Prelude to Iago:
On First Avenue, in an all-night coffee shop
filled with the ghosts of male whores
and the bodies of female whores
Beasley sits next to Angel who pulls paper
money out of her bra happily announcing
she’s having a good night, she’s buying
Beasley’s coffee. She has plenty.
Blond Dee in the corner is a city ghost:
He’s dying. You can see it. Die, then . . .
Beasley listens carefully when Dee comes
to speak his muffled words. Angel is patient,
Dee finishes, then she tells Beasley
she has a gift for him if he skips the dance
and takes her back to his place,
even though he’s the way he is
because of the rape by the nun in St. Paul.
Beasley knows nothing matters but money.
From memory he imagines her lips
and begins to think of Desdemona:
Who is she here, who is her Iago?
He is writing Shakespeare’s adaptations,
those sparked by Holinshed among others,
set in America. Thus Hamlet is a Western.
Dee cruises the customers, the straights fall
under the spell of his come-on.
Beasley plans a denouement:
a blond ghost devours black night.
(1 April 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander