After work she comes up where I’m working.
She takes off her clothes and lies down and I
leave what I’m doing and follow, stripping
down to birthday suit. You know the story,
happiness occurs even if I’m limp
to end another unsuccessful romp.
I tell her I’m no good in this one room,
I may shoot but I shoot blanks, as they say,
the good-time Charlies with their two-bit jokes
around the table with Texas hold ‘em
–don’t tell me, I think I know why you loved
a gambler, you thought he would pay your way
out of this day-after-day, hip-high-hose job,
set you up with your mutually spawned child
–who knows? maybe he’d even find a job
of his own, but you never know when death
rounds the corner to come straight for your ass,
and thus sons inherit their father’s sins,
if you can count bedding down with this beauty
named Christina an affront against God . . .
I am too fortunate for my own good.
I have no scruples. I do what I want.
If I were not his son, I’d change my ways.
I’d go work at a newspaper eight hours
or longer depending on the story,
I’d leave Melindra and come live with you
if I were man enough, which is to say
if I were serious about being
my father’s son, your child’s father,
but what about bad luck, you can’t have one,
or I can’t, no need to speak of money . . .
I get up and dress after she does what
it takes to make me happy, draining love’s
leftover psychic stall in the body’s
always beloved, but never discussed
engine stalling in its two-car garage
before the door opens, seed and ovum
combine the luck to meet with the trip home
forestalled, Melindra goes back to smoking,
she’s right, our love’s used up, what good am I?
I asked Cristina to leave with me down
the fire escape but she refused and used
the door after I crawled through the window
and did what I have to do to get down
to the alley where no one can see me
unless I’m unlucky and they ask why
I left this way. Are you up to something
you shouldn’t do, and yes, I plead guilty
and now I don’t know whether to stay here
or go south to La Jolla to live where
I don’t have to depend on the windows
that once gave Henrietta’s face on glass
gathering gravity’s speed, was I on
something? I wasn’t even drinking then . . .
And so I go from the alley downtown.
I walk around and meet Clark coming out
the door of his favorite café--shoot
pool, booze, hustle just to keep your hand in--
and Clark says Sanchez wonders why I don’t
stay put long enough for him to see me.
I ask Clark why Sanchez wants to see me.
He says the Company–that’s what he calls
the combo, or group, piano, Paula
singing, bass and drums–we need your reed now,
DG’s ax is sorely missed, you would help
if you were willing to break bread five ways,
considering Tony and Paula get
their share which is greater, you know, Bobby,
now they are composing original
music. Working days, with Laurie giving
feedback. Paula left me, I don’t see her
anywhere but the Congress. You know me,
I can’t stop hanging nights with the ladies,
not when I was in Mexico City,
before we got together, and not now
when this girl offered me herself for free,
said she loves me, which Paula never said.
Paula said she left after you left her.
He loves to sing, she said, but not with me.
Body and soul, I tell Clark, I’ll be by.
(4 January 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander