Thursday, February 28, 2013

For the Shade of a Poet Abandoned

“I am – ”
  –John Clare

In cities what’s not me I think is.
Eyes reveal nothing inside is true.
With two hands I reach to grasp and fail.

In the country, animals know more.
Roads go unpaved, no paths visible.
I shun their company and they mine.

I loathe suburbs, their off-ramps, dead ends.
God is He who lets me go outside.
I need to hear rivers, oceans, wind.

What I can’t see I need to be there.
The trees. The sky. Deep under the earth.
Soughing, thundering, rumbling, I am.

And who are they out there who walk by?
I beckon through the bars and they flee.
Each day I am freed to leave my cage.

There is work. It does not pay money.
I know the strain, the load I shoulder.
Weary, I sleep, I rise with the dawn.

Little creatures frolic in the snow.
I shovel paths for children to walk.
Mothers and fathers follow them home.

Between ice and the warm earth I live.
I love ecstasy, no in-between.
Where the heart needs to go, breath moves me.

(28 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lying between Her Legs in the Wet Grass

Rain falls, a breeze ruffles the few hairs on their naked bodies,
He is about to enter her and close the door behind him.
They don’t know how they got here, or where the destination was.
She embraces him with one hand, guides him home with the other.
He’s been alive too long to feel the way she makes him shudder.
Little ponds swell pouring over under her. He pulls her on top,
he has not had his fill of her and he grows as young as she’s become.

If this is a love poem I will fill my hat with flowers and sell them cheap
by the avenue that sweeps up from the south and rain follows,
and that way go alone back the way I came with fresh seeds
to sow in the rain. How else can I afford the payment of passage?
Someone writes from nowhere I can remember being, nor do
I want to go there. I have found the quarry of flesh I love
because there is laughter here before and after our long ride.

(27 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Longer Walk through Unknown Fields

He did not know where she was until he heard her call his name.
He did not know her gentleness, her tender grace by the sound
of her voice. He would not know that, if ever, until later.
If the fields were familiar, their wildness, their savagery was new.
When she came into view he knew he had already seen her.
She lived in another country, where the people were less angry,
more forgiving than here. When he took her hand she took his,
they sauntered and strolled and ambled, they crossed one field
to another, they were like chapters in a book of goodbye.
Fingers wet with lips that turned the pages, they came to love.
In dreams that are not nightmares the mind still wakes to fear
the unknown: a growth of weeds or crops too high to see
above the path’s unseen turn, the feet of lovers too bare
not to feel thorns, broken stalks, what else covers the ground.

(26 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, February 25, 2013

Une Note

Take off your mukluks, then your skin.
The sky silvers above your hair, 
The sky here is white where once it was black,
the horizon like a skull going bald.
He nestles his wand where the jinni were,
who left their magic home to be pleasured.
He says you may do what you wish,
he’s as close to you as he’ll ever be.
After you’ve walked, he strolls where the sun is.
If he keeps going, he’ll never go back
until dark falls between his paired shoulders.
A dream of love cannot be love itself.
So many years learning to love,
gone crazy by this current condition,
like a bird landing on a wire
with both feet and that way staying alive.
Much like nothing else you would know
if the hourglass tipped and the sand
sifted down again, this time with his rain
falling inside your sweet valleys
where nothing is barren but does not grow.

(25 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Give Us This Day Our Daily News

Bob Woodward’s sources inform him of the date and time
Obama created the sequester plan. Let’smoke him out,
like Nixon! What does Carl Bernstein have to say?
Who is Deep Throat now? Now go easy, baby,
blame ain’t no indictment, the wrath’s not in,
the sky may be overcast–who would know?
holding down three jobs, bed to work
to dinner, carry lunch and bring
the bucket home, turn on TV:
See Fox trot from a thicket,
cross the road, disappear.
Gunsmoke reruns then,
chair sorely missed:
Tip it back, padded
like a cell we dwell
within, like a mind.

Let’s start a Civil War. First one ended before we won,
though down here we know better. Another one
will fix that good. Call the president names
in our United States of Opprobrium,
though save one name for later
when Mexicans take over.

Father was taught war between the races, his poor-white
birthright his own father’s legacy, his mother
one-quarter Cherokee, and they fought
through a marriage, seven children,
nine if you count the twin girls
born to die with their daddy.

Father had three brothers come home from war in Europe
and one from the Pacific, all saying nothing, waiting
until the conversation changed to the homeland,
we call it now, defiantly secure bureaucracy
keeping us safe, though cold and hungry.

Who blames the Oval Office for putting the apocalypse
into motion? Not those informing the voters,
surely. Anybody lily white hates a man
both white and black, so implies
Fox, for they own the world,
whose TV truth serum
wakes up Woodward
who writes books
but knows
they burn.

For nothing plays over TV without a corporate sponsor.
The fascista! they goose-step among their brethren
barring the door, banning unsympathetic cameras.
They convene in celestial groups,
ideologues and idiots all . . .

My district, one says, resembles a crooked, aimless penis
drawn to make a map. Now that we have the House,
the land is up for grabs. Why dawdle then?
Build a gallows, rent a guillotine . . .

(24 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I don’t know nothing I didn’t know before
You can pace the floor until you fall through

Nothing there but the remorseless highway
Nobody coming this way, going that way
Cold stone sober, white rock drunk, sleeping awake

I know everything, I am nothing I was
Before the moon took my mind to the Milky Way,
After sleep arrived with the Pacific sun

But I’m older now, my dear, the waves still wild,
And I’m closer to the canyon than ever

(23 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, February 22, 2013

L. A. Rose

Too many black clouds that summer,
too far to go to catch a break
from that turbulent year's weather,
Thus I drove south to have a look.

Woman tending bar in Berkeley's
Mandrake said, Here’s a mandrake root
but you gotta go to L. A.
for the soil that’s good to grow it.

I was between jobs. Between wives.
First wife left, I soon quit. Rice for
food, slivered almonds, orange juice
for a new start–yes, another.

The work, the woman, both my choice.
Now I wanted a change of scene
if only for two to three weeks,
or less if I found a woman.

So I drove to Los Angeles
and there met Pamela Courson–
you’d never know she used needles–
on the arm of James Morrison.

We were standing in The Phone Booth,
where girls danced in nothing but skin.
We must live on the Moon, not Earth,
Pam quipped. Jim watched the red-haired one.

They lived on La Cienega:
she was meant for him, he for her.
We dined at Barney’s Beanery,
toasting Ho Chi Minh with a roar.

The mandrake root? I planted it,
sledging a hole by a freeway,
dredging deep to shelter the roots,
re-covering it for safety.

They’d said, Come see us tomorrow,
Room 32. He said, I’ll teach
you  how to sing of what you know.
I replied, I don’t know that much..

They showed me where he used to play,
Whiskey a-Go-Go, when The Doors
were brand new and Pam was happy.
Jim worked hard, stayed home from the war.

This guy painted his skin and showed
up at the induction center 
on time. He might be a coward,
but he was tired of Canada.

So I began my song of woe.
Pam said it sounded like Strange Days.
Compose some music, sell it to . . . 
Jim cracked, Country Joe and the Fish. 

I snapped, I may play clarinet,
I don’t compose. Pam said I should
let myself go, listen for notes
I knew lay inside a woodwind.

I met a blonde with a pucker
in Long Beach, we smoked her good dope,
she kissed well, was a cocksucker
deluxe, slept all night in my lap.

A year later I loved Paula
and drove her south from Seattle
to Laurel Canyon. Pamela
said she’d wait for us. Jim was . . . well,

he’d felt better. He was playing
tonight. Come down, Jim would love
to meet her too. He wants to sing
his new one he calls L. A. Rose.

Paula had had her abortion
that afternoon. She had to go,
and Pam went with her, to the john.
Jim couldn’t sing, his voice too low

from days with another woman
who liked to have fucked him to death,
all night waking him with one swoon,
then another, until he retched

fresh blood out and came home to Pam.
She always takes me back, I may
fuck her over, she loves ol’ Jim,
we know the score, the only way

anybody stays alive here
is when there’s still love in the house
and nothing left you need to fear.
O, he said, look here: L. A. Rose . . .

(22 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Love's Fable: To Turn the Year into Days

When I say the obvious nothing changes. I say the unexpected and the wind quits. I love
this sway of thought, this dance of turnabout and a song to go with where you go with me.
Words crack the ice with their flicker of a bird, a bud, the bottomless echo of sweetness.

The obvious was about the dark and its fascination, the memory of what it is stays blue
and brings me to a state of grace or of glower, unable to know if I or the horned owl see
a firefly welcoming its swirling kin weaving with a sound of no-see-ems clustering below.

The wind hooks the tail of the missing, what you see as suddenly as you don’t. All love is
is a circle swelling with the body’s curve marveling at its sugar spawn, its forevermore.
One summer I was even younger, I slept in a screened-in backporch. I sleep there still.

I cannot tell you the way I hear winter grow into a native warmth, yet I try to record
echoing voices coming through the dying trees and the living and up from their roots.
In summer I grow too old to return. Wet orange among green. Scarlet filling black air.

     The rain comes and the sun follows. The sun rises higher in the sky. All day, shines.
     I never leave. The eyes of memory follow. What I was I am, a heart without burden.

(21 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Always Music

I was lunching with the tauntingly irresistible Irma Forader in the top-floor dining room
wondering what I might say to her to pique her sexual interest after she finished
with the things her boss had said about my work before I arrived in town.
I was writing on a napkin, when she was in the women’s room, about Frank O’Hara
who had been killed by a Fire Island dune buggy six years before, putting an end
to the prospect of more work like “The Day Lady Died,” the only one I liked
except the idea embodied in “In Memory of My Feelings,”
and when Irma returned I was already drinking like it was night in San Francisco,
not early afternoon in Amherst, and being from London she both understood my desire
and refused to offer herself up to me. I never recovered. I wanted her even though
I brought my own Black Irish beauty, who would be with me (save sabbaticals)
so many years to come they became, as it happened, the rest of my life.
I paid the bill, Irma left to return to work, but I stayed to keep drinking, switching
from Black Russians to Stolichnaya on the rocks, incorporating “The Twelve Days
of Christmas” with “The Death of Frank O’Hara,” the only New York poet I read
before my first trip there. After sampling the tap while indulging the Welsh ghost
haunting White Horse Tavern, I bought Beneath the Underdog by Charles Mingus,
and once home in our drafty loft, read it not once but twice, one after the other, the way
I played The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady in San Francisco or “Ball and Chain”
in Pullman, Washington, after an overdose of “Paperback Writer” in Mazatlan
and “Vamonos” in Mexico City, only to realize I was reading a novel by Mingus
in the guise of an autobiography–a clever way I thought to write about your life.
My friend Terry O’Hara, ex-marine captain, one eye left in Vietnam, found me there
after Irma left and said, Let’s get shit-faced. I relished such talk. I was lucky to be alive,
though I never got sucked into Vietnam. The California streets nearly did me in.
Terry’s friend, a black jewel known as Paula–not long before, there was a Paula 
I called at a certain hour in the still-dark morning after I was drunk and lonely;
she was never home, only her cousin in Portland, Oregon, who said he’d heard of me,
Wasn’t I married once to Paula? he’d give her the message–and now
Terry’s Paula wrapped her onyx body around him, ordered a shot
with a beer back, then talked him into going off with her in tow.
When Irma said hello and goodbye later, I wanted to touch one hand with my hand.
When I met the cancer nurse Elizabeth in Manhattan one night in an East River bar,
dandling her on my knees while removing her bra tenderly as we kissed and fondled,
she was planning a trip home to London. Last time I called she was on her way to JFK.
She had taken Irma’s place, though naked in bed we found my flesh too thick for hers.
O’Hara and Paula drank in the Sir Francis Drake and then its scuzzy basement bar,
the Quicksilver down the street, and the Lord Jeffrey Inn up the way where you ate
if you drank, and for dessert your voice rose–Isn’t this the establishment named 
for the British general who sent smallpox blankets among New England tribes?
and they sent me staggering to the street, where there were no facts.
There were only words. And music, don’t forget. Always music . . .

(20 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Birthday Lines for You

You revive sunlight with your glow all over

You renew the engine in my heart daily

You recoup the losses of my love’s gamble

You render human the fool in my mirror

You recall with your presence my memory

You receive what I give and banish trouble

(for Karen Lee Clarke, 19 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, February 18, 2013

Le Momo:

Good thing I got this far, Antonin, the die was cast, but they were only dice.
Little storms roil to life, a sleep ago the demons slept, no sense predicting when.
You would recognize your nightmares, they wear tuxedos and gowns
and oil their conversation with wit and pleasantries, spill salt
from their jaunt to the ocean, when they were young and foolish facts..
Roar, Artaud! Turn your back to see what looms! Whisper in my ear!

(18 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Swados said, You want to be the town drunk? You’re on your way. Out of class. Bette came to Harvey’s weekly political-novel seminar to hear me expatiate on Che and Fidel and the revolution’s seed in Toussaint Louverture and images in the back of my head from Breughel the elder, Hieronymous Bosch, and Goya while reading Alejo Carpentier opening El Siglo de las luces, The Century of light, translated Explosion in the Cathedral, with its sequestered guillotine beheld in the dark by the eyes of a child. I was drunk, of course. I kept shifting between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries and by the end of the night I was ready to get me to Haiti and incite revolution against Papa Doc Duvalier. I went home and slept off the long night made even longer by the day beforehand. At least I did not stutter as long as I was drinking. That was a month before Swados had a brain hemorrhage and died while changing a light fixture in the bathroom standing on a stool. In the packed house following the funeral, Bette Swados listened closely to Diane Diamond talking about Malraux’s La Condition humaine, finding now this late American’s heart within that novel of the Chinese Revolution, and I can tell you, I listened too. Diane was the brightest student in the UMass graduate school. She knew what she knew from her fingertips. She came by it from birth, her solidarity with the coming triumph of justice.

That was a moment from the two years I lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, and was the town drunk, though I wrote a decent poem and with a bottle of Jose Cuervo read like an angel from Hicksville. The rest is history, the well known, inexpungeable kind. Cathleen was preparing to write her own Leftover Life to Kill. But her name would never be Caitlin. Now she seems happy enough growing old with me and I revel in her happiness every time I remember what she endured to be with me, even though she was unprepared to bear such uncertainty longer than one season at a time, and there were always four. First thing I saw driving our loaded International Carry-All into town was the Irish cop on the corner of Pleasant and Amity twirling his billy with two fingers. Last thing before leaving was Nixon on TV waving to his well-wishers from the helicopter before its departure for the Western White House outside San Diego, that city where I had been on the eve of leaving California. I drank more then than now, I told myself as I drove away. San Diego was where I damn near died and not solely from drink. There was a gang of hooligans I went up against and backed down from when the other face in my face wore brass knuckles on both hands and had taken the plate from his mouth and handed it off to be held while he would whip my ass and all the others behind him would clean up the alley for Labor Day. As I say, I walked away. I found a Free Clinic and got some pills to stanch the pain of my tooth, abscessing, cut out once I was back in San Francisco and sleeping in Marin.

We never went back to Amherst. I had friends would like to have seen me hoping what they’d heard was true, that I’d changed. Or not changed. They didn’t know I believed I was nobody at all when I was cold sober and once drunk, everyone I idolized in history. Most of my friends had either left or, even then, had died. One who is like a brother quit drinking like me. When I stopped smoking cigarettes I felt like I’d been locked in a room sweating out the poison among pills and needles, but I kept driving east, where anywhere like home resembled what we’d left, the cities Seattle, San Francisco. We got as far across Canada as Ontario, but not Toronto, before dropping south through Sault Sainte Marie, having had a near head-on collision after staying the night in a huge hotel off the highway while our loaded van was being repaired; eating, drinking, and feeding the jukebox to hear, time after time, Kris Kristofferson singing, He’s a pilgrim, he’s a prophet, and as I was wont to add, he’s anybody he wants to be . . .

I always stayed open to change. I was the ultimate soothsayer, whatever I said of myself I lived up to. Cathleen is still letting that happen here. Dios mio, it’s been a lifetime, you will say when in company and to those likely to remember why they would believe you now . . . I was so much older then, I am younger than that now . . . No one had heard I was still walking around a small town sporting a cut lily terrifying the local notary with the prospect of a flower’s blow to one ear: only talk of course, but what a pedigree that poet bequeathed. Neftali Reyes, I liked to say, not Pablo Neruda. Walking Around his only poem christened with its title originally English. That’s what I first remembered one day winter was coming on, I was alone and between verses, gazing through the window at the long, wide sweep of lawn from the house to Mill River and its fallen sycamore, when the coup in Santiago came over the radio, I don’t know why it was on. I was writing something about helicopters overhead while down here I was whisking off to work in full stride, with attache case full of papers and a pint of Haig & Haig. Neruda died, Victor Jara died–thousands died or were disappeared–the hush lasted how many years? I remember only the date September 11, 1973.

Now I can go on and tell you the rest. I sit too much too, walk too little, when I go up or down stairs I’m very careful. I feel brittle, but not all the time. Moments like these I go back into the fray and fight with pencils sharpened and erasers ready to wipe clean the past, but I can’t, I refuse, someday the light will go out in the midst of a meteor that you know very well is nothing but a black hole and everyone you loved is still alive, they’re making the best of their time here before they’re loaded on the wheel and samsara’d back to karma. If I could believe that I would have toughed it out in that southern heat to which I am accustomed from birth, but always kept going away and, once over the border south, breathed more easily, knowing life in Mexico was always more precious than in estados unidos, you could feel the temperature change as you crossed back over, driving north and missing what you would never know, you were so happy to be alive and away from one side of the Arkansas River or the other . . . everywhere then was American.

(17 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Saturday, February 16, 2013


stumbling back
catching a wall
carefully squeezing between blades
razoring where the sawmill was
human error rife with no mind
truly none

wind lash furrowing river's flow
lying along shore
your hair flecked with sand
magpie hungry down canyon
cresting again the engine blows
no more love

You are, I am
the blades Spanish Inquisition dull
unlike Poe
you and I have money
or we look for God everywhere
and find too many

caning up stairs
legs wobbly ready to buckle
books of more than one life
waiting to be read
wood cut neatly stacked
by the pot-belly stove

Baltimore oriole gone
with red-wing blackbird
blue jay, pileated red bill
salty mist over feet tracking the tide
delighted to hear seagulls
back far west

(16 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, February 15, 2013


You can’t help trying all you can
to become what you are not.
I could have stayed that small inside.
Hugging my mother in the thunder.
Already dark, the sky got darker.
Rain swamped the fields, mud running down the streets.
My uncle’s horse galloped. To feel free.
Raced around the fenced-in pasture.
A horse my talisman. Look it up,
how charms immerse the mind. Sand
becomes mud after the sky closes
cloud’s jaws. I drew it all by hand,
lightning striking pine trees, my thunder mouth
erupting like a tongue the shape of teeth
grinding sun against skin I extended
into a picture of storm of words.
You can’t help it. You were what you wanted
to be, about to die like you were born.
Brother in his grave before the storm.
Father and mother in theirs. Where snow drifts.

(15 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"cat of the dying palazzo"

she looks into your eyes,
cigarette between two fingers,
other arm across, its palm
cupping the elbow. Darkening
palazzo corridor behind her:
the image was named
after winter was over,
before the year turned,
in the middle of a dream
she was having of a cat
who saw the future
and like her became a woman
staring into the lens
of a world beginning again

(after a photograph by
Maria Svyatskaya)

(14 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Your daddy’s a coal miner,
he works there with Floyce Been.
Floyce came from Wales,
his surname sounds like “Bean,”
only you drag the two “e”s
slurring them. He’s dead now.
Your daddy works the mines
with Bill McBride, Craven Harris,
and Richard Bartlett,
the three you know. You’re only
barely out of babyhood,
but you can talk and listen closely
until you can say all the names
with whom your daddy works
Bill loves his family and baseball,
Richard loves his wife and daughter.
Craven and Retha married
when your mother and daddy did.
They call it a “double wedding.”

Craven’s son Jimmy loves horses
he brings around with one for you.
It’s a high reach to the stirrup,
you need a hand to sit upright
in the saddle you love to hear creak
as you learn to hug the horse
with your knees, your legs so short
Jimmy Harris leads you
holding the bridle with one hand
around your grandma’s yard.
She lives by the highway,
you live up Conley Road.
Farther up is Cross Cemetery.
There’s a grave there unmarked.
Inside is Robert Rufus,
your older brother. He stays there
all year every year so far.
Your mother’s says you will all be
together. You say, When?
She turns her head: Someday.

Your mother’s father Joe Brown
is a gandy dancer in Oklahoma.
Your mother’s mother has a new
family in Detroit. Then one in L.A.
Rufus Conley reared your mother
on the road named for him.
We live in the house Rufus left her.
She puts me naked on a blanket
in the front yard and shoos away
the rooster when he comes around
the house from the backyard.
I grow older, my feet in both stirrups,
loving hearing the saddle creak
under me, and hold the bridle myself
riding alongside Jimmy Harris,
who will grow up someday
a half century after our childhood here
and die of AIDS
in Shreveport, as far from his birth
as I am here from childhood.

I lean over to stroke the mane,
dreaming I’m riding through the pine
back of our house, above Drusilla’s.
When she lets me stay overnight
we watch the fireflies from the yard.
Drusilla always tells me a new story
she’s not always in.
She says she won’t live forever, I should
remember what she says.
When my mother goes to church alone,
I watch Drusilla churn butter,
draw water from the well,
make biscuits and serve them hot.
A dream is not a horse. He has no name.
Jimmy says he’s mine as long as I want,
and the fourth of Drusilla’s sons,
my father, brings his paycheck home,
never enough extra, but there is enough.
And maybe I’ll make money of my own

(13 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Field of Flesh

What is there to see when two eyes open?
First your mother, a field of flesh
from whence come answers to riddles . . .
First you need to go on all fours,
balance there, reach out, look for sound
inside. Let the gurgling music of springs
well up and bubble out. Inch up one knee,
then the other, crawling. So you travel,
then tire, find her field of flesh wrapping you
in arms that someday soon hold your fingers,
take the first step with you, then the second,
then let you go, hovering both her arms
around you, upright, seeking your father,
who’s where the sky’s breath is covering him.

(12 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, February 11, 2013


Is there nothing left to say?
Was there ever?

I have read the books,
lived the life to the end, nearly,
written the books I was given,
loved and hated,
risked my life,
and still I live,

born in a warm, savage country
and sent north to learn to breathe.

(11 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Earthly creatures die and there are no songs.
Your friends have written nothing that you were,
only words to evade your fiery core,
the life we could feel would come to nothing
a body finds in the grave or in fire,
the soul already gone north to grow wings.

I looked for your name in Sausalito,
where you changed Betty to Elizabeth,
an Irish surname to replace your own.
Four years you’ve been dead, I’ve stayed out of town
where the heralds of torpor were all loath
to dance or play another game of Go.

Your long hair was red, your pale skin freckled.
A god inside you and one within me
were mad. They fought. They were not the same god.
San Francisco to Mexico City,
then back: we put the lie to man and wife.
Who did not know divorce becomes mere grief?
In Mazatlan I stumbled from the sea,
brow scarred by a wave hurling my body
ashore. From there I watched the pelicans.
I laughed to say I wore the mark of Cain.
In the city they called you Carlota,
legless beggars waging their daily war.

In New Orleans we began to end
the night you lay on the bed in your blood,
a year later in Seattle bleeding,
and we were over before beginning,
the way a life goes when age covers you
with its shroud of years raping the future.

(10 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander


Saturday, February 9, 2013


She didn’t meet him. None of those I knew met him.

I was born in the demon’s breath. Call me Daimon.

Now I’m old enough to tell you where I came from,
was going, how I veered and lost the straight way.

The birds were bigger than now, the animals kept
their distance. They had seen their beloved die.

I like to wonder how he felt when the girl was shot.
Nobody talks of what is ever no one’s business.

I try to get by, in a cave of my own. My mother’s.
One day her bones and ashes spilled for the wind,
though the day was calm, the river far below.

His signature face was handsome, bearded, doomed.
He feared nothing. He killed with ease. Who loved
him were beautiful, clear-eyed and hungry for bed.

I saw one of his widows once. She had long red nails.
I have read his biography, where she is canonized
as his great lover. His true widow fought by his side.

Death is where all roads lead, sooner or (we hope)
later. Even alive in his world you take courage.
Beyond his death you saw what was left to do.

I asked her to tell me all she knew before we parted.
She wanted to know where I came from, was going.
I told her everything, it was not much. She laughed
boldly. I loved that. Yet I knew nothing of her.

He thought he could detect in nature–both animate and inanimate, with soul or without soul–something which manifests itself only in contradiction, and which, therefore, could not be comprehended under any idea, still less under one word. It was not godlike, for it seemed unreasonable; not human, for it had no understanding; nor devilish, for it was beneficent; nor angelic, for it often betrayed a malicious pleasure. It resembled chance, for it evolved no consequences: it was like Providence, for it hinted at connection. All that limits us it seemed to penetrate; it seemed to sport at will with the necessary elements of our existence; it contracted time and expanded space. In the impossible alone did it appear to find pleasure, while it rejected the possible with contempt.–Goethe, Truth and Fiction Relating to My Life, 1811-22.

(9 February 2013)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Young Men Still Wear Coats with Che's Face on Their Backs

They were walking around the lake they grew up by,
holding hands, stopping occasionally
to kiss.
Guy driving by with a shotgun on the rear-window rack
stopped and shot her,
he hated Mexicans that much. 'sides, no one would know.
The little white guy disappeared.
Guy knew his father,
wait till he hears what I done!
Father stuck two fingers in the guy’s eye,
one and then the other.
Cops came.
Guy lost his pickup and shotgun and headed for Death Row.
First, he'd need to learn to wield a shank,
or the Brotherhood,
who wore crosses as tattoos, what they learned to look at
in Mass,
they’d fuck him up good.
Mejicanos took care of their own,
white asses wanted them all dead.
Little white guy disappeared for good. After her,
heart broke, sky was dark all day, moon fucked him over.
She was his sun.
He took to writing out his rage.
Wouldn’t bring her back,
but it would be
one place for her to live as long as he remembered,
forever maybe
depending on
how long a little white guy got by
O boo hoo! the big boys said, little white guy lost his lover,
send him to Mexico
where they grow senoritas,
they oughta send back the whole sheebang!
Little white guy went to Mexico, then Cuba, Bolivia . . .
He shot his quota
of guys driving pickups with shotguns on their racks,
who were called gusanos in estados unidos,
where they went to play with their cushy portfolios,
restoring their expropriated so-called freedoms.
Little white died in gunfire,
and may stay more alive and longer than you or me.

(8 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mothers & Fathers

(on a photo from Gio McCluskey)

The old people in the photograph
may have no children.
I call them mothers & fathers
ignoring how they hold each other.
They are their children
in dreams shared of a morning.
Their bones shine through their flesh receding.

Their eyes, though closed, are filled
with gratitude grown to trust
how day will look through two hearts
remembering how they learned to beat
as though there were one
mortal cavity in the bedclothes
the mind fills with two shadows.

(7 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"shock & awe" drone

the bombs are falling
in my sleep,
in yours
how many bodies fall
with souls inside

those planes stuck
in the top floors
burning people
toppling tower
2 then 1 or 1 then 2,
no one’s in them

they’re drones
programmed to blitz
innocence and guilt
alike but
those bombs I say
are not american

say it outright
who gives a shit
if osama bin laden’s
dies by drone

say it straight
those planes demonic
killed three thousand
in Baghdad
and New York
don’t tell me they’re
not worse

don’t tell me
it’s ok to kill kids
with guns,
ok to kill with bombs,
not ok with faceless
soulless drones

& the hair-trigger
operator works
the shift,
goes home to sleep
as another’s
lowered into earth

& my brother,
my sister?
Who am I to say
what’s right
& wrong
more than you

(6 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, February 5, 2013



I am stunned by amalgamation
one body mixing with another
in gyroscopic glee, passion can
turn against itself, take for granted,
they say, passion ever unaltered.
Men gone down into the earth emerge.


Love goes to bathe in the lake’s splash
where toes straddle the shore and squish.

Love, you are she in whom I bathe,
our fountain overflowing years.

Love, you say you can’t and then do.
When you pause, our glow does not age.

Love, the wreck was named for someone
who was not F. Scott Fitzgerald.


the stains become scars,
the other way round is not a circle

trap moths like birds, the dipper descending
into well water

I wake peeing from the medication,
I rage at beauties

daimon hidden among trees, barely glimpsed,
is it high up? There?

if the sky could speak
we would insist it learn to read and write

we have no tombs, we poor, headstones only
hear the worms murmur

where may we go when our watch is ended?
pull down gravity

(3, 5 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

"floycealexander," by Bobby St. Clair

“Diddiers lay up the highway to Fort Smith.
Outdoor dancehall with tight canvas canopy.
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys sometimes played.
My father and mother went dancing weekends
with Richard and Goldie Bartlett, parents of
Virginia who stayed in Greenwood sitting me,
I an only son, she my first love thirteen
years older. Her father worked in the coal mines
with my father. Her mother trellised her teen-
aged blossoming. The two families kept on
dancing until the war began in Poland.
My father, Manuel, moved my mother, Lorene,
to the city where I was born. There, he worked
at Camp Chaffee, the army base. He became
a fireman. Virginia still sat with me. We
grew older, I was still thirteen years younger.

“With Pearl Harbor we moved north to Wichita.
My father helped assemble Boeing airplanes
through the four years of America’s Second
World War. In Kansas, at five I started school.
I saw Virginia weekends when we drove south,
‘home’ my father called it, though he hated his.
He thought first and finally of leaving there:
Arkansas, where he was born at Mine 18,
now called Old Jenny Lind; Drusilla widowed
in Lequire, Oklahoma, though Abe was shot
and killed in Sallisaw. He left her children–
five sons, twin son and daughter, twin daughters dead.
When the war ended, my father took us north
to live out his days, then my mother’s, and I
go on living, my love of fifty-three years
shivering me still now we’ve dwelled the compass
points of a continent and found its center.”

(5 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, February 4, 2013


Once he returns to drive Cristina’s car
and is stopping at stop lights that turn red,
inspiring him to try to invent one
with amber and green to hang in his mind,
he sees Mary one day crossing with child.
She got what she wanted. A mother now,
she looks the same as she looked in high school
and in bed when once she turned her dark eyes
on him saying, Give me a child or leave . . .
though having borrowed his King James Bible
she called to say she’d bring it back as soon
as she returned from where her new husband
was going, New York, to sign a contract
for his first novel. Her ultimatum
to him preceded Old Friend’s arrival
from Honolulu where her daddy was
when she was born to surf in Waikiki
and met her handsome blond-haired lover man
who calls the mainland, then elopes with her.
It must be his baby boy. She looks back
at Bobby, holds her gaze as he holds his.
She goes on with that fiery twitch of ass
she loved to fling all night across the floor
when they partied with the Greeks all weekend
back in the day they thought would never end.

She’s still slim and walks like she said she did
after riding with the big wave to shore,
still standing, and donned only the muumuu
she missed in Seattle. The light turns green.
She’s on the other side. He wants to yell,
Bring back Henrietta's King James Bible! 
but thinks, Pack it home under your muumuu,
baby, like any missionary whore.

(4 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Who Fills This Mirror?

Here goes another misstep.
But rest easy, 
mind sweeper,
Lacan will come later, for
for now I don’t know what
mirror he reflects,
mother in the child
or child in the mother?
To begin to move
us through this eyewitness gallery,
maybe Freud will do
an encore like the dead do
to get Jacques up and

(3 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bobby on Bloomsday

He can't read Ulysses when attending Finnegans Wake.
He has every good intention to absorb rivery wordache
not even Secretary Sam Beckett could easily unriddle.
Bobby’s too old to bear the weight of Stephen's spells,
too young to give Leopold Bloom the benefit of doubt,
who desires that Molly stay faithful so they may harvest
June 14 in eternity's quick flow of their Liffey passion
whose blood streams as long as a body's flesh and bone.

Is it work to open the book to puzzle history’s nightmare 
I would wake from? I walk along the lovely-bodied shore
where Gerty MacDowell sports her parasol as I undress
this lass for Nighttown where my darling Molly resides,
or so reads her soul's diary, even when home in her bed,
her passions swelling to burst open long-dammed flesh.
When I lived on Forty-fifth Street one year I slept alone,
I dreamed she lay with me and was my love, mine own.

Stars jape at stars. Mock my fury. Who's tied to Earth?
See crescendo roll off horizon's level, spray old wounds.
Drenched. Endured. As sky leaves a sun-print of clouds.
I would read a section to learn where history turns myth,
walk the demonic streets under a moon's florescent light
until daybreak. And I wrote, Nothing avails a lad too shy
in the midst of working women. May I warm your coffee?
And when I get up to go: If you like, I'll stop by tonight. 

No. Yes. Maybe. I don’t know. I need work. Dawn rises
with rain's fall. Seattle's no Paris; still, I could grow wise
where madronas weep, if I learned to breathe patiently
here, not in Dublin or Trieste. Sleep sinks below the sea,
the book left upside down, still open on my boyish chest.
I dream her voice continues. She's not old, no one's lost,
but we age inside. When I wake and read what I wrote,
I pour my seed over rock and sand. That much I waste.

(2 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, February 1, 2013

Your House, Crow's House

Sleek, black, beaked, a furl of feathers, wicked looker staring back.
Splayed feet, big spaces between what I call your five toes, beauty.
Tracks that leave snowshoe prints. Snow once or twice a year, usually.
Gone like rain into dry earth. Two eyes across the road. Good luck.

(1 February 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander