twenty years of war, only to have to kill Penelope’s suitors to have privacy.

Bobby began listening to Paula tell him what Myra was into, and that way found
his way to Catullus. Yet the only thing that impressed him was the poet’s refusal:
He refused to bow down to the powers that were and openly satirized their follies.
He wrote what he wanted, what offended his pride and roused his cock with heat.
Bobby decided to try to write like Catullus; he was like some ancient blues poet.
He complained about the vicissitudes of his day. His day seemed to last forever.
Myra told Paula there was more critique in Catullus than in any satirist back then,
even Petronius, whose Satyricon got lost; only the gods knew what was never found.
And Juvenal did nothing but strike dread into those who insisted he be laughed off
like Lesbia sucking off the brainy boys and curs alike haunting the alleys of Rome.
Myra confessed, I don’t read Latin, but I fucked more boys in Seattle than Lesbia,
and I lived carelessly on, aloof, lost among the memory banks like dead languages.
Paula was born on Spokane’s respectable South Hill. But she fell in love with meth
and got knocked up by her dealer, trading him pussy for a hit when she was broke.

When Doug Harper said he’d like a night off now and then, Sanchez blew his cork.
First Bobby, now DG, what was he going to do for a horn? Well, beso mi cula . . .
and Paula told Bobby and Bobby went to Sanchez to say he’d return, for a raise.
Kiss my ass, Sanchez replied, I can hardly skim enough now to keep the tax fucks
satisfied every three months. Bobby insisted. Sanchez refused. Bobby walked off
and Dave interceded, telling Sanchez it would help to have Bobby back, to give
Rose time off, much less fill in for Doug. Clark walked his bass: that said it all . . .
Yet not quite all, as it happened. Paula went to Sanchez, asked him to reconsider.
She could stand in for Rose, he knew her voice, but he had to hire Bobby to play.
He was stunned to be confronted, faced down by one so beautiful and very young.
Bobby and Paula came together or not at all. Sanchez demurred and agreed.
DG celebrated the first night they showed, Myra was there to bail him out.
Clark took it upon himself to look after Doug allowing Myra to go to work.
One night Bobby asked Paula, Marry me? She said, Yes. They celebrated in bed.

The clarions sound. The emperor’s divan sways, I can see the fuckers from here
rounding one another’s hole. Who could help but hate the hypocrites? They dash
hope into dust. The rounders divvy up the after hours. When I see her Clodia says,
Go down on me and I’ll give you all the money I made today in the marketplace.

He’d pared it down to a manageable length by noon: He rolled a joint. She was
ready. They smoked and split. Their friends staggered along to sign as witnesses.
The girls knew their men preferred booze to marijuana, and proceeded accordingly,
thus keeping their men not only out of jail, but . . . Bobby had to stop. It was time.

(8, 24 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander


Bobby knew Paula would be there, on stage at the Black and Tan.
Tony told him he was playing piano there now. So it had to be her.
Dave and Rose dropped by after working the New Congress,
listening to the two of them conspire to raise the temperature of the room.
The black men loved Paula, kept asking for Bessie Smith or Billie Holiday.
She loved Billie and felt more at ease with Billie’s songs than Bessie’s
matter-of-fact blues, as she liked to say. Though she sang what they asked for,
and if she didn’t know it they brought the words and music to her
and she’d learn it and do the best anyone ever could.

They caught up: She was in school, he was back. She lived in the bungalow,
he slept upstairs in the New Congress. No need to mention La Iglesia.
Nor Christina, who wanted him to come back saying she loved him.
But here he was where he wanted to be, with Paula’s dazzling eyes,
her way of bringing him back to life, body and soul.

Tony gave them a ride to the bungalow, it was two, almost three,
Paula must sleep, she had classes. Tony drove Bobby to the New Congress.
On the way Bobby talked about what Claude had told him.
Tony said he should go to San Francisco.
Bobby thought about it. He tried writing a story about Henrietta Murphy.

There she’s called by another name. She looks like a red-haired Paula.
Her voice is older, someone says she was a child of the fields, back when
they called songs hollers. How could a young woman with white skin know?
That’s what they said in downtown Seattle,
the brothers and sisters. Henrietta, or what’s her name now,
believed in the devil arriving in his limousine at the crossroads,
where she was waiting to be reborn, suitcase in one hand,
red tipped fingers and toes and her sweep of red hair flowing out
and over her tall Irish body, cleavage showing just as the devil asked.

It was a dream story. The dream came to him one night in La Puta.
Another storm woke him, or was up in his head, the window rattling
and out there she was waiting by the crossroads.
The devil takes your soul, in exchange he gives you the blues.
The old story. He read Marlowe’s play. He brushed up on Goethe.

Another night in Black and Tan, Paula did Bessie’s Empty Bed Blues.
Between sets, Bobby asked her to have a drink with him, only him.
In the course of the conversation, she asked where he was staying.
He told her, hesitating to mention the name he had given the room,
and simply said, Upstairs, in the New Congress. She stared at him.
She said, What’s wrong, baby? Why are you so blue? What did we do
to get the blues so bad we can’t even sing without breaking up inside?
Her eyes waited. He wanted to talk about Henrietta. She listened.
He started telling her. She did the last set. He stayed the night with her.

(7, 24 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, June 22, 2012


Soon doors close, windows slam shut, sounds go out
to where grass ends, feet follow, eyes open,
who said such words falls on both knees
and can’t rise, his feet won’t hold him.
Planet tilting, sky falling, cracks underneath rise
swallowing what’s there. It’s time to read the book
whose page you marked, then put away till now–
a heavy volume fanatics abide
and say they’ve read, their minds wholly other
from yours, their lives tipped with a poisoned point:
your father dies, your mother whores, all trace
of you and your family sifted through ashes.

As for now, we look and listen and speak
worn words. The Cyclops in the living room
holds us in thrall. How do men of feeling,
women of intellect, their genesis children
know when revelations show them the way,
each time sudden veer, the swerve, the slow rise
before falling into the duplicate
of our fears and hopes, what the traveler
home must do to escape the cave, all there
in the narrative of the closed circle
–see the islands, they are many, blood is ocean
and two legs go farther than four, do not stay, go:

(6, 22 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beginning Again

"Suddenly everything has changed, the tone, the air; you don’t know how to think or whom to listen to. As if you’ve been led all your life like a little child, and suddenly you’re let out–go, learn to walk by yourself. And there’s no one around, no family, no authority. Then you’d like to trust the main thing, the force of life, or beauty, or truth, so that it’s them and not the overturned human principles that guide you, fully and without regret, more fully than it used to be in that peaceful, habitual life that has gone down and been abolished."
                                                                   –Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

"You are the blessing of a fatal step,
When life’s more sickening than illness,
Yet courage is the root of beauty,.
And that’s what draws us to each other."
                                                                   –"The Poems of Yuri Zhivago"

Character is tested by its courage, its will,
the secret of willing into being what was never there
by attending to its absence.

Zhivago declares courage the root of beauty.
Bobby looks under the leaves to find roots.
He looks to Katya’s photograph for beauty.

He reads Pasternak’s Safe Conduct and I Remember,
My Sister–Life, and the two-volume biography,
believing the more he knows the more vivid the world.

That’s what Bobby believes, how long has he known?
He swears he will find the path to an answer
making his life underground unnecessary thereafter.

Better to face your accusers. Therefore, he goes home.
Her car’s there, not her. He would seek Paula
his life long and always miss. She lives life as it is,

neither Lara nor Tonya . . . , Bobby’s poems suck,
or so he decides. Bonnington declared it was time.
Time for David Copperfield, Bottom Dogs . . .

The Story of My Life: I'm born, I think I loved
amply if not well, I tried to make art,
the weather changed, I continued, I died . . .

If he stops here, stays in the bungalow and sleeps,
he may wake to the sight of her looking at him,
lying down beside him, kissing him kiss for kiss.

If he goes, he will return to where he came from,
where what is expected of him
is nothing: nothing he does will be anything.

He stays. He assembles his clarinet and riffs,
then sings this song he’s been hearing at Christina’s
playing over and over, "Crown of Life . . ."

A part of him is outside the bungalow, listening.
A part of him is inside the song and its voice.
A part of him enters the door bringing love in.

(5, 20 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Same Lake

Lake Washington:
through the wire mesh
the football stadium
in the foreground,
rain on the dirty glass
and thunder clouds
in Bobby St. Clair,
scars of Rebecca
gunning her Healey,
the gas pedal floored
and stuck, though
no one could say
fishing the car
with its redhaired body
out of the same lake.

Bobby in outpatient,
where Bonnington asks,
Where you been?
Saigon? Or did you need
to disturb the surface
of the underground?
Doctor Sunday-painter
sees nurse Melindra
tell Bobby how happy
she is. What about?
Bobby spits back stupidly.
He feels vindictive,
toward whom? She sets
him straight: she still
loves him, but why?

Stop hiding from yourself
is Bonnington’s advice.
By playing the coward
you can turn into one.
The doctor wants him
to begin The Story of
My Life. Why worry?
I sent them a letter
ample to save your life.
The war will continue
without you around
to win it for the enemy.
I prefer the underground,
Doc, I have a baby
to make . . .

On the way out Melindra
says she’s in med school,
still living in her house,
with her job on the ward
to try to break even,
and she has a new love.
Otherwise, she says,
tend your own garden,
Candide, this life is
all we are given.
So he goes home,
Christina’s out.
He packs his few things,
thinks it over, then
writes a note: I’ll be back.

He’s on auto pilot.
The sky’s cobalt blue,
sunny with slow rain.
From here you can hear
the hydroplanes,
and the closer you get
the closer the memory
of walking by the lake
with Rebecca, walking
along the green shore
entering the throngs
of celebrants,
fortunate to be here,
one among the many,
though it’s the same lake.

(4, 19 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, June 18, 2012

Christina Working, Bobby Underground

Where was he going or wanting to go?
A woman in his writing seminar from France
set him straight about Paris.
The seventies were nothing like the twenties.
There would never be another Hemingway,
or a Scott and Zelda to enlighten
and entertain the nouveau riche.
When Doug Harper invoked Dexter Gordon
it was always Body and Soul, Round Midnight . . .
and life went merrily on with much carnage
always somewhere else. So said those
who unerringly know.
Kent State, Jackson State, schools closing down
under siege by students outraged
their number had been fired upon, murdered
in the name of Nixon fighting communism
with the young linking arms against the old.
Where to go? Try Canada. Soon he might.
Bobby St. Clair went underground
when his number came up. Bonnington said,
Don’t worry, I’ll remind them of your past.
He didn’t listen. Christina hid him out.
He quit going to class, he stopped his music,
kept house, Christina paid the bills.
She never complained, adamant
she would keep her promise to Danny:
Come what may, his son would survive.
They made love slowly, insatiably.
She was thirty eight, she wanted a child.
He could never resist her allure
though she wore hip-high hose only at work.

(3 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Saturday, June 16, 2012


All he could do was try to keep his eyes off her.
She was tall, sleek with emblems of her desire,
looking straight out like Sidney Bechet said
you should play so the sound went straight through you
and it was her body he wanted more than gold.

A dream like this . . . whose name would go with it?
He woke and saw her in the rocking chair
in front of the window, smoking, rocking.
Why ensimismada, my love?
Thinking, she said. Deep thoughts? Thinking about
why you married me:
I wake and you’re saying her name over and over. Who?

Nothing would matter. Katya had her life
long before he found Paula, though he died
a little death when he left Mexico City
and her . . . woman dancing with such . . . elan . . .
the way she turned around above one leg
watching her body laugh as she smiled down
at one foot, the ankle tattoo showing
in his only photo of her . . .

He told Paula, I love you, and meant it.
She drove away while he was getting dressed.
He kept thinking. He kept changing his mind.
He thought of Bechet again. In Paris. Why not?

(2, 17 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, June 15, 2012

Paula: Her Voice

She dazzled the Black and Tan.
She met Rose, or Rose met her.
Her poise was a girl’s, her voice
cradled the room between her arms.
No one could find an empty chair.
All bickering stopped, bullshit died.
He sought her voice with his wet reed,
with fingers too fast or too slow
seeking the key to her sound, and found it.

The Black and Tan thrived.
White boy with Cadillac, Jim,
aka Huerfano, dropped by with Marge.
What’s that scar on your face?
Bobby asked, smoking Old Golds only
but feeling high and knew it was her.
Paula thought they were attractive,
an older couple. For her, being old
was a mark of incipient wisdom.

Yet she smelled exploitation
the moment a door opened,
and said so: I’m no prude,
but I do know this much . . .
saying little, preferring to sing
because she knew now she could.
Bobby kept his clarinet well oiled.
Rose was her champion. Paula came
on Bobby’s arm. Rose sang.

Rose asked if she would sing.
Paula demurred: I’d like to listen.
So would I, Rose said..
Paula sang. Easy Rider.
There were feathers in the room
knocking aficionados over,
drifting behind the bar,
floating upstairs.
Only Bobby saw

Henrietta dressed in peacock quills
with plumage like some Paris gown
make her way down those stairs,
step up on the stage,
pause to assess the room,
take the microphone, tenderly
releasing all that lay on her mind,
building to her hurt cry
muffled by her woman’s earned rage.

(1, 15 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Old Souls

One great thing, he paused, is to relive life. You don’t make mistakes any more, you think before you act and when you act you are alive. Make no mistake, mistakes are out the window, if there is one, and they wizen in the stark sun after rain. You feel as happy as you believe you’ll ever be. Believe this and the enormous weight of regret is lifted like a Godlike act of sorcery, the way the sky turns all colors with rainbows and all. So now, or then, she’s here, or there, smiling and laughing and talking and listening the way she was in the beginning, as she is now, as she shall ever be, world without end . . .

Then he went out looking for work. The woman downtown found his name in the files, commemorating the stint during the World’s Fair managing the apartment complex transformed for the duration into a motel and now back being apartments again, as it was in the beginning and who knows what will be next . . . He got this lead and and here he was on the street again, following the slip of paper between his fingers, wanting, or hoping, to do the best he knew how and get the job, put her through school the rest of her way and be given the chance–mere chance--to love her longer, live with her and be her love and she be his . . .

The guy said, Sure, you’re a writer, you can write, I read, I’m a reader . . . And they got nowhere. Bobby said, I also read. The interviewer asked, Where do you want to be ten years from now? Bobby thought about it longer than he should: I’d have to think about it, man, I sing, I write, I play clarinet, I listen to strangers talk, I’m an amateur archaeologist digging deep, excavating old souls, those that you don’t see or hear anymore but there they are when I hit bottom, there they are . . . The guy interrupted, What are you trying to tell me, you don’t want the job? Bobby said, I’m trying to tell you who I am . . .

Paula didn’t go to mass. He wondered aloud why priests donned robes and censer in one hand, then the other, delivered, incensing in many shakes–casting ashes of the dead in the shape of smoke? No more funerals. They went back to bed to love some more. Money was low, why not try Black and Tan? He assembled his clarinet, warmed up with scales, then started his old favorite, the one she sang better than anyone he’d ever heard. He didn’t know until he was playing through "St. James Infirmary" one day. She found the words between breaths where and how he’d imagined. And he knew she knew.

It seemed to him she let the breath syncopate, the last word trip into the next like a brief skip but never a hop or jump, and then she reached below her God-given soprano, she liked to call it, and found something low down, at least for her in her glorious skin with her high cheek bones and everything about her more than beautiful in the light Black and Tan pooled and bathed the stage. She could sing "Easy Rider" and did, she knew "C. C. Rider" too. She loved Billie Holiday, so she did "Don’t Explain," the whole thing. He asked her where she’d been hiding her voice. She said, I didn’t have anything to say before.

(31 May, 15 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Deep Love

His life lived with Paula was full of joy.
Bobby St. Clair, who was not yet thirty,
was finally in love for the first time.
Do I repeat myself, long-suffering reader?
As long as they can keep each other home,
their turbulent passions may wander from
mother to lover, lover to father,
but they will sleep dreamily together.

In the days before there was a Mexico City,
on top of the Pyramid of the Sun
the priests carved hearts from beautiful bodies
and sent them sliding down the narrow steps
into Quetzalcoatl’s feathery, long-fanged maw.
In Teotihuacan’s time, Lake Xochimilco
floated fresh flowers on a lake of blood.
Atavistic, bestial gods fed on women.

See the jerk of the spine short-circuited,
synapse broken between the great cities
of the Americas. Dead bodies curled,
ready for the fire. Messengers touch flames
to dry sticks. Five centuries gone, nothing
the sky sends down quenches the roar and crack
of civilization’s conflagration.
Smell death itself: there is no end of cruelty.

In the house Paula revives Bobby’s deep ardor
with her touch, her smiling, low-key laughter.
Outside, people see her and stop, waiting
until she approaches only to pass.
Nights her body flows with his to Monk, Miles,
Coltrane, the Cookbook of Eddie Lockjaw Davis
on tenor sax and Shirley Scott’s organ
swelling with a mellifluous, sensual sound . . .

Days she stays home, she watches a crow pace
the alley behind the bungalow. She tiptoes
toward him. He turns his head and stares.
He’s darker than he was through the window.
She stops. He flies. She sits in the high grass.
He lights nearby. She speaks to him. He caws.
She loves with such grace, so tenderly she
needs no songs, poems, unwritten stories.

(30 May, 14 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Claude's Table: His Tale

He’s not as tall as Bobby remembers.
Claude says he came down from Purgatory
to street level the night Danny was killed.
He didn’t see the knife. They never drank
unless table stakes got too high to quit,
so that’s the reason tempers boiled over,
Claude says. Still, he knows he’s going to Hell.
Though he never was headed toward Heaven.

At first, Claude says, I won’t say a word about Henrietta.
He’s brought out a bottle of Jameson with two glasses
a little murky around the edges from too many lips,
probably. Old man, Bobby wants to interject, you need
one woman only to keep you company, wash your glasses,
but Bobby knows better: Mind your own business,
laddie, this man is the last of his line, more than money
old age craves companionship, and why not women?

Last I heard she was living south of here.
She was home the night the train crashed that car
her friend Vicky was in, having taken her place
on stage at the club that evening. Vicky could party
longer than your mother, and she was with
three men, all three of them your mama’s beaus
at one time, and they all three knew damn well
Vicky was sad news. You know what she did,

don’t you? better than professionals do . . .
Blow jobs, hand jobs, fucking two men at once.
That’s how it happened, I s’pose, her in back
with two of them going at it, the cat driving
turning around to see what’s happening,
seeing nothing, hearing nothing, nothing to warn
the train in time that car wasn’t about to stop,
and was already on it, crushing it, dragging it under.

Because your mama spent time with all three men,
not all at once, mind you, and all four killed
on impact, they said, ground up like sausage,
little was left to tell who the woman was. Vicky had
most likely taken out her false teeth to do what she did,
but there were dental records for the men.
The cops were like a pack of dogs running after
your mother. She invented the blues Seattle knows.

They thought they knew so much about Henrietta’s lifestyle
they were quick to conclude, without asking around,
that’s where she was when Vicky was singing in her place.
When your daddy took you from her, she went a little crazy,
she started shooting heroin but she could maintain
on stage, not yet slurring words so you noticed it,
and you know, she was too late getting down to loving you,
must have thought it was now or never and took off.

Claude thought she must be in San Francisco.
Henrietta loved California, the northern half.
She said you could saw it off around Santa Barbara.

Bobby chortled but wondered why
she never liked the action in L.A.
Claude said, She loved San Francisco’s steep streets,
reminded her of what she knew of our skid road.
She loved to climb up slowly and come down quickly,

the rush of it fed her music, stoked her passions high
and turned her voice blue.
Claude poured more whisky
in his water glass. He lived on his disability.
His war followed him here, his little apartment
across the street from the undertaker.
Christina had said: Bobby, he knows more than anyone.
Your mother saw him like a sister her brother.
She always confided in Claude, he was the only one.

That’s where Cathleen lived now, when she was not in Paris . . .
So why not, come summer, consider San Francisco
their honeymoon? He told Claude of the beautiful woman
in his life. Paula? I like her name. Danny would be happy.
Claude kept going on. Bobby’s mind drifted: What ever came
of sorrow, nothing but sad old shit in your blood
mixing like poison, how can she love me when I’m this way
and she comes from such good people, and she knows it,

she wakes with her pulse full of the original thrill of life
coursing her veins. She says living with me is the only thing.
He was thinking out loud before he was aware of it.
Hell, Claude, she’s still in the shit, only it’s mine now.
Bobby spread one hand palm down. You know that game
you play? Stick the knife blade between all five fingers
as fast as you can go from one to the other . . . well, Claude,
I take my cut to keep a room upstairs in the hotel we play,

nightly, and when I stay there I throw a knife into the wall
and if it sticks, I don’t pull it out--it has no hand guard–
I wait to see it first thing next morning, upon waking,
I count it a blow in life’s favor, call it happiness
if nothing else. I used to see Henrietta’s face
when it stormed, in the rain running down the window.
Now she’s never there, or any woman I loved before
Paula came along and just in time, all my ghosts gone now.

(29 May, 13 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

True Blues

Bonnington wondered how Bobby would make
a living. Anna didn’t worry, but Paul did.
Bobby went to see Christina
who told him mamas don’t worry
until they know nothing else does the trick.
She started showing him how to mix drinks.
She knew more than most women, so she taught.
. . . but he did not learn. He saw no need.

He’d pour beer at Black and Tan if need be.
She could lure another swain to tend bar
for the criminal class or whoever
hired and paid the help at the New Congress,
she could have him share her bed, the same one,
Bobby would no longer be compliant,
let the need be hers alone, love was not easy,
he could give his heart away anyway.

Jealous bastard, I am, and growing worse:
who needs me to give her what my father
taught her, only he would know what she may
never comprehend, as much older than her
as Bobby is than Paula. Wracked feelings
in the rainy air, tensions returning–
how the quartet was better without him,
though he returned and worked with Rose,

who taught him what it was to sing true blues.
You had to get your feelings out from down
where they were deeper than words, dig them up,
haul them to the surface to be sifted,
a second time combed through to find what words
remain like rocks in the dirt of dead hearts,
a shale of sound in the air, music that is song,
the true blues archaeological site.

It is work he’s suited for. His mother would know
her son. Sweep of long red hair, painted nails,
open-toed sandals, sans bra, eschewing panties,
her high-legged body sashaying lazily
from man to man after Danny took back Bobby
for whom Henrietta received nothing.
After all, wasn’t she the one who paid the dues
he thrust inside her womb? asking for a receipt.

Bobby wants to drain the swamp and find her
if she’s dead or where she is if alive.
Now Tony plays piano when he sings
and Rose goes with Dave on their long nights off,
long to her there’s so much scar on her face to fill.
Tony plays piano when Bobby sings for her.
Laurie no longer comes. Tony drives here.
When Bobby starts drinking Tony drives him.

Bobby writes nothing, the nights grow too long.
Days go by, the weeks pass, Paula goes off
to classes. Bobby invariably misses,
and when someone asks her why he’s like this
she tells him and he promises to quit.
And does. Stone sober, he edits copy. Gets paid
for a day here, a day there, but he hates
reading other people, he may as well go back,

and does, returning to classes, to keep
that regimen, telling the paper’s editor
he needs to cut back, take leave, whatever
the boss can swing, and is out of a day job then,
exactly what he expected for leveling,
his reward, but why did he think–he didn’t think–
he would hear, Sure, Bobby, we don’t want to lose you,
go do that year full time and get back here,

meanwhile we will try to find someone who can fill
your indispensable big shoes. That was a laugh.
Paula tried to commiserate.
She did not laugh when he laughed, nor was there a smile.
She said, There is nothing I would not do for you.
She took him to bed and they loved,
and both slept better, they each said, and at the end
of such a lovely week he proposed they marry.

He was writing again but for class had to read
other people’s stuff just the same.
He started cutting corners. Paula shared a beer,
they passed a joint back and forth before bedtime.
After they make love, they lie on their backs
discussing the future. He will get a good job
on a paper and pay her way through school.
What else can a writer do for money but write?

Paula told Bobby to listen to his own head.
If he didn’t know by now he absolutely
loves her with every bone and stretched canvas
of skin between them, he would still look long at her
to feed from her eyes, as far as his gaze can reach–
trying and discarding worn words like marvelous,
fabulous, glorious, and others just as bad,
which include indescribable, and bewitching,

fifty dollar polysyllabic throwaways
that will not do. They need to be exact.
He looks into her eyes as he listens
to her soft but I-mean-what-I-say voice.
Many nights now, more than before,
they make love and sit naked together.
He puts on a record and sings the songs
and finds new words that were never there.

They sip from the same bottle of Bushmill
or Jameson. She starts singing, her voice
soprano but not alto, baritone not bass.
Such nimble rising and falling range
puts him in mind of Rose, whose voice
gathers speed to go as high as Paula’s,
who is not yet able to go as low as Rose,
who works so much harder to find such heights.

Her passion has an edge that makes him think
of the way Rose sings what she calls true blues.
One night, in Black and Tan, he asks Paula
if she will sing if he plays clarinet. She sings.
At that lonely time between sundown and twilight,
he’s writing of Henrietta Murphy
imagining what Danny’s friend Claude knows.
Then he takes it upon himself to go find out.

(28 May, 12 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Ken

Rose came to love Paula like a sister.
Paula loved music, the improvised kind.
Her mama insisted she learn the piano.
At eight or nine she was in the paper
for a recital she said others played better.
She was that way, she would be called cool now
after forty-four years have gone by.
She hit it off with Myra, who told Doug
Paula knew more of life at the bottom
than any white girl she had known.
That was no surprise. She loved Alonzo
for supplying her with dope for a screw
and a fetus she found a higher cost
than the going price for good methedrine,
the good dope being the most expensive.
Alonzo was from the bottom, where Myra began.
Paula got pregnant, he didn’t kick her out.
He gave her a place to live and loved her
by teaching her all he knew about jazz.
He shot up meth with her, took her to bed, to fuck
when the word love referred to the impossible.
Alonzo tried to share her with his friends
when he had to replenish his supply
and found himself short. Paula refused
but didn’t hold a grudge. She would learn later
what else to do when Bobby became a drunk.
Not a mean drunk, just one who couldn’t stop
until she was gone. That’s when he quit. For a while.
She was going her own way, gone for good
by then. He might never be as happy again
as when they began to love, and after the draft
scared hell out of him they survived, they married.
How can happiness last without changing?
But why get beyond the ken of this tale
without introducing the tragedy
first . . . Tragedy? Another tragedy?
Why do these people go on fucking up?
Easy, if you know history:
the sixties bled into the seventies
like this: Vietnam. War came home and stayed.
Weather people hid out years and people forgot
until the wanted posters were frayed and only
the tattered remains were left to read,
and who read when the TV was not on?
Paula . . . A student, she read the classics.
She read Homer’s Iliad to comprehend war
in Indochina, and the Odyssey
to imagine what would happen
after the last chopper lifted
from the last Saigon roof to write
finis and open the gates to the guerrillas
to recover their city. Nixon had resigned
the presidency for lying about skullduggery.
Ford seemed to step out of Aldous Huxley.
Rather, he stumbled, no longer nimble,
the football player of his youth
become a puppet now whose strings were pulled.
Bobby’s Brave New World baloney
shut down when he found love with Paula more
than he might ever know again.
As Pound’s Mei Sheng had written in China
one hundred forty years before the Christ:
And she was a courtezan in the old days,
And she has married a sot,
Who now goes drunkenly out
And leaves her too much alone.

(28 May, 8 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

City Limits

Nobody said so much as anything.
There was no anguish or clamor
to break the nonstop silence in the car.
Who could have seen the fallout
over something so routine as death?

Women were allowed no choice then,
told to remain virgins to become wives,
then mothers. Or they could murder themselves,
either with shotgun, noose, or zero
to the bone. Why not say a woman
need not be God's sacred vessel,
believing that her only worth?

Five years before Roe v. Wade.
Now men rage on courthouse steps.
They sob aloud for cameras.
Young men who resist being called
back and back, back, back, back
to the war are branded pussys
by fanatics for whom war is money.

Is there justice in the conflation?
A woman after abortion still loved.
Mothers of veterans of endless wars.
The word pussy . . . why not love
the portal of her body’s beauty?
without fear, dread, the living death
they endure, you endure, I endure:
I mean the body’s soul inside there.

So the rest of the car clammed up
the rest of the way. I did not care.
I looked at her. I loved her now
more after her ordeal than before.
She was glad to have it behind her.
She had her life back. I tried hard
to imagine and I could not, ever.

(27 May, 8 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Orphans, Widows, Clowns

Anna said, Use my car, Bobby.
They left for L.A. in the gloaming.
Paula’s voluptuous friend Lucy
came along to keep Paula company
during the abortion in the crevice
of a canyon called Topanga.
Bobby stayed outside by himself
fiddling with his nerves.
After it was over Paula asked to go
to the Whisky A Go-Go
to see The Doors. By chance, they sat
next to Jim and Pam’s table.
They met and talked between sets.
L.A. smog was worse than ever,
Jim said. Bobby invited them north.
Jim said he’d like to hear Bobby sing.
Though these were their salad days,
with margaritas, chile rellenos,
conversations around Vietnam
widows and orphans, no one’s death
was news, just part of America’s air.
Nor did anyone discuss money.
They smoked good dope. The Doors
jammed for them after hours.
Bobby sang, Jim sang, then said
Bobby was better than him.
They hoped Paula would travel well.
She and Lucy got along with Pam.
Jim sang a song called Strange Days.
Bobby wrote down the way it went.
There was a street full of clowns
in a dream that followed him north.
Later, in bed Paula said it felt
down there like a penis was lodged.
That night he bolted from the dream
for the first time. Paula cradled
his head. Orphans, widows, clowns.
Off the freeway, bodies littered towns,
war-torn towns. She said Jim’s song
reminded her of the dead, the young.

(25 May, 7 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Angel Eyes

Bobby called her next day. No one answered.
Early this morning, he sat on the bed
in the bungalow, in the largest room,
small kitchen with a table and three chairs
through the Spanish arch leading to the john.
Anna and Paul let him be. He saw them
between gigs, which were fewer now that Rose
was home with Dave, comparing Seattle
with San Francisco, the tough Tenderloin
where she had sung in Gypsy Oasis,
a dive that paid good money if you drew
a crowd. She wanted to talk it all out
as a way of explaining her absence;
there was no mention of Mona’s habit.

Bobby called Paula again around noon.
Still no answer. Then clarinet practice
until three, when he called again and she
answered. He went out for the hefty walk,
took her to dinner, not at the Viceroy
but to the café around the corner
where the bikers had greeted him last night,
he’d left in time to meet her on the street,
fall in love with her, her uncommon grace,
her intelligent, incomparable beauty.
They walked to the bungalow: clarinet
and Angel Eyes. Your song, he said to her.
First he sang it a capella, then played
all the way through, no words necessary.

She lived with the man who made her pregnant.
He was the connection for her habit.
He told her about Mona. Paula said
she was going to L.A. for an abortion.
She asked for a glass of milk. She had been
wanting to find another place to live
before she lost control. He’d like to say
he loved her but why blow it already,
before they got acquainted. Even so,
he asked her to stay. She’d have to go back
before the guy got home, to get her things.
Anna let him use her car, whispering,
My god, Bobby, the woman’s beautiful.
Paula was in the next room, with music.

She could give you light in the bungalow,
Anna said, and keep you both warm besides.
Anna could never sacrifice romance.
When she said, I am an old soul, like you,
what she meant was age for her, not for him.
He learned Paula was twenty-one. Bobby
was nudging thirty and in love again.
The guy was gone. They had her packed and out
in an hour. They went to the New Congress
to drink to celebrate. They were still there
when Christina started serving, lively
as ever, and Bobby guessed she was putting on,
and knew why. The most beautiful woman
in Seattle was sitting with him here.

He loved everything about her. He hoped
she could love him. He’d wait. When Rose arrived,
she said yes, Bobby could sing Angel Eyes.

(24 May, 6 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Love of Loon Lake

Hers was never an old story.
She was a navy man’s daughter.
His story was in her dance
crossing a room like a ship’s deck.

She was his first child to worry
her mother, who went to sea
on shore. Her mother shipwrecked
like me before we met by chance,
only because I married her daughter.

Born to write with my left
I was changed to my right.
She had cleaned up and read
all the Homer there was to tame,
while I went missing all the time.

To this day, I do not know why
I got drunk nightly.
I failed to make our lives rhyme.
Relentlessly, I went out of my head.

Every man kills his beloved,
some Delphic Oracle said
before anyone could read Greek
or play hide-and-seek
when the cops came around.

I hoped she would follow me south,
but she moved to Loon Lake,
where once she had lost her ring,
before I discovered I could sing.

She lived in her father’s cabin.
Her mother stayed home.
She wished to live alone,
her mother wanted to mourn.

Neither one of us would ever come.
Even her eyes had said, No,
I loved you so much then I know
I will never again be your wife,
not ever, no more, not in this life.

(24 May, 5 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, June 4, 2012

Two Women

1. Marge

He can take no more the thick haze of sound,
the dank smell of underground pools,
the stars indistinct in the city’s sky,
and his own eyes sore from rubbing. No sleep;
otherwise he would have been late.
Where Huerfano and his Marjorie live,
Bobby rides the bus, walks to get his legs,
a little numb from the jerky starting
and stopping on the way here. He’s in need.

Huerfano Jim opens the door. "Come in, Bobby,
we’re reading Sophocles." "Jocasta here?"
Marge emerges in her transparent wrap.
The air’s cold. He imagines her nipples
growing taut. He’s a horned toad. She knows it.
She tells Jim where she’s going, but no need
to say why . . . He quips, "Won’t you be too cold?"
"Where do you want to go?" she asks Bobby.
"You name it, I’m game." She replies: "I’m glad,
I haven’t had a date I enjoyed since our last.
Trust me," she adds. They walk to a motel.

Vacuous. Nowhere. One bed big enough,
but the sheets wrinkled, even stained.
He always likes the way she takes her time,
nor does she always accept his money.
She says her body never tires, but why push it?
Jim has his trust-fund money, his baby
blue Cadillac convertible, their place
off Ravenna, his dope, his friends who score
for him. "Why shouldn’t I have a good time?"
Bobby, come here," she motions him to bed.

Later, at Christina’s, he mimicks the voices.
She loves to laugh as he puts on his show.
He plays Lenny Bruce: "Did you cum, did you
cum good?" . . . She says, "Why don’t I be Honey?"
"You mean strip?" "No, Bobby, I want to fuck."
He’s going to sleep well tonight with her.
They seem happy enough. He asks about
his mother: "Did you know her?" "Yes, I did
meet her, when Danny took you back to live
with us." She’s said it all before, and will again.
He likes to hear her say how beautiful he was.

2. Paula

You still go when you want. She doesn’t want
to hold you here, you have the bungalow
and La Iglesia de La Puta.
She rolls over, pulls him on top of her
and loves him again . . . Christina
he loves like the man he could be someday,
if becoming that way is not just talk.
When rain starts falling he finds a café
and is sipping hot chocolate
when in comes a band of the boys
in jackets flying their colors, and keys
ringing against their belt-looped chains.
If you’re a big boy like them, the bikers
nod hello to you, like life is not death
because brothers take nothing for granted
that is not next door to nada.
After eating his midnight huevos rancheros,
he saunters on. A young woman approaches him.
Her name is Paula and her eyes are like the moon,
that kind of light. He knows she’s high,
but so what? He asks her where she’s going,
she says Home, he asks, Where? She shows him how
to take her there and tells him at the door,
You can’t come up, my man’s here, he’s jealous
(she hesitates), but I want to be free.
She gives him her phone, the innocent way
they did that then; and the rain is nothing now,
wind blowing mist in from the bay.
She is beautiful, more beautiful than any
of his beloved . . . Cathleen, and Katya,
but he knows he will never again see Katya:
her radiance, her quick mind, her body’s ballet . . .

Paula is about to go through the door.
He knows he will call her, he has no choice:
He is in love, four blocks with her and he loves her,
her grace, her humor; how her body curves
is his joy, her middle name . . . and he thinks,
So what if she’s high, I’m Irish, maybe
I can come back to life. One never knows.
He hopes she might kiss him goodnight,
but she’s through the door, touching his hand and saying,
Bobby, thanks. When’s best to call you? he asks.
Any time, she answers, stopped on a stair.
Good night, he calls as he watches her climb,
though the window needs to be washed.
He loves her sailor’s walk. His daddy taught him that.
By day Danny would tell him of his navy stint,
before the night came with work to be done
at a hostile table, among the four-flushers.
He turns and goes, still feeling her presence,
whereupon he does a little skip in his head . . .
In love, he’s happy, that’s all this is: happiness.
And he doesn’t even know why it was
his first sight of her coming toward him on the street
made him want to ask, Where are you going?
and she said, laughing, I seem to be lost . . .
just stepped out for a pack of cigarettes
and now I can’t remember my way home,
not right now anyway, could you help me,
walk me home? I’m going all wrong,
I must live the way you are walking. Take me there?
Gladly, he said, touching her elbow. She helped him
keep his head, warning him not to cross against lights,
asking him to tell her his story. And he was
never happier before nor ever again.
He wanted to tell her how his life led to hers
and all he knew about himself for sure.

(23 May, 5 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Little Boy

He’s on the street, where he belongs,
looking for the mother. He knows the father’s dead.
The vicissitudes of immutability.
You may as well accept your street-bound fate.
It’s not time yet to kick the traces out . . .
Here’s a corner, take it. She could be there
around the edge of where your body starts
from hers. He’s played this set long before,
her music got under way inside him.
How can I say something knowing nothing?
That question’s revealing, Bobby, sing on
down the sidewalk, stooping to snare loose change
for your university scholarship
next year. A little change here and some there,
and begorrah! I can’t just lose it all,
how else can I live like this, from one day
to the next night? He found the old café
from Henrietta’s day. She was recalled
by the family behind the counter.
Over coffee they told him how she loved
to come talk on her nights off. She told them
all about her little boy.

All I remember is her long red hair,
her nails, her chiseled features,
her chameleon voice . . .

Honey, she was as down home as anyone is.
Just because Seattle’s a city don’t mean real
people with heart and soul don’t live here.

Grandma told me how she loved their farm
when she was little. Mama never talked.
All she let me hear were the songs she sang
I’d heard before, only the versions changed.

She never said a word about her mama’s place.
She loved men. She loved liquor. She loved
to love, kept that heart of hers ready to flare.

When you leave the café you are in the city.
You keep walking around. Read Neruda’s
only poem with an English title.
Walking Around. How far down can you read?
There’s a lot of ground to cover, mother.
I know as little as when I started . . .
Maybe I could do . . . Henrietta Murphy’s blues.
Lie back and wait till the ghosts come to you,
then pay attention, pay bills with your love
of words, how they sound on your salty tongue
they say resembles hers . . . don’t have nothing
she didn’t give you . . . Who gave it to her?

The whispers of the dead, if they are dead . . .

Let them speak.

(23 May, 4 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Saturday, June 2, 2012

. . . en La Iglesia de La Puta

He had gone back to see Onan
where he was spilling his seed
on alien ground, soaking into sand
absorbing his future life
if someday he should marry a wife
who wished for a daughter or a son.

He drew his own image, bastard whoreson’s
fleshly bones, on the window in the rain’s
immaculate condensation.

One way she loved him: took him to her bed,
where she watched him, hovering above
his sleep, and like his women came to do,
leaning over, kissing his eyelashes.

Henrietta arrived only
in dreams, and only
upstairs in the New Congress,
where Christina cleaned up after working
while he played in the room beyond the bar.

Later he stayed alone upstairs
with dreams to sough but remember
when the gulls were startled and flew
with the crack of occasional thunder,
zig-zags of light that were rare,
yet he hungered for her all over.

Christina wondered where he was
. . . how could he say? He felt such woe
gathering shards of broken glass,

all the windows blown out by gusts
of wind from heaven. Unusual days . . .
If not upstairs, in La Puta,
he’s down here looking for Henrietta.

(22 May, 3 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, June 1, 2012

Saint Anonymous

No one needs a name
who has one.
Bobby was discouraged
with courage.
He knew a hotel room
was no place.
His room upstairs was
to be alone.
In the bungalow
he stayed out of sight,
his name not on the door.
Rebecca’s place on Lake
Washington gone.
Apartment across
the street Connie trod
after hours to fuck
and maybe even sleep
long ago given up.
Now Christina’s too far
to go to on foot.
He had no guts.
He couldn’t say no.
Danny was a lover,
his son's a loser . . .

He missed Katya.
He missed Rebecca.
He missed Melindra.
He missed Earlene.
He missed Cathleen.
Not to mention Mama
Henrietta, missed most
when she hovered
in misty Seattle light
coming in the window
where no one knew
Saint Anonymous
de La Iglesia de La Puta
upstairs. Follow him
up there, where
he goes to see her.

(22 May, 2 June 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander