for Brian Richards
Howard visited Albuquerque on his way to Jornado del Muerto.
We had not seen each other since Bowling Green, Ohio.
Socorro in Spanish means succor, where the Spaniards found it
at the end of that long journey through death before the end
of life is ready to roll around and bite you in the ass,
though I don’t remember if it was Coronado or not. Time takes
its toll. The gate opens and you’re back on the Oklahoma
Turnpike. Toss money in a basket on New York State Thruway.
Howard and his rock-climbing amigo sat on the front porch
at 1502 Silver Ave. SE and he told me he knew you, Brian.
I was his student once. So were Dara Wier, Carolyn Forche:
the latter wrote a poem dedicated to the former, “White Wings
They Never Grow Weary.” Forche I met not wearing my teeth.
She said I couldn’t be who I said I was. My brother Bill assured
her I was. She sashayed away. I saw her next day with my teeth
all in. I met you, Brian, before her. Taking roads by tobacco fields,
talking of poetry, having a drink in town before you walked home.
Long before I heard the names of the beautiful poets. We were
scrappy, sassy, and I so stupid Karenlee could not keep me sane:
Amherst, Mass., ’72 to ’74. In ’89 now, drunks slept on our porch
on the couch where I read and wrote, and she dozed after work.
They got up when I opened the door and fled and never turned
so I could see their faces much less be sure they could hear me
apologize, adding maybe I had been one of them and still alive.
(9 January 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander