Friday, January 31, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 11

There is nothing that is not real.
Squirrels foraging the bird feeder
in the middle of the worst winter yet.
Deer hunters waiting above the forest
in soundproof deer stands with sons attending
fathers signaling what is to be done;
men in little huts on the frozen lake
doing something called ice fishing.
I will never get beyond my loathing
for living the longest in one place where
I have nothing to give in recompense,
neither money or love, no praise, no blame.
I followed a woman here I loved long
in Seattle, northern California, Massachusetts,
Albuquerque . . . where she keeps me alive.
Nothing ever more real than surviving.
A six-month chill each year. Walking’s hazard
increases: something in me does not care
to change, I am too rushed to take in life
unlived, to astound horizons in mind.

(31 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 10

The old ones emerge naked,
he's awaiting the young one
naked upstairs waiting
for love to come upon her.
The old ones he fears most
even when he’s inside.
There is no end to doubt
that leaves him flaccid,
waiting while she waits
upstairs, the storm coming,
as he will be coming in her,
and she says he’s lightning
striking her as thunder booms
frightening the old ones only,
of whom he is only one,
though male, his wand drawn
and within her, the young one
he wishes he had already met
before she met her two curs
slavering over her like a meal.


(28 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 9

Traced in air,
crossroads appear
between this world
and the blood’s.

The horses ride you.

The heart’s dew
the flesh peels

the possession’s
next life to this one.

(26-27 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 8

Hank lives out of Amherst
where Suzanne keeps Sam
growing. Hank does odd jobs
in town, drinks beer with me,
we talk Margaret Atwood’s
poetry. Their rented mansion
hovers above a tobacco field.
Suzanne is dying of cancer.
Sam doesn’t know, Hanks says
he's too young to weep.

I could never live to die there,
but I admire one who did, 
the angel recluse born
without wings, long gone.

Suzanne dies, Sam grows full
of music, Hank writes poetry,
works with it incessantly,
knowing art is to be perfected
to become art. No one believes
this, and I remember only
wild nights with resurrection
after the horses rode me.

(24 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 7

She was no violet fading
or shrinking. America may
become the fabled damn’d,
the disgraceful poet said.
She cared what friends said
but she had her own mind.
She was in love with ghosts,
or so they seemed, these men
who passed by her room
knowing better not to pause
though her womanhood
would not have minded,
she knew sex through death
and men who never paused.

(21 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 6

This angry time
the heart banks,
Martin Luther King
still celebrated
by the hollow rich
as long as money
floods the heights,
the poor falling through
the bottom, the middle
people sliding down
to hunger, sleeping
if lucky to have
a car to inhabit,

while we blame
Obama as worse
than Bush, the thief
hauling off his swag
after eight years
holding an office
he had no right to,
eagerly welcoming
the black man to slave
for an America
rendered abysmal,
paralyzed eight years

by the know-nothings
and proud of it,
wearing their tea-bag
badge of stupidity . . .

(Martin Luther King, Jr.
Day, 20 January 2014)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 5

Standing over her
words Call’d back
Cry sent up the spine
to the scalp. Stunned
bones, riddled liver.

Two men standing
share no booze, nor
drink alone. Among
the graves, Vietnam
in Amherst, before
Wounded Knee,

a fire’s lively sparks 
disturb the ash,
the spleen visible, 
cancer ripe.

Autumn 1972

(18 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 4

In the Quicksilver Bar the red-haired girl
recognized him from his photo
in Rolling Stone, and said, Come home with me.
The night before St. Patrick’s Day
she lay upstairs in her bed, telling him
he could have her anytime he wanted,
so he did between Black Russians
and marijuana
he climbed the stairs to share with her.

When she slept he went outside where the drunks
were busy being Irish. He was one
already. He went back to sleep with her.

17 March 1973

(15 January 2014)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fascicle of Amity: 3

Down Main to Amity, that
street of friendship inimical
to New England,
the Yankee scold of mind.

At the gathering, words slip
through clashing tones.
A son of textile mills clouts
a working-class brother,

as though rich men divide us
so we quash our revolution.

(13 January 2014: II)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Fascicle of Amity: 2

Aye! I love my life,
though it be a garden
of honeysuckle and thorns
straining to become roses.

The hummingbird loves
honey. She lets me love her
and leaves me with scars.
Wings whirr over water.

(13 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Fascicle of Amity: 1

He makes love to her with words
soon no longer ample
to sate need in its shared nest
on nights with the moon
pooling her naked body
with his, words gathered to last.

(12 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Poetry is a foolish way to die,
not to let yourself put it down, I mean,
with pen or pencil, or computer keys,
clickety-clack: step on a crack,
break your mother’s back . . .
Why dawdle? Let thunder, lightning
and rain come down upon the earth,
turn the birch to char, level the houses
nobody lives in.
The rain, the rain, it falls upon the plains . . .
which were and never will be home.
Now that you’ve found the magic slate,
keep it dry. Lift it up when you want,
conjure whatever may rekindle life.

(11 January 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander 

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Thinking Body (2)

(a later version, written when I thought I'd lost the first one)

I don’t know what she’s thinking. Her eyes look up, the camera
can’t get close enough to capture the long brush between her teeth.
She holds something between her elbows. She’s sitting on a curb
in a blue blouse with black striped pants, her blonde hair coiffed,
her toes between the sandals’ straps; a book, The Thinking Body,
beside her purse. I was reaching puberty when I came to love her.

(10-11 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander  

The Thinking Body

I don’t know what she’s thinking, holding a long thin brush between her lips, elbows
touching to hold fast what lies between them. She looks up at the lens, her blonde hair
coiffed, her eyes wanting what she does not need to find words for, content to be here
in her blue blouse and black striped pants just up over her knees, poised on bare feet
crossed, toes between the straps of her sandals. She is sitting on a curb with a book,
The Thinking Body, beside her purse. I was a boy reaching puberty when I loved her.

(10 January 2014)  

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Monday, January 6, 2014

Floyd and Lucille Burroughs on Porch, Hale County, Alabama, 1936

(Walker Evans and James Agee)

Walker came up to them while I was looking around back for signs of life there and found
two boys playing keep-away with a third, who was bawling and snuffling and yelling,
wanting back what was his, the body of an owl whose feathers clung fast during the melee.
He was the son of Floyd and Allie Mae, who cropped for shares. And Charles worked too.
Walker took a picture of the father and daughter. Someday she would get to be a mother.
Her first girl might be as clear eyed and pleasant looking as she was, even when she took
a notion to stare at the camera Indians feared would catch their shadows, steal their souls.

I came around from back of the house to tell them I’d like to talk with them. Walker said
we had to go because we hadn’t lined up a place to stay and we were hungry. Floyd told
Lucille to ask her mother if there was enough. Allie Mae came out, drying slender hands,
saying, We’re just having black-eyed peas and hog jowl with biscuits and butter I churned.
Floyd and I were talking and Walker occasionally offered his view of the cotton tenant life.
Allie Mae fed us and put us up for the night. Walker, older then me, went to sleep first.
All night I wrote by a kerosene lamp, imagining what it might be like to be them inside.

(5-6 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, January 3, 2014

When a Year Starts Three Days Late,

I go out to dinner with Cathleen.
We’re both in our dotage, so-called.
She will live to be a hundred.
If I’m lucky, I’ll be back tomorrow.

Tomorrow was the fourth day of a year
that began with Don Quixote.
You must admire the old gent’s pluck,
his remorseless fight for justice.

On the second day I read Shakespeare
and marveled at Chimes at Midnight.
The third day ended in the dark,
where I dedicated these words to you;

then went to ground, where tremors are,
defying indefatigable odds.

(3 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander