Thursday, September 26, 2013


Seattle Could Be Paris

D. G. is dead, he fucked with the needle one time too many.
Myra birthed, their child stillborn, light in Doug's eyes went out.
Doug used the signature D. G., he worshiped Dexter Gordon.
If he’d lived Doug could’ve seen his idol in that French movie
Round Midnight. Doug loved Thelonius Monk, but no piano
where he lived, the lowest street but one above the waterfront.

Bobby’s Embouchure

You want to rap about God, go ahead. He’s no clarinet,
certainly not mine. Back in estados unidos, death is a time clock.
Punch in, pick up your gun and magazine, go kill all the sinners
who show themselves. God is everywhere. Wait until you hear
the little crack that sounds no more lethal than a firecracker.
Live through that day or night, fear the end as the beginning.

(26 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fascicle [14] Revised


The monk gave you his Congo creche,
talked of New Guinea where no one’s white.
Could the babe be spared for sacrifice
once his destiny was conjured,
fish hook caught in skin over the heart,
love jury rigged, the flesh savored . . .
Enemy is best to eat, his power
fills you with a taste strong as you will be
(white man upsets stomach, corrodes liver).
Black ivory that shrivels the sun’s eye,
shriek of bats grazing the monk’s cowl.
The raconteur poles upriver
to find the hollow man’s father.
Go to Papua. Kill to live. Eat well.

(22-24 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fascicle [14]


He gave you the Congo creche,

told me a story of New Guinea.
Could the babe be saved again,
grow to be a sacrifice, conjure
a destiny, the fish hook caught
in the skin over the heart, love
jury rigged, the flesh savored.
White man upsets the stomach.
Enemy is best to eat, his power
fills you up, his taste as strong
as I will be, you wait and see.
The raconteur goes downriver
to find some heart of darkness;
I’ll go to Papua and eat well.

(22 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fascicle [13]


This’s a young man’s game, like dominos
is for the father, like chess for his mate,
her chiseled nose and lips, the morning glow
in her eyes, who loves to walk through the night
naked in her youth but not now, not when
her mind is on her work, staying alive.

Last chance hegira . . . Esperanza says:
I think of the Santa Fe street corner
in that painting you said you remember
well. Ever since the moment you said that
I imagined remembering I was
visible there in the painting with you.

There is no way to get to her from here.
Rivers overflow, wind tears down a sky
lovers need, earth opens. You will believe
others know what they mean when branding you
a madman. The one waiting calls their bluff:
They brand you what they know themselves to be.

She gathers her skin with her fluid hands,
gives me food and drink, opening her legs,
and the past is past, this is the future’s
future. Who would not follow your fire here?
I doubt I will go back, it is too late
once she moves her flesh in waves over me.

(20 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, September 16, 2013


It’s bigger now. The anthro-apologists, as Bobby called them the first time, have made hay here. The cows are the turistas. Busses full of them, like cattle in a truck pulled by a semi. There’s one now. Blonde with the proverbial camera around her neck, lovely but parsimonious like most of us, scrutinizing the ways of the pagan. 
          What am I doing here with another night of work ahead of me? What do I care? I’m here. Maybe I’ll stay this time. Look up the doctor in the jungle, if he’s still there. Or the Senora, who served me two meals a day and listened to my halting efforts at speaking Spanish. If she’s still here. 
          I have come alone, leaving Puebla at dawn. The rental car is due back tonight. Maybe I’ll leave it here and go out there and hit up Vallejo for a stay at his place. He’s the magician, the doctor, he knows how to make things appear and disappear. Maybe his brother will be there, or did he die in prison? for the great sin of organizing railway workers in Mexico City . . .
          I do find the Senora’s place, the same place it was before: nothing’s changed, she says she doesn’t need turista dinero. She knows the doctor. He’s still out there. He hates the incursion. And no, his brother is not with him, he stayed in D.F., organizing again because the work is more important than his freedom from incarceration.
          I find the same path somehow. I go to the doctor’s house. It’s even more hidden in what I once called Liana Land. He lives there with his woman, the one Manuela Roma talked about, the puta who retired with him here. I have never met her. She is gentle, with a look of fierceness in her eyes, no rare quality in Mexican women. Neither gentleness nor fierceness.
          The doctor has aged. He is losing his hair. He sports playfully in front of her whose love keeps him alive, he says, making a gesture toward his lower parts. He likes to say, There is where we all are, below–the poor eat nothing while the rich devour everything, men starve and women starve, they have no strength left to make babies, not even to make each other happy. His parrot, the same one, cries, “Fuck, you mortals, fuck!”
          We sit at the table and he tells me the story of what has happened to Cuetzalan. Nada is the name of the story, he says. They bring nothing here but their self-importance, gringos and gringas who have too much at stake in what they may turn up under the earth–cities of gold, civilizations no one knows–and they employ the poor to dig deep until they find treasure.
          I do not believe, the doctor declares, there has been any change since Cortes . . . only His name.

(16 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, September 15, 2013

In Puebla (2)

Bobby thinks of driving to Cuetzalan with Esperanza, then wonders why he is so eager. Paula, still his wife though they split long ago, finishes Angel Eyes to end the set, and he returns to the table where he met this new woman tonight, just before the set began. Now he drinks a Coke with her. He learns she does not live here, but in the Deep South . . . where exactly he does not remember when he returns to begin the next set and Paula asks if he’d like to sing Body and Soul, and he does.
  He wants to calm the heartbeat, get it out of his head at least, and stays away when Sanchez offers to share marijuana with him before the night’s penultimate set. He needs to be himself. The jazz life may be good for music but it’s hell on the heart, he knows that from the inside out, top to bottom. He asks where she likes the food, where you can talk, he says,  and she leads him to a cafĂ© around the corner where he orders huevos rancheros and black coffee, and she seems to be waiting for him to talk and he can’t keep his eyes off her, not when she begins: 
  “I liked the song you sang very much. You’re not the usual singer?”
  “No, Paula is. She asked if I wanted to sing the song, so I did. Did you like her work?”
  “Ah, very much. She is a beautiful woman with great soul. She sings like an angel . . . Angel Eyes,” and Esperanza laughs as though amused by her word play, though he knows no one as beautiful as her would bother unless there were more to what she thought than she said. 
  “Can we talk about you?” he begins.
  “There is nothing to say that you will not know, maybe . . . eventually. It depends.”
  “Why do you live in the South?”
“I was born there. My father is a doctor in Atlanta. He was born in Texas. My mother was also born in Texas. San Antonio, both of them.”
  “Do you live with them?”
  “No. I sing for a living in two Atlanta nightclubs. Of course you know Edith Piaf? I love her even now. I have wanted to sing like her ever since I first heard her voice on an LP when I was a child. I would like to try my luck in Paris someday. . . . Maybe I will.”
  Bobby learns she came to Mexico to get her mind off her troubles. Her marriage ended not long ago, and now she wants to hear the language. She says, “I do not speak well enough to do anything but listen. I have too much respect for a language I do not know well and maybe never will know well enough to try to speak it with others. I need to listen to songs here and go to Mexico City to hear songs there. If I don’t comprehend the lyrics fully, it doesn’t matter too much. I want to hear the music their words make and the music under and behind and all over the song." She smiled. "I need to hear singers  make love with their words and see the way the audience responds, see if I still know what to sing of love sounds like . . . But I’m getting sappy. Why are you here?”
  He listens to her talk and he wants the night to go on until they have nothing left to say . . . He tells her why he came here and he tells her about Cuetzalan, of what he remembers happened to him there . . . afterwards he knows he may not remember what he said. He is looking at her and hopes he will see her tomorrow night and be with her before leaving on the plane back to Seattle the next day. He will ask her to ride with them to Mexico City, where they catch their flight home. If she comes along, . . . he wants her to.            “Will you sing tomorrow night?” she asks. 
  “If Paula will let me . . .” and he can’t help but smile, adding, “She’s paid to do it, not me. I just play clarinet now because D. G. died, our sax man who was better than any of us.” 

(14-15 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, September 13, 2013

In Puebla

Bobby was in Puebla with Sanchez and Company when he met her. She said later she knew she could love him, and since she was usually wrong about men she was happy he loved her.
He was playing clarinet, Paula was singing Angel Eyes, and Tony, Clark, and Sanchez were delivering the melody, tempo, rhythm on piano, bass, and drums. She watched the reed man swinging his horn as he followed the rise and fall of the song, and she thought she would like to hear him talk to find out if he also listened to women.
  Bobby had made a special effort to come here this time because once while working with the quartet in Cuernevaca, he had taken Manuela Roma's advice, rented a car, and outside Puebla followed her directions, leaving the highway where the huge El Pacifico cerveza billboard marked the beginning of the climb up this winding road in the Sierra Oriente until reaching its end, the Totonacan village of Cuetzalan, having passed on each corner, as he later recalled, flowers garlanding the graves of those who had not made it to the top.
He told her his name was Roberto, then added Bobby, both names she found to her liking. And he smiled when she told him her name was Esperanza, and as though he needed to feel he would as easily have found her in Seattle or in Mexico City, thinking how they would reach Veracruz if they kept going east, his lips formed the word and said “Hope.”

(13 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fascicle [13]


Twilight. When she loves him
to make love to her.
She has waited a long time.

Her smile’s like a once-over
through her sidelong glance,
one arm cradling her long hair. 

Her breasts, nipples that pucker.
Her jinn under Mardi Gras beads.
Her legs around his wand inside her.

A dream of fucking as they sleep.
No rest? . . . The best is love’s rest:
Her piquant eyes too happy to weep.

(12-13 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fascicle [12]


It is the urgency that must be attended.
I don’t know love’s configuration
when absent. I am not even I. The load
of love. The spell of presence.

Vex the space that woos time to a stop.
There is no other language: 
The tree outside your window. A storm
inside that pours gently over leaves.

(11 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fascicle [11]


Soon ice arrives. Nights harvest stars.
Cafes have ceiling fans south of here.
Sky enough. The open walls. Whores
do not love to love; so you will be told.
To be warm, languish in Mexico, D. F.
To cool off these tendrils, remain still.

(10 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, September 8, 2013

"peace for our time"

(I get it.) When sky’s blue, night should be black.
Blood is red while the mind strives to be white.
Ulster’s British orange, IRA green.
Adopt the childhood meaning of yellow.
History still in thrall to Neville Chamberlain?
Sudetenland sacrificed, Poland blitzkrieged . . .

Throw the black man out,
keep the White House white!
Children die here and there,
in Connecticut, in Syria.
(Listen to that dove Charles Mingus
play Let My Children Hear Music.)

Remember Franco’s Nazis and Fascists
perfecting the technology of death
in Spain. Jews seeking asylum in ships
enter Liberty’s harbor and are turned away.
Gas draws no blood. Stash corpses out of sight.
As the nation cries, Peace! Death smiles.

(revised 8 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

"peace in our time"

(I get it.) Sky’s blue, night should be black.
Blood is red while the mind strives to be white.
Ulster's British orange, IRA green.
Adopt the childhood meaning of yellow.
A nation renamed Neville Chamberlain
once called United States of America.

Throw the black man out!
Keep the White House white!
Let the children die
here and there, Connecticut, Syria . . .
(I play Let My Children Hear Music,
by that dove Charles Mingus.)

As for war (the nowhere man would say),
remember how Nazis and Fascists
perfected the technology of death
in Spain. How the Jews were turned away
in ships seeking asylum in Liberty’s shadow.
The country cries, Peace! Old Death smiles.

(8 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fascicle [10]


He was a randy boy, pursuer of women,
but he lost his touch becoming a man,
reckless lover of the impossible.

He’s grown to love what’s only possible,
her. He thinks the music she plays must know
the declension of stars, of planets now.

She rises to be with the years she has
salvaged. She is younger than then, the lass
who loves a lad who could be her father,

he's that far gone. He would be her lover,
nothing less, yet he knows that’s not enough.
Time’s left to sing, to weep, and learn to laugh.

So he says. She gives all she has to let
him live. Once she has blossomed, he exits
stage right because he entered from stage left.

(7 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fascicle [9]


Throw love to the winds and feel it come back.
There is no sound like the breath of love’s words.

I have had luck and I have had no luck.
I have gone up against and spurned the sword.

When I say I love you I settle for
choosing between your back or your front door,

not the way in or out but the way through
your house to the back bay window and bed.

We watched the storm from there. Come here, you said.
What does the mind but not the body know?

(6 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fascicle [8]


Los intelectuales son rebeldes, pero no revolucionarios.
Black stone on white stone, a Thursday with rain falling.
The poet dying of a broken heart he took on in Spain:
Lorca, Hernandez dead, Machado across the Pyrenees.
After his Russia, Vallejo home in Paris, returning
in time, the two beloved on either side of his deathbed.

(5 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fascicle [7]


Gone to the cove, in the cave no one knew was here.
I spare the sky my gaze. I was born here.

The waves add music to horizon.
Crawl through to enter the ocean.

I’ll go back now where you pretend to be waiting.
Who could ever be content living without singing?

(4 September 2013)

copyright by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fascicle [6]


Back of you lies youth, ahead the briars surround

A man’s free to marry her once he flees his tomb

From day’s first end to cloudy impasse under stars

You walk in, shadows fall, water rises, you swim

Lake Pontchartrain, you make it with her on the shore

Where once were auctions, flesh sold now by the pound

(3 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fascicle [5]


some begin before dawn and end at noon, others begin in full light and end at midnight
my private lair went everywhere learning what could be done by doing what I could do
women taught me more than I could learn,  I laboring in men’s fields to lie with women
I too need your succor, you need mine more, what is there to do and how can it be done
in my aging I have come to a place where I cannot go on without words taking me there
at dawn or in bright day I am who I still am at noon, and no one else after any midnight

(2 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fascicle [4]


Go back near the high grass by the River
Mill behind 131 Summer Street,
where the table and bench are still. Then roar
the words as they enter you from the air.
You're drunk on Prokofiev’s Nevsky score,
strolling Tchoupitoulas,* far from Amherst.
* New Orleans street, title of an unfinished fiction

(1 September 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander