Saturday, May 3, 2014


Soon he will be a child again.
You can see it happening
in his book of dogs and cats
and his luckless fate with women.

He begins and ends with nothing
but the only woman who loved
discoveries, even each of his lies.
He loved to watch the light in her child’s face.

And Minerva and Sam, which one is
eagle, which one turtle, female and male,
sky god or goddess, which one earth mover
turning up nothing that is not itself . . .

To accompany the child, the sinner.
Who needs to be good once you are happy,
or saintlike to rid yourself of evil . . .
Her name meant hope, but he never knew why.

In hope something exists that is not here,
where a man thinks he can know when love ends,
as for Emily Dickinson life ends
to give her transport to the other sphere.

(3 May 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Friday, May 2, 2014

He Talks to Her, I Talk to You, or Did, Reading Dostoyevsky

1. I don’t know what to say, he said.
She said nothing.
He went away and stayed.
She saw him on special occasions.
When he was exhausted,
when he wanted to love her
which must have meant
he wanted her to love him.
She did, he worked in his office,
stayed out night after night.
Endless. Remorseless. Crazed,
he brought the ex-nun home
to meet her. You’re like a man
possessed, she said. I am? 
Demons rode in the saddle of his soul.
The ex-nun read books for a living
now. She should know.

2. You came in, lover. Angry, forlorn.
You wanted me to give you time
away. You stayed. I called,
you said, I’m not coming back.
You were adamant. I left myself here.
You came back. You slept
on top of the bed. Clothes on.
You must have feared me.
I thought of many reasons.
I would write to you,
and did, from far away,
but never mailed the letter.
I went farther away.
Thinking. Loving.
Going off and staying. 
Don't dwell on the dying or the dead.
Give the horse its head.

3. The ranch is very quiet.
When I work I get work done. 
I am loved again. Imagine.
The horses graze the canyon floor.
How far I have come. This deep.
Demons stare me down.

(2 May 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Outward Signs of Inward Grace

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty–

Crossing Brooklyn Bridge, Katya from the Ukraine
is on her way to meet Amy, who’s waiting to sublet
her Williamsburg walk-up. Amy will summer in her
other home, the small but satisfying two-story
deep within the North Carolina woods,

. . . a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf,
a door. And of all the forgotten faces.
. . . O lost, and by the wind grieved,
ghost, come back again. . . .

whereupon Katya saying goodbye recalls her pleasure
meeting the fiery-eyed lovely who tricked
to learn what it was to write a novel
based on being a businesswoman so young
she either forgot the man or enjoyed him . . .

Understand: we have
grown into one as we slept and
now I can’t jump
because I can’t let go your hand.

The pages are published and the words taped
that Katya’s reading, returning to the Ukraine,
and on the way to Italy, hears Amy reciting.
On her birthday, Katya writes: Amy, I have no car
with Venice so close I’m sad I cannot swim that far.

And the sun goes down in waves of ether
in such a way that I can’t tell
if the day is ending, or the world,
of if the secret of secrets is inside me again.

(Italicized four-line passages are, consecutively, by Hart Crane; Thomas Wolfe;
Marina Tsvetayeva, trans. Elaine Feinstein; Anna Akhmatova, trans. Jane Kenyon.)

(1 May 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander