Thursday, October 31, 2013

Home from the War

My memory stops at certain points, she said,
and picks up again when I’m no longer sad.
I took her into my bed to love her warm body
and to sleep, two hearts filling the night sky
with little stars we called drums, we thought
we could hear them seeing black turn to white.
That was how I dreamed. I listened when I woke
wondering where we came from to be so sick
of this world, or was any world only a planet
so many stars are, places to spend the night.
She was fine as long as I stayed home. She loved
me making memories with her but not a child.
When she was wild I dreamed I could tame her.
The longer she loved me the more there was to fear.

(31 October 2013: III)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

The Finish Line

I like to run in a loincloth, feeling
hard between my legs, younger than I am,
looking out for bear and hoping for deer,
turning at the end of the fence keeping
safe the vegetation experiment
of the global sanctuary a world
like ours requires to keep big money safe,
old money, new money, no one’s money,
so much money it peels like a ripe peach
one bill off the next until the world ends,
like Eliot, or was it Mistah Kurtz, said,
“not with a bang but with a whimper,” rot
around green edges soiled by fingerprint
tattoos: lurch of the heart, tangle of legs.

(31 October 2013: II)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


So thought, bridge falls you try to cross

I love you very much, waited all day

lightning sparking back of the woods

she said a river’s hidden no one sees

I could’ve loved nobody, what happens

the bridge does fall, she goes quiet all day,

back home to see you’re through with me

thunder, wind, twilight, rain, winter

(31 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

To His Departed


no great shakes in bed
but has a bright mind.


Sullied flesh fills the callused paws
the tom treasures his pussy with 
in all weather and in silent alleys
of musk poured forth in the ominous South.


His childhood grins back when he arrives, spent
with the agonies of desire,
driving with one hand finger-fucking her
before she moans; owls torch the night.

(30 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Page for Gus

I found a page I copied for strangers. For myself, first. It’s the only page I’ve read I might never read again, since I read by drawing a straight line in dark pencil down the left hand of the book’s page, and then copied it flawlessly, because I felt attentive, and here other people could read it and wonder who wrote it since I did not write in French, nor will I ever. The place of publication in Paris and the translator’s name, as well as the dates of the original and the translation should have been hint enough, I thought, but only one of three had read it before me, and she knew much more than I what “The Renegade” was, what it meant, where it led, why Cioran had come to such conclusions in his first book, the one he repudiated afterward for being–what? taxing, obfuscatory, cynical, too much what he deemed “doubt about doubt itself”? My friend Gus, dead ten years, would know it like the lines in the palm of his living hand. Like the man on his way home after a decade away, searching for his dead brother of the wars and finding him in the place of no return, where incidentally no fires burn, they might be extinguished if the block of ice in which the Caretaker lived should melt . . . Gus would know by now what it was to be isolated among those who had no reason to even try to comprehend his actions and had abandoned any attempt to understand the banked fires of his mind long soon after the right side of his heart felled him in the alley behind the restaurant where he read and talked, but never wrote what he saved for the silence, the pour of hush around him broken only by his fingers clacking the keys. But I was still living, mind you; Gus would ask why, and what could I say? I had no alibi. I was a thousand miles away and how much farther I had to go even I did not know. Nor did I care as long as I lived within all my being.

(27 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pasquale; or, Let Sleep, Let Swim

He had to have his way,
Especially when she said no.
He went out of his way
to make her know
the meaning of no
was the way he thrust love
inside her as she slept
and waking cried, No!
you’re hurting me!
To which he replied,
Not me, my love, but this
life burning between my legs
that your legs bring to life
but not let sleep.

He was asked back to Venice
because she wanted that.
In Rome she could fuck
who she wanted
and when
and how
and sleep until she was awake
and ready to leave
this house he occupied
when she was gone
knowing nothing of when
she would open the door
locked only with her key.
In Venice he was let swim.

(24 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fascicle [20]


We are dying to live, who know nothing
or too little of love
or its contingent frequencies,
jealousy, betrayal, and cruelty . . .

La Tertulia
chile rellenos y sopapillas y cerveza,
Pacifico si, Tecate no,
in the see-through-to the garden patio,

going back to where he would be
if he were where he was born,
where so many growl and spit:
Come home, Orphee, Persephone loves you.

(23 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Murder Annales

for Esperanza

If I get up out of this chair and go
I won’t be coming back,
I’ll learn to be with no chair

but not these hands, this body, your lips,
your warmth, your birth
in the middle of his I have a dream

. . . his whole speech complete
with news nothing has changed
45 yrs since King, 50 after JFK
(22 October 2013: II)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Fascicle [19]


But not for you . . . sky keeps changing,
blue now but grey yesterday,
But not for you I would lie in my grave

The old need no less than the young.
Like the young, the old want more
before the penurious ovens

(22 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fascicle [18]


I may never know if twilight
was always
her time.
I know only what she says,
and then
I know only two men ravaged her heart
so that she may never speak of it
to me.
I who never knew her and may never,
I would lie with her by the bay window
telling time between seeing and feeling
clouds open.
First the man who could not give her a child.
Then the man who refused,
took her to the country
to camp.
He may as well have hired an auctioneer.
Who would know his ignorant, cruel folly
without beginning
The Mayor of Casterbridge . . .

(20 October 2013: II)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Fascicle [17]


This century devolves before the birth of Christ.
Tread the very ground buried under us.
We root and flower like belladonna.
The plates shift and clash and oceans erupt.
No man, not even God’s son, could save us.
Ice melts, waters rise, Earth’s great cities drown.

(20 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fascicle [16]


Then the plane lands without delay.
Sirens fill the head, what is called the mind.
Authority boards, concealing weapons,
checking passports. Soon this will be over.
Exiting, I keep my shoes on and schlep.
Seattle’s become my destination,
not Albuquerque; Paris behind me
with Rome, Odessa, and Glasgow, Belfast,
what do I know? who pack bombs, ignite them,
die with the rest of white America.
What you see is what you get: WYSIWYG.
Who am I? Nada is what nada does.
Skies overcast in the Carolinas;
like here, rain threatens. Where will snow fall?

(19 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, October 18, 2013


Ah, they are better than mamas!
They have more patience than death.
They believe we are their children.

One teaches you to read,
mine insists that I listen
(she can’t write, she can barely read).

They know more if unwidowed.
They know less when a child’s inside.
They know, they knew, they have

known more, so much they need
a grandchild for a touchstone,
maybe to love, maybe to love.

We’ve each loved only one.
Yours said, Read to me. And mine
rocked, chewed, spit, even told stories.

Ah, there is no other grandmother!
Her doppelganger casts no shadow.
It is the dreamscape she articulates.

And yours? how could I know her?
I would have to find her in you . . .
your eyes, fingers, or secret places.

                              para Esperanza

(18 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, October 17, 2013

At a Grave

She lived and died and now I pray for grace
for one remembered here by stone and grass.

I came here with no need to be with her.
Her daughter, my mother, wanted me here

with her. I am. I look into the sun.
I want to walk away and be alone 

with one who sips nectar from my flower,
carries me to his hive, ignites the fire

warming us through the night, and all day long
while I work I am becoming his song.

(17 October 2013)

Copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Last Wish

A man holds his friend’s head off the cracked earth
to hear him say he just wants to enter
his house justified. And he can die now
so the movie will end. Remember words
like that. They compensate for the absence
of rain. This winter in the high country
risks the hooves of horses sliding on rocks
descending like stair steps to the valley.
Ice breaks up and melts into the river.
Nothing more need happen now it's over,
a year of salting away provisions
to live in town and climb the flight of stairs
to caress her and enjoy her caress,
and let weather pass by in slow motion.

(15 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, October 13, 2013

To Akhmatova's Shroud (revised)

“A poet is someone from whom nothing must be taken
and to whom nothing must be given,” you claimed,
taunted as “half-nun, half-harlot.”

With no desire to go to heaven, having lived here in hell,
up there the “secret of secrets” left you
to qualify you for sainthood.

Who’s not a saint in what this world’s become? Down here,
where slaughter continues, our sins absolved by those who are
divided: half-priest, half-pimp.

(13 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Four Lines for Elaine Susan's Fifty-ninth Birthday

"Write me a poem for my birthday."--Elaine Susan

The smell of your hair closes your eyes
and passes a hush through the gold beads of air
. . . so sleep is a way to count the mustangs
and more akin to wild, wet love than rain.

28-29 September 2013

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

To Akhmatova's Shroud

Who knows, Anna, what you meant:
“A poet is someone from whom nothing must be taken
and to whom nothing must be given,”
taunted as “half-nun, half-harlot.”

Who knows what to do,
considering what happened to you
up there? They cut out “the secret of secrets” *
to qualify you for sainthood.

Take nothing from me if you give me nothing;
who’s a saint in what this world’s become?
Who knows what poetry down here is?
Half-priest, half-whore
* from Jane Kenyon's translation:
" . . . I can't tell
if the day is ending, or the world,
or if the secret of secrets is within me again."

(12 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, October 11, 2013

A la bella Virginia

No one I have known would confuse you with the night.
I walked among too few brave enough to love you.
Embracing only perennials, they were cowed.
You would have merged with seed, starting over,
your belly’s mound blossoming between us.

The stars were like the sun where we were born
to walk paths that meet but have disappeared.
Now the moon is a desert, perpetual day.
Age has brought us too little to live on.
There is more to life than being lovers.

Yet there is ample future left to fight.
Who once counted himself among the brave goes wild
now like then, though his name is not the child’s
whose memory's presence is embodied by light.

(11 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Virginia Dare

She goes where the dark is quiet,
inside the circle of crickets,
in her house she watches storms from.
The music she plays fills the room.
Rain falls. She is dancing alone
. . . there could never be such a scene.

When I believed I could see her,
she knew better: I’m not there now.
I imagined her. Who could know
her? she who spoke in metaphors
only her fathers understood,
each of whom called himself husband.

In a dream there dwells the same ship
without the shadow of her shape.

(10 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Infallible

Our thinking triggers alarms.
It’s in her head, his fingers.
If we are doomed, why go on?
No one’s been through before!
Why not continue? Go where?
There. No, that way! Stay here.
(The infallible wait at Sion.*
Swiss banks still open,
coffers overflowing. Makers
destroy the male and female
we carefully renamed takers,
say the swaggerers, truly
pigs at the trough, infallibly.)
Everything must be for sale.
* not Mount Sion or Zion,
but the Swiss capital of Valais, 
bordering on France and Italy

(9 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, October 7, 2013

Manna for the Lost

Unaware, one step goes in before the other pulls the body out of a hole
in the earth deeper than a grave. The upright ones go quietly around;
the obedient clamor for a crust and sip. They tend the dark that smells
of rain. I have been nowhere and you are here. It is the luck of the lost.

You were all I could have ever wanted. A green life, a willowy soul.
So many do not even know how it is to desire what eventually arrives.
They go everywhere, but settle nowhere. There is an enormous sound
in their hearts hollow with need. It is the manna we sent for to save us.

(7 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Nothing is new that was not here before,
land coveting sounds with light as in dark.
Parchment wrinkles. Sun slurs the smell of fire
beyond the clearing that bears its charred mark.
I have gone nowhere I did not stay late,
or longer. Memory may hold such weight.

Who is I? Old man who was never young,
or you, who wear your body like a kiss
and fuel love in the distance between us.
Passion carries fury to endure long
after. What comes before will never leave.
We have felt many loves threading our lives.

I walk alone at sundown through these hills.
Wind stirs. Clouds slice the moon. When do you sail?

(6 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Where Virginia Is

The ship leaves and returning finds no one.
Of cars and trains nothing is known.
Imagine now: No money in the house
for flight. Forget the future, take the coach.
Go south, then east, through enemy country
looking everywhere she might be.
You are stubborn, Sir, you brook no reproach.
Knuckles sore, walk and beg, holding close watch
over the pooling blood that keeps a heart
seeking her through the Southern heat.

(5 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, October 4, 2013


for Virginia Dare

I sat, I thought, I stood, I passed. I stray:
Why, such a long ride to the Outer Banks!
Yet not so far. Those without wings have time.

She waits not for song but for its body.
Who drowns in no Atlantic found in books?
Inland, her breath gathers song with wet love.

(4 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fascicle [15]


No time for the backwater sludge to clear.
Spanish moss. Crocs skid down. Who loves in mud
loves deep. Hate, indifference, roar of crowds:
whirlpool, tangle, mesh. You must remember
where moons dissolve, or seem to, sun comes up.
Four legs, not two, a slide of flesh to slip
the noose of absence. Who are the just born?
Oaths uttered, baptism, consummation . . .

(1 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander