I have sleep to do.
I have work to dream.
–Bill Knott (1940-2014)
’case it all gits outa hand
make yerself a mask ’n be sumthin
(who could not spell let alone talk)
It’s pleasant on Pleasant Street.
Besides, I love to walk,
go to the Jones Library
read in the Sir Francis Drake bar,
the one upstairs.
Downstairs I meet Charles and Mary
from Lowell: he’s black, she’s white,
they love their life.
I walk over to Cronopios
where the book required, Cruelty
by Ai, “is selling like hotcakes.”
So I’m told. I’ll tell the students.
Next door, in the Quicksilver,
Tricia comes by for a kiss.
She asks me to go home,
it’s not a question or invitation.
I have pickled herring aplenty,
I say we can hit the mattress
and sup later.
She says OK and doesn’t move.
I could go on. Patrick Johanson,
Paul Stevens, Lance Walker
of Amherst’s VVAW chapter, ask,
How was Korea? I answer, I was too young.
Lance was on the DMZ, with LLRP
(or LURP): Long Range Reconnaisance
Patrol over the De Militarized Zone
and into North Vietnam . . .
Johanson (of Saigon) works as bouncer
where Paul (from An Loc) is 86'd . . .
whereupon he got kicked bloody and bruised
in the cellar of the Drake
by a gang swearing he raped a woman
in ’nam, “Where were you?” Paul asked.
“What’d I look like? Why was she there?
How come you’re still alive?”
Paul cruises floors in town for lost money.
Johansen comes on duty. I leave with Tricia.
Night surrounds us. We have love to do,
I have work to make.
To the memory of il miglior fabbro
Adam Hammer (1948–1984),
who once roomed with Bill Knott
–May the gods bless their old souls.
(25 March 2014)
copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander