Sunday, December 16, 2012


What Robert L. Ripley and his fellow shrinks should do,
Bobby St. Clair was thinking and had thought for months,
was appoint Donald J. Bonnington, recently widowed,
to the roundtable of white-frocked knights in seclusion
above the noisy fray of human delirium and non-frenzy
awaiting denotation. It’s the quiet ones that terrify, so
Ripley liked to quip, and Bonnington thought it silly
to single out silence as the fuse potentially dynamite.

Bobby thought Bonnington more adept at this game
than he, and though he confided his idea to the man,
Bobby went about his business. In La Iglesia de La Puta,
he wrote to his mother letters about the rain painting her
face once on the glass of the naked world of city weather,
how the cold came through the cracks of poverty’s houses
and heat hit the heart between the muscle and the outflow
and hurt when blood refused its river and became a dam.

When Melindra was home, he was home. They made love
like the only lovers in the nation. American fucking, yes,
was as fine as Goya’s majas, Flaubert’s houris, just ask him,
who’d make you happy you could speak love’s lost language
even if it was the anglais, ingles employed to cozen people
who damn well knew you were fucking them over any time
a man got hard, a woman wet, and betraying the instincts
as though the Zuyder Zee were more shallow than Freud.

She took him by his little root and planted all of him in her.
Melindra smoked a cigarette afterward while he prepared
corned beef hash and eggs and boiled coffee black and hot
as they were to grow once the food was in them and a time
arrived to do again what was never enough once it’s done.
Then, by lunch time, he told her school was not for him,
washing dishes either, he had to go south and see his mama
to hear her story, finally. That was the way the end began

all over again, a sheet of ice forming between two tongues,
though he sincerely asked, Is there a med school in La Jolla?
Maybe so, Melindra said. She knew Bobby was a randy lad,
why risk his wild proclivities and be abandoned on the border
but why not take a chance, baby, and coaxed herself to hear,
Go south and if you have to, enslave him to his mother’s tale,
give him rein but not too much slack, if he loved her she loved
him as much, yet without the reservation men so nimbly need.

(16 December 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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