With his dwindling bankroll
he rented a bungalow.
Why waste his money?
He could stay with her for free.
He confessed he must dip his quill
in love’s inkwell. Everywhere I go,
he mumbled, I am greeted
by women’s luscious eyes,
I want to go with a sunborne body
where we can stay alone.
She got a kick out of her own son
talking like some john coming on to her.
So she told him of Mexico City
back when she believed in traveling
rather than stay put . . . A big city then,
but fewer than twenty million, like now.
Yes, honey, I turned tricks in this hotel
one year and one only, saved my money.
Can you believe a whore saving money?
She went back to the piano.
At noon a warm-up for the night ahead.
She played and sang All of Me, Don’t Explain,
Ain’t Nobody’s Business but My Own,
My Mother’s Son-in-Law, God Bless the Child.
Enough Billie . . . He said, You don’t mind me
bringing a woman here after hours?
I’m so horny I may never quit.
It’s no bother, she was used to that,
what did he think she was doing in Mexico
that year? gambling? courting danger?
She reflected over a late lunch
in the place she sang: I gambled
on selling myself and getting away
unscathed. Here I am to show you I did.
After that he went to get his rent back,
and celebrated in a dark dive called The Cave.
A blonde came over to ask him,
Would he buy her a drink? She smelled good,
it had been a while since his quill
had brought him pleasure except on paper.
He loved that swelling feel of strains
seeking the pitch to deliver an end
to sweet agony. She played piano
at Henrietta’ s, and he sang Body and Soul.
Then she offered her ink up to his quill.
(23 June, 15 July 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander