me as I die dies with me.
When she came back sick with seven years of sexual knowledge, she said, Sin
is not the quarrel between you and me, Bobby, but what a body does to spare
the soul. I trust God may be too busy to up the ante on prostitution,
a power men wield over women. I needed more money than my job paid,
I was in love and wanted to marry him. He wanted me to join his stable.
Nights there are measured by the dollar’s current market value bed by bed.
Pedro la Ponce brought in his brothers to help her learn to work a man’s sex
until it fountains. He pimped her in exchange for love: her pussy, their money.
In time she cried, Enough! I need my health, I need to think. You turned me out
to turn me over to teach me how to open the door where my shit comes out,
one more way to earn top dollar to go with hand jobs and giving head
to Evelyn and the other girls so men can see women give women pleasure.
When she sent Pedro packing, she stayed home, went to work, and returned
to fucking neighbor boys for free. Pedro came when called to tell her of moves
new to the trade. He hoped she would grow bored and come back to work,
but their pact was ended. Cathleen was gone, but Pedro kept Evelyn in tow.
Evelyn needed him, her day job was political, taking sides with brothers,
spending weekends on her back with Pedro mounting, sliding his body into hers.
Bobby understood. He permitted everything. He loved her. And she observed
her marriage vows ever after her shrink talked them into amicable divorce.
Bobby stayed with his demons and sheaves of white paper in his soon-to-be
obsolete typewriter, refusing to budge from his lair, working there to reach
a region reserved for soul, his body’s mental struggle confronting ignorance,
trying to make what’s repressed be seen. And she left her L’amour fou citadel.
He kept photographs of her from that time. How jealous he was she made love
with men she did not know, sharing them with women she did not know, too shy
to give cunt equal time with cock in choosing between fucking or licking pussy–
her with her Afro, her with her burnished nails, her with her open eyes closed
and arching her hips to catch the last remaining drops of sperm with no ovum
to worry about now she was barren and had learned how to get paid for sex.
She made money posing nude for art classes, the lads gave her what they drew.
Bobby had those too. He read her journal of the agreement, she was so in love
with him she would do anything he asked, and would never open her door
until he called ahead from the hotel bar telling her who it was would knock.
She had a bottle and glass ready, her negligee on, her face made up, her head
filled with Pedro, eager to finish but hoping, even so, this guy would leave a tip.
She drove across town to the other bed she shared after her night hours, before
she rose to begin her day job. He fucked her before she slept and upon waking.
He taught her new ways to love and get paid sixty percent for her, forty for him.
She slowly grew weary of him saying, You are mine, her face between his hands.
She decided she would never forget Bobby. She took him to their bed for free.
He told her one lovely had asked why he still loved her after all she’d done to him.
When it was finished, her apprenticeship, she could not let it all go, she kept on
rubbing her clit with Bobby inside her, as though she were happily masturbating.
He felt the toll her education had taken. There would be no more menage a trois.
Cathleen always chose men. Evelyn brought her dope to El Patio and was paid.
Bobby lived under wraps, rent paid to answer his phone, open tenants’ doors,
relight gas heaters. Having been hired with him, she came by often to be seen.
He had wanted nothing to blur his desire or dull the sacrifice his art required.
One woman promised she’d be careful going in and out, she’d stay out of sight.
He said, Jeannie, it’s not that I don’t want to give you a place to live, I loved you
once with kisses, embraces, and cock caressed, gentled, and lovingly swallowed
by your sweet pussy, I remember the guy you took up with after Christine left
him for me, but I’m waiting now for what I need to bring back my long lost love.
He lived alone until she arrived, off balance from a war that shifted her dreams
to nightmares. She came up from Managua after Havana, and after Mexico City
where they met, friends for years yet always with others when they were together,
never lovers until now she had returned to These States, as Whitman called them.
Bobby’s lost love wore rouge and lipstick with the Afro to attend Manuela Roma’s
homecoming, believing Bobby would there too, not waiting at home by the phone.
One day Bobby read in Manuela’s journal of calling her new lover from Alaska.
Weeks later, they talked until dark, and he did not confess he knew she was
about to cross over. They drove all day one Sunday to tell each other what love
they had known when alone. She told him of a Cuban night a woman raped her,
how she stopped resisting to give herself to the feeling flooding through her body.
He would stay, she would go to the mountain with her new lover strong as a man.
He drove to the South Valley. She let me in, served them tea. In the next room,
on the mattress on the floor, they loved until spent. His body felt like living now.
She laughed when he was telling her of his outlaw misadventures one more time.
They drank more tea and talked at length of their young friend dying in his car
going too fast in the icy rain and sliding into a truck on the dark Miami freeway.
She asked, Should we try again? He said, We must find a way out of this abyss.
(6 January 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander