Nothing goes. The bent rod with lightning rod electrified. Nothing arrives.
Franklin replied to the young man, saying he would do well to a take a mistress,
just make sure she’s older, not to be a mother but to teach him like Rousseau’s
Mamma how to please a woman. There is no record of the young man’s reply.
Nothing’s here. Hemingway’s old man in A Clean, Well Lighted Place stirs.
He needs to go. The management says so. It is the Lord’s Prayer with nada
as a self-actuating yet echoing noun. So that he knows the world has ended,
he wanders home and on TV is De Sica’s Umberto D., hell you may as well die.
Nothing anywhere. I make up my own story. I’m a street kid with a passion
to be myself and still be another, I want to leave, I want to bury those who made
me, I whose worth is not in the skin where I am given the right to enjoy life
but in the mind that shifts from the daily hustle to the daily purge on paper.
I will make something. I know what I am already, the lights are on, but I’m out.
Rose is singing Body and Soul, then Angel Eyes, and Dave makes like Bud Powell.
The place is packed. Someone says nothing, thinking she’s maybe Billie Holiday.
White girl with a scar, voice like a purr. The sound is Dave’s then, Un Poco Loco.
Bobby wants to go to Paris with Cathleen, he wants to free himself from Seattle.
All there is here is pain. Marge turning tricks, her Jim in Walla Walla state pen.
Or Bobby would go south and ask his mother questions so he can write a story
of her life, not the one that’s legend in this city but the way her life went down.
(4 March 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander