Bobby met Paula for a beer in a dive off First Avenue.
It was O’Neill’s, named for the great Eugene,
which made tourists think it was a classy literary joint
that served hootch and sands, though it fed the hungry
free rather than let them disappear into oblivion
or go into the life, the only one that paid immediately.
Paula had come from visiting Myra down the street.
Myra was playing Dexter Gordon’s Body and Soul
on the stereo Doug had used as his textbook, his pony,
his gutcheck machine. Myra damn well knew Bobby
cherished the piece and would lead Paula to the story
of what Myra needed to know to keep a man alive.
The story was anything but a primer to resurrect
a love affair. Paula told Bobby she didn’t sugar over
a thing. He listened intently. He liked her neck’s arch
and the way it seemed to curve over her ample breasts
when she leaned into her rap. It’s your almond eyes,
he said. It’s your horny cock, she smiled, you devil.
He sat quietly taking her in through the portals of
both eyes. She looked at him as she went on telling
about visiting Myra, who was translating Montale,
whom Bobby thought he would never unriddle,
the poet a pure soul with all but ordinary desires.
He thought of floycealexander loving Pavese, and why.
floycealexander came from a farming community
over the mountains. He had that in common with
Pavese’s Piedmont, and the city girls he saw twice
he began to love, or so he said. floycealexander
was the last romantic, not a Byron but a Shelley
whose Ozymandias lay in a desert inside a valley.
Paula asked Bobby if he’d like to go for a stroll
down to the pier, see what was on sale at the market
and have a taste of the oysters of the day at Ivar’s.
She loved to see the totem poles. She loved them all,
the Y at Third and Yesler, the downbeat cabarets
where she and Bobby had danced after closing time.
(26 January 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander