for Gus Blaisdell’s South Carolina cairn and for Judy Pence
You’d come down from the capital
to burnish your nails and rest up
from the trade. We were in the yard
raking rocks, the pliable stones,
around the roots of dead flowers
where seeds were to be broadcast.
We were very happy, if I may say
at this late date, so long after
the rocks in the yard would blossom
with yucca. The flowers consoled
our aches and pains and cicadas
all night abandoning their shells.
There we were, working in the yard
devoid of verde, no guitar
to go with the doomed poet’s song.
I liked to make love in my mind.
You waited until you knew my mind
was engorged and yours a rio.
We walked inside the screen door,
into the dark under its high ceiling.
The porch was empty, shadowy
with birds along the balustrade.
There emerged from your bedroom
someone whose name was not Jose.
He asked for the proverbial Gus.
When the well-dressed thieves
tinkered with the padlock
on the sliding-glass back doors
I watched inside, and then appeared.
"Why ask," I said, "'Is Gus here?'"
And here was No-Jose and drunk.
He turned the corner and I rose
on my toes, flaring ten fingers,
casting the willies through my lips.
"Just a minute!" he quailed, face red.
You told him to leave while I stood
flaring and flapping fingers and toes,
gobbling. After he’d gone, we left
for Taos. Next day the progeny
of Ambrose Bierce visited our cabin
to say the Salvation Army called,
they had your wallet full of dinero.
Across the field from the cabin
built to honor D. H. Lawrence,
wild turkeys flew like aspen flutter
over the horse pasture. Yet they flew
off Lobo, la montana, where wolves
warm the cold ashes of the phoenix.
You said, "I made a sockful of green bills
in the Inn. All I had to do was sit
at the bar until a john hit on me."
You had already shown me the layout.
Up the street was St. Francis Cathedral.
In its shadow Willa Cather slept.
When the wild turkeys migrated north
and were sighted along the road
to Alexandria, Cavafy’s northern
American city, "no queers, please"
posted, I asked, "Are you happy now
we no longer need to stay in Egypt?"
You said you missed the old one’s growl.
he who had invited you to come back,
"to see me." And you said, "Sure I will."
But did you? No. I took you with me.
I went with you. Complicated?
Fuck, I can fly. Words give me wings.
(21 November 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander