He loves to slide two hands full of fingers
under her blouse, inside her bra,
strumming her nipples taut,
then moving down where she wants him
to pour his seed, sperm embracing ovum.
How they began this, they stir up again.
She knows he doesn't love her. He says,
How could I love anyone?
Listen to him lead her on:
You were the last to tempt me . . .
or How can I give you a child,
I'm no lover now, if I ever was.
He's straight with her, yet he can't refuse her,
this wild lass who married the widower
Danny St. Clair, asking only
that she look after his young son
now that his mother, Henrietta Murphy,
was believed to be killed in the train wreck,
moving from Pike Street to Blues Heaven,
headlining nightly like she was still alive,
whereupon Danny played his hole card
when the night turned into noon next day,
nothing new to Bobby's gambler father . . .
then the knife opening an artery to drain,
and once Danny was dead and gone
for good--no deposit, no return--
Cristina was all Bobby had,
and he grew up to be all hers . . .
She was too young to be a mother
and Bobby too old to call her such.
So it was, so it is.
The little cocksman Robert Henry St. Clair
grew up, began writing and playing music.
He married twice, to the sculptor Rebecca,
who drowned in Lake Washington
in her Austin Healey 3000 Mark II,
then to the wild girl Paula whom he loved
even when he wasn't home, but how
could she love back when he was gone?
They split, though still married, and now
he sees Paula only when she sings
and he's on clarinet playing nightly
in the back room of Hotel Congress.
Bobby loves to look at Paula. He will never
outgrow her, though she's nine years
younger. He follows her lovely body's
sinuous moves, calls her by her birth name.
When he sleeps alone, he holes up in a room
upstairs he calls La Iglesia De La Puta.
Its only window gives upon the street,
and when rain falls slowly down
streaming the glass, he reads what's there
and comes away seeing Henrietta's face.
Cristina sashays back and forth from bar
to back room to serve the hangers-on
at closing time. Sanchez & Co. will never
leave: Paula's here to stay, like Bobby,
Clark on bass, Tony on piano,
Sanchez on drums. Paula sings
Bobby's songs, they're old now,
but why not? Clark was her man a while,
then she wrote lyrics, Tony did the music
while his wife Laurie looked on, glad
her man had a gig he loved to do,
and Paula had another repertoire.
What could be better as well as true?
Cristina changes while Bobby drinks,
then they walk off to do a little more
of the night before she says,
You want to go home and fuck me?
And why should he not consent?
No danger of his animal
probing one thigh, then both,
below her silk panties
without consummation, yet no
until death do us part
necessary . . . ever.
When Bobby thinks of Rosemary far off,
Rebecca dead, Paula chaste with him now,
and how many others he may never see again,
he mutters, What in hell am I doing here,
remembering Marlowe's Why this is hell,
nor am I out of it . . .
(18 July 2014)
copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander