Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One Last Time Before I Leave

Sanchez y Compania flies off before me: last minute
obviously, blackbirds say goodbye to the night,
there she will be, but not for me. Sanchez had planned
her debut? Hell, I just play clarinet and sing on command.

With Sanchez exchanging the beat for dusting the drums,
DG on alto, Dave on the keys, Clark strumming time,
Paula appears in Oakland tonight. I’m going my own way.
Cathleen's driving me to her place, crossing the East Bay.

In the air I had told myself to be quiet, nothing else to do
but stop the stewardess, ask for bourbon neat, sit silently
until she comes walking your way. Canadian Club okay?
Better than that. A space between her front teeth woos me.

You know what I want to do, dear reader, so why say?
I have one life, one only: economy is key to happiness.
I ask her how long she will be in The City.
One day, one night, fly out the next. Where to? Paris.

She slips me her phone number on airline stationery.
You live here? Sure thing. What do you like to do? Can’t say
if I don’t know you. What do you need? Promise you
won’t leave me once you have me? We’ll see. And we do.

Cathleen gathers me and my bag full of unpublished work.
During the drive I tell her I have to go out tomorrow night,
Sanchez and Company are here for a last-minute date.
The things I do for a living! I proclaim. I am a jerk.

I borrow Cathleen’s car. We drink at the Berkeley Square.
We go to her condo. I wait on the balcony. She appears
in a negligee I see through. Between her teeth that space
turns me on. A body knows another body best. We kiss.

We go to Solomon’s for brunch. I have pastrami and rye
and a bowl of borscht. Her name is Sandra. I like Bobby,
she offers, are you a Robert? I volunteer I’m a St. Clair.
My, my, she says . . . You’re IRA and I’m Black Panther.

Sandra . . . McGuiness, her father’s name. A desk clerk
at the Fairmount. Her mother’s from Mississippi. I ask
what songs Sandy likes. She just heard one by the Stones,
a bluesy thing my mother would have dug, but she’s gone,

it’s called Wild Horses and tempts me to fall in love again.
Back at her place, then, for a drink before she gets ready
to fly to Paris, and she plays the song. I ask, Play it again?
and damned if we don’t undress to bed down for the day.

(21 June, 10 July 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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